The U.S. Army researchers made a historic first with its experiment over the Mojave Desert involving an unmanned aircraft, smart sensors and artificial intelligence.
The Army successfully tested its ability to redirect munitions from the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in flight on Aug. 28, according to the Army News Service.
The experiment, that was conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, tested a capability developed by his CFT called A3I, standing for Architecture, Automation, Autonomy and Interfaces.
According to the Army News Service, in the unique experiment, an operator in the back of an MH-47 Chinook helicopter used an iPad to control an MQ-1C Grey Eagle UAS over China Lake. He fired a GBU-69 small glide munition from the Grey Eagle and it was the first time that type of UAS fired that kind of missile.
The A3I system of interconnected sensors was developed over a nine-month period by the Future Vertical Lift CFT in conjunction with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command with input from academia and industry.
The experiment has demonstrated “leap-ahead” technology in lethality and reach, Rugen said.
“We really worked hard on our unmanned systems, our architecture, our automation and our interfaces up at China Lake against a real threat,” he said.
The overall experiment was designed to penetrate an urban environment pairing manned and unmanned aircraft, smart munitions, sensors and automated processing capabilities.
The experiment was able to demonstrate a “very dynamic and agile tasking of effects,” Rugen said. “It culminated with a very open-system architecture on the Grey Eagle that was demonstrated very effectively.”
Rugen said it is part of how the CFT is working to “weld the air-ground team tighter and tighter into a pretty solid punch for any potential enemy.”