The MERC-GCS is a specially designed MERC trailer that serves as a secure Ground Control Station for several different UAVs that can be launched from or tethered to the MERC. This new version of the MERC is custom designed to serve as a launching pad, flight control center, video storage facility, and network access provider for the UAVs.
The unmanned aerial system can be launched from a roof-mounted platform on the MERC and then piloted and controlled from an internal operator work station located inside the climate controlled trailer. A wireless link can be established between the UAV and the MERC by utilizing the trailer’s 42 foot pneumatic mast equipped with long range wireless antennas. The pilot of the unit will be sitting in front of the Ground Control Station, consisting of dual LED monitors: one monitor utilizing the Virtual Cockpit 3D software, and the other showing the video from the camera payload. The semi-autonomous nature of the UAV allows operators to stay focused on the mission at hand and operate the unit from the safety of the MERC trailer. Autonomous take-off and landing, waypoint navigation, and click-to-fly operability make the UAV very easy to operate. A single operator or pilot can control up to 5 units from the same screen, ensuring maximum aerial coverage of search areas.