The capability has been demonstrated using Textron Systems’ Synturian control and collaboration technology and Textron Aviation Defense’s Scorpion jet.
During the demonstration, the team integrated Synturian multi-domain control and collaboration software into the cockpit mission computer of the Scorpion light-attack jet.
The team simulated a Nightwarden tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and an Aerosonde small UAS, which featured flight acquisition and control of the simulated air vehicles and sensors.
The aircrew of the Scorpion jet used Synturian software to establish flight route waypoints and surveillance orbits, steer the sensor, and change the unmanned aircraft heading, airspeed and altitude.
This enabled the simulated unmanned aircraft to operate without any further aircrew interaction.
Textron Aviation Defense senior flight test pilot Brett Pierson said: “The ability to easily and intuitively control unmanned systems from the cockpit of a manned tactical aircraft is a game-changer.
“The tactical and operational ramifications of this new capability are enormous. Further extending Scorpion’s sensor suite and penetrating a weather layer to generate target coordinates, or creating a triangulated solution independently, or adding layers to a multi-spectral fused solution, deliver an entirely new set of tactical capabilities that have never been possible in a fighter-typed aircraft.”
Designed and developed with advanced technologies, the Scorpion tactical aircraft has the ability to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, maritime and border patrol, and jet training operations.