US Navy’s MQ-25 Drone Just One Step Closer To War Readiness

U.S. Naval Aviation Systems Command announced last week that the Navy’s Unmanned Aviation Program Office (PMA-268) conducted its first laboratory integration event since the 28th. until June 30 at Pax River to demonstrate how MQ-25 Ground Control Station (GCS) will take command. Drones in carrier environment.

The government team and two leading industry partners led the effort at the program’s Systems Testing and Integration Laboratory (STIL), where Lockheed Martin’s GCS first piloted an air vehicle. within (HITL) of Boeing. HITL uses the aircraft’s hardware and software to provide actual replacement service for air vehicles.

“This achievement is the result of weeks of preparation and dedication by highly skilled teams,” said TJ Maday, MQ-25 lab and integration manager. “Bringing multiple systems together is never easy, but government/industry group collaboration together, understanding the problems and finding solutions made this event a success. We learned how the entire system works, and early learning and discovery is key to keeping the program going.”


Maday said the team aimed to send a basic command between GCS and HITL. To meet that goal, Boeing and Lockheed Martin need to provide functional software for the government to implement GCS, HITL, and network components that enable interconnection between systems.

US Navy photo

“The team hit their original goal ahead of time and used the remaining time to perform more functions like sending taxi orders,” Maday said. “They also simulated a lost link to verify proper GCS display indicators, which is an important function for ensuring network connectivity between development environments.”

This fall, the team plans to simulate a full flight using the HTIL air vehicle and will also demonstrate the conversion “links” to the aircraft as well as adding hardware and software. other of the aircraft into the mix.

Captain Sam Messer, PMA-268 program manager, said: “It was great to see the team working in tandem, learning and ultimately proving successful. “This is how we got to the IOC [Initial Operational Capability]—We integrate, test, and learn early and at speed. “

The MD-5 GCS is part of the Unmanned Carrier Aviation Mission Control System (UMCS), the system of systems required for command and control of the MQ-25A. UMCS also includes modifications to carrier and shoreline infrastructure, Navy production of auxiliary equipment, and integration with command, control, communications, and computer systems. and intelligence (C4I).

The MQ-25 will be the world’s first carrier-based drone to provide fleet aerial refueling capabilities.

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