Havelsan has developed a mission planning system for small rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and intends to evolve this into a package for a range of UAVs, both fixed- and rotary-wing.
Baris Dinç, systems engineering group manager for air command control and management information systems at Havelsan, told Jane’s that the company had used a commercially available rotary-wing UAV in the first instance and modified its software to meet their needs, including the addition of an autonomous flight capability.
The planning package has been developed to enable the user to task a UAV to undertake a range of missions based on predefined parameters, however, Dinç explained that the system incorporates a high degree of automation, enabling the UAV to alter its tasking and react to events as they unfold.
Typically the user would define an area of operations for the UAV and instruct it to conduct tasks in that space. For example, a search and rescue mission could see the platform tasked to fly in a set pattern at certain altitudes and notify the operator when an object of interest is detected.
While the system can be used to create a rigid framework for the UAV to follow, Dinç pointed to the automated aspect of operations as being the most advanced and promising. In a surveillance mission a UAV could be instructed to observe an area and photograph set targets, however, if permitted to do so the platform could break from its tasking and follow a target of interest.
If multiple platforms are in operation or available the system can also inform the user of the most suitable platform and payloads to conduct a mission set, likewise, if these have been manually selected by the user it can indicate if they are not suitable for the task.
A further feature of the planning system is its ability to identify any areas where a UAV will not be able to communicate with its operator. A post-mission analysis tool enables the user to observe if the UAV followed its tasking and what may have caused any discrepancies to have occurred; the imagery and data collected by the payloads can also be selected and displayed.
Beyond military roles such as surveillance, Dinç said that civilian applications may include the monitoring and inspection of power lines and oil pipelines.