Airbus has successfully carried out manned-unmanned teaming (MUT) test flight campaigns for future air combat systems.
The campaigns were conducted using five Airbus-built Do-DT25 target drones that demonstrated the ability to control unmanned systems from a manned aircraft.
Flight tests were carried out in a test zone of Germany’s Baltic Sea area. They involved the drones being controlled by a mission group commander who was airborne in a manned command and control aircraft.
The MUT trial flights served multiple purposes, including validating elements such as connectivity, human-machine interface, and the concept of teaming intelligence through mission group management.
A major element that supported the successful test flights was the advanced flight control and flight management system for unmanned air vehicles.
Developed by Airbus, the system combines fully automatic guidance, navigation and control with intelligent swarming capabilities.
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Fitted with sensors, the unmanned systems can provide situational awareness to a mission group commander deployed at a safe distance away on board a manned aircraft.
Expertise gained during the MUT test flight campaigns will be applied by the company to develop the future combat air system for Europe.
With a wingspan of 2.5m and a take-off weight of 120kg, the 3m-long DO-DT 25 drone was specifically designed in accordance with the user requirements to be met by an aerial target system for very short-range air defence systems (V/SHORADS).