Airbus Demonstrates Manned-Unmanned Teaming Technologies

By Mike Ball / 27 Sep 2018

Airbus drone

Airbus has announced that it has successfully performed manned-unmanned teaming (MUT) test flight campaigns with five Airbus-built Do-DT25 target drones controlled from a mission group commander who was airborne in a manned command and control (C2) aircraft. The ability to control unmanned systems from a manned aircraft is an important “force multiplier” for future air power.

Flown in a test zone of Germany’s Baltic Sea area, the MUT trial flights served multiple purposes, including validating such elements as connectivity, human-machine interface, and the concept of teaming intelligence through mission group management. For the aspect of teaming intelligence, multiple capabilities and enabling technologies are required at sufficient maturity levels – from teaming/swarming algorithms and new sensors to mission management systems for command and control assistance by the manned aircraft’s crew.

A key element contributing to these successful flights was the advanced flight control and flight management system developed by Airbus for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – which combines fully automatic guidance, navigation and control with intelligent swarming capabilities.

Manned-unmanned-teaming is expected to increase the mission efficiency of future airborne systems in many ways. Equipped with sensors, the swarm of unmanned systems can provide situational awareness to a mission group commander located a safe distance away aboard the manned aircraft.

The Airbus MUT demonstrations brought together several of the company’s programme and product lines, with the main development and test phases conducted during a short timeframe and at low cost – supported by an agile, rapid prototyping environment and a risk-mitigation approach.

Expertise gained during the manned-unmanned teaming test flight campaigns will be applied by Airbus to develop Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact