Press enter / return on your keyboard to search

Aerosonde® and CUSV® uncrewed systems perform full sensor-to-shooter coordination during Hybrid Fleet Campaign Event demo

March 27, 2024

Cross-domain uncrewed-uncrewed teaming is a critical mission advancement to remove sailors from harm’s way. Last year, The U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants hosted a multi-domain fast in-shore attack craft (FIAC) exercise in Key West, Florida that included 15 Department of Defense and industry collaborators. During the exercise, personnel teamed our Aerosonde® Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) and CUSV® (Common Uncrewed Surface Vehicle) to successfully execute a full detect to engage sensor-to-shooter mission exercise. As part of the exercise, the U.S. Navy utilized the CUSV to complete the first ever live-fire engagement, using a small USV integrated with a missile system.

Leveraging our cross-domain systems integration capability, the CUSV worked in tandem with the Aerosonde system to find, target and successfully engage multiple incoming surface targets.

“This uncrewed teaming construct is built on the first VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) UAS demonstration in UNITAS,” said David Hendrickson, Director, Global Military Sales and Strategy, Air Systems. “We layered in CUSV with a firing platform, so you get the ability to extend the reach of the surface combatants to detect potential threats — identify them, target and engage them, all at standoff distances — and do so with clarity and precision.”

The CUSV and Aerosonde systems were controlled by the U.S. Navy’s Common Control System utilizing the Mission Package Portable Control Station (MPPCS) for hardware and communications link, both line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight. Over the three day-long event the Aerosonde Hybrid Quad (HQ) system cumulated over 16 hours of flight time. Utilizing VTOL capability, the Aerosonde system launched from the ship deck to deliver intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and targeting data to the CUSV system, which was equipped with the LIG Nex1 Poniard missile system. The live-fire event enabled U.S. Navy personnel to utilize UAS data in support of tactical decision-making and target engagement by a weaponized small USV.

“This exercise has proven to the customer that they can integrate a missile system on a small USV and use a UAS to provide range clearance and ISR targeting data,” said Craig Bowden, Senior Director, Global Military Sales and Strategy, Sea Systems. “The CUSV, with a Poniard system and targeting data from Aerosonde, can provide the Navy with capability against a surface swarm threat that would otherwise be performed by a crewed vessel.”

While uncrewed assets are still operated by a human, uncrewed-uncrewed teaming provides additional safety, allows for the removal of unnecessary risk and enhances mission ISR coordination. Textron Systems continues to refine its efforts in the area of target coordinate handoffs between uncrewed teammates to extend the responsiveness and reach of future operational lethality.