Boeing has announced that, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, it has successfully flown two autonomously controlled EA-18G Growler aircraft, using a third piloted Growler as a mission controller for the two unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The EA-18G Growler is a specialized version of the F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter aircraft that has been configured for electronic warfare.
The flights took place at Naval Air Station Patuxent River during the Navy Warfare Development Command’s annual fleet experiment (FLEX) exercises. A total of 21 demonstration missions were performed over four flights, proving the effectiveness of technology that allows manned F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers to perform combat missions with unmanned systems.
Tom Brandt, Boeing Manned-UnManned Teaming demonstration lead, commented: “This demonstration allows Boeing and the Navy the opportunity to analyze the data collected and decide where to make investments in future technologies. It could provide synergy with other U.S. Navy unmanned systems in development across the spectrum and in other services.”
“This technology allows the Navy to extend the reach of sensors while keeping manned aircraft out of harm’s way. It’s a force multiplier that enables a single aircrew to control multiple aircraft without greatly increasing workload. It has the potential to increase survivability as well as situational awareness.”