Boeing Team Demonstrates Revolutionary UAV Control Capabilities and Integration with Fighters
Demonstrates Revolutionary UAV Control Capabilities and Integration with
Saint- Louis, Missouri -- (Boeing)
July 19, 2004 --Boeing [NYSE: BA], a leader in
aerospace technology development, along with a team of leading industry and
academic researchers, has demonstrated for the first time that manned fighter
aircraft such as the F-15E can effectively utilize an unmanned aerial vehicle
(UAV) as a partner in coordinated combat operations.
“The ability of manned aircraft to coordinate operations with unmanned
aircraft will provide new dimensions in survivability and mission effectiveness,”
said Patrick Stokes, Boeing Software Enabled Control (SEC) program manager.
Recently completed flight demonstrations and experiments at NASA’s Dryden
Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., demonstrated emerging
autonomous control technologies that will allow real-time collision avoidance,
autonomous evasive maneuvers, autonomous rerouting in response to pop-up threats
and in-flight faults, and even UAV mission tasking using voice commands and a
common language vocabulary.
The experiments included advanced control technologies developed by industry
and academic teams from the University of California – Berkeley, California
Institute of Technology, University of Colorado, Honeywell, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota, Northrop Grumman, and Stanford
This demonstration effort was conducted as part of the SEC program sponsored
by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with technical
direction from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.
“The SEC program provides the control technology necessary to fully exploit
the unique features and capabilities of unmanned platforms, and to help them
realize their potential for tactical operations,” said John Bay, DARPA’s SEC
A Boeing-developed transformational software infrastructure called the Open
Control Platform (OCP) was a key to the demonstrations. The OCP provides a
middleware platform and run-time framework for embedded flight software,
integration with control design tools, and software that enables the distributed
simulation of multiple UAVs under control.
Bay said SEC technologies are being transitioned to DARPA's Joint Unmanned
Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program and are aimed at addressing the needs of
future, highly maneuverable, autonomous air vehicles.
In the flight demonstrations and experiments conducted in June, multiple
war-fighting scenarios were flown with Boeing’s J-UCAS T-33 flying test bed,
along with an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter. The T-33 test bed contains a J-UCAS
avionics pallet that allows the vehicle to operate as a UAV.
With the T-33’s J-UCAS avionics operating in an autonomous mode and without
the use of a ground controller, the weapons systems operator in the back seat of
the F-15E successfully tasked it through a series of flight maneuvers
specifically designed to address challenging obstacles that will face future
UAVs, Stokes said. In addition, the demonstrations further showcased the robust
integration capabilities and technical versatility of the F-15E.
The team that developed the OCP software technology integral to the SEC
demonstration is part of Boeing Phantom Works’ Network Centric Operations
organization, charged with exploring advanced control technologies for
multi-vehicle control of networked autonomous vehicles.
Phantom Works is the advanced research and development unit and catalyst of
innovation for the Boeing enterprise. Through its Integrated Defense Advanced
Systems group, it provides leading edge systems and technology solutions to
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, one the world's largest space and defense
Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $27
billion business that provides systems solutions to its global military,
government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft
manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider
of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile
defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.
Tom Koehler, Boeing Phantom Works Communications, 206-766-2923
(Boeing Phantom Works, P. O. Box 2515, Seal Beach, California 90740,