Performance Requirements Met for Advanced Cockpit
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for its next-generation Advanced Cockpit Block 50 Ground Control Station (GCS), which was a key milestone towards fielding advanced capabilities for the US Air Force (USAF) enhancing combat effectiveness of its entire Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) fleet.
“Our Block 50 team is proud of the development effort that addressed more than 700 customer requirements covering all areas of GCS performance,” David R. Alexander, President, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI, explained. “The Block 50 GCS CDR marks the successful completion of requirements established by our Air Force customer.”
The Cockpit Evaluation Team, comprised of USAF pilots and sensor operators, designed the Block 50’s Human Machine Interface (HMI) to reduce pilot and operator workload. Block 50 is designed for single seat operations that can reduce manpower at the user’s discretion. With complete ‘Hands on Throttle and Stick’ for flight, weapons, payload, and sensor system control, aircrew situational awareness is greatly enhanced with a Common Operational Picture on a single display. Additionally, synthetic video is displayed with 3D graphics and moving maps on a touch screen.
The Block 50 architecture has full physical and functional payload separation from the safety critical Operational Flight Programme, allowing for quicker integration, testing, and fielding of new payloads. The open architecture lends itself to replace different components without disturbing the overall design and will help the Air Force avoid costs of Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages. Through the support of the USAF Maintenance Evaluation Team, the requirements were developed to specifically improve the maintainability and reliability of the GCS design.