The U.S. Navy's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter on display at Webster Field on Aug. 6, 2007. (SoMd.com file photo)
FALLS CHURCH, Va., Jan. 2, 2008 /PRNewswire/—Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) recently completed initial testing of the Tactical Control System's (TCS) command and control capabilities for the U.S. Navy's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. The testing was conducted Dec. 15, 2007, at the Webster Field annex, Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md.
The TCS provides the Navy with a single unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that can control two air vehicles. The system is so advanced that one system can control two dissimilar air vehicles. The control system consists of mission planning, command and control and data processing and dissemination capabilities for operation of the medium altitude endurance and tactical family of unmanned aircraft systems.
"This is a tremendous milestone for the Navy and for UAS ground control technologies," said William P Jones, vice president of Raytheon Intelligence and Information System's Tactical Control Systems. "Raytheon has been at the forefront of developing the latest unmanned aircraft systems for our customers for more than 40 years, and we have incorporated that heritage into the TCS system."
TCS provides operators with all the necessary tools for communication mission tasking, planning, execution, data receipt, data processing, limited data exploitation, and data dissemination. The common user interface enables the UAS operator, trained on one UAS system, to control different types of unmanned aircraft systems or UAS payloads with minimal further training. In addition, TCS software has developed a "plug-n-play" capability that will allow for seamless integration of all future payloads on the MQ-8B Fire Scout.
Jones added, "Raytheon has also developed the next-generation unmanned aircraft system, a grandson of the TCS system, called the Universal Control System (UCS). The UCS is a revolutionary, next-generation control system designed to address UAS operations issues by enhancing the performance and effectiveness of the operator with advanced features."
Raytheon has been under contract with the Naval Air Systems Command, or NAVAIR, since 2000, providing control systems for the TCS program, closely coordinating with the Weapons System Support Activity, China Lake, Calif. In 2006, the Raytheon TCS system provided command and control for the RQ-8A Fire Scout UAS during the successful completion of nine autonomous shipboard takeoffs and landings while operating off the naval air station.
The TCS system is compatible with the NATO UAS control standard and is capable of all levels of flight and sensor control of NATO standard UASs.
Based in Garland, Texas, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems is a provider of information and intelligence solutions to the government. Raytheon IIS has annual revenues of approximately $2.6 billion and employs more than 9,000 engineering and technical professionals worldwide.