Problem: The global landscape is rapidly evolving and information in the battlespace is moving faster than ever. In this dynamic environment, it’s critical for the warfighter to act on information as soon as it is available. By leveraging the strengths of both systems, manned/unmanned teaming enables rapid action during combat. Successful teaming also has the potential to increase situational awareness and improve combat efficiency and effectiveness for the warfighter.
Requirements: To successfully prove manned/unmanned ground strike teaming capabilities, the unmanned combat air vehicle needed to complete four critical tasks:
- Automatically plan a ground-attack mission
- Execute tasks based on priorities given by the operator
- Dynamically replan the mission to minimize exposure to the threat
- Demonstrate autonomous formation flying, route following and rejoining
Solution: The U.S. Air Force partnered with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® to tackle this hard problem. The experiment, called Have Raider, was designed to demonstrate the technologies required for an unmanned vehicle to fly as a teammate with a manned vehicle in the battlespace. Using an experimental F-16 as a surrogate unmanned aircraft, the demonstration proved the ability to autonomously plan and execute air-to-ground strike missions, fly in formation with a manned aircraft and react to changing threat environments.
Effective manned/unmanned teaming reduces the high cognitive workload, allowing the warfighter to focus on creative and complex planning and management. Autonomous systems also have the ability to access hazardous mission environments, react more quickly, and provide persistent capabilities without fatigue.
Have Raider is critical step to enabling future loyal wingman technology development and operational transition programs.