GA-ASI Conducts Sparrowhawk Drones Flight Checks – Drones Information


General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) conducted flight demonstrations with Sparrowhawk Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) in captivity from September 16-17, 2020. The Sparrowhawk aircraft is designed as a GA-tailored take-off and recovery demonstration aircraft in the air -ASI platforms and focuses on the attritableONE technologies of the Advanced Battle Management System. Sparrowhawk is reiterating the DARPA Gremlins program to further advance the restoration of SUAS in the air, reduce operating costs and enable new mission capabilities for GA-ASI’s remotely controlled MQ-9 aircraft.

“Sparrowhawk is expanding and multiplying MQ-9-based sensors, reducing manpower and increasing ISR coverage,” said David R. Alexander, president of GA-ASI. “With attritableONE technology that is survivable and precise, Sparrowhawk is a real game changer.”

The Sparrowhawk Drones was transported on an MQ-9A and controlled exclusively with the Metis Software Defined Control Station from GA-ASI, which was hosted on a laptop. This drastically reduced the logistical footprint of the system and supported the vision of interfaces to the aircraft from anywhere on the battlefield – without the need for a shelter or ground control station vehicle. The communication was achieved via an on-site meshONE data connection, which enables collaborative autonomy functions between the platforms. The CODE (Cooperation in Denied Environments) autonomy engine has been implemented to better understand the cognitive processing of artificial intelligence (AI) for unmanned systems.

The test flights build on the capabilities demonstrated when Gray Eagle wore two Area-I Altius-600 Air Launched Effects (ALEs) during Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) demonstrations, adding to GA-ASI’s commitment to expansion highlights the capabilities of its aircraft. Sparrowhawk and Airborne Recovery also offer the following benefits:

ยท Enables ISR under weather and reduces reduced visual and acoustic ISR

ยท Activates attritable ISR / EW in the contested environment so the MQ-9 remains in safe areas

ยท Uses larger and more expensive payloads in larger transit areas than ground-launched aircraft and air-launched consumables

ยท Maintains custody chain through adverse weather, MQ-9 rotations, or multi-targeting

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