Ad­vanced Cock­pit Ground Con­trol Sta­tion flies Preda­tor C Avenger


Gen­eral Atomics Aero­nau­ti­cal Sys­tems, Inc. re­cently an­nounced that it has suc­cess­fully demon­strated its Ad­vanced Cock­pit Ground Con­trol Sta­tion’s (GCS) ca­pa­bil­ity to fly Preda­tor C Avenger. The flight oc­curred Novem­ber 15, 2012, at the com­pany’s Gray Butte Flight Op­er­a­tions Fa­cil­ity in Palm­dale, Cal­i­for­nia.

“This flight paired our most ad­vanced GCS with our most ad­vanced air­craft”, said Frank W. Pace, Pres­i­dent, Air­craft Sys­tems Group, GA-ASI. “Since 1994, our GCS have amassed over two mil­lion flight hours. The Ad­vanced Cock­pit is the next log­i­cal step in GCS pro­gres­sion. Our ob­jec­tive with this GCS is to fully sat­isfy cus­tomer in­ter­op­er­abil­ity re­quire­ments, en­abling any GA-ASI RPA to be flown from the sys­tem.”

The goal of this Con­gres­sion­ally-di­rected, US Air Force (USAF)-sup­ported demon­stra­tion was to show that the Ad­vanced Cock­pit’s open sys­tems soft­ware ar­chi­tec­ture adapts rapidly for other RPA op­er­a­tions. More than two years ago, the sys­tem suc­cess­fully flew the MQ-1 Preda­tor over a three-month pe­riod. In April 2012, the Ad­vanced Cock­pit flew the SARC-1 UAS un­der a jointly funded com­pany ef­fort with strate­gic sim­u­la­tion so­lu­tions. This ef­fort demon­strated the sys­tem’s abil­ity to con­trol third party RPA. This sum­mer, the Ad­vanced Cock­pit is sched­uled to fly Preda­tor B/MQ-9 Reaper.

“Ad­vanced Cock­pit’s wrap-around vis­ual dis­play and multi-di­men­sional mov­ing map dra­mat­i­cally in­creases sit­u­a­tional aware­ness, while the in­te­grated dig­i­tal check­list de­creases pilot work­load,” said Ja­son McDer­mott, the test pilot who suc­cess­fully handed off con­trol of Avenger from GA-ASI’s legacy GCS to the Ad­vanced Cock­pit and con­trolled the flight dur­ing a three-hour mis­sion. “The com­bi­na­tion of th­ese unique fea­tures greatly in­creases the ease and sim­plic­ity of mis­sion plan­ning, re­duces pilot work­load, thereby in­creas­ing flight safety.”

GA-ASI’s Ad­vanced Cock­pit GCS is be­ing de­signed in ac­cor­dance with the US Air Force’s Un­manned Air­craft Sys­tem Com­mand and Con­trol Ini­tia­tive to en­able in­ter­op­er­abil­ity with all USAF RPA and the US Depart­ment of De­fense’s vi­sion for GCS in­ter­op­er­abil­ity and com­mon­al­ity as out­lined by the Of­fice of the Sec­re­tary of De­fense’s Un­manned Con­trol Seg­ment Work­ing Group.

The Ad­vanced Cock­pit GCS fea­tures in­tu­itive in­ter­faces de­signed to make haz­ardous sit­u­a­tions eas­ier to iden­tify, en­hanc­ing safety and im­prov­ing the pilot’s reaction time and de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­cesses. Its er­gonomic hu­man-ma­chine in­ter­face sig­nif­i­cantly im­proves sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and re­duces work­load so the pilot can more ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently ac­com­plish his or her mis­sion.

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