New missions seen for Army UAVs in 2009

December 14th, 2008  

Topic: New missions seen for Army UAVs in 2009

New missions seen for Army UAVs in 2009

By Kris Osborn - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Dec 12, 2008 16:16:14 EST
The Army will dispatch UAVs to new missions in 2009, including new counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts in Africa and South America and stepped-up initiatives in Afghanistan, service UAV managers said.
“We think that the next big issue will involve a combination of AfriCom and SouthCom mission sets that will differ somewhat from the missions we now have in the CentCom area of responsibility,” said Tim Owings, deputy project manager for Army unmanned aerial systems. “We will look at surveillance situations in a jungle.”
Sensor payloads and electronics will be adjusted to scan different kinds of terrain.
In addition, the Army plans to extend efforts to link UAVs, ground controllers and helicopters. Using a common UAV control protocol and a software system called Tactical Common Data Link, the Army can increasingly move information between UAVs, UAV operators and nearby helicopters.
“I think you are going to see a variety of new capabilities exploited. You can link manned sensors and manned attack sensors up with unmanned platforms. With that construct comes the ability for interoperability,” Owings said.
“We will increasingly be able to take software models from a Shadow [UAV] and reuse those capabilities” with Army Black Hawk and Kiowa helicopters, he said.


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