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Research Article Open Access
The DoD has introduced the concept of Manned-Unmanned Teaming, a subset of which is the loyal wingman. Optimal control techniques have been proposed as a method for rapidly solving the intermediate-target (mid-point constraint) optimal control problem. Initial results using direct orthogonal collocation and a gradient-based method for solving the resulting nonlinear program reveals a tendency to converge to or to get `stuck’ in locally optimal solutions. The literature suggested a hybrid technique in which a particle swarm optimization is used to quickly find a neighborhood of a more globally minimal solution, at which point the algorithm switches to a gradient-based nonlinear programming solver to converge on the globally optimal solution. The work herein applies the hybrid optimization technique to rapidly solve the loyal wingman optimal control problem. After establishing the background and describing the loyal wingman particle swarm optimization algorithm, the problem is solved first using the gradient-based direct orthogonal collocation method, then re-solved using a hybrid approach in which the results of the particle swarm optimization algorithm are used as the initial guess for the gradient-based direct orthogonal collocation method. Results comparing the final trajectory and convergence time, demonstrate the hybrid technique as a reliable method for producing rapid, autonomous, and feasible solutions to the loyal wingman optimal control problem.