X-45A Remotely Controlled During Beyond Line-of-Sight Flight

Released on Monday, December 20, 2004
United States of America
COS - Common Operating System
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
J-UCAS - Joint Unmanned Combat Air System
NASA - National Aeronautics & Space Administration
SATCOM - Satellite Communication
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UHF - Ultra High Frequency
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released that Boeing's X-45A unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) control was successfully transferred to a remote control station nearly 900 miles (1,350 kilometers) away, and back again, completing its first beyond the line-of-sight flight demonstration on December 9, 2004.

The flight demonstration lasted approximately 46 minutes. The command and control of the Boeing's Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS), named AV-1, was transferred from an operator at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California, via UHF SATCOM, to a mission control operator at Boeing's facilities in Seattle, Washington. The operator in Seattle then controlled the air vehicle for over six minutes.

During this time, the Seattle operated demonstrated positive command and control by sending four altitude and airspeed command changes to in-flight air vehicle. All the commands were received and executed by the air vehicle before the command and control was handed back to the local Edwards mission control station.

The command and control transference capability is envisaged by US military as a key capability that will enable a distributed command and control architecture for unmanned air systems. The nodes of such architecture during future warfare could be air bases or aircraft carriers deployed around the globe. Reliable communications paths will complete that vision providing persistent lethal J-UCAS strike capability presence anywhere, anytime.

The J-UCAS program is developing multiple unmanned combat air platforms driven by a single Common Operating System (COS), seamlessly linked to achieve shared, interactive control of worldwide operations. Currently, Boeing is demonstrating the X-45A air vehicles along with Block 3 software, which is a strong candidate to be the basis for future development of COS.


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