Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion has been selected for 17 aircraft, including military, rotary wing and business jet flight decks. Now it has been successfully demonstrated for use as a ground control station and airborne avionics for unmanned aerial system (UAS) applications.
Successful experimental flights were recently conducted using the Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system. This system was integrated with the UAS Control and Non-Payload Communications (CNPC) data link currently in development by Rockwell Collins to enable unmanned aircraft to safely operate in the national airspace.
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Rockwell Collins demonstrated a distributed FMS that allowed controllers on the ground to reach into the optionally piloted aircraft to control the aircraft remotely. A key differentiator for Rockwell Collins is the company’s ability to combine the CNPC data link and distributed FMS, which paves the way to a certified solution for unmanned systems.
“Our company brings these two capabilities together for one solution that can enable UAS to safely, routinely and efficiently operate in the national airspace,” said John Borghese, vice president of the Advanced Technology Center at Rockwell Collins.
Operators using the Pro Line Fusion ground station successfully controlled a surrogate aircraft, with a safety pilot on board during the flights, which were conducted out of the University of Iowa’s Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) in Iowa City, Iowa. OPL and Rockwell Collins have developed a unique operational and development environment over the last 10 years allowing cutting edge UAS research.
“Our vast experience in certifying avionics for manned vehicles gives us the expertise to apply the same principles to UAS,” added Borghese. “The purpose of these tests was to show how certified production systems may be used to meet the certification requirements being formulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.”