MQ-9 automated landing, takeoff

Departments - Up and Soaring

Boeing, Robotic Skies partner for commercial UAS services; InstantEye Robotics’ Mk-3 sUAS.

November 29, 2018

Photos courtesy of GA-ASI; InstantEye Robotics

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) completed the first-ever automated landing of an MQ-9 Block 5 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), followed by the first auto-takeoff. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) developed the automatic takeoff and landing capability (ATLC).

“This new, all-weather capability greatly increases the autonomy, flexibility, combat effectiveness, and safety of the MQ-9 Reaper for the USAF,” says David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.

Auto launch and recovery during critical phases of RPA flight enlarges the operational envelope for cross-wind operations and divert-field landing. The ATLC development program remains on track for fielding in Q4 2019.;

Boeing, Robotic Skies partner for commercial UAS services

Boeing subsidiaries Jeppesen and Aviall have joined unmanned aircraft system (UAS) support services provider, Robotic Skies, to develop and deliver supply chain management and optimization; analytics; and, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for the commercial and civilian UAS markets.

Founded in 2014, Robotic Skies is a network of more than 150 certified repair stations in more than 30 countries, providing MRO and additional support services for commercial UAS.

“Teaming with Boeing will allow both companies to elevate the commercial UAS customer experience and deliver operations solutions that would be difficult to achieve individually,” says Robotic Skies CEO, Brad Hayden.

Boeing and Robotic Skies will jointly provide services for commercially-focused regulatory compliance, ground support, training, MRO, parts distribution, field upgrades, and vehicle retrofit capabilities.

The companies will offer unified operations services for existing commercial UAS operators and new entrants to the market.

“We continue our dedication to working with the top providers in the industry to increase our presence in the commercial UAS field, with the ultimate goal of helping customers operate more efficiently,” says William Ampofo, vice president, Business & General Aviation, Boeing Global Services.;
InstantEye Mk-3 GEN5-D1 sUAS
Photos courtesy of GA-ASI; InstantEye Robotics

InstantEye Robotics’ Mk-3 sUAS

Andover, Massachusetts-based InstantEye Robotics’ Mk-3 small, unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) incorporates data encryption, enhanced payload support, and an operator interface with expanded features and capabilities.

Cybersecurity of unmanned systems is increasingly important as the number and variety of robotic systems grows. So, InstantEye Mk-3 systems incorporate sophisticated data protection and communication security architectures. All-digital communication links use advanced encryption to reduce the risk of eavesdropping on telemetered data. Layered on top of the control systems are threat protections to detect and isolate various spoofing, takeover, and denial-of-service attacks.

Mk-3 systems’ enhanced plug-and-play interface expands the types of payloads that can be carried, and the amount of data telemetered to the operator.

They use a self-contained, Android-based tablet computer for real-time processing of system data for immediate situational awareness.

The InstantEye Mk-3 GEN5-D1/D2 is the smallest aircraft in the family, with low audible and visual signatures, allowing it to execute close-area target reconnaissance (CATR) undetected. The InstantEye Mk-3 GEN4-D1/D2 is the largest aircraft in the family, with a payload carrying capacity of more than 3 lb. Available in 2019 is the InstantEye Mk-3 GEN4-E1, which uses a networked military software-defined radio and will offer an optional SAASM GPS configuration.