Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated a mission management system for unmanned aircraft that can give one controller command over more than one RQ-4 Global Hawks. In the demonstration, the Global Hawk, a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) aircraft, responded to external requests to “dynamically alter its route of flight and sensor functionality, thereby breaking the one-user to one-vehicle paradigm,” Northrop announced.
Developing command and control systems for multiple unmanned aerial systems is something the military has put a priority on. The services ultimately want to be able to conduct coordinated operations involving not only different types of UAS, but different unmanned platforms regardless of whether they operate in the air, at sea or on land.
Northrop’s Control Mission Management System [CMMS] represents another step toward standardizing command and control for UAS. “Our customers' advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements call for modern ground control systems based on emerging standards that can be used across air vehicle platforms – that's what we strive to deliver,” Michael Leahy, Northrop’s CMMS program director, said in the announcement.