Category Archives: Unmanned Tech Solutions

Growing Solar Energy

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The U.S, Army has stood up a new solar farm project at Ft. Stewart, GA, in an effort to test the impact renewable energy has on day-to-day operations.

by Dennis Bohannon

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Holistic Training: Shaping the Whole Operator

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U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Ft. Bragg, NC are trained to operate in highly challenging environments, with no support or friendly forces.

By LTC Joseph Long and Janice Burton

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Aerosonde: At Work in any Latitude

UAV Aerosonde Antartica

How UAS can assist non-military projects regardless of conditions.

By George Jagels

Textron Systems’ Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has logged tens of thousands of hours for the U.S. military. The “Group II” system, weighing between 50 and 75 pounds at takeoff, is launched expeditiously either on top of a vehicle or by catapult and recovered through a net or belly landing. Aerosonde, according to Textron, is the only unmanned aircraft in its class using an FAA-certified manufacturer (Lycoming) to make its engine. (more…)

Access Granted

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Unmanned Surface Vessels Counter the Threat of Mines

By George Jagels

The U.S. Navy’s most talked about acquisition program, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), is, at $500 million per vessel, relatively inexpensive for a modern warship. With a crew ranging in size from 50 to 88, the LCS is designed to control coastal areas with speed, diverse mission packages, and shallow draft that destroyers and cruisers lack. Littorals, however, can be very dangerous, and U.S. adversaries are adjusting their strategies to deny access to them. Regardless of the LCS’ lower cost and smaller crew, the Navy does not want to put ships at risk in the face of asymmetric threats.

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Northern Exposure: The Future of Unmanned Systems in the Arctic

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Will AUVs and UAVs help open the earth’s northern reaches?

By K. Joseph Spears

The Arctic is one of the world’s last remaining frontiers. Though mapped long ago, much about this massive area remains unknown. For example, only ten percent of Canadian Arctic waters are charted to modern hydrographic standards. Scientists know more about the physical characteristics of the moon and Mars than about the waters of the planet and of the Arctic, in particular.

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Managing the Transition: Matching Army Robotics Force Structure and Strategy

LTC Stuart Hatfield Army RoboticsLieutenant Colonel Stuart Hatfield is the Robotics Branch Chief, Dominant Maneuver Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, Department of the Army in the Pentagon, where he manages the Army’s $800 million budget for Robotics and Unmanned Ground Systems. LTC Hatfield is the Army Staff lead integrator for Unmanned Ground Systems, and he co-chairs the Joint Staff Unmanned Ground Systems Integrated Product Team to synchronize concepts, requirements, technology, and standards for remote and autonomous systems across the Department of Defense. LTC Hatfield was honored by the National Defense Industrial Association as the 2012 Ground Robotics Champion.

Interview by UTS Editor George Jagels

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Synthetic Aperture Radar: Seeing Through The Clouds

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By Mark Ellsworth, Media Manager, IMSAR LLC, and Curtis Thomas, External Communications, IMSAR LLC

It’s tomorrow. The rain has been falling for hours, showing no signs of relenting. The town’s river, already full from a wetter-than-usual spring, has begun to overtop its banks and the preventative levees.  (more…)

Progress Through Versatility

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Will Optionally Piloted Vehicles Change the UAV Market?

By George Jagels

In April 2014, The Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced successful demonstrations of its Autonomous Aerial Cargo and Utility System (AACUS). This open architecture platform is designed to enable new and legacy rotary aircraft to launch rapidly “from sea and land, fly in high/hot environments, and autonomously detect and negotiate precision landing sites in potentially hostile settings,” according to ONR.

Short-term, ONR’s goal for AACUS is to provide reliable resupply. Long-term, the system will be used for casualty evacuation by an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) in poor weather.

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Coordination from the Cloud

A New Solution Fuses Intelligence and Operations

By George Jagels

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Evermore capable, advanced, and expensive systems and software have proliferated in modern militaries. A November 2013 essay in Small Wars Journal by three Army officers, however, hit on an important paradox: Does it matter how capable a program is if it is too difficult to use? They were writing about the suite of Army Battle Command Systems, which have come under criticism from lawmakers and soldiers for their “atrocious user interface and poor, almost non-existent interoperability,” but the authors’ sentiment touches on a wider issue of managing information and the helpful but complicated array of systems on the battlefield.

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Objective: Rapid Results

How the Air Force is Using Quickly Deployable Predator teams to Achieve Success

By George Jagels

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Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) have supported U.S. forces in major overseas operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Millions of hours have been flown by medium altitude long endurance (MALE) platforms such as the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper in support of ground troops, intelligence gathering missions, and precision strike operations. Just as the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review predicted, the demand for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) continues to rise, yet these platforms are slated for budget reductions.

The Air Force FY 15 budget cuts the number of combat air patrols from 65 to 55 while eventually phasing out the MQ-1. The U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan accounts for some of this decrease, as does a different mission set for the Asia-Pacific region, where airspace will likely be less favorable to slow, defenseless RPAs.

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