Minutes: Discussion Area 3 – UAV Data Transmission, Fusion and Dissemination
(Discussion Area Leader: Joe Ross)
The subject area included three presentations:
- "Alliance Ground Surveillance Paris Interoperability Experiment" (NATO UNCLASS), Dr. P. J. Lenk, TMD Branch, Air C2 & Sensors Division, NC3A-NL
- "Airborne ISR Systems in the OSD (C3I) ISR Directorate" (NATO UNCLASS), Col C. Wilson, ISR Directorate, OSD/C3I (US DOD)
- "NIAG SG/53 Pre-Feasibility Study on UAV Systems Interoperability" (NATO UNCLASS), Mr. K. Eule, Dornier and Chairman, NATO Industrial Advisory Group Study Group 53
Question opportunities were provided after each presentation and at the end of the Discussion Area Briefings. Questions and discussions are summarized below:
- During the Paris Experiment, how was the sharing of primary exploited data accomplished?
- Sharing between the ground stations was accomplished over a standard Ethernet connection. However, in other circumstances, data sharing has been accomplished over ISDN Wide Area Networks. The primary concern is with bandwidth.
- Have you considered Ethernet for operational deployments in the future?
- Yes, this is under consideration, but only for local dissemination where it is reasonable to place wire or fibre connections. For WAN connections, there are possibilities, but the bandwidth concerns are more stringent.
- Was the interconnection between the PAIS system and the AGS systems one way or bi-directional?
- The data was passed from the AGS systems to the PAIS system. One Adat-P3 message was parsed and passed from the AGS workstations to the PAIS workstation. Work to pass data the other way is under investigation.
- Is it possible for AGS sensors to search for UAVs?
- Yes, it is possible, as UAVs will most likely fly within the range gate limits of AGS sensors. However, the sensors are not optimised for this task and will most likely not be overly effective at this task.
- The discussion on the Global Hawk identified the need to provide multiple decision paths for each flight profile waypoint. The question was why this is more important for UAVs than for manned aircraft?
- It is not that there is a need for more way points for a UAV, it is just that the automated flight control system requires well defined options to choose from when arriving at a decision point. These options which are second nature to pilots must be defined so the automated system can select the correct option based on a multitude of contingencies.
- Will filing flight plans be much more difficult for HAE UAVs than it is for conventional aircraft?
- We don’t anticipate that filing flight plans for these systems will be any more difficult than it is to file flight plans for similar manned aircraft, such as the U-2. U-2 flight plans are transparent to most commercial and military systems as the aircraft takes off and climbs well above commercial airspace within a well controlled environment. From that point on, these aircraft are outside of normal flight control areas. In all cases, a rated flight officer is available to take over the UAV if the need arises.
- During the SG/53 study, did you consider UAV Control Systems management problems?
- Yes, to some extent. A generic architecture for the UAV/UCS was developed. Discussion of this will be incorporated in the final report.
- Do you think that it is reasonable to expect industry to develop an interface unit for legacy systems?
- Possibly. We expect that this sort of development will be started at a national level. We hope that this will expand with time.
- Bandwidth for Data links will be a primary concern for future systems.
- Sensors will produce vast volumes of data
- Command and control of the platform will require additional bandwidth.
- Two way communications for data and command and control will be required
- Mission Planning for UAVs presents some challenges
- Mission planning will require additional effort
- C2 is difficult at long distances because of availability of UHF and Ku band SATCOM coverage
- Airspace Control Authority constraints – philosophical difficulties exist in mixing manned and unmanned aircraft in the same airspace
- It is important to understanding the systems that exist and are coming on-line in order to plan for effective use and operation
- Guidelines for interoperability of future UAV systems is being accomplished, but integrating existing systems will be difficult
- Legacy system owners may not be willing to develop additional hardware to accommodate new requirements
- Standardization on Data Links is approaching a common solution through use of CDL and TCDL, but standardization does not imply interoperability.