October 13, 2008 General Atomics' Sky Warrior unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has for the first time demonstrated automatic takeoff and landing capabilities under control of the Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) One System® Ground Control Station (OSGCS). Three landings and three takeoffs took place during August and September at the El Mirage Flight Operations Center in Adelanto, California and represent another milestone for the system which is due to be fielded in mid 2009.

During the demonstrations, the Sky Warrior aircraft was under full line-of-sight command and control through the L-3 Communication Systems-West Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL).

“Team Sky Warrior” is made up of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems along with AAI Corporation, which developed the OSGCS and L-3 Communication Systems-West, which developed the TCDL.

“Control of Sky Warrior from the ER/MP One System GCS marks another successful milestone in the fielding of the aircraft system and in meeting the Army’s requirement for increased autonomous operation,” said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “GA-ASI’s prior ATLS [automatic takeoff and landing system] testing on our own Predator aircraft and GCS paved the way for these first successful takeoffs and landings using the OSGCS and TCDL.”

Team Sky Warrior has also announced the first successful flight of Sky Warrior from the OSGCS via over-the-horizon Ku-Band satellite communications (SATCOM).

When complete, the $2 billion program will deliver 17 Sky Warrior aircraft and seven OSGCS.

Source: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.