General Atomics to design Predator and Reaper UAV ground control stations with Linux processing

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 25 May 2011. Designers of ground control stations for U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are using computer processors based on the Linux software operating system to build control stations for the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper UAVs. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway, Calif., won a $13.7 million contract to provide eight Linux processors, 41 improved display kits, and related spare parts for Predator and Reaper ground control stations. The contract, announced Tuesday, was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 25 May 2011. Designers of ground control stations for U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are using computer processors based on the Linux software operating system to build control stations for the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper UAVs.General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway, Calif., won a $13.7 million contract to provide eight Linux processors, 41 improved display kits, and related spare parts for Predator and Reaper UAV ground control stations. The contract, announced Tuesday, was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.General Atomics, which builds the Predator and Reaper UAVs, also designs and builds several different UAV ground control stations, including the Standard Ground Control Station (GCS); Multi-Aircraft Control (MAC) of Four Aircraft From One GCS; High Mobility Ground Control Station (HMGCS); Portable Ground Control Station (PGCS); and Multi-Function Workstation (MFW).

The standard GCS has pilot and payload operator stations, redundant control, heads-up display, multi-function workstations with data exploitation, mission planning, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) control. The standard GCS is transportable in a C-130 utility aircraft.

Multi-Aircraft Control (MAC) of Four Aircraft From One GCS capability accommodates one pilot and four sensor operators; the pilot can choose which aircraft is under direct control. The control station's four sensors operators manipulate sensors with point-and-click commands. This is an Air Force system.

The High Mobility Ground Control Station blends two Portable Ground control Stations in a mobile shelter, controls UAVs over ranges as far as 125 miles, is rapidly deployable, and transportable in C-130 aircraft. The U.S. Army uses this system.

Portable Ground Control Station is suitcase-portable and weighs less than 100 pounds. It accommodates one operator, who flies the UAV and controls its sensors, and provides complete UAV control from launch to recovery.

Multi-Function Workstation helps perform mission planning, data exploitation, radar control, video recording, video and data archiving, and can function as a stand-alone system or be integrated into a UAV ground control station.

On the current contract, General Atomics Aeronautical will do the work in Poway, Calif. For more information contact General Atomics Aeronautical Systems online at www.ga-asi.com.

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