“Роевые” беспилотные технологии — автономный БЛА LOCUST для ВМС США

К вопросу о групповом применении беспилотных летательных аппаратов (“рой”).

Несколько дней назад Офис военно-морских научных исследований (Office of Naval Research) Депаратамента Флота США представил одну из своих ключевых технологий — авиационную систему с недорогими автономными беспилотными летательными аппаратами LOCUST (Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology), способными действовать в группе (“роем” — англ. swarming).

ONR LOCUST__April 2015_US NAVY_1.jpg
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Пуск БЛА LOCUST c наземной пакетной пусковой установки. Фото U.S. Navy.

Пресс-релиз ONR от 14.04.2015:

LOCUST: Autonomous, swarming UAVs fly into the future
Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
875 N. Randolph St., #1225-D
Arlington, Va., 22203-1771
(…) April 14, 2015

By David Smalley, Office of Naval Research

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A new era in autonomy and unmanned systems for naval operations is on the horizon, as officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced today recent technology demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — part of the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program.
LOCUST can launch swarming UAVs to autonomously overwhelm an adversary. The deployment of UAV swarms will provide Sailors and Marines a decisive tactical advantage. (Watch: LOCUST video on YouTube)
“The recent demonstrations are an important step on the way to the 2016 ship-based demonstration of 30 rapidly launched autonomous, swarming UAVs,” said ONR program manager Lee Mastroianni.
The LOCUST program includes a tube-based launcher that can send UAVs into the air in rapid succession. The breakthrough technology then utilizes information-sharing between the UAVs, enabling autonomous collaborative behavior in either defensive or offensive missions.
Since the launcher and the UAVs themselves have a small footprint, the technology enables swarms of compact UAVs to take off from ships, tactical vehicles, aircraft or other unmanned platforms.
The ONR demonstrations, which took place over the last month in multiple locations, included the launch of Coyote UAVs capable of carrying varying payloads for different missions. Another technology demonstration of nine UAVs accomplished completely autonomous UAV synchronization and formation flight.
ONR officials note that while the LOCUST autonomy is cutting edge compared to remote-controlled UAVs, there will always be a human monitoring the mission, able to step in and take control as desired.
“This level of autonomous swarming flight has never been done before,” said Mastroianni. “UAVs that are expendable and reconfigurable will free manned aircraft and traditional weapon systems to do more, and essentially multiply combat power at decreased risk to the warfighter.”
UAVs reduce hazards and free personnel to perform more complex tasks, as well as requiring fewer people to do multiple missions.
Lowering costs is a major benefit of UAVs as well. Even hundreds of small autonomous UAVs cost less than a single tactical aircraft — and, officials note, having this capability will force adversaries to focus on UAV swarm response.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert’s Sailing Directions to the fleet note that over the next 10 to 15 years, the Navy will evolve and remain the preeminent maritime force. It directs: “Unmanned systems in the air and water will employ greater autonomy and be fully integrated with their manned counterparts.”

Видео. Особенно впечатляет сам рой из беспилотников, снятый сверху. В конце — один из вариантов работы роя БЛА LOCUST (как я понял — помощь для наземных сил в “зачистке” жилого квартала).

LOCUST
usnavyresearch. Опубликовано: 14 апр. 2015 г.
The LOw-Cost Unmanned aerial vehicle Swarming Technology (LOCUST) is a prototype tube-launched UAV. The LOCUST program will make possible the launch of multiple swarming UAVs to autonomously overwhelm and adversary.
(копия) (науч.-популярная версия от CNN 😉 ).

На следующий год запланированы корабельные испытания комплекс с автономными БЛА LOCUST. Такая система с БЛА очень пригодится для совместной “работы” с подразделениями морской пехоты или, например, обычной мотопехоты. Однако какие задачи она будет решать в море лично мне не очень понятно. ВМС США уже использует, в том числе и на кораблях и катерах беспилотные летательные аппараты ScanEagle и RQ-21 Integrator (Black Jack), которых какбэ вполне хватает для решения большинства задач (разведка, обнаружение и опознавание целей, целеуказание). А вот что будет делать в море рой небольших автономных БЛА ?.. Хм.

Автономные БЛА LOCUST, как выше указано разработан на основе созданного несколько лет назад телеуправляемого / автономного БЛА “Coyote”. Чуть подробнее об этих аппаратах:

The Coyote UAV developed by Advanced Ceramics Research in 2009 (the company was later acquired by BAE Systems and has recently been acquired by Raytheon). With an electrical propulsion that sustains missions for 90 minutes, Coyote carries an EO/IR payload and data transmitter on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Designed with foldable wings and tail, the tube-launched drone can deploy from standard sonobuoy container on maritime-patrol aircraft or anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters, as well as ground or surface (naval) launchers.

The original Coyote was designed to operate autonomously or interactively, under remote control, using VHF/UHF communications. The drones tested during the recent experiment represent new, autonomous capabilities. ONR officials note that while the LOCUST autonomy is cutting edge compared to remote-controlled UAVs, there will always be a human monitoring the mission, able to step in and take control as desired. “This level of autonomous swarming flight has never been done before,” said Mastroianni. “UAVs that are expendable and reconfigurable will free manned aircraft and traditional weapon systems to do more, and essentially multiply combat power at decreased risk to the warfighter.” At a takeoff weight of 5.9kg (13 pounds) Coyote flies a 60 minute mission, with a payload weighing 0.9 kg (1.9 pounds). Previously the entire weight was required for EO/IR payloads but today, as EO/IR payloads are becoming lighter and more affordable, some of the LOCUST swarm could be fitted with higher performance sensors, acting as ‘sensors’ while others carry less capable but lighter EO/IR payloads and lethal warheads, acting as ‘stingers’.

Автономные “роевые” БЛА LOCUST — одна из ключевых, прорывных, технологий Офиса военно-морских научных исследований (ONR) ВМС США. Также к ним относятся автономные подводные необитаемые аппараты (АНПА) большого и среднего водоизмещения нового поколения типа LDUUV-INP (Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle-Innovative Naval Prototype) и MDUSV (Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle), а также мобильная наземная лазерная система ближнего действия GBAD (Ground-Based Air Defense On-the-Move) (дальнейшее развитие темы корабельной лазерной установки LaWS; по словам ONR эта система предназначена для борьбы в основном с БЛА (а возможно и КР)).

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