Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT) today announced that its OH 58 Kiowa Warrior has successfully demonstrated several ground breaking capabilities that will enable interoperability among multiple aviation platforms, such as manned and unmanned vehicles. The exercise was conducted at the Manned Unmanned System Integration Capability (MUSIC) demonstration, sponsored by the U.S. Army at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah on September 15 & 16, 2011.
The MUSIC exercise tested the moving of UAS and helicopter sensor video and proved component interoperability between manned and unmanned systems. The OH-58 Kiowa Warrior demonstrated its capability to receive sensor video from a variety of the Army’s large Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), such as SHADOW, HUNTER, and GRAY EAGLE, legacy Raven and Puma.
During the MUSIC exercise, the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior demonstrated its range of capabilities by:
- Receiving UAS sensor payload video and telemetry;
- Receiving and re-transmitting UAS sensor payload video and telemetry to a UAS ground control station;
- Transmitting Kiowa Warrior sensor payload video and telemetry to a UAS ground control station for target verification; and
- Engaging a target with a live weapons firing.
“This exercise marked the first time both manned and unmanned aircraft systems operated under a single commander,” explained Mike Miller, Director of Army business development for Bell Helicopter. He continued, “ The Kiowa Warrior proved it’s flexibility and adaptability by working with several major Army UAS platforms. We expect the Kiowa Warrior will be fielding Level II manned/unmanned capability in 2011”
The MUSIC exercise also tested the Army’s universal ground control station (UGCS), designed by fellow Textron business AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which provides the ability to command numerous types of unmanned aircraft systems from a single ground control station. During the demonstration, soldiers utilized the AAI-developed One System® Remote Video Terminal (RVT) enhanced with bi-directional capabilities to control sensors on the miniature UAS.
“This ground-breaking demonstration is important because it proved inter-operability between geographically-dispersed ground stations, including Universal Ground Control Station, the mini-UGCS and the Bi-Directional One System Remote Video Terminal,” said Charles Shepard, UAS Business Development manager for Bell Helicopter. “The MUSIC exercise demonstrated the ability to control various UAS and their associated sensors payload video output and that each could be readily handed-off seamlessly from one system to the next.”
The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a family of single-engine, single-rotor, military helicopters deployed for observation, utility, and direct fire support. With more than 750,000 fleet combat hours, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a combat-proven aircraft that is safe, rugged and highly reliable, while also maintaining the highest OPTEMPO, readiness and mission-capable/capability rates of any Army helicopter currently operating in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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