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Autonomous Vehicles in Support of Naval Operations
FIGURE 7.1 (A) Predator ground station. (B) Operator stations. SOURCE: Maj David Gibson, USAF, Director of Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, “Predator in Support of the Global War on Terrorism,” presentation to the committee, February 25, 2003.
normally fills one militarized semitrailer (Figure 7.1A), although more austere ground systems are available.
The Global Hawk provides a hands-off, fire-and-forget mode of operation by preplanning and scheduling not only routes but locations to be imaged. With one keystroke the Global Hawk will taxi to the runway, take off, perform its mission, and return and land accurately without further human intervention. The “pilot’s” main responsibility is receiving and returning messages from air traffic control and monitoring telemetered aircraft status data. The control segment for takeoff and landing, the launch-and-recovery element (LRE), is built into a short, enclosed semitrailer, and the mission-monitoring component, the mission control element (MCE), is built into a militarized semitrailer.
The Dragon Eye, as a human-portable system, has its command-and-control system integrated onto a laptop computer (Figure 7.2).
Tactical Control System
As indicated above, current UAV command-and-control systems are proprietary to the UAV manufacturer, and they lack interoperability in the sense that it is not possible to control one UAV using the C2 system of another. To address this problem, the Navy has been developing the Tactical Control System (TCS) in order to provide a single product for the control of UAVs from the different manufacturers. TCS has an open architecture that includes software generic to all UAVs, and it provides the capability to integrate software peculiar to a particular UAV.
Although TCS has been adopted as the standard Navy product for UAV command and control, and it has been influential in the ongoing development of