Commercial, Military

Navy Demos UAS Common Control System

By Tish Drake | November 3, 2011
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The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) completed a demonstration for its unmanned aircraft Common Control System (CCS) Oct. 26 at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif., the Navy said Tuesday.

CCS is a software-only system for fixed, mobile and dismounted hardware ground station configurations. It is intended to address common requirements for current and future unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

During the demonstration, operators used the CCS to control a simulated UAS and associated sensors. The UAS identified and tracked a hostile moving target and sent images of the target to an air controller. The UAS data created a precise coordinate so that a Net-Enabled Weapon (NEW) could strike. The UAS and NEW controller were then used together to perform a battle damage assessment.

CCS intends to use a Government Lead Systems Integrator (LSI) Team that performs CCS product integration and testing prior to delivering the integrated software package to platforms for final integration and test with its vehicles, according to Mike Paul, Navy CCS program manager. It is built on a government-managed open COTS framework, utilizing common services and applications provided by multiple vendors, with unique services and applications provided by the UAS platforms, Paul told Avionics.

The Navy’s CCS, managed by Strike Planning and Execution Systems program office (PMA-281), used a sample of services developed under the Office of Secretary of Defense’s UAS Control Segment architecture for this demonstration. Multiple vendors developed these sample services and the user interface, which were successfully integrated to provide modular capabilities within one software system.

Some of the services used were Blue Force Tracker, Cursor on Target, Sensor Product Archive, Sensor Command and Control, Vehicle Flight Status, Video Stream Catalog, and a Meteorological and Oceanographic weather service. Government-developed Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4586 service and electro-optical/infrared sensor model services, as well as an independently developed industry presentation layer, were also used in the demonstration.

“The demonstration verified that service-oriented techniques can help create a set of reusable, independently developed, software services for control of unmanned systems,” said Mike Paul, the Navy’s CCS program manager. “The flexibility of the CCS framework and the government led integration efforts allows the system to efficiently address similar requirements for unmanned vehicles, yet meet the unique requirements of each vehicle in a highly efficient manner.”

The Navy said the CCS is currently being developed for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance System and Medium Range Maritime Unmanned Air System and will be available for use with other unmanned vehicles, including air, surface and subsurface, in the future. “The CCS approach leverages off of the investments and capabilities that exist today to smartly embrace a modular, scalable open architecture for unmanned systems,” said Rear Adm. Bill Shannon, PEO (U&W) program executive officer.

Paul said the next effort is to demonstrate expanded software re-use in the CCS, and to plan an acquisition strategy that will result in a Government Lead System Integrator Team integrating products from multiple vendors, allowing for rapid software development cycles and creating a competitive "best of breed" environment.

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