GERMANTOWN, Md., 22 Feb. 2007. Proxy Aviation Systems Inc., a company that develops autonomous, optionally piloted unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), has won a contract with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to demonstrate the capabilities of its SkyForce Distributed Management System (DMS).
The first phase of demonstrations took place on at the beginning of February at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and the second phase is scheduled for early May at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.
Proxy Aviation's unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), SkyWatcher and SkyRaider, are being used to complete the testing. The demonstrations are intended to test the cooperative flight of several unmanned aircraft flying in constellation formation, while simultaneously distributing sensor control and viewing capability among multiple end users.
In the first flight phase conducted at Eglin Test Range, a single SkyWatcher UAV demonstrated cooperative flight with three simulated SkyWatchers, each UAV performing a different role and operating a unique sensor package. The cooperative constellation demonstrated adaptive autonomy using SkyForce DMS and the Virtual Pilot capability that are key software components of the SkyForce system. The single SkyWatcher flew four simulated constellation maneuvers and autonomously operated an onboard FLIR sensor, a thermal imaging and infrared camera, while maneuvering with the other three UAVs through several operational scenarios.
SkyWatcher UAV is designed for medium-endurance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)
missions, while SkyRaider UAV is designed to operate at higher speeds and altitudes and carry special-purpose payloads. SkyWatcher and SkyRaider are controlled using SkyForce DMS, Proxy's network-centric unmanned aircraft system that performs group tactical goals to meet a range of mission requirements.
SkyForce DMS consists of Proxy's mission-oriented software system, a primary mission-management ground control station, and mobile ground control user terminals. Together, these elements are designed to control up to 12 autonomous air vehicles engaging in concurrent, cooperative flight. With SkyForce DMS, each UAV has the ability to make fully independent decisions during flight, contributing to the group tactical goal, without any human intervention.