SkyGuardian UAS GCS Controls First End-To-End Flight

Published: 11 Apr 2019

SkyGuardian UAS Ground Control Station

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has announced that its Certifiable Ground Control Station (CGCS) has been used to control the complete flight of an MQ-9B SkyGuardian – including takeoff and landing. This is the first time the CGCS has been used to control an entire end-to-end flight of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).

“Controlling takeoff and landing was the last step in a progression of flight milestones for the CGCS,” said David R. Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “Our vision is that MQ-9B will be the first RPA certified to fly in national and international airspace. To achieve that goal, our GCS needs to be type-certified, as well. Completing an end-to end flight was an important step in achieving that ultimate goal.”

The flight originated from the Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona. The CGCS features a Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system from Collins Aerospace, the Abaco FORCE2 flight computer, as well as all the weapons and payload controls for MQ-9B.

The CGCS architecture provides separation between flight and mission critical functions. Flight critical functions are performed using off-the-shelf avionics and flight computers running GA-ASI’s certifiable DAL B software. The mission critical functions are separated and run alongside GA-ASI’s proven Advanced Cockpit payload and weapons equipment.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passions 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.