MUM-T testing in the jet simulator "Pilot-in-the-Loop"

28 November 2019

For about four years now, we have been developing concepts and prototypes for Manned-unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) combat aircraft missions in the SAMU project. The approaches of scalable UAV autonomy and adaptive pilot assistance are in the focus of this project. In the OpFoKus project, mission scenarios and operational requirements for manned-unmanned air operations are systematically developed. Since the beginning of this month, the time had finally come: Testing our functionalities integrated in the simulator with fighter pilots of the German Air Force!

In a total of four experimental weeks with two pilots each, our system is being subjected to thorough testing. The week begins with an approximately one and a half day briefing on the cockpit functions. Then each pilot flies a total of five full operational missions, "Close Air Support", "Time Sensitive Targeting", "Air Interdiction", in scenarios ranging from "Permissive" to "Contested", in the roles of STRIKE and SEAD, each with up to three UCAVs and one swarm. In between, numerous scientific experiments are taking place to validate our design patterns for cooperation between humans and intelligent software agents. The participants are all highly experienced jet pilots of the Eurofighter and Tornado weapon systems.

Today, the General Staff officers of the German Air Force Command who are in charge of the project are honoured. "Here we are gaining a very concrete idea of our future weapon system," is one of the comments with regard to the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Our pilots are a bit more casual about it: "The only thing bad about the system is that we can't have it as early as next week!"

The photo captures a great visual moment. But behind it all is hard lab work for everyone involved. Besides questionnaires and pilot observation, a lot of psycho-physiological data (especially eye movements, cardio) are collected and evaluated.