Textron Systems and Textron Aviation have announced the successful integration and demonstration of the company’s manned-unmanned teaming capability via the Textron Systems Synturian control and collaboration technology and Textron Aviation Defense Scorpion jet.
“Through Textron Systems’ extensive experience in the field and Textron Aviation Defense’s expertise, we realize the revolutionary benefits that manned-unmanned teaming can deliver to keep manned assets out of harm’s way,” said Textron Systems Vice President of Programs Wayne Prender. “Together, Synturian command and control technologies and the Scorpion jet take this capability to the next-level – increasing Textron Systems’ Level of Interoperability (LOI) from 3 to 4, while enabling multi-vehicle command and control from a moving airborne asset.”
During the rapid proof of concept demonstration, the team installed Synturian software — a vital element of Textron Systems’ new family of multi-domain control and collaboration technologies — into the cockpit mission computer of the Scorpion jet. The team simulated a NIGHTWARDEN Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System and an Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System for the demonstration, which featured flight acquisition and control of the simulated air vehicles and sensors (up to LOI 4). Using Synturian, the Scorpion aircrew set up flight route waypoints, established surveillance orbits, steered the sensor and changed the unmanned aircraft heading, airspeed and altitude. The simulated unmanned aircraft were then able to operate without further aircrew interaction.
“The ability to easily and intuitively control unmanned systems from the cockpit of a manned tactical aircraft is a game-changer,” said Textron Aviation Defense Senior Flight Test Pilot Brett Pierson, after flying the Scorpion-Synturian test missions. “The tactical and operational ramifications of this new capability are enormous. Further extending Scorpion’s sensor suite and penetrating a weather layer to generate target coordinates; or creating a triangulated solution independently; or adding layers to a multi-spectral fused solution, deliver an entirely new set of tactical capabilities that have never been possible in a fighter-typed aircraft.”
Moving forward, Textron Systems and Textron Aviation Defense plan to advance integration efforts, testing and demonstration of this transformational capability with fully-operational unmanned aircraft to interested customers worldwide.
Synturian control and collaboration technologies empower situational awareness and informed action. The Synturian family of products includes two main product lines — Synturian Control and Synturian Remote. Synturian Control is a multi-platform, multi-vehicle, multi-domain control system that enhances collaboration and dissemination of information. Synturian Remote features mobile, network-strengthened tools that enhance situational awareness through timely information and collaboration. Both Synturian Control and Synturian Remote package these capabilities into small, lightweight hardware form factors that are scalable based on customer needs.
Designed and built with leading-edge technologies, the Textron Aviation Defense Scorpion jet features a 85-cubic ft. center payload bay, easily field-configurable mission packages, six hard points, fast dash speeds and extended endurance and loiter time. Designed as an affordable multi-role platform, the Scorpion jet delivers ISR, armed reconnaissance, CAS, maritime and border patrol and jet training capabilities.