Military UAS Controlled from Laptop – Another Stage on the Way to Automation

Logistics support gray eagle

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The US Army can now control the Gray Eagle Extended Range unmanned aircraft system from a laptop thanks to an advanced command and control software. 

The first production Acceptance Test Procedure (ATP) flights of a Gray Eagle ER UAS using Scalable Command & Control (SC2) software was conducted by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA ASI) and the US Army.

The software developed by GA-ASI was installed on an Army-owned laptop computer and controlled an Army GE-ER aircraft for 3.8 hours completing all test points successfully.

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. SC2 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 system gives the Army everything it needs in a quicker and simpler way.

“SC2 represents a massive reduction in emplacement, mission launch time and overall footprint size,” said GA-ASI Vice President of Strategic Development J.R. Reid. “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.”

The US Army believes SC2’s automation will allow enlisted operators to focus on the more difficult and operationally relevant mission tasks, according to the company’s announcement.