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Success as a team: advanced manned-unmanned teaming between UMAT and MAT

ESG recently demonstrated how a UAV can be controlled on a command basis as an unmanned wingman from a manned helicopter.

Over the course of the live demonstration, ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH once again proved its technical expertise in system integration and mission systems in the context of manned and unmanned aerial systems.
Together with Bundeswehr Technical Centre 61 (WTD 61), ESG successfully completed joint demonstration flights of the (manned) mission equipment carrier (MAT) based on WTD 61’s UH-1D and the unmanned mission avionics test helicopter (UMAT) based on ESG’s UMS Skeldar R 350, at the WTD 61 airfield in Manching, on behalf of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw).
The MAT and UMAT flew as a genuine team. The UMAT was controlled by ESG and WTD 61 flight test engineers in the MAT (thus constituting a manned-unmanned team).
ESG’s flexible mobile ground control station (FlexMobBKS) functioned as an additional security component throughout the tests.
Over the course of the demonstration, a number of flight performance tasks were forwarded by the operator on the manned helicopter as missions to the unmanned platform, such as: ‘Provide reconnaissance data from a defined Location Y’, ‘Explore the forest edge from Position X to Position Y’, or ‘Clarify possible landing zones for the MAT’. These highly complex tasks were only possible thanks to the high level of automation implemented in the unmanned UMAT platform. Automated operations in the test flights included route management, sensor management and data link management. Route planning, for instance, also took into account threats, flight areas, sensor characteristics and data link coverage.

The flights represented a key milestone in the MiDEA (mission monitoring by drones for exploration and reconnaissance) project, part of a logical sequence that includes the MUM-T (manned-unmanned teaming) campaign already successfully conducted by ESG and the VTOL-UAS study, which examined a first technological roadmap of cooperation between manned and unmanned rotary-wing aircraft.

Not only Christoph Weber, head of ESG DEFENCE + PUBLIC SECURITY, but also the many participants within the Bundeswehr and industry were highly impressed with the results of the demonstration. Both companies involved – ESG and UMS Skeldar (manufacturer of the UMAT) – succeeded in displaying the breadth of functionality afforded by the UMAT-MAT team, as well as the security of communication and data transfer between the data links. The findings confirmed in this live demonstration can now be used to generate genuine added value in the development of appropriate technologies and procedures for the Bundeswehr, thanks to the wide variety of mission scenarios for the jointly operating manned-umanned team.

For the last five decades, ESG has been among the leading German companies working in the development, integration and operation of complex, security-related electronics and IT systems and currently has sales of over 300 million EUR. The ESG Group employs some 2,000 people in Germany and internationally in three business areas: ESG DEFENCE + PUBLIC SECURITY, CYOSS (Cyber Security and Data Analytics) and ESG MOBILITY, providing products and services in logistics, system development, training and consultancy services for customers in public authorities, defence and industry. Independent process and technology consultancy is one of ESG’s key competences. The transfer of technology between markets provides the foundation on which we are able to make a decisive contribution to our customers’ added value.

Further information:
Ulrich-Joachim Müller, Corporate Communications
Tel: +49 (89) 92161-2850