Army UAV Programs

After first deploying the Pioneer jointly with the Navy, the Army opted to develop its own low-altitude reconnaissance TUAV, the Hunter. Initiated in 1989, the program advanced to the point of selecting a single contractor in 1992, with low-rate initial production (LRIP) in 1993. Yet by 1997, production was stopped as the projected requirements of future systems seemed to be quickly outrunning the Hunter's capabilities. Nevertheless the existing Hunters were deployed in 1999 in Kosovo, where they performed well.

After participating in a joint Army/Navy advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) with the Outrider TUAV, the Army again began to develop another low-cost TUAV, culminating in a fly-off competition between four candidates, including the Outrider. In December 1999, the Shadow-200 TUAV was selected and an engineering and manufacturing design (EMD)/LRIP contract for four systems awarded. Each system includes three air vehicles and the associated ground control, launching, and logistic elements. Testing and evaluation (T&E) are scheduled for the third quarter FY01.

Air Force UAV Programs

The Air Force's Predator, a medium-altitude endurance (MAE) UAV with electro-optical (EO)/infrared (IR) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors was developed in the mid-1990s as an ACTD managed by the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) and eventually assigned to the Air Force by the Pentagon. Built in large numbers (~50 so far), the Predator was deployed to Europe several times in the second half of the 1990s and became the best-known and best-performing UAV in the air campaign in Kosovo. The Predator can be expected to remain in service many years as lost vehicles are replaced and performance enhancements applied.

In addition to the Predator, the Air Force also has several large and ambitious UAV activities under way with DARPA: the Global Hawk high-altitude endurance (HAE) UAV, which grew out of another DARPA/DARO ACTD of the mid-1990s, and a more recent UCAV ATD program.

Intended to demonstrate “the technical feasibility for a UCAV to effectively and affordably prosecute 21st century SEAD/strike missions . . . ,”1 the UCAV program began in 1998 with multiple contractor study phase and is now well into detailed design and fabrication by a single contractor. First flights are scheduled for FY02 and are intended to demonstrate “human-in-the-loop detection, identification, location, real-time targeting, weapons authorization, weapons delivery and target damage indication.” Multivehicle coordination in flight is envisioned for the later demonstrations.

Navy UAV Programs

During much of the 1990s the Navy seemed content with the Pioneer. However, toward the end of the decade a more focused UAV effort developed. Responsibility for determining and addressing requirements for the Navy UAV program as a single Navy point of contact and for directing programming and budgeting for all Naval UAV programs was assigned to the Aviation Systems (N854) organization of the Chief of Naval Operation's Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85).

The situation evolved rapidly in the last 2 years. The following description and comments pertain to the situation at the time of this writing. In 1998, the Naval UAV Executive Steering Group (ESG) was created to “provide a forum for coordination of Navy/Marine Corps UAV issues, [to] develop and validate the Naval UAV roadmap and [to] speak with one voice for Naval UAV issues.”2 Chaired by N85, the ESG has representation from a wide range of Navy and Marine organizations, including the Surface Warfare Division (N86), the Air Warfare Division (N88), the Program Executive Office for Cruise Missiles and UAVs (PEO CU), the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC), NAVAIR, NAVSEA, and SPAWAR.

1  

Lt Col M. Leahy, USAF, “DARPA/USAF UCAV ATD,” briefing to the committee, October 12, 1999.

2  

MajGen Dennis Krupp, USMC, Director of Expeditionary Warfare, N85, “Naval UAV Executive Steering Group,” briefing to the committee, October 16, 1999.



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