Barracuda UAV could link with Typhoon for attack demo

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EADS's Barracuda unmanned air vehicle could be teamed with a Eurofighter Typhoon for a ground-attack demonstration in 2011, if a contract is signed next year.

The sensor-to-shooter trial would see the Barracuda technology demonstrator "paint" a ground target for a Eurofighter or other aircraft to attack. The UAV could have a direct datalink with its manned partner, or a downlink to a ground station. The ground station commander would approve an attack after the Barracuda had provided the target location data.

"We have had a national contract [with the German government], and Finland and Switzerland are partners and will remain so for the [sensor-to-shooter] demonstration," says EADS Barracuda programme manager Thomas Gottmann.

The project could include four or five flights, but Gottmann declines to give a value for the contract, which is currently under negotiation.

Technology developments needed for the effort include adaptive flight routing for teaming co-ordination, related time-sensitive navigation and onboard target recognition.

 
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A Barracuda completed a series of four reconnaissance flights earlier this year during trials over Goose Bay in Canada. Gottman expects the air vehicle to return to Canada, and to possibly also use a European test area for the teaming demonstration.