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Requirements Driven UAV Development

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Conference paper

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Over the past 5 years Advanced Ceramics Research ACR has established itself in the USA as a persistent producer of Tier II class UAVs with 2 gasoline systems in production and 1 electric sonobuoy launched system under development. The Tier II designation as defined by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps typically refers to a short range tactical UAV with less than 12 hours flight duration and an operational altitude of around 15,000 feet. The U.S. Army has an equivalent Tier II designation that applies to the RQ-7 Shadow with a 12 wingspan. Our approach in manufacturing these small UAVs has been to automate their operation and to provide a robust system that can be used directly by the operator war fighter or scientist with the minimum of training. To achieve this goal, ACR has had to work closely with the end users to both define the requirements of operation and to continuously modify the capability. As a relatively new tool for science and in the battlefield, UAV requirements are continuously being redefined as operators realize the available capabilities and manufactures constantly upgrade existing systems. This paper will start by briefly introducing the product UAVs - Silver Fox, Manta and Coyote - and will address the development of specific components - launch, ground station, recovery and water based operations - based on the lessons learned from operating with the user and tailoring the system to meet their requirements. The Silver Fox and Manta have recently been certified for military use. Two case studies will be discussed 1 The integration of Silver Fox and Manta UAVs into NSCT1 littoral operations will be discussed with a focus on their operation from the Stiletto experimental hull vessel. 2 Selection of the Manta UAV by the Scripps Institute and operation in the Maldives to collect climate data in support of the International Atmospheric Brown Cloud project on Global Dimming.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Ceramics, Refractories and Glass

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