Airbus and Schiebel Demonstrate Manned Unmanned Teaming
On 17 April Schiebel and Airbus Helicopters successfully completed a series of Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) flights, demonstrating the capabilities of the former’s CAMCOPTER S-100 UAS to collaborate with the Airbus manned H145 rotorcraft. Level 5 interoperability was achieved by providing the user onboard the manned aircraft with full command and control over the UAS and its payload, including launch and recovery.
The purpose of this pioneering demonstration, which took place as part of a technology partnership between the Austrian Armaments and Defence Technology Agency (ARWT) and Schiebel, was to explore the benefits and challenges of delivering MUM-T flight operations, especially those with highly valuable, mission-enhancing advantages for army aviation. As a true force-multiplier, MUM-T leverages the strengths of both manned and unmanned systems by providing pilots of manned aircraft with the ability to take full advantage of the ISR capabilities of the UAS, thereby significantly improving safety and decision-making in complex, contested missions.
“This is a perfect example of Schiebel’s commitment to staying at the cutting-edge of developments and capabilities,” explained Schiebel Group Chairman, Georg Schiebel. “The CAMCOPTER S-100 offers unsurpassed ISR capabilities and as such significantly enhances manned aircraft sensors, which is particularly valuable in complex operations and dangerous environments.”
“Manned UnManned Teaming multiplies the capabilities of both systems”, added Airbus Programme Manager, Mark R. Henning. “Smaller UAS with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities can, for example, fly around obstacles such as trees or buildings closer than a helicopter could. They are able to explore unknown territory and deliver information to the helicopter crew which is operating from a safe position and then step in with the helicopter’s superior effects having received a clear picture from the UAS.”
“Another key advantage of such an approach is improved datalink security,” observed Schiebel’s Chief Technical Officer, Chris Day. “The datalink between the manned and unmanned platform can be moved from a static to a dynamic environment, away from the ground, making it more robust and harder to detect.”