Sábado, 16 Diciembre, 2017

US Air Force tests air-to-ground strikes with unmanned F-16 combat jet

US Air Force tests air-to-ground strikes with unmanned F-16 combat jet US Air Force tests air-to-ground strikes with unmanned F-16 combat jet
Montez Delgado | 16 Abril, 2017, 15:45

The F-16 first flew in 1979 and is a combat-tested workhorse, according to the Air Force, supporting U.S. forces in conflicts from the Persian Gulf to Iraq and Afghanistan.

US Air Force Test Pilot School and Calspan Corporation, have demonstrated manned/unmanned teaming to boost combat efficiency and effectiveness of F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft.

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The three key objectives for the demonstration were the ability to automatically plan and execute air-to-ground strike missions based on mission priorities and available assets; the ability to react to a changing threat environment during an air-to-ground strike mission while automatically managing contingencies for capability failures, route deviations, and loss of communications; and use of a fully compliant USAF open mission systems software integration environment, allowing for rapid integration of software components developed by multiple providers.

Participants hailed the event as a milestone for military aerospace technology.

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'We've not only shown how an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle can perform its mission when things go as planned, but also how it will react and adapt to unforeseen obstacles along the way, ' Petry said. "This is a critical step to enabling future Loyal Wingman technology development and operational transition programmes". The QF-16 replaces the obsolete QF-4 Phantom drones. QF-16s (unmanned targets) are considered the most cost-effective platforms for this mission, although being a Fourth Generation fighter with no stealth capability would compromise a mixed manned-unmanned strike package.

Following the extension, the U.S. Air Force could safely operate Block 40-52 aircraft to 2048 and beyond. In the test, an unmanned system was used to control an F-16 as a surrogate Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).

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The F-16V, includes precision GPS navigation, a Link-16 theater data link and an automatic ground collision avoidance system. The unmanned aircraft functioned as an autonomous wingman to a human pilot, flying a separate aircraft. "OMS will allow the Air Force maximum flexibility in the development and fielding of cutting edge autonomous capabilities".

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