Essay Title: 


March 23, 2016 | Author: | Posted in aviation, technology

UAVs and the Future Role They Will Play in Comparison to Modern Day Combat Aircraft

Table of Contents

Page Number Introduction 2

Review of Related Literature and Research 3

A . UAV Defined 4

B . Types of UAV 5

C . Realization of the Importance of UAV 7

D . History of UAV 7

Methodology 24

Study Results 25

Discussion 30

Conclusion 33

Recommendation 34

References 35


The security of the nation is one focus of the leaders due to the increasing danger in [banner_entry_middle]

the international community . The government agencies in different countries are arming themselves with different types of technology on the aim to protect the people . The Armed Forces of the United States is developing one of the technologies with potential in the field of arms

In the armory of the country , the Air Force can be considered as having the highest capability in times of war due to the speed in attaining the target as compared to the land and water forces . In relation to this the technologies that are used by the Air Force are deemed important in maintaining security of the people and the territory

Upon the study of the new technologies in the Air Force , the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles , also referred to as UAVs , are attracting attention The technology involved in the development of such aircraft can be considered as the most advanced in the military

The unmanned aerial vehicles are the group of new technology in the military that can be classified as one of the most important weapons that can be utilized by the aviation group . This technology is also referred to as UAV , drones or even RPVs , remotely piloted vehicles . The potential of the particular type of technology is often disregarded . As a result , although the development of such technology had started through the history , the potentialities of the technology are just being realized ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles , 2006

The realization of the broadening role of UAVs and other related technologies necessitates the further study of the technology and benefits that can be incurred from its utilization . Feasibility of the application can be related to the comparative study on the basis of the modern day combat aircraft . Another reason for the exploration of the capabilities of UAVs is the possible application of new technologies to assist the objectives for security of the nation

The reasons that necessitate the need for technologies in a rapidly developing field of armament are the main point of the study that was conducted . The main objective of the study is to be able to determine the benefits that can be incurred from the UAV technology . The study is on the basis of the status the technology can occupy in comparison with the Combat Aircraft that is presently occupying an important role in the Armed Forces

Review of Related Literature and Research

The determination of the role that UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will play in the future compared to the modern day combat aircraft is deemed important because of the tremendous potential that this kind of technology would bring . The function is essential not only to the Air Force , but to the whole armed forces as well . The application of the technology is finding its way through the different groups that safeguards local and national security

The rapid advance of global technology in the different fields of science has contributed a lot in the development of combat hardware and resources thereby affecting policy decisions and strategic planning of the military hierarchy . The continuous study of the different technologies that can be applied can be considered as an influential factor in the decision making process of the leaders of the state

A . UAV Defined

Being the main issue dealt with in the study conducted the role being played and bound to be acted by the UAV is the main focus The unmanned aerial vehicles are new generation aircraft operating in the absence of a pilot that board the vehicle . It is used by the military for both attack and reconnaissance missions ( Unmanned aerial vehicle ‘ 2006 . The main task of the UAV can be observed to increase in importance through the course of history

The increasing importance of the UAV can be attributed to the diversified role that it can accomplish . The UAV has also been referred to in many different ways such as RPV (remotely piloted vehicle , a robot plane or a drone . The US Department of Defense defines UAVs as powered , aerial vehicles that do not carry a human pilot or operator , use aerodynamic forces to provide the vertical lift , can fly autonomously or be controlled remotely , can be expendable and recoverable , and can carry lethal or nonlethal weapons (Bone Bolkcom 2003 . Although one distinguishing factor of an UAV against an RPV is that the former is capable of flying autonomously which is in contrary with the latter

Another definition of the UAV rises on the basis of its function . UAVs are further defined as a single air vehicle along with the UAV system . The UAV system is an essential part of the UAV and also referred to as the surveillance sensors . There system is commonly composed of three to six vehicles , a ground control station and other support equipment (Bone Bolkcom , 2003

For purposes of this study , the term unmanned aerial vehicle refers to all the definitions above unless otherwise stated . UAV covers the different types of technology that is related . To further determine the specific type of technologies included in the study , there are different types of UAVs on the basis of function and role that it can undertake

B . Types of UAV

Technically , there are five types or classifications of UAVs These classifications are presented although recent developments and the introduction of newer technologies have made some UAVs perform multi-roles . The segregation on the basis of the functions of the UAVs that can be considered as generally performed

