Raytheon Offers More Efficient Ground Control for the Predator


Raytheon Company has developed an advanced common ground control system (CGCS), and is proposing the system as ‘unsolicited proposal’ for use by the U.S. Air Force’s Predator UAV units, promising a ‘dramatic improvement’ in the efficiency of man-machine interface, related to the operation of unmanned aircraft systems.

According to Mark Bigham, business development director for Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems business, “Our unsolicited bid for the Predator ground control system will address significant decreases in required aircrew manpower, faster training and greatly reduce mishap rates previously attributed to human-machine interface or pilot error.

It also enables more aircraft to be controlled by the same number of operators, increasing more unmanned aircraft systems in operation.” Raytheon has been working with combat-tested UAS operators and trainers for more than two years to develop a CGCS that puts the human operator into the UAS ‘cockpit’ – said Bigham. He indicated that the proposed system is also compatible with improved Predator operations centers currently being fielded to the U.S. Air National Guard. “The CGCS will help the current Predator contractor maximize the number of unmanned aircraft systems operators can fly, ultimately helping to meet Secretary of Defense Gates’ goal of ‘more ISR now.'” said Bigham.

Raytheon says it can produce the first CGCS system in less than 12 months with data support from platform primes and adequate funding support for the Department of Defense. Raytheon predicts that during the next 10 years, it can save the Air Force more than $500 million. The five cost savings benefits are:

  • Reduce manpower requirements by 20 percent
  • Reduce ground control segment requirements by 20 percent
  • Reduce training time and costs by 30 percent
  • Reduce aircraft losses by 50 percent