Farnborough Air Show

Selex maps its UAV battle plans

 - July 3, 2008, 4:39 AM

Analysis and simulation of operations by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is not always an easy task because of the need to consider the broad C4-ISTAR picture, often in a joint scenario. However, being able to verify mission requirements and to validate concepts of operation before buying new systems is certainly of value to military clients. [C4-ISTAR stands for command, control communications and computers–intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance.–Ed.]

Now, Italy’s Selex Galileo has developed a tool that can be used for validation, planning, rehearsal and training of UAV operations. The new UAV Battlelab (UAVBL) is based on a series of software modules that can simulate various platforms, sensors and scenarios.

The first type of platform simulated was Selex Galileo’s own Falco tactical UAV. However, the UAVBL can be loaded with software to simulate other types of UAVs as well as manned aircraft, manned and unmanned ground vehicles, and naval vessels. Other software modules allow it to simulate various types of sensors, electro-optical, infrared and radar (such as real beam ground map and synthetic aperture), which can be virtually “installed” on the various platforms or deployed as standalone systems. Each UAV’s ground control station (GCS) can be simulated or the UAVBL can be linked directly to the actual GCS.

The UAVBL is based on commercial equipment, including a personal computer and three displays. One screen provides a two-dimensional tactical display of the scenario, the second gives a three-dimensional tactical scenario with the
so-called “stealth view” from outside the UAV and the third provides imaging from the sensors. The overall environment is composed of a synthetic module, a computer-generated form simulation, geographic data base, as well as maps and libraries.

As a development tool, UAV manufacturers can use the UAVBL in the design and validation phases. Selex Galileo will also provide the tool to potential UAV customers who want to carry out mission analysis, as well as defining and validating operation concepts. The UAVBL will allow potential users to verify the integration of the new assets in their existing ISTAR organization. They can optimize their UAV operations in terms of number of systems and types of sensors, according to the needs of various missions, such as intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, maritime search and rescue, surveillance and target acquisition and so forth.

The low cost of the new system allows it to be part of the training package for
a UAV. It can overcome limitations on flying UAVs in countries that do not have large uninhabited areas and allows training in complex virtual scenarios that cannot be reproduced because of cost and geographical limitations. Being easily transportable, the UAVBL can be redeployed downrange becoming a powerful rehearsal and verification tool for route planning, sensors’ scan coverage, radio links and line-of-sight coverage prior to an actual mission.

Additionally, as the UAVBL can be linked to other simulation assets, it can
be used to analyze and demonstrate new solutions and technologies in networked environments, allowing users to verify the interaction between existing UAVs and new ISTAR assets, as well as the development of innovative operational concepts. Selex Galileo, which is part of the Finmeccanica group (Outside Exhibit OE2), is now working to incorporate other features with the system.