The different types if UAV is classified into five major groups . The first type of UAV is called the target and decoy . This UAV ‘s primary function is to provide ground artillery . Another important function is to combat aircraft a target that can simulate an enemy aircraft or missile . This can initiate any attack , thus , the enemy can attack and lead to the determination of the capability of the force . The second type is reconnaissance . This type of UAV is used for gathering and providing intelligence to battlefield commanders during a conflict Some of the more advanced type reconnaissance UAV can provide real-time imagery like the RQ-1 Predator of the US military . Such technology is essential to benefit the force during the war itself . This is due the function that studies the territory to be able to prepare for the fight This technique is in relation to the familiarization of the technology the location and the capability of the enemy . The third type is the combat UAV . Combat UAVs are equipped with weapons that can provide ground and aerial support . The MQ-1 Predator Hunter /Killer is an example of this combat vehicle . The fourth is the research and development which is used to further develop the UAV technologies already deployed and or operational . The fifth type is the civil and commercial UAVs . These are specifically designed and used for civil and commercial applications ( Unmanned aerial vehicle ‘ 2006

The classification of the different types of UAV is on the basis of the basic function and application of the system . The functions vary from surveillance , data gathering and the armory and war applications . This range function that covers the different application in the military system is one of the main reasons for consideration in weaponry development . The purposes of the UAV justify the increasing attention being received by the technology from the militia

Based on the result of the study , most of the UAVs in service are used primarily for reconnaissance purposes . This function provides imagery intelligence , electronic intelligence and streaming video . The information provided by reconnaissance can be used from directing combat aircraft to seek their targets to monitoring enemy troop deployments and movements . However , the US Department of Defense has widened the scope of UAV missions because of its success in recent military campaigns and its ability to perform multiple missions (Bone Bolkcom , 2003 . The feasibility of the technology can be considered as the main reason for considering an increase in the application of UAV in the missions being undertaken by the particular group

C . Realization of the Importance of UAV

UAVs have seen a lot of action for contemporary US military campaigns around the world such as in Kosovo in 1999 Afghanistan in 2001 , and Iraq in 2003 . In all these campaigns , the UAVs proved to be an effective and accurately dependable weapons system . These applications led the Armed Forces to continue the development with the UAV (Bone Bolkcom (2003

Another reason is the need for effective intelligence gathering to combat global terrorism which has contributed to the significant increase in the utilization of UAVs . The demonstration of its effectiveness in recent military conflicts mentioned above made the military leaders realize its many advantages for combat operations thus , lead to the comparison of the UAV technology to the combat tools that are being used

D . History of UAV

Although it is only recently that UAVs have gained prominence because of the promise of its potential , UAVs are in fact part of aviation history for much of its history . One reason that UAVs are only now being given attention is that the technology that is available today simply is not available years ago . The development of the technology in technological skills , methods , tools and machinery can be considered as the main contributing factor for the discovery of the importance of unmanned aerial vehicles

The earliest documented utilization of an unmanned aerial vehicle for war is on Aug . 22 , 1849 . The Austrians , which has conflict and waged war against Italy , used unmanned balloons loaded with explosives to bombard the city of Venice . The balloons were launched from the Austrian warship Vulcano . Since balloons are highly dependent on the course of the wind , several of these balloon explosives were blown back to the Austrian lines although some did reach their intended target ( Remote Piloted , n .d , para . 1 . The concept of using balloons loaded with explosives as a weapon of war may have proved to be unreliable but the concept of using unmanned weapons for war has been born . The unmanned balloons had been the pioneer of the technology of unmanned aerial vehicles . Such utilization became the onset of the present day technology of UAV , which is considered to have a strong potential in the field of military weaponry

Aerial torpedoes , which can be compared to modern day cruise missiles were the first pilotless aircraft that was built . The development of such artillery became the next level in the line of UAV . It was developed around the time of World War I which ended before the aerial torpedoes were completed (Hughes , 1993

In 1916 , the flying bomb ‘ made its first appearance , the first to truly demonstrate the concept of an unmanned aircraft . Gyroscopes were used to control its flight developed by Elmer Sperry of the Sperry Gyroscope Company (Hughes , 1993 . The torpedo flew for 50 miles in several test flights but never saw combat . Another aerial torpedo developed by the US is the Kettering Bug . The concept was the biplane to take off from a wheeled trolley and then detach the wings for the fuselage to dive vertically toward the pre-programmed target ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004

