In January, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA ASI) and the US Army conducted the first production acceptance test procedure flights of a GRAY EAGLE Extended Range (GE-ER) UAS using GA-ASI-developed Scalable Command & Control (SC2) software on an Army-owned laptop, the company announced on 10 March. SC2 controlled an Army GE-ER aircraft for 3.8 hours and the system successfully completed all test points.

SC2 represents a massive reduction in emplacement, mission launch time and overall footprint size,” commented J R Redi, the company’s VP of Strategic Development. “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.”

SC2 is a collection of standalone software applications that reduce operator workload through automated checklists, optimising steps for pre-flight, taxi, launch and recovery, health and status monitoring, sensor and payload control and maintenance of the GE-ER. SC2 reduces the logistics burden of set-up, transport and operation of a GE-ER, enabling control of the UAS and its payloads, while allowing aircraft, payloads and sensors to be controlled by disparate users replicating a ground manoeuvre force or other disadvantaged user. The system gives the Army everything it needs in a faster, simpler way.

The Army believes SC2’s 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 tasks to meet the Army concept of ‘supervised autonomy,’ while simultaneously meeting MOSA requirements.

The GRAY EAGLE Extended Range UAS. (Photo: GA-ASI)

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