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Boeing Demonstrates Teaming Between Navy Super Hornet and Drones

F-18 fighter aircraft

Boeing Demonstrates Teaming Between Navy Super Hornet and Drones

Boeing announced that in partnership with the Navy, it has completed a series of manned-unmanned teaming flight tests using the latest iteration of the F/A-18 Super Hornet multirole fighter and three unmanned aerial vehicles. Engineers connected the combat aircraft’s adjunct processor with a third-party tablet to facilitate coordinated maneuvers with the escorting drones, Boeing said Friday.

In a statement, the aircraft manufacturer said that it developed specialized software to allow the F/A-18 Block III’s pilot to transmit commands via the tablet. It was further explained that with the largest digital touch screen in any fighter cockpit, the F/A-18 makes it easy to install the new hardware and processing power needed for future digital upgrades.

Scott Dickson, Boeing’s director for multi-domain integration, said that Super Hornets cooperating with teams of UAVs represents a realization of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control vision. He added that the successful MUM-T demonstration represents a significant step toward the Navy’s goal of conducting distributed maritime operations.

For his part, Mark Sears, Boeing’s vice president and program manager of the F/A-18 and EA-18G Growler programs, said fighter pilots of the future will be able to orchestrate commands and control a swarm of drones through their Super Hornet’s touch-screen cockpit.

Boeing said that the entire development effort for teaming a fighter with several UAVs took less than six months to complete.

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Category: Future Trends

Tags: Boeing Future Trends manned-unmanned teaming Mark Sears Scott Dickson US Navy