HUNT VALLEY, Md., Oct. 12 (UPI) -- AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems of Maryland and Virginia's Aurora Flight Sciences have teamed to support medium-altitude, long-endurance drone missions.
Under the alliance, the companies will integrate AAI's Universal Ground Control Station and other ground control technologies with Aurora's Orion UAS and Centaur Optionally Piloted Aircraft.
This pairing supports MALE missions of up to five days with the Orion UAS, as well as defense, first responder and scientific missions with the Centaur OPA.
The UGCS is a NATO standardization agreement 4586-compliant command-and-control platform based on AAI UAS' proven One System architecture.
It incorporates a digital Tactical Common Data Link for robust bandwidth and data security, and is designed to command and control multiple joint services UAS simultaneously.
"Our Universal Ground Control Station lives up to its name with features for scalability, interoperability and commonality," said Steven Reid, senior vice president and general manager of AAI UAS.
"We currently provide command and control for numerous UAS, including the General Atomics Gray Eagle and the Northrop Grumman Hunter.
"Bringing this same proven capability to the Orion UAS enables this game-changing platform to integrate into the U.S. Army's layered intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance strategy, and continues our efforts to align with the Office of the Secretary of Defense's interoperable communications architectures."
The Orion UAS will demonstrate five-day endurance sorties with 1,000 pounds of payload operating at 20,000 feet in support of the U.S. Central Command's urgent operational need for persistent, multi-intelligence ISR.
The Centaur OPA is ideally suited to allow users to operate as a manned ISR platform, then be reconfigured as an unmanned system in the field.
Under the agreement, the companies also will consider integration of other AAI UAS technologies with the Orion UAS and Centaur OPA.