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Unmanned unit tested for psychological war
by Staff Writers
St. Louis (UPI) Dec 16, 2009

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Most of the methods currently used in psychological warfare have been brought together in an unmanned system developed by Boeing and demonstrated for the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Psychological operations are crucial to wartime missions for combatant commands, but until recently such measures involved different approaches and comprised varying elements, from dropping conventional leaflets in battle zones to using audiovisual effects.

The system is also equally effective in civilian scenarios such as crowd control.

Boeing's Multimodal Unmanned Systems Operations, demonstrated for the Army personnel, integrates air and ground unmanned systems to perform psychological operations. PSYOPs are integral to most combat missions and have numerous civilian applications.

There is no indication yet when the system is likely to be put into service in the U.S. armed forces or elsewhere for civilian uses.

Boeing said the USASOC and a Boeing-led contractor team conducted the demonstration in November. A John Deere R-Gator unmanned ground vehicle was used with the Schiebel S-100 unmanned aerial system to produce a demonstration that featured electro-optical and infrared effects alongside audio and a leaflet drop mission.

Boeing said the package was put together in a very short time. "Working with USASOC, we were able to pull together a team to demonstrate this integrated, multimodal operation in just 45 days," said Vic Sweberg, director of Boeing Unmanned Airborne Systems.

Hardware and software from five different contractors was involved. Boeing experts integrated the components in the single multimodal system that allowed the control of different unmanned systems capabilities to accomplish a particular mission.

"This is an example of how Boeing unmanned operational services and contractor logistics support capabilities can support USASOC warfighters today," said Greg Deiter, vice president of Boeing Defense & Government Services.

"We are working together with USASOC to support its need for quick-insertion capabilities in the multimodal unmanned operations world," Deiter added.

Boeing currently has teams deployed with U.S. Navy ships and ground forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, Army and Special Operations Command operations in a variety of roles and services.

The system integrates the acclaimed CAMCOPTER S-100, developed by Austria's Schiebel Industries AG, with an American Technologies Corp. loudspeaker capable of addressing crowds at a distance of more than a mile, a leaflet drop capability, as well as a camera.

The psychological operation mission at a mock-up city training facility at Ft. Bragg, simulating in-theater conditions, was aimed at minimizing civilian unrest and preventing civilian casualties while apprehending a suspected terrorist cell, the Defense Professionals Web site said.

The unmanned S-100, often likened to a flying shark, was used to survey the area and provide real-time aerial intelligence, as well as to address the public and drop information leaflets.

CAMCOPTER S-100 has a proven capability for military and civilian use. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing unmanned craft needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond-line-of-sight capability out to 120 miles, both on land and at sea.


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