Technology may also be included on the Eurofighter Typhoon to support precision strike

BAE Systems Australia and the University of Sydney's Centre for Field Robotics have demonstrated a decentralised data fusion and autonomous navigation system that may be used for future unmanned combat air vehicle operations.

BAE may include the technology in the Eurofighter Tranche 3 Typhoon enhancement programme to support precision strike in unknown terrain and to improve aircraft survivability.

Flight trials of the technology were carried out in July at the University of Sydney's robotic systems test range near Canberra, using two Brumby Mk3 unmanned air vehicles (UAV).

The Autonomous Navigation and Sensing Experiment Research (ANSER) programme is based on groups of air vehicles localising their position within an unknown environment using data fusion to link their sensor information with data from other formation members.

Each aircraft carries its own lightweight processor and data is constantly updated as the formation moves through the environment. The process also provides error correction. The real-time terrain map and imagery developed allows the targeting of precision weapons.

The same distributed data fusion principles are critical to the networked operation of manned and unmanned air vehicles in future military operations.

Tony Balmer, head of development engineering for Eurofighter, says ANSER is "core to some of the [data fusion] capabilities" being considered for the Typhoon Tranche 3 programme. ANSER-derived data fusion methods could be used to co-ordinate tactical countermeasures between aircraft in real time where they are operating against a highly capable adversary.

The programme is jointly funded by BAE and the University of Sydney. Further demonstrations involving four UAVs are to be held in Australia later this year.

ANSER has close parallels to distributed data processing concepts currently being explored by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, including swarm behaviour.

Source: Flight International