BAE Systems unmanned aerial system takes Wolfpack sensors to the air

FORT BENNING, Ga., 21 Feb. 2006. Experts from BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H., demonstrated the company's vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial system (UAS) at Fort Benning, Ga., for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Army representatives, BAE officials announced Feb. 21.

Feb 21st, 2006

FORT BENNING, Ga., 21 Feb. 2006. Experts from BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H., demonstrated the company's vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial system (UAS) at Fort Benning, Ga., for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Army representatives, BAE officials announced Feb. 21.

The unmanned system is designed to fly for more than one hour and deploy a signals intelligence (SIGINT) payload, known as "WolfPack." As part of DARPA's Network Centric Experiment VIP Demonstration in January, BAE Systems integrated WolfPack with its UAS to demonstrate the deployment and relocation of the sensors.

"This demonstration shows that unattended battlefield sensors can not only operate autonomously, but also that they can be made to be self-deploying, self-relocating, and -- if needed -- self-recovering," says Preston Marshall, who manages the program for DARPA, located in Arlington, Va.

WolfPack consists of unattended sensors designed to detect and disrupt enemy radio transmissions while avoiding disruption of friendly military and protected commercial communications and radars. The BAE Systems unmanned aerial system is one of a number of options being explored to insert the WolfPack sensors in urban and remote battle space.

"The mobility provided by the unmanned aerial system significantly enhances the utility of the WolfPack sensors," says Tom Herring, vice president and general manager of Integrated Solutions for BAE Systems. "Together, the sensor suite and the UAS represent an important capability to support the war fighters' needs."

The emitter detection mission was conducted autonomously, carrying the 22-pound SIGINT payload over a 1.1-kilometer course. Launch and recovery were from different locations to emphasize how the unmanned aerial system would actually be deployed.

During the flight, the UAS flew faster than 30 knots while winds varied from 10 to 20 knots. The system landed autonomously within a meter of the designated touchdown point. The flight was monitored from a man-portable ground control station. After touchdown, the system successfully detected the presence of a simulated threat radar.


More in Communications