Air Force Releases UAV Strategic Vision

Apr 04, 2006

The Air Force recently completed a vision document to provide high-level guidance to service development and integration of unmanned aircraft for the next 25 years.

While the Air Force has been experimenting with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles since 1962, the technology has only recently evolved to a point to provide truly transformational capabilities to the joint commander, said Brig. Gen. Stanley Clarke, deputy director of the Air Force strategic planning directorate.

"Sensors and payloads are now smaller, lighter and more capable," General Clarke said. "And the required command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies have only recently come on line."

Air Force UAVs bring persistence to the fight and also have the ability to work in hazardous environments, said Col. Gail Wojtowicz, chief of the Air Force's future concepts and transformation division.

"Unmanned aircraft are a critical piece of ongoing Air Force transformation," Colonel Wojtowicz said. "Their persistence couples an unblinking eye with the ability to rapidly strike targets of opportunity, such as fleeting terrorists or insurgents. They also operate in dangerous chemical or biological environments, require a much smaller forward logistical footprint, and are as effective in conducting mundane tasks in the 30th hour as they are in the first."

The Air Force produced the UAV strategic vision document, entitled "The U.S. Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Strategic Vision," primarily in response to recommendations by the 2004 Air Force Futures Game, which was a guided strategic discussion about the Air Force's future capabilities.

While not directive in nature, the document lays out a broad vision and provides recommendations. These include developing common terminology, adequately funding relevant science and technology, coordinating efforts with other services, managing cost and performance expectations, reviewing and updating laws and policies, and integrating unmanned aircraft with manned and space platforms.

The new strategic vision document also addresses the historical context of UAVs, the unique attributes of the aircraft, and the various challenges in fielding them, General Clarke said.

"While unmanned aircraft have incredible potential, they still have formidable obstacles to overcome," he said. "They must be integrated into national and international airspace, their costs must be kept in check, and the C4ISR systems they depend on are vulnerable to attack and use an incredible amount of bandwidth."

The general also said there are policy and legal issues to address in regards to UAVs, as well as unique organizational, manning and training issues.

The new Air Force strategic vision is consistent with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Unmanned Aircraft System Roadmap released in October, as well as the recently completed Quadrennial Defense Review, General Clarke said.

Copyright 2006 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: Easter morning delivery for space station

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ice breaker: ONR researchers explore a changing Arctic

Apr 14, 2014

As sea ice continues to recede at a record pace in the Arctic, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced April 14 new efforts to determine the pace of change in what some are calling Earth's final frontier.

Sonar loaded underwater robot to hunt for MH370

Apr 08, 2014

A torpedo-shaped mini-sub could provide conclusive proof that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean, but the task is set to push the machine to its limits.

Laser researchers revolutionize aviation industry

Apr 07, 2014

(Phys.org) —Most people don't realize it, but the airplane they are flying on may be stronger and safer thanks to a pair of former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers who developed and commercialized ...

Recommended for you

Easter morning delivery for space station

2 hours ago

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

20 hours ago

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

Apr 18, 2014

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...