Global Hawk Processor

Loved your article on unmanned air vehicles (UAVs–Sept. 2001, page 32, and Oct. 2001, page 40). VISTA Controls, a client of mine, provides the Integrated Mission Management Computer (IMMC) for the Global Hawk. The IMMC is configured using VMEbus commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components. It controls all avionics functions as well as mission packages. The mission program is downloaded to IMMC prior to takeoff. The IMMC then autonomously performs all flight control functions based on inputs from the flight program, navigation system and other sensors. These include takeoff, in-flight operations and landing.

The IMMC also executes changes to the preplanned mission profile that may be sent via satellite or other data link while in-flight. Additionally, it controls the operation of various mission packages. For reliability, the Global Hawk has dual IMMCs. They incorporate a cross-channel data link and self-monitoring programs to provide redundant operation.

For me the most interesting thing about the Global Hawk is that when it’s sitting on the tarmac, you download the data into the computers and you don’t have to touch it again: It checks itself out, taxis out, flies, lands and taxis in without any human intervention.

Pete Yeatman
The Yeatman Group Inc.
Jackson, N.J.

An Addition…

In last month’s Product Focus, on cockpit switches, we included North American manufacturers but not those in Europe. Here then are the European cockpit switch makers:

Intertechnique (Aerospace) Ltd.
Airscrew Ltd.
Page Aerospace Ltd.
Flight Refuelling Ltd.

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