Accession Number : AD1040660

Title :   Bolts from Orion: Destroying Mobile Surface-to-Air Missile Systems with Lethal Autonomous Aircraft

Descriptive Note : Technical Report


Personal Author(s) : Brown,Donald

Full Text :

Report Date : 01 Jul 2016

Pagination or Media Count : 83

Abstract : Modern mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) capabilities are far more lethal and sophisticated than the Iraqi integrated air defense system (IADS) the US demolished in 2003, and are being used by potential adversaries as one component of anti-access/area denial (A2/D) strategy. This research explored the possible advantages autonomous unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) could offer for the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) mission. Research was conducted by surveying existing literature on advanced surface to air missile systems, SEAD, remotely piloted aircraft, and artificial intelligence. This was used to create four future scenarios envisioning how autonomous aircraft could be used for SEAD. Lethal autonomous UAS are controversial and the concept of machines making lethal targeting decisions is not to be taken lightly. Arguments abound about the legality and morality of lethal autonomous engagement and the United Nations is actively debating the issue. Artificial intelligence (AI) needs to advance before machines can make lethal engagement decisions. Fully autonomous UAS that execute SEAD without man-in-the-loop control are too much of technological and political risk, but the US should pursue developing flexible levels of autonomy to enable human-machine teaming followed by developing swarms to provide an advantage for SEAD. Increased investment in autonomous UAS is necessary to ensure the US maintains an edge over potential adversaries advanced SAMs in future A2/AD conflicts.

Descriptors :   SURFACE TO AIR MISSILES , airborne warning and control system , weapons effects , remotely piloted vehicles , electronic warfare , stealth technology , unmanned aerial vehicles , unmanned aircraft systems , air force , aircrafts , military organizations , aerial warfare

Subject Categories : Surface-launched Guided Missiles
      Navigation and Guidance
      Pilotless Aircraft

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE