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Predator UAVs Prove Their Worth in War Against Terrorism

The Air Force officer is a transport plane pilot, but these days his aircraft flies "solo," and he doesn't leave the ground.
Capt. Sam J. Vanzanten, 32, is an earthbound controller of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. The eight-year military veteran noted he's been in the Predator program for the past two years.

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Flying An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The Predator is just like every other aircraft, you just don't ride in it.

That's the conclusion of Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Mathewson, commander of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. He should know, as his unit flies 24 of the unmanned aerial vehicles on missions around the world.
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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Proving Their Worth Over Afghanistan

For years, military thinkers have tried to harness the power of unmanned aerial vehicles. Changes in technology mean that members of today's military are able to put that promise to work.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the services' leadership have long recognized the "transformational" capabilities inherent in UAVs.
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Photos-First Responders Conduct Drill at Pentagon AFRTS TV Report-Pentagon Conducts Chemical Defense Exercise

From U.S. Civil War to Afghanistan: A Short History of UAVs

During the American Civil War, both sides tried to use rudimentary unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to Dyke Weatherington, deputy of the Defense UAV Office, Union and Confederate forces launched balloons loaded with explosive devices. The idea, he said, was for the balloons to come down inside a supply or ammunition depot and explode. "It wasn't terribly effective," he said during a recent interview.

The Japanese tried a similar ploy late in World War II. They launched balloon bombs laden with incendiary and other explosives. The theory was high-altitude winds would carry the balloons over the United States, where the bombs would start forest fires and cause panic and mayhem. The Japanese weren't able to gauge their success and so called it a flop and quit after about a month.
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Soldiers from Company A, 104th Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas prepare to launch a Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle yesterday as part of a demonstration of the vehicles capabilities for Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White.

Defensive UAV

The Air Maneuver Battle Lab (AMBL) examines advanced warfighting concepts and technology through experimentation, technology demonstrations, and concept experimentation in order to determine viability and utility for the Warfighters in the 21st Century Battlespace.

Multi-Purpose Aerial Delivery System (M-PADS) CEP

Project Description: The purpose of this CEP is to examine the force multiplications effect on brigade combat teams by providing an uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of on-demand delivery of a variety of lethal and non-lethal payloads.

The essence of the M-PADS concept is that medium sized UAVs, with capabilities similar to the Hunter and Predator, have substantial endurance and payload capabilities that can be exploited to significantly increase the responsiveness and lethality of small forces.  Medium UAVs  can carry around two hundred additional pounds and stay in flight for eight to twelve hours.  That two hundred pounds can be tailored ordnance: repellants, paint balls, riot control agents, cluster bombs, BAT munitions, SADARM, etc.  The availability of those types of loads significantly enhances the reach and combat power of small units.  In our emerging concept of employment, the M-PADS is launched and loiters at altitude in the area of operations.

Unlike UCAV, the UAV is not used to find targets or developing civil disturbance.  Reconnaissance and surveillance is accomplished by other methods such as patrols, pre-positioned forward observers, reconnaissance vehicles, and helicopters with or without the assistance of other types of UAVs.  Men-in-the-loop coordinate delivery of the payload via mobile command posts such as the A2C2S UH-60 or a ground command vehicle.  Men-in-the-loop also provides the “eyes-on” component essential for situations where camouflage and concealment may be used by the enemy and when there is a concern about collateral damage and the accidental killing of non -combatants.  Optimal situational awareness requires that the stated air -ground mobile command posts have robust communications and  linkage with other sources of intelligence data to avoid accidental engagement of friendly forces.  BDA is provided through the cited men-in-the-loop methods.  If the payload is not needed, the M-PADS UAV would be flown back to base.  This concept does not preclude use of organic sources of fires to meet situational needs.  All sources of fires available to the maneuver force can be utilized as necessary.
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Now Showing: May 13 Edition of Air Force Television News

The increasing importance of unmanned aerial vehicles and how the Air Force uses them in fighting a war headlines this edition of Air Force Television News.

Senior Airman Kevin Dennison goes to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for an update on the Predator UAV, while farther west, at Edwards AFB, Calif., Staff Sgt. Marty Rush talks to those who work on the Global Hawk program. Both systems have been used extensively in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.
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AFRTS TV Report-Pentagon Conducts Chemical Defense Exercise

Roche Praises Innovation, Proposes Tanker Upgrade

Roche said pilots “fly” the UAVs for two reasons -- their instincts as to what’s happening with the aircraft, and to serve as forward air controllers. “That’s why Naval aircraft have been willing to get in the same vicinity with the Predator,” he said. “When they ask the Predator something, the Predator answers. If our Naval colleagues think there’s a little bitty pilot and little bitty weapons operator in there, that’s fine.”

