13 September 2011
“Music is intended to be a showcase for innovation, integration and ultimately interoperability,” says Tim Owings, deputy project manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for the Army.
The exercise, expected to be the first in a series of Music demonstrations, will focus on new ways of moving intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting imagery among manned and unmanned aircraft and ground forces. It will feature six types of manned and unmanned aircraft that will exchange imagery with each other and ground troops, using it to coordinate attacks on mock targets. Music will demonstrate four capabilities the Army is developing to get the most out of new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV):
Music will mark the first U.S. demonstration of the Army’s new Triclops system, in which three sensor balls are carried on one Gray Eagle UAV (DTI March, p. 21). The exercise will also demonstrate for the first time how manned and unmanned aircraft operate under a single commander.
“Music is a showcase for what we’re doing with the Army and the Marine Corps as well, because most of these systems we’re talking about are used by the Marines,” Owings says.
Once fielded, the new capabilities being demonstrated should pay many dividends in combat, Owings adds, but will all center on one key point—sharing information. Most of the information exchanges being demonstrated at Music have been handled by voice communications, he notes. Once the new systems are fielded, a soldier in a convoy will no longer have to try to explain to an Apache pilot—or a UAV operator— which white truck they should investigate or attack.
The first day of Music will be a media day, where reporters will be
able to watch on a large video screen and listen inside a hangar as
pilots, UAV operators and ground troops exchange sensor imagery while
performing tactical vignettes, including live fire by a Kiowa Warrior.
Guests invited for similar demonstrations the second day include Army and
Pentagon leaders, staff and members of Congress, as well as other VIPs.