CCA Drones – United States
Collaborative combat aircraft is a concept where multiple aircraft work together in a coordinated and cooperative manner to achieve a common mission or objective. This concept relies heavily on advanced technology such as networked communications, data sharing, and advanced sensors.
In collaborative combat aircraft operations, individual aircraft are no longer limited to performing a specific role or mission. Instead, they can operate as a team, leveraging the strengths and capabilities of each aircraft to achieve a common objective. This could include conducting complex air-to-air or air-to-ground operations, providing real-time situational awareness, or conducting electronic warfare. The primary advantage of using drone wingman is that it can provide additional capabilities to manned aircraft while reducing the risks to pilots and crews. The drones can operate in environments that are too dangerous for manned aircraft, such as high-risk combat zones, and they can provide additional situational awareness and intelligence-gathering capabilities.
Additionally, drone wingman can also be used to carry out specific tasks such as reconnaissance, target identification, and even carrying out attacks, which can help to reduce the workload on manned aircraft and free up resources for other operations.
The concept of collaborative combat aircraft has been explored by several defense contractors, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Both companies have developed prototypes and concepts for future aircraft that can operate collaboratively, to enhance the capabilities of individual aircraft and improve overall mission effectiveness.
The development of collaborative combat aircraft represents a significant shift in the way that military aircraft operate and work together. It requires advanced technology and systems integration, as well as changes in the way that pilots and operators are trained to work collaboratively.
Loyal Wingman – Australia
Loyal Wingman is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program being developed by the Australian Department of Defence in partnership with Boeing Australia. The program aims to develop and demonstrate the capabilities of an unmanned aircraft that can act as a “loyal wingman” to manned aircraft, providing additional support and capabilities in military operations.
The Loyal Wingman UAV is designed to operate in conjunction with manned aircraft, providing enhanced situational awareness, intelligence gathering, and support functions. The UAV is equipped with advanced sensors and communications systems, which enable it to perform a range of tasks, including surveillance, reconnaissance, and target identification. Additionally, the UAV can carry a range of payloads, including weapons, to enable it to engage in combat operations.
The Loyal Wingman program represents a significant investment in advanced technology and capabilities for the Australian Defence Force. The program is designed to demonstrate the potential of unmanned aircraft to enhance the capabilities of manned aircraft, while also reducing the risks to pilots and crew members. The prototype of the Loyal Wingman UAV was unveiled in May 2020, and flight testing has since been conducted. The Australian Department of Defence and Boeing Australia is continuing to develop and refine the Loyal Wingman UAV, to demonstrate its full capabilities soon.
BAE Systems Australia has collaborated with local industry to showcase Australia’s first uncrewed VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) air system that was designed, manufactured, and armed in Australia (UAS). STRIX, a hybrid, tandem-wing, multi-domain, and multi-role UAS, could be used for a variety of tasks such as air-to-ground strikes against hostile targets and persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). It may also serve as a “loyal wingman” for military aircraft.
STRIX is designed to transport up to a 160kg payload over 800km and will be able to operate in high-risk environments. Its collapsed footprint of 2.6m x 4.5m allows it to fit inside a normal shipping container. Because of its VTOL capacity, STRIX could be used without the need for an airfield. It could also be operated from a helicopter to broaden the task set and protect aircrew in high-risk situations. STRIX will be able to accommodate a variety of munition types, including those presently in use by the Australian Defence Force. We will also deliver RAZER, a novel low-cost precision-guided munition that can be integrated into the platform to supplement STRIX’s strike capability.
HAL CATS Warrior – INDIA
HAL CATS (Combat Air Teaming System) Warrior is a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a leading aerospace and defense company in India.
The HAL CATS Warrior is being developed as part of India’s efforts to strengthen its military capabilities and maintain strategic autonomy. The UCAV is intended to be a loyal wingman aircraft that can operate alongside manned fighter jets, providing support and assistance during combat missions. The HAL CATS Warrior is expected to have a range of advanced capabilities, including autonomous flight, advanced sensors and weapons, and the ability to perform a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, and air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. CATS Warrior will collaborate with the IAF’s current fighter platforms such as Tejas, Su-30 MKI, and Jaguar, which will serve as its mothership.
MUM-T is becoming an increasingly important concept in modern military operations, with many countries investing in the development of new unmanned platforms and technologies to support their efforts. The ability to seamlessly integrate manned and unmanned platforms is seen as a key advantage in future conflicts and is expected to play an important role in shaping the future of military operations.