Released via Boeing on on July 15, Engineers from the US company connected the Super Hornet’s Distributed Targeting Processor- Network (DTP-N) with a third-party tablet. This tablet teamed the Super Hornet with the UAVs. Boeing has created software for the DTP-N to transmit commands through the tablet.
The series of flight tests were completed in less than six months. For the flight tests, Boeing partnered up with the US Navy’s F/A-18 and EA-18G programme office and Air Test and Evaluation squadrons VX-23 ‘Salty Dogs’ and VX-31 ‘Dust Devils’.
The Block III super Hornets operated from NAS China Lake, California. Pilots of the test units entered commands via the tablet in the Super Hornets cockpit, which is known to be the world’s largest digital display cockpit in a fighter aircraft. The commands transmitted through the aircraft’s hardware. The UAV’s executed all command provided by the pilots over a two-week period.
Scott Dickson, Boeing’s director for Multi-Domain Integration said: “This successful MUM-T demonstration represents a significant step toward the Navy’s vision for Distributed Maritime Operations. It highlights the potential of unmanned concepts to expand and extend the Navy’s reach.
“As part of a Joint All-Domain Command and Control network, teams of UAV conducting ISR missions led by the latest Super Hornets equipped with network-enabled data fusion and advanced capabilities would provide war fighters across the Joint Force with significant information advantage.”
Speaking to a round table of journalists at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford, UK, on July 15, Steve Parker - Vice President and General Manager of Bombers and Fighters at Boeing - outlined to Key.Aero that the three undisclosed UAVs were flown in combat scenarios during the demonstration. He also confirmed that the DTP-N system would be “transferable” to the F-15EX.