FIGURE 2.1 The ONR 351 UAV/UCAV planning process.

Other missions could (and perhaps should) have been considered, particularly if the vision was intended to be all-encompassing.

From the operational/systems analysis of these missions, performance requirements were established and passed on to all the team members for the identification of critical design drivers. Combining the missions and the design drivers with a knowledge of the existing and expected future technology base, the mission space was divided into three tiers, by mission and by altitude (i.e., high, medium, and low), and a series of conceptual UAV/ UCAV design alternatives were created—some fixed-wing and some rotary.

From the design alternatives, the critical technologies needed to implement the vision as it relates to the seven missions were identified and grouped into four technical areas:

  1. Vehicle technology,

  2. Secure communications and dynamic networking,

  3. Sensors and sensor systems, and

  4. Autonomy.

The maturity of the existing and projected technology capabilities for each of these was assessed by the contractor and NRL experts. An attempt was made to identify the technological deficiencies that needed additional UAV-specific investments for the UAV/UCAV vision to be realizable in the future and to convert this information into roadmaps that provide descriptions and timetables for future S& T investments aimed at acquiring the missing critical capabilities. Owing to constraints on time and funding, these roadmaps were still rather sketchy at the time of the review.

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