The US Army has carried out a test to demonstrate the capability of redirecting munitions in flight using a smart sensor network.
The experiment tested the capability referred to as Architecture, Automation, Autonomy and Interfaces (A3I), developed by the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team (FVL-CFT).
It involved unmanned aircraft system (UAS), sensors and advanced technology such as artificial intelligence. The test was conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.
During the experiment, an operator was seated in the back of an MH-47 Chinook heavy lift transport helicopter equipped with a tablet controlled a Grey Eagle UAS.
The operator fired a GBU-69 small glide munition from the unmanned platform towards a target on the ground. However, a second operator in the Tactical Operations Center immediately redirected the munition to destroy a higher-priority target detected by the A3I system.
The A3I development team comprised the FVL-CFT and the US Army Special Operations Command.
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Developed over a period of nine months, A3I is a system of interconnected sensors.
Speaking at an Association of the US Army’s (AUSA) event, FVL-CFT director brigadier general Walter Rugen stated that the experiment allowed the army to successfully demonstrate advanced 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.”
The objective of the China Lake demonstration was to test the capability to penetrate an urban environment using networked assets, including manned and unmanned aircraft, munitions and sensors.
Rugen further said: “It culminated with a very open-system architecture on the Grey Eagle that was demonstrated very effectively.”
The efforts to pair these assets and automated processing capabilities to tackle enemy threat comes at a time when the army issued a request for proposal for the future long-range assault aircraft two weeks ago.