promising new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) concepts and developments, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/Air Force/ Navy Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS), the A-160 Hummingbird, Eagle Eye, X-50 Dragonfly canard rotor wing, unmanned combat armed rotorcraft, organic aerial vehicles, and micro-UAVs. Particular attention should be paid to the DARPA/Army/Special Operations Command A-160 long-endurance rotorcraft program and the Coast Guard’s Eagle Eye tilt-rotor development, since these systems offer promise as potential long-dwell intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and short-range tactical UAVs, respectively, as well as the DARPA/Air Force/Navy J-UCAS Advanced Technology Demonstration that is developing a stealthy, long-endurance, carrier-based, unmanned combat armed rotorcraft suitable for ISR, suppression of enemy air defense, and strike missions.

The ASN(RD&A) and the CNR should ensure that the Naval Air Systems Command, ONR, and MCWL, in coordination with the Army, Air Force, and DARPA, monitor the need for, progress, and development of technologies that would help realize more effective UAV systems to accomplish future naval missions. At a minimum, the following technologies should be considered in this context:

  • Dependable and secure communications, including bandwidth and latency;

  • Positive automatic target-recognition and image-processing software;

  • Automated contingency planning;

  • Intelligent autonomy;

  • Systems-oriented flight operations;

  • Autoland systems;

  • Fuel-efficient, small-turbine, and heavy-fuel internal combustion engines; and

  • Survivability features.

In addition, a number of advanced UAV concepts should be continually evaluated, including the following:

  • Operations in dirty environments;

  • Autonomous aerial refueling;

  • J-UCAS for combat air patrol, airborne early warning, and close air support;

  • Very small UAVs;

  • Deployment of ground sensors from UAVs;

  • Aerial release and redocking of UAVs;

  • Extreme-endurance systems;

  • Advanced sensor combined with UAVs; and

  • Optionally piloted air vehicles.

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