Kiowa demonstrates UAV interoperability

Oct. 14, 2011 at 9:19 AM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Bell Helicopters says its OH 58 Kiowa Warrior has groundbreaking capabilities that will enable interoperability among multiple aviation platforms.

The capabilities were shown at the Manned Unmanned System Integration Capability demonstration, sponsored by the U.S. Army at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah last month.

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, such as the Shadow, Hunter, Gray Eagle and legacy Raven and Puma.

Bell said the OH-58 received UAS sensor payload video and telemetry; received and re-transmitted UAS sensor payload video and telemetry to a UAS ground control station; transmitted Kiowa Warrior sensor payload video and telemetry to a UAS ground control station for target verification; and engaged a target with a live weapons firing.

"This exercise marked the first time both manned and unmanned aircraft systems operated under a single commander," said Mike Miller, director of Army business development for Bell Helicopter. "The Kiowa Warrior proved its 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, designed by AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which provides the ability to command numerous types of unmanned aircraft systems from a single ground control station.

"This groundbreaking 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."

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