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The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has developed a system that will enable the central control of military ground, air, and undersea unmanned systems .
The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Control Segment (UCS) software can be added to any unmanned system to make it able to communicate and work with any other. It will run on any type of platform or hardware, and it can overlay existing systems running on propriety software to make them work with any others.
The UCS computer code-based software acts as a gateway that allows the warfighter to control an entire unmanned system, from the vehicle itself to its payload. The various services within the Common Control System are now available for download by all of the military services through an OSD-sponsored online “store.”
“Some day in the near future you’ll have a Sailor controlling an Air Force unit’s unmanned system, or an Airman sitting at a desk controlling a naval unmanned system or a Marine controlling an Army platform,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. “That’s the kind of ability we will have with this new Common Control System — that’s our future.”
Historically, unmanned systems have been developed and fielded as individual items built by different vendors, which has led to increased spending, from $284 million in 2002 to more than $3 billion in fiscal year 2010. They are all uniquely controlled by proprietary software created by numerous vendors, and the data they provide is sent out in unique formats, making it very difficult to control various systems with one master control or sift through all of the information being transmitted.
The common controller will change this and allow systems to work with one another. Getting rid of custom-built components and systems will simplify the systems themselves, as well as purchasing and training processes, thereby reducing costs.
All of the data captured by the systems will be saved in a cloud environment that is transparent across the military and easily accessible to and quickly navigable by all service members.
Making data available quickly is crucial for faster information gathering.