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Posted: 4/12/2006 8:16:50 AM EDT
Boeing Apache and Unmanned Little Bird Demonstrator Test Expands UAV Control



ST. LOUIS, April 12, 2006 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] has demonstrated for the first time the ability of an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter to control an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) weapon payload.

Boeing demonstrated the capability in February at its Mesa, Ariz., facility, home of both Apache helicopter production and the company's Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) UAV technology demonstrator used in the milestone test.

"Evaluations of the Apache Longbow helicopter's ability to control UAVs have been ongoing," said Melanie Luna, Boeing program manager for the Airborne Manned/Unmanned System Technology Demonstration (AMUST-D) program. "The latest test is moving the Apache to the next level -- controlling a UAV's sensors and employing its weapons."

During the test, the Apache Longbow, the AMUST-D aircraft, took control and commanded multiple payloads on the unmanned aircraft, an A/MH-6 derivative in development by Boeing. The Apache was on the ground during this engineering phase of remote weapons control while the ULB was several miles away.

Testers used the Apache's newly developed UAV weapon page to perform the standard Hellfire missile firing sequence on the ULB demonstrator through the existing co-pilot station without hardware modifications. Both aircraft feature L3 Communications' tactical common data link equipment and technologies.

The test supported an ongoing U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate weaponization program through a contract with Boeing Phantom Works. The program is taking advantage of the ULB's UAV capabilities to provide a proof-of-concept test bed for laser-guided munitions deployment.

The ULB demonstrator last year demonstrated UAV technologies in communication relay, precision re-supply, surveillance and weapons delivery. The ULB also completed a weapons test at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., where the ground station operator controlling the aircraft located and hit the target with a Hellfire missile from several miles away.

The AMUST-D program recently completed the first phase of flight testing at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where the team demonstrated UAV level 4 (sensor and flight path) control with a tactical common data link-equipped Hunter UAV. Additional AMUST technology demonstrations will continue later this year via the Hunter Killer Standoff Team Advanced Concept Technical Demonstration.

Link Posted: 4/12/2006 8:24:16 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 8:35:35 AM EDT
Talk about a force multiplyer.
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 8:43:20 AM EDT
next thing you know wars will be fought with armys of robots and remote controlled airplanes controlled by computer geeks and 15 year old gamers 2000 miles away
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 8:47:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Kernal_Krusty:
next thing you know wars will be fought with armys of robots and remote controlled airplanes controlled by computer geeks and 15 year old gamers 2000 miles away





And THEN, Skynet will become self-aware.....
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 9:03:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 9:10:55 AM EDT
War is starting to look more like a video game all the time. Maybe eventually we could just have the robots fight and no one would have to die. This could get interesting in the long term.
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 9:25:22 AM EDT
actually probably only one side will have all the technology and they will send them in and slaughter the crazy ragheads

Beautiful thought ain't it?
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 9:29:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ShadowCompany:
War is starting to look more like a video game all the time. Maybe eventually we could just have the robots fight and no one on our side would have to die. This could get interesting in the long term.



someone has to work in the other guys robot factories.
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 9:31:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 223-Buckaroo:

Originally Posted By Kernal_Krusty:
next thing you know wars will be fought with armys of robots and remote controlled airplanes controlled by computer geeks and 15 year old gamers 2000 miles away





And THEN, Skynet will become self-aware.....



BOOOOOOOM Headshot!

cheater! hax0r!!!
turn your aimbot off!!
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 9:37:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By kpel308:

Originally Posted By 223-Buckaroo:

Originally Posted By Kernal_Krusty:
next thing you know wars will be fought with armys of robots and remote controlled airplanes controlled by computer geeks and 15 year old gamers 2000 miles away





And THEN, Skynet will become self-aware.....


I would have thought YOU would have gone for the Cylon angle...




There are many copies..... and they have a plan.
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 12:43:34 PM EDT
Let me introduce you to my leetle friends
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 1:06:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hk940:

Originally Posted By ShadowCompany:
War is starting to look more like a video game all the time. Maybe eventually we could just have the robots fight and no one on our side would have to die. This could get interesting in the long term.



someone has to work in the other guys robot factories.



More robots, duh......
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 1:08:18 PM EDT
Awesome, in much the same way F-15E WSOs (and probably F-18 RIOs) will be flying UCAVs in a few years as well. It's gotta be cool when you can sucker an enemy into an attack and then flank or surround him, all by yourself.
Link Posted: 4/12/2006 4:37:41 PM EDT
I know that they've been flying that drone for a while. I'm about a mile from that plant, and sometimes people mention the neat remote-controlled helicopter.

Winston_Wolf would know more, but probably can't talk.
Link Posted: 4/13/2006 9:00:07 AM EDT
Multi-UAV/Apache Cooperative Flights Planned By Boeing This Summer
By Jefferson Morris/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
04/13/2006 09:01:51 AM

After demonstrating level-4 control of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and its weapons from the cockpit of an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter earlier this year, Boeing hopes to conduct cooperative flights with the Longbow and multiple UAVs this summer at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.

Boeing hopes to use its Unmanned Little Bird and ScanEagle UAVs in the demonstration, which would be sponsored by the U.S. Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD).

"We'd like to have the ScanEagle out there, loitering, finding us a target, and then start talking to the Little Bird, who will then relay [images] to the manned platform of what they see," Waldo Carmona, Boeing's director of Advanced Army Systems, told The DAILY.

At that point, the Apache pilot can "decide if you want to engage it and then work together with ScanEagle and the Little Bird to engage that target," Carmona said. Both UAVs would be tasked and controlled from the Apache's cockpit.

In February at Boeing's facility in Mesa, Ariz., the company demonstrated the ability of the Apache to control the Unmanned Little Bird's weapon payload as part of the Airborne Manned/Unmanned System Technology Demonstration (AMUST-D) program. The tests reached Level-4 control, which means every function of the UAV other than takeoff and landing was managed by the Apache.

The Longbow remained on the ground while it controlled multiple payloads on the airborne Little Bird, communicating via the tactical common data link (TCDL). "We were able to do laser designation from the Little Bird, we were able to shoot from the Little Bird ... all being controlled from the Longbow," Carmona said. The tests used the "House Mouse" Hellfire, an instrumented, inert version of the missile. Live fire tests would be the next step.

Apache pilots were able to control the UAV's weapons through a new page on their displays, according to Carmona. The page contained information on the UAV's remaining ammunition, fuel, and available sensors, allowing the UAV to be used as "a detached weapons store," he said.

Unmanned Little Bird plans

The Unmanned Little Bird prototype is a modified MD 530F helicopter that can be flown with or without a pilot onboard. Last year the UAV completed a series of AATD-sponsored weapons tests at Yuma (DAILY, Oct. 4, 2005).

The UAV is expected to begin shipboard testing with the Navy within the next two months, Carmona said. First flights will be manned, after which the team will analyze flight data and then return to sea again for autonomous flights.



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