MONS Correspondent Marty Kauchak files this end-of-the-day report from the Air Force Association-sponsored Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland.
Poway, California-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is developing XC2 (Expeditionary Command and Control) – demonstrated for conference delegates at the company’s booth. XC2 software is hosted on a ruggedised laptop or tablet. Besides allowing ground crews to launch and recover an aircraft, it also provides instructions on how to do start the aircraft, establish a datalink and do minor maintenance.
The device is designed to minimise Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAS) launch and recovery footprint, and was modestly said to help increase “deployment agility” – harmonising it with the US Air Force’s persistent and increasing expeditionary operating tempo. Indeed, Darren Moe, the company’s Senior Director for Automation and UX Mission Systems, compared XC2 to legacy control systems with greater footprints, pointing out the approximate, as low as, 25lbs (11.34kg) host system, “can fit under the seat of an aircraft.”
The product, currently designed to support automated aircraft control of the MQ-1C GRAY EAGLE, MQ-9 REAPER, AVENGER, PREDATORXP and MQ-9B, is conformant to STANAG and other standards – increasing the viability of this product for foreign sales. XC2 was developed as a corporate internal research and development effort, and is being submitted in response to a recent US Air Force request for proposal.