The US Navy has completed the first lab integration event to demonstrate the capabilities of MQ-25 Stingray uncrewed aerial refuelling aircraft’s Ground Control Station (GCS).

The event was conducted by the Uncrewed Carrier Aviation Programme Office (PMA-268) at Patuxent River on 28 to 30 June.

It was led by two industry prime partners and a government team at the programme’s System Test and Integration Lab (STIL).

The test showcased how GCS can command the uncrewed aircraft in the carrier environment.

During the test, Lockheed Martin’s GCS controlled Boeing’s hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) air vehicle for the first time, using aircraft’s hardware and software to provide a realistic surrogate for the air vehicle.

According to MQ-25 labs and integration manager TJ Maday, the team aimed to send a basic command between the GCS and HITL.

For achieving this goal, Lockheed Martin and Boeing were required to provide functional software to the government to exercise GCS, HITL and network components and establish connectivity between systems.

Maday said: “The team met initial goal ahead of schedule and used remaining time to exercise more functionality like sending taxi commands.

“They also simulated a lost link that verified proper GCS display indicators, which is a critical function to ensure network connectivity between development environments.”

The team is planning to simulate a complete flight using HTIL this autumn.

Additionally, the team will demonstrate switching connection links to the aircraft and adding other aircraft hardware and software into the mix.

MD-5 GCS falls under uncrewed carrier aviation mission control system (UMCS), which is needed for MQ-25A command-and-control.

The UMCS includes US Navy-produced ancillary equipment, carrier and shore site infrastructure modifications and integration with command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) systems.