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Swarming Drones - AEC Skyline Supports Royal Netherlands Army's Next Generation Concept Development Scheme

a 500In mid-March AEC Skyline's critical data solutions division provided vital support to some of the Royal Netherlands Army's latest innovation efforts as a series of UAS swarming concept development & experimentation (CD&E) trials took place on the Antilles island of Aruba. Conducted under auspices of the 11th Air Assault Brigade, these experiments were preceded by a series of training events that were initiated by the army's 107 Aerial Systems Battery and Domestic Operations/Mobile CIS Control Centre (NATOPS/MCCC) platoon starting early February. C4I support for these events was also provided by AEC Skyline with Aruba providing an excellent backdrop for the RNLA's UAS operations due to its extensive airspace and adequate radio frequency availability.

b 500Part of the army's overarching Robotics & Autonomous Systems (RAS) programme, the latest Swarming Drones trials saw AEC Skyline's staff delivering a wide range of C4I related solutions, training and services. During the March experiments several UAS took to the air, performing various tasks such as mapping, carrying out reconnaissance missions and supporting command & control, hereby paving the way for the integration of such technologies during multi domain operations, as envisaged by the Dutch military. Given where the innnovation project currently stands, in Aruba the focus was very much on connecting all elements and gaining experience with planning, configuring and managing various types of Mobile Ad hoc Network (MANET) software defined radios. Hence, AEC Skyline's critical data solutions staff joined forces with its partner, MANET radio pioneer Persistent Systems. For the latest concept development project this resulted in the AEC Skyline/Persistent Systems combo providing the 3x3 Multiple In Multiple Out (MIMO) configured MPU5 radio and its related WaveRelay and CloudRelay technologies, the latter for BLOS connectivity. AEC Skyline's LTE-A based adhoc router streaming box and a Starlink based LEO SATCOM solution were added while MPU5's intelligent Radio over IP (ROIP) tether feature was also demonstrated during operations in Aruba.

Part of AEC Skyline's Whisper product range, multivendor connectivity simcards were put to good use during these latest trials while the company also assisted in the area of tactical applications with Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) functionality being ensured for all users that were present. In addition, under an agreement with BAE Systems, AEC Skyline's personnel supplied the SOCET GXP geospatial exploitation tool while guaranteeing overall data access for participating units.

All photographs courtesy NL MoD.