AAI’s New Technologies Support NATO Interoperability Standards for Unmanned Air and Ground Vehicles
Hunt Valley, MD .- AAI Corporation, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, successfully demonstrated several new technologies for command-and-control of unmanned air and ground vehicles during the first week of August at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. These technologies were designed and developed in conjunction with the U.S. Navy Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City and the U.S. Army’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) Program Office to support NATO interoperability standards.
AAI’s recent demonstration included a new ground control station (GCS) based on the U.S. Army’s One System(R) GCS, which the Army and Marine Corps use to operate the Shadow(R) 200 aircraft in theater. This new GCS is compliant with NATO standardization agreement (STANAG) 4586, translating information from unmanned vehicles into standardized message formats that can be shared with other systems. Likewise, information can be transferred back into vehicle-specific messaging formats for seamless interoperability. A separate vehicle-specific module (VSM) provides vehicle-unique control messages to the unmanned system being operated, whether a ground, sea or air platform. AAI’s STANAG 4586 GCS architecture also provides a common user interface that can dynamically configure to the type of unmanned system being controlled.
The command-and-control capabilities of the GCS were further expanded to include the integration of QinetiQ North America’s TALON(R) robot. AAI and QinetiQ North America successfully demonstrated a STANAG 4586-to-JAUS (Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems) translator designed to support the TALON robot. This also allows video to be transmitted from Talon to AAI’s One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT).
AAI currently is working with QinetiQ North America’s Technology solutions Group in Waltham, Mass., to integrate OSRVT capabilities into the TALON’s controller, which is expected to provide TALON operators even greater situational awareness from data provided by the UAS overhead.
“The objective of NATO STANAG 4586 is to create interoperability among different unmanned systems utilized by the alliance’s military forces,” says AAI’s Vice President of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Steven Reid. “Because of AAI’s longstanding expertise in GCS technologies, we are embracing this objective to create total GCS interoperability across various types of unmanned platforms. This will keep American and allied warfighters safe, as well as increase their mission success rate.”
The systems AAI demonstrated to support this mission also included VSMs for its Shadow 200 and Aerosonde(R) unmanned aircraft, as well as software which successfully allows the GCS to interface with the Navy’s unmanned vehicle management system (UVMS). The UVMS provides a task-driven interface that is expected to be used on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship to coordinate all unmanned vehicle activity.
In a similar demonstration during July, AAI successfully controlled an unmanned surface vessel (USV) off the coast of Melbourne, Fla., using the same GCS architecture in a man-portable configuration called an Expeditionary GCS.
“As a whole, the technologies AAI recently demonstrated represent a comprehensive, STANAG 4586-compliant solution,” says Reid. “Our GCS architecture provides command-and-control capability for all compliant UAS, and now for UGV and USV systems too.”
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