A “gas station in the air,” you say? How is that possible? Why, with the MQ-25 Stingray UAV, currently. The MQ-25 will be the first carrier-based fixed-wing UAV, and is intended to serve as an in-air refueling tanker for aircraft. It improves readiness by saving flight hours of aircraft like the F/A-18 from having to do this sort of work.

WOLF is helping ensure the success of the program with the development of Health Monitoring—or HeMo—software on the MQ-25’s UAV Mission Control System (UMCS). David Rodriguez is the HeMo Software Lead and works in the Ship & Air Integrated Warfare (SAIW) Division. He tells us that initially a Contractor Off-the-Shelf (COTS) solution was employed, with a customized government “layer” on it.

Eventually, though, the COTS product became a limiting factor and the team recommended — and obtained approval for — a shift to a wholly-customized, government-owned solution that leverages open-source software. WOLF’s position as NAWCAD’s organic Lead Systems Integrator made this rapidly possible.

The new system software was so flexible and adaptable that despite a subsequent overhaul of the MQ-25’s architecture, there was little impact to the UMCS HeMo project completion. Moreover, WOLF’s GOTS solution results in the elimination of licensing fees. It is estimated that for just ten different CVNs over ten years, over $1M of licensing fees will be saved.

David has been at WOLF for nine years. He started at ATC&LS as an ESDP in March 2013 and during the summer of 2013 moved to SAIW. At SAIW, he worked with the Presidential Helicopter program, then moved onto the Software Reprogrammable Payload (SRP) project, finally becoming became the requirements lead for the MQ-25 UMCS.

After a rotation with PMA-201, David returned to SAIW and took on his current role as the HeMo Software Lead. The MQ-25 is one of the Navy’s first rapid acquisition programs.