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US Navy F/A-18 Demonstrates Manned-Unmanned Teaming Capability

A US Navy F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet teamed with three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) recently during a test flight. 

The pilots instructed the drones to perform various combat maneuvers through a third-party tablet, which was connected to an adjunct processor, the Distributed Targeting Processor — Networked, the service revealed.

Manned-Unmanned Teaming Potential

The manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) exercise tested increasing the reach of aircrews to remain beyond enemy reach.

The teaming could also allow the pilots to assign tasks such as “patrolling airspace, fueling aircraft, or serving as a communication relay node,” to the unmanned platforms, according to F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office Dr. Michael Yu.

Flight Test Data to Help Future Platform Development

The data gathered during the four flight tests at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Pt. Mugu, California, will help in the “development and refinement of technologies that could potentially be incorporated into Navy platforms,” Yu added.

F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office manager Capt. Jason Denney said, “MUM-T has the potential to transform tomorrow’s fleet into a more lethal, better-connected force.” 

“MUM-T will help us maintain the technological advantage and competitive edge against our adversaries.”

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