Another example of UAV success is with gunships. “There (was) nothing like listening to the frustration of a Predator operator trying to get the gunship onto the target,” he said. “We solved that problem by putting a downlink in the AC-130. Now the Predator operator can say, ’See (the target) there, in the upper right corner (of the monitor)?’.
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New Global Hawk Joins the Nest at Edwards

The fourth Global Hawk test aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight April 23, touching down here after a four-and-a-half hour initial flight test.

The new arrival joins the other Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicles undergoing flight-testing here as part of the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of defense acquisition. The new aircraft arrived from Air
Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., where it was built by Northrop Grumman.

The new aircraft's first flight went exactly as planned, said Lt. Col. Michael Guidry, director of the Global Vigilance Combined Test Force here.
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U.S. Air Force Factsheet: RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The RQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle system. It is a Joint Forces Air Component Commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the Joint Force commander.

The RQ-1A/B Predator is a system, not just aircraft. A fully operational system consists of four aircraft (with sensors), a ground control station (GCS), a Predator Primary Satellite Link (PPSL), and 55 personnel for continuous 24 hour operations.

The basic crew for the Predator is one pilot and two sensor operators. They fly the aircraft from inside the GCS via a C-Band line-of-sight data link or a Ku-Band satellite data link for beyond line-of-sight flight. The aircraft is equipped with a color nose camera (generally used by the aerial vehicle operator for flight control), a day variable aperture TV camera, a variable aperture infrared camera (for low light/night), and a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for looking through smoke, clouds, or haze. The cameras produce full motion video and the SAR still frame radar images. The three sensors are carried on the same airframe but cannot be operated simultaneously.
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CSAF: Symposium Builds Framework for Future AF Doctrine

The Air Force recently held a weeklong symposium in Prattville, Ala., to build the framework for future Air Force doctrine, said Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force chief of staff.
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Fire Scout UAV Takes First Steps

The Navy's Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) launched into its flight test program on May 19, at the NAVAIR Western Test Range Complex in Calif.

Fire Scout has been designed to provide situational awareness and precision targeting support for the Navy and Marine Corps, and to be a fully autonomous UAV requiring limited operator intervention. The system is under development by Northrop Grumman Corporation - Ryan Aeronautical (NGC-R) and is managed by the Navy's UAV program office, PMA-263.
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Pioneer UAV Dedicated onto U.S.S. Missouri

In beautiful Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicle was dedicated onto the battleship U.S.S. Missouri earlier this month, the fourth such dedication for the Navy UAV.

On hand to accept the vehicle was Robert Kihune, retired Navy Vice Admiral and president of the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial Association. "Like the battleship Missouri," he said, "the Pioneer UAV is a proud example of American achievement, ingenuity, and might. We are honored to join the select few who boast one of their own." Kihune also explained the selection of this particular vehicle. "I am told that this specific UAV was selected because of its previous service aboard the Missouri. It was from these decks that this same UAV flew while the U.S.S. Missouri was in active service."
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Navy Announces Winner of MRE Competition

The Navy took a step beyond VTUAV into the future of unmanned air flight today with the announcement of four risk assessment contracts for the Multi-Role Endurance (MRE) vehicle.

MRE is potentially an organic, sea-based endurance UAV. It will be a flexible asset capable of many different missions (ISR, C4I, SEAD, etc.), and is potentially lethal. The parallel MRE studies will examine missions, payloads, C4I, and aircraft and systems analysis. Basing for the system (CV, LHA, CG/DDG/FFG) is a study variable.
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Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a low-cost and user friendly UAV system. It is a highly mobile air vehicle system that provides the small warfighting unit or activity a means to obtain initial experience in UAV operations, lay the foundation to exploit battlefield information superiority, provide basic unit training/education in UAV tactics, and support UAV operational concept and requirements development .
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VMU-2 Provides Targets for WTI

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles are becoming more of an asset to the military, and may even be the future for the majority of Marine Corps aviation.

Flown like remote control air planes, these vehicles currently provide the capability to locate, observe and assess enemy targets through the use of a small, high powered camera that disseminates imagery back to the aircraft control center without putting a pilot in the line of fire. This information can then be passed on to air or ground units to assist forward assault and capture of enemy assets.

