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Pentagon Eyes Plug-and-Play for UAS Ground Control Systems

droneThe Defense Department is exploring plug-and-play technology as it plans to establish a standard for ground control systems of unmanned aircraft systems under NATO Standard Agreement 4586, C4ISR & Networks reported Thursday.

Paul Richfield writes that companies such as Lockheed Martin‘s CDL Systems and Northrop Grumman are developing or have developed systems that could provide plug-and-play features in a single platform.

Additionally, the Pentagon’s UAS Control Segment Working Group intends to establish an open business model while eliminating the variety of UAS control systems currently in use to avoid redundant software uses, the report said.

“From a technology standpoint, it’s a functional decomposition of GCS capabilities in a manner that allows for insertion of new capabilities and upgrading of legacy capabilities without having to rebuild the entire GCS,” said Rich Ernst, unmanned warfare interoperability lead at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

He added that such a model could also ease technology integration or transition into the system and address the need to cut procurement costs.

Richfield reports that some vendors are wary it could mean losing their hold on proprietary technology as the government seeks to accommodate many platforms.

“[We] design our software to be open enough as it is . . . So naturally we’re trying to integrate with as many platforms as possible — without giving away the source code,” said Sergio Menchaca, business development manager at CDL Systems.

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