Accession Number:



Defending an Area with Autonomy: Autonomous Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Capabilities Leveraging Unmanned Aerial Systems for Defending Forward Operating Locations

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Technical Report

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

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Developing UASs with autonomous capabilities will enhance local persistent ISR for defending a forward operating location against emerging threats in the 2025 timeframe. These threats will challenge current US C2ISR advantages by being faster, harder to detect, more maneuverable, have greater destructive power, disrupt communications, have greater reach, and create contested operating domains. This future operating environment increases demand for local persistent ISR such that a forward area can detect, identify, and respond to threats in a timely manner to protect friendly forces and sustain operations. UASs with autonomous capabilities present a viable means to fill this demand for increased ISR while overcoming current system limitations brought about by emerging threats and a contested future operating environment. The three proposed UAS concepts included integrating autonomy into current RPA platforms, developing new platforms with modular payloads or adaptable mission sets, and developing a platform designed to support tactical Battle-Management C2 operations. These solutions illustrate how UASs with autonomous capabilities can extend a FOAs defense network of sensors and C2 by physically increasing range, allowing more time to react, as well as improving data processing and exploitation, saving time to execute the kill chain.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Cybernetics
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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