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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has announced that an AVENGER UAV equipped with a Lockheed Martin LEGION pod has autonomously tracked and followed targets of interest for the first time. The industry-funded demonstration is considered a step forward to gaining autonomous systems that support Manned-Unmanned Teaming in joint all-domain operations.

During the flight, the LEGION pod’s Infrared Search and Track System detected multiple fast-moving aircraft operating in the area and fed target tracking information to the AVENGER’s autonomy engine. This prioritised the targets to direct the UAV’s manoeuvres for target engagement. The flight builds on GA-ASI’s autonomy flight test series that started in December 2020 to demonstrate next generation air-to-air UAV functionality. Integrating LEGION Pod software into the AVENGER Mission Management System took less than three months and was enabled though the Open Mission Systems message standards.

Jack Richardson