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The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has provided further insights into the features of the upcoming Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) program, emphasizing its Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) capabilities. This 26-ton deck-based fighter, often referred to as a 5th Minus Generation category aircraft, is set to replace the Russian Mig-29K fighter jets on Indian aircraft carriers.

Manned-unmanned teaming is a revolutionary concept in military aviation, involving the integration of unmanned autonomous systems into mission planning. The primary objective is to expand mission parameters and tactical capabilities while minimizing risks to human and technological assets, especially in uncertain or hostile environments.

By combining human intelligence with artificial intelligence (AI) in mission planning and decision-making processes, MUM-T enhances accuracy, operational flexibility, and the continuity of machine learning. The concept allows for the seamless integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with a fleet of manned aircraft, facilitating collaborative operations.

The standard system architecture for UAV/Manned Teaming involves a manned teammate either in an aircraft or on the ground. These manned platforms communicate wirelessly with unmanned aircraft, and the UAVs efficiently share data across all platforms. This collaborative approach enables the solution of complex tactical problems at machine speed, requiring minimal power and bandwidth.

MUM-T enables manned platforms to connect with UAVs at different Levels of Interoperability (LOI), enhancing situational awareness, decision-making, and overall mission effectiveness. Both manned aircraft and ground forces can share the products and capabilities of UAVs, contributing to a more integrated and streamlined operational environment.

The introduction of MUM-T capabilities in the TEDBF fighter jet program aligns with the broader trend in modern military aviation, where autonomy and unmanned systems play an increasingly prominent role. India’s 5th generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program is also expected to feature MUM-T capabilities, reflecting the nation’s commitment to cutting-edge technology and innovation in defence.

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