To increase expeditionary capabilities in its long endurance Group 3 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), Lockheed Martin recently fielded its newest Expeditionary Ground Control Station, or “xGCS” ®, for use with the Fury UAS.
Following its development and manufacturing in Huntsville, Ala., xGCS shipped and was integrated with Fury in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The first xGCS unit was delivered in early 2014 and has completed initial flight testing in preparation for upcoming Fury UAS deployments.
The small and rugged xGCS provides all processing and communications support electronics needed for Fury UAS ground control operations, as well as all supported payload tasking, processing, exploitation and dissemination. Because the xGCS is reliable, powerful and suitable to the most remote deployment locations, it delivers unprecedented flexibility to the Fury UAS.
“The Fury UAS is an expeditionary platform with best-in-industry capabilities,” said Jay McConville, director of business development for Lockheed Martin’s Fury UAS. “It is an Advanced Group 3 UAS with significant increases to endurance, payload capacity, communications capability, and advanced mission management. Often times our warfighters are struggling with the ‘tyranny of distance.’ Fury gives them a toolset to tackle these challenges. For these reasons we needed a ground control hardware implementation that was rugged, light-weight, and incredibly powerful. The xGCS has met all of our requirements and expectations.”
To ensure maximum processing power and deploy-ability, Lockheed Martin applied 20 years of UAS ground control system manufacturing experience to the system. The xGCS is comprised of a mixture of military-rugged and commercial-off-the-shelf hardware within a rugged framework configuration. xGCS is expandable, easy to upgrade and features a small physical profile for use in a variety of mission control configurations. It can support multiple UAS platforms, and can host any standard ground control software suite utilizing its virtual machine technology.
The xGCS is capable of simultaneously running the Sharkfin® UAS mission management system and the VCS-4586® product suite, both brought into the Lockheed Martin portfolio in 2012 when the corporation acquired Chandler/May, Inc. and CDL Systems, Inc. The acquisitions added to Lockheed Martin’s five decades of experience in unmanned and robotic systems for air, land and sea. From the depths of the ocean to the rarified air of the stratosphere, Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems help our military, civil and commercial customers accomplish their most difficult challenges.