A “Certifiable” (STANAG 4671-compliant) Ground Control Station (C-GCS) from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) was used for the first time on October 4 to fly a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The flight originated from Yuma, Arizona and flew GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPA. Aircraft flight critical functions were tested successfully, including hold modes, landing gear, flap operation, and “hand flying” of the aircraft.
“This marks a major milestone for the C-GCS,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “We continue on a path towards integrating RPA into non-segregated national and international airspace, where they can fly safely alongside commercial aircraft. To achieve that goal, we are producing STANAG-compliant Ground Control Stations in addition to STANAG-compliant SkyGuardian aircraft.”
The C-GCS includes the same flight management system, cockpit displays, and navigation guidance as those found on modern corporate and commercial aircraft. The C-GCS also enables weapons and payload control for SkyGuardian. The ground station’s hardware and software architecture provides separation of flight and mission critical functions. This allows mission software to be modified without affecting flight critical software. The mission Human Machine Interface (HMI) is designed to provide situational awareness on a single tactical situation display. Avionics associated with the flight management system, including traffic collision avoidance, are certified under FAA Technical Standard Orders (TSO).
The upcoming test schedule for the C-GCS includes full launch and recovery, HMI enhancements, mission critical functions, and SATCOM datalink testing.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is the leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than five million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.
For more information, visit www.ga-asi.com.