The US Navy and Boeing demonstrated the ability to control two unmanned EA-18G Growlers with a manned F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet.
"Boeing and the US Navy successfully flew two autonomously controlled EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Patuxent River as unmanned air systems using a third Growler as a mission controller for the other two," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet.
The flights, conducted during the Navy Warfare Development Command’s annual fleet experiment (FLEX) exercises, proved the effectiveness of technology allowing F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers to perform combat missions with unmanned systems.
Over the course of four flights, 21 demonstration missions were completed.
“This technology allows the Navy to extend the reach of sensors while keeping manned aircraft out of harm’s way,” said Tom Brandt, Boeing Manned-UnManned Teaming demonstration lead.
“It’s a force multiplier that enables a single aircrew to control multiple aircraft without greatly increasing workload. It has the potential to increase survivability as well as situational awareness," Brandt added.