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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

ScanEagle Team Achieves NATO UAV Interoperability Standard

ScanEagle Team Achieves NATO UAV Interoperability Standard

The ScanEagle team has gained compliance with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) interoperability standard. The standard, also known as Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4586, establishes specifications for a common ground station system for UAVs used by NATO military forces.

Compliance with STANAG 4586 allows NATO member nations to jointly support military operations using their own UAVs and ground control station equipment. This increases interoperability and allows data and information processed by member nation UAVs to be shared real-time through a common ground interface.

Using a ScanEagle Vehicle Specific Module and an Insitu Multiple UAV Software Environment ground station with an "Army One" ground control station Common UAV Control Software package developed by CDL Systems Ltd., the team flew a three-hour simulated mission to demonstrate various functions and levels of STANAG 4586 specifications. The test also included numerous flight route and payload functions and the collection of video and still imagery of multiple targets.

NATO maintains STANAG processes and procedures for military and technical equipment as well as procedures commonly used by member nations. STANAG was established so that one nation's military can access and use the procedures and equipment of another through common interfaces.

STANAG 4586, formally ratified by NATO in 2002, defines five levels of UAV interoperability:

* Level 1 -- Indirect receipt/transmission of UAV-related payload data
* Level 2 -- Direct receipt of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data where "direct" covers reception of the UAV payload data by the unmanned control system when it has direct communication with the UAV
* Level 3 -- Control and monitoring of the UAV payload in addition to direct receipt of ISR and other data
* Level 4 -- Control and monitoring of the UAV, less launch and recovery
* Level 5 -- Control and monitoring of the UAV, plus launch and recovery

During the test flight, the ScanEagle team achieved Level 2 for the UAV and sensor system; Level 3 for the onboard electro-optical camera and sensor system; and Level 4 for the UAV and payload control.

STANAG compliance will enable existing and future deployed ScanEagles to be utilized by current STANAG ground control stations such as Army One as well as other member nation ground control station systems.

The ScanEagle team soon will begin the next test phase using multiple ScanEagles and ground control stations to validate various autonomous functions.

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