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A new ground control station controlled an MQ-9 Reaper UAV for the first time. The MQ-9 is a human ground-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle, the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance. The aircraft was developed by General Atomics primarily for the United States Air Force.
The Block 50 GCS cockpit for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) developed by the company is designed with improved capabilities through an optimized Human Machine Interface (HMI) that significantly enhances aircrew situational awareness and allows for single seat operations.
The system integrates multi-level security feeds with onboard sensors to display a comprehensive picture of the battlespace and incorporates improved information assurance capabilities that protect against cybersecurity risks, according to the company website.
The new ground control system is expected to reduce manpower requirements and support future missions in complex operating environments.
The design of the Block 50 provides separation of flight critical components to increase flight safety posture, enable rapid testing and integration of new mission capabilities.
Features of the new Block 50 GCS include an intuitive glass cockpit design that reduces operator workload and increases effectiveness of mission execution through electronic checklists and integrated mission data information displays.
The system also represents an increase in modularity and interface definition.