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Extending sight in the sky

UDRI awarded $15 million to support development of Air Force air-launched unmanned sensing systems

The University of Dayton Research Institute has been awarded a $15 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to support its efforts in Air-Launched Off-Board Operations (ALOBO).  The five-year program, managed within AFRL’s Aerospace Systems Directorate, will focus on the development of small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) that can be launched from larger host aircraft in flight — effectively extending the mission reach and capabilities of the host vehicle.

Charles Lockhart, group leader for UAS and Embedded Systems in UDRI’s Sensor Accelerated Processing and Exploitation office, said small unmanned systems equipped with advanced sensing capabilities can fly away from, but communicate with, the host aircraft, effectively serving as a second set of eyes remotely from the host craft, or in environments where it is not prudent for the host craft to fly, such as under clouds or weather.

“ALOBO allows the Air Force to quickly and affordably add or change sensors on the small systems that then seamlessly integrate with and bring new capabilities to the host aircraft’s platform,” Lockhart said.

UDRI researchers will support sensors development, integration of hardware and software for host platform systems and small unmanned aircraft systems, and integration of host aircraft mission tactics, techniques and procedures.

Dec. 4, 2017

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