According to Master Sgt. James Bonner, UAV instructor attached to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1, the biannual Weapons and Tactics Instructor Courses afford the UAVs and the Marines who operate them the opportunity to expand their role in Marine Corps aviation.
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KBX Explores Emerging 21st Century Technology

Battlefield computers, mini-reconnaissance planes and electric-powered surveillance vehicles may sound like gizmos out of a science fiction movie, but they are just some of the new technology used during Exercise Kernel Blitz Experimentation 2001, which began June 18 and wrapped up 10 days later.

One of the largest experimentation and demonstration exercises ever conducted, KBX 2001 took place offshore, on and around Camp Pendleton as well as in El Centro and the Chocolate Mountains. It was designed to explore 21st century expeditionary warfare concepts and technology for the extended littoral battlespace. Practical implications of more efficient, comprehensive ways to convey information include ground troops getting supporting Naval gunfire more quickly, and averting friendly fire tragedies, like one that occurred earlier this year during joint-service training in the Middle East, resulting in loss of life to U.S. service members.
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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Help 3/14 Call For and Adjust Fire

"FDC this is FO adjust fire, over." "FO this is FDC adjust fire, out." "FDC grid 304765, over." FO grid 304765, out." "FDC two tanks in the open, over." "FO that's two tanks in the open, out." Then about 30 seconds later, "FO shot, over." "FDC shot, out." "FO splash, over." FDC splash, out."

Communications like these can normally be heard during a live-fire training exercise between the forward observers and the Marines at the fire direction control center, but during exercise Rolling Thunder 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines used a different type of forward observer.

Instead of a few Marines dug in on top of a hill somewhere, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle controlled by the Marines from Marine Fixed Wing Unmanned Vehicle Squadron 2 (VMU-2), Cherry Point, N.C., gave the calls for fire.
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Are Unmanned Aircraft in the Coast Guard's Future?

The CGC Valiant, homported in Miami Beach, Fla., was selected to perform a mission rarely experienced by Coast Guard cutters. The mission was to operationally test and evaluate a prototype Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Aerial Vehicle from the flight deck. Over a period of five days, the Valiant successfully conducted numerous day and night electro-magnetic interference tests, wind parameters tests, launches and recoveries, max power trials, software calibrations, stationary and dynamic tracking, auto-return to homebase tests and visual tracking with onboard sensors.
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Integrated Deepwater System Program— Maritime Domain Awareness

America is a maritime nation. Every year, thousands of foreign-flag ships carrying multi-national crews and cargoes from around the globe enter U.S. ports. As a result, asymmetrical “military” and terrorist threats have a natural gateway to America’s shores via the marine transportation system. The Coast Guard is the lead agency for Maritime Homeland Security, and has built its Maritime Homeland Security Strategy upon the principles of awareness, prevention, response, and consequence management.

Awareness enables threat prevention, the first and most important objective. By identifying and eliminating threats well before they reach our shores, their impact can be mitigated. Deepwater is critical to ensuring the Coast Guard has the capabilities it needs to stop threats to our homeland before they arrive and the effective response capability to deal with maritime security needs.

Awareness can be achieved by numerous means including intelligence, unmanned aerial vehicles, shore-based over-the-horizon radars, space-based sensors, maritime patrol aircraft, data links between netted forces, and shipboard sensors such as air- and surface-search radars and passive electronic surveillance systems.
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Deepwater Capabilities Replacement Project

As a capital asset management approach, the Coast Guard categorizes its operating environment into three regions– Inland, Coastal and Deepwater. Since the operating characteristics of its assets are, in part, determined by environmental considerations (as well as mission functionality), this categorization affords the Coast Guard an ability to collectively manage its multi-mission assets as systems of systems rather than independent resources.

Traditionally, major acquisition projects are focused on purchasing a single type of asset or specific kind of service. For example, a project may acquire a new class of ship, a new type of aircraft, or a new information system. And if more than one new asset or service is needed, the agency charters separate projects for each. The approaching block obsolescence of its ships and aircraft allows the Coast Guard to depart from such traditional federal acquisition approaches without sub-optimizing the use of existing assets. And by adopting the integrated system of systems approach, a "zero-based," more comprehensive Deepwater mission analysis was possible.

Coast Guard capabilities were defined without compromising the ingenuity and creativity of the Deepwater industry teams. By emphasizing fundamental mission performance requirements instead of specific asset capability requirements, industry may consider extending the service lives of existing Coast Guard assets or using ex-Navy assets, use of unmanned aerial vehicles, automated propulsion and auxiliary systems, applying advanced new multi-hull ship designs, changing operational paradigms including multiple-crewing concepts, and a host of other proven, but non-developmental technologies and processes—as long as they meet the mission-based requirements of the SPS. Industry’s competitive challenge is to maximize the complete system's performance while keeping costs low.
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