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Intelligence Support and Mission Planning for Autonomous Precision- Guided Weapons. Implications for Intelligence Support Plan Development

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The vast majority of Air Force precision-guided weapons PGWs are man-in-the-loop They require the assistance of an operator to reach their targets. The development of new autonomous PGWs, particularly ones with target- imaging sensors, would enable the Air Force to attack high-value ground targets with very high delivery accuracy without the aid of an operator. Earlier RAND research showed, however, that these weapons require substantial data to achieve their very high delivery accuracy and that many intelligence functions, organizations, systems, and operating protocols are required to support their mission planning and responsive employment. Operators of newly developed weapon systems have often complained that the intelligence support for their systems was too little and too late. Problems of this nature were highlighted during the recent air operations in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Because autonomous PGWs with target-imaging sensors have such demanding intelligence-support requirements, we believe that operators could again encounter significant problems if the required intelligence infrastructure is not in place prior to these weapons entering the inventory. Recognizing the need to provide adequate intelligence support for new weapon systems, the Air Force initiated a requirement in 1992 for the development of intelligence support plans ISPs for designated weapon-acquisition programs. The purpose of this report is to assist Air Force development of an ISP for advanced PGWs. Specifically, we examine the support requirements for two categories of autonomous PGWs those with target-imaging sensors and those that rely only on an inertial navigation system INS, usually aided by the Global Positioning System GPS

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  • Military Intelligence
  • Air- and Space-Launched Guided Missiles

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