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 workstation 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.