Military Embedded Systems

Sparrowhawk sUAS flight tests conducted by General Atomics


September 29, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

GA-ASI photo.

POWAY, Calif. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. conducted captive carry Sparrowhawk Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) flight demonstrations. According to the company, the Sparrowhawk aircraft is designed as an airborne launch and recovery demonstrator aircraft tailored to fit GA-ASI platforms, and is focused on Advanced Battle Management System’s attritableONE technologies.

Sparrowhawk iterates on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Gremlins Program to further airborne recovery of sUAS intended to reduce the cost of operation and enable new mission capabilities to GA-ASI’s MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

During the test, the Sparrowhawk sUAS was carried on a MQ-9A and controlled using GA-ASI’s Metis Software Defined Control Station hosted on a laptop computer, which was intended to reduce the system’s logistical footprint and support the vision for interfaces to the aircraft from across the battlefield without the need for a Ground Control Station shelter or vehicle.

Communications were achieved using a fielded meshONE datalink, designed to enable collaborative autonomy capabilities among the platforms. The Cooperation in Denied Environments (CODE) autonomy engine was implemented to further understand cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing for unmanned systems, according to the company.

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