General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), in conjunction with the U.S. Army, has completed the first production Acceptance Test Procedure (ATP) flights of a Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) unmanned aerial system (UAS) using Scalable Command & Control (SC2) software. The software, developed by GA-ASI and installed on an Army-owned laptop computer, controlled an Army GE-ER UAS for 3.8 hours, with the aircraft successfully completing all required test points.
SC2 is a collection of standalone software applications that reduce operator workload through automated checklists and optimize steps for pre-flight, taxi, launch and recovery, health and status monitoring, sensor and payload control and maintenance of the GE-ER. The software suite reduces the logistics burden of set-up, transportation and operation of a GE-ER, and enables control of the UAS and its payloads, while allowing aircraft, payloads and sensors to be controlled by disparate users replicating a ground maneuver force or other disadvantaged user.
The Army believes that this enhanced automation will allow enlisted operators to focus on the more difficult and operationally relevant mission tasks, leaving the more mundane tasks to the SC2 software with minimal man-in-the-loop involvement. This capability meets the Army concept of “supervised autonomy,” while meeting MOSA (Modular Open Systems Approach) requirements.
J.R. Reid, Vice President of Strategic Development at GA-ASI, commented: “SC2 represents a massive reduction in emplacement, mission launch time and overall footprint size. The SC2 software could be part of the Army’s Ground Modernization plan replacing the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS) with rugged laptops and tactical servers enabling more mobile operations in a defined Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) framework.”