Drone Warfare turns to 'Open Source'

John Breeden II | Government Computer News (GCN) | June 20, 2013

The United States is becoming more and more dependent on unmanned aerial systems for everything from surveillance to actual attack missions. In 2012, the Air Force ordered up hundreds of new drones to bolster its forces. By 2021, there may be double the number of drones in use than there are today.

But flying them is different from piloting a manned airplane. It's more akin to video game playing than sitting in an actual cockpit, which is why the military services are trying to recruit video gamers into its ranks. They need people with gaming skills to pilot all the new drones. Called Ballista, the new [operating system] OS was recently able to complete a series of successful demonstrations for Defense Department personnel to show how it could be integrated into the UAS Control Segment (UCS) architecture used by the drones.

A company called DreamHammer could ease the need for pilots in a different way, with its open source operating system that allows a single operator to command multiple drones — including multiple types of drones — at the same time...

Because of its open architecture, Ballista can integrate into any proprietary UAS, allowing a single operator to simultaneously manage multiple unmanned vehicles, such as Predators, Global Hawks and Reapers. It also can be used with unmanned ground and sea vehicles, the company said.
Ballista comes prepackaged with open and extensible UCS-conforming models, middleware communications and user interface components.

Open Health News' Take: 

How does one react to news that there is now an 'open source' solution that will be used to fly drones in future wars? Think about sharing this 'open' technology with whatever group around the world that wants to use it for their own nefarious purposes. Tell us what you think about this latest news.   -  Peter Groen, Senior Editor, OHNews