Accession Number:



Hardening Unmanned Aerial Systems Against High Power Microwave Threats in Support of Forward Operations

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Air Command and Staff College, Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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Unmanned Aerial Systems UAS continue to play an increasing role across the spectrum of military operations. Advances in human-machine teaming, additive manufacturing, power cell density, and autonomy will position these systems to become an integral part of missions that fall inside an adversarys operational reach in the near future. At the direction of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Air Command and Staff Colleges Airpower Vistas Research Task Force for academic year 2017 detailed the scope of anticipated threats to forward operations across defense planning scenarios through 2025. In each of these scenarios, counter-UAS C-UAS weapons utilizing pulsed high power microwave HPM energy pose a significant problem for UAS in offensive and defensive combat roles. These weapons cause electromagnetic interference EMI to produce effects on UAS ranging from upset to system damage. Once impractical to field due to significant power requirements, HPM weapons are now rapidly advancing in range, power, and deployability, with marked decreases in size. These advancements will enable them to be used to degrade offensive operations and neutralize forward base defense systems that utilize UAS. While hardening options for airborne systems have traditionally been prohibitively expensive and heavy for use in UAS, recent research and advances in manufacturing techniques have brought practical solutions within reach. Creating an iterative process to prioritize the application of these electronic protection measures to new and existing UAS is critical to enabling success in forward and distributed operations through 2025.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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