Slide 14 of 28
VEHICLE CONTROL AND AUTOPILOT REQUIREMENTS
As mentioned earlier, flight control will consist of three modes. Auto Flight or Pre-programmed Flight, Directed Flight and Manual Flight.
Auto Flight provides the preplanned “hands-off” method of control; the cruise missile type of mission. It is a program loaded before launch that directs the mission. If the mission is flown as planned no commands will ever be sent to the aircraft. If, for example, there are changes to the pre-planned route, they are data linked during the flight and the pre-planned route is updated.
Directed Flight provides immediate intervention and real time control directions. Directed Flight can consist of high level commands such as pull-up, hold, land, return to straight and level flight and return to base. It can also be real time control directions that are usually thought of as “autopilot commands”, such as heading, speed and altitude. These commands override Auto Flight.
Manual Flight provides off board control of the aircraft. Direct human control via a stick and throttle is one manifestation of manual flight. This control path also allows for off board auto pilots to control the aircraft like the target drones flown today. A systems such as the Common Automatic Recovery System (CARS) contains an autopilot that is ground based and “takes over” control and lands the aircraft. The data link commands, whether generated by an off board auto pilot or by a stick and throttle in the hands of a man, are the same. Manual flight overrides Auto Flight and Directed Flight.