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A first: Unmanned, manned combat craft fly in formation

Apr. 14, 2014 - 03:34PM   |  
By MICHAEL PECK   |   Comments
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A nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle has flown in formation with a Rafale fighter and a Falcon 7X business jet, a first-of-its-kind teaming, according to a news release by nEUROn manufacturer Dassault Aviation.

The flight, which lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes, ventured several hundred kilometers over the Mediterranean. As well as the UCAV and the two manned aircraft, there were chase aircraft to perform photography. "Organizing a formation flight like this was a daunting challenge: for each maneuver in the planned sequence, aircraft from different holding points and with very different characteristics had to fly alongside each other in a confined space," Dassault said.

In addition,"Engineers had to plan ahead to take into account the risk of interference, including aerodynamic turbulence between the aircraft, not to mention electromagnetic interference (EMI) with communications between the nEUROn drone and its ground control station."

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