In the 1930s , Britain and the United States gained relative successes with pilotless aircraft which eventually led to the development of radio controlled pilotless target aircraft . Between 1931 and 1935 , the Fairey Queen ‘ radio-controlled target and the DH .82B Queen Bee ‘ were developed by the British . The name came from the De Havilland Tiger Moth biplane trainer . It is believed that the name Queen Bee ‘ was the root word for drone ‘ for radio-controlled pilotless aircraft ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles , 2006

Reginald Denny , who served with the British Royal Flying Corps during World War I , pioneered the first large-scale production of a purpose-built drone . Together with American business partners , he put up the Reginald Denny Hobby Shops selling model planes . Because of his military background , Denny saw the potential of low-cost radio controlled aircraft for the military such as in training anti-aircraft gunners . Eventually , one of his models called the RP-4 was contracted by the military and renamed it OQ-2 Radioplane . Thousands of these drones were manufactured for the US Army during World War II ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles , 2006 . The development of UAV followed the path of these machines

It was also in the 1930s that the US Navy first began its experiments with radio-controlled aircraft . The first to come out of these experiments is the Curtiss N2C-2 ‘ drone unveiled in 1937 . During World War II , obsolescent aircraft were used as target drones known as the A-series ‘ targets . The A ‘ code is used to denote an Attack ‘ aircraft while full-sized targets were designated as PQ The US Army Air Force acquired hundreds of Culver PQ 8 ‘ target drones used during World War II ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles 2006

During the last days of World War II , Germany unveiled the Fieseler Fi-103 , more commonly known as the V-1 . The V-1 was launched using long catapult-like ramp and flew at 470 mph . It was powered by a thrust pulsejet carrying a 2 ,000-pound warhead . It was pre-programmed to fly 150 miles before dropping its bomb ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004 . The V-1 is considered the precursor of modern-day rockets and missiles launched from the ground or better known as the ground-to-air missiles The technology is also considered as in line with the development of the UAV due to fact that the V-1 can be programmed , which is comparable to the feature of UAV . This led to the development of a technology that can counteract the V-1

In relation to the V-1 threat , the US Navy ‘s Special Air Unit One (SAU-1 ) developed a method using airplane bombers such as the PBAY-1 Liberators and B-17s loaded with 25 ,000 pounds of explosives to fly by remote with the use of television guidance systems . The two-man crew would fly the plane up to 2 ,000 feet and target the V-1 launch sites before bailing out . Those operations proved successful in crippling the V-1s ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004 . Germany ‘s use of the deadly V-1 at the latter end of World War II convinced many in the US military to start laying the groundwork more extensively for post-war UAV programs (Bone Bolkcom , 2003 . The method that was used in this particular case in Germany became the main driving force for the development of the forerunners of the present UAV

Other forms of technology that can be related to the development of the UAV were developed through the history . After World War II , the Navy continued to commission pulsejet-powered target such as the KD2C Skeet series that was built by Curtiss . It was a machine shaped like a cigar with the pulsejet located in the fuselage and intake in the nose Besides the pulsejet-powered drones , the US military commissioned piston-powered target drones including the OQ-19 /KD2R Quail , the MQM-33 /MQM-36 Shelduck and the MGM-57 Falconer . These were later designated as the Basic Training Target or BTT . The BTTs remained in the US military until the 20th century ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles , 2006

It was during the Korean and Vietnam wars that UAVs started gaining recognition and started to be integrated into military programs and its uses expanded . These countries became involved in the development of their own technology . In relation to this become an influence to other countries as well . Development in technology commonly becomes a trend in the international community ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles 2006

By the late 1950s , combat aircraft were already capable of Mach 2 speed . Consequently , faster targets had to be developed to keep pace with the advancement in manned aircraft . Northrop designed a turbojet-powered Mach 2 target , designated the Q-4 later changed to AQM-35 . It was designed like a slender dart with wedge-shaped wings and a GE J85 turbojet engine , the same engine used for the F-5 fighter ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles , 2006 . This serves as evidence in the continuous success in the development of the UAV

With the success of drones as targets , the US military started to modify these drones to be used for other missions . This development raised the development of UAV into a higher level . This is the accomplishment of an assignment through remote control

The application of the program was conducted in 1960 . It is the time when the US Air Force launched its first stealth aircraft program . Air Force engineers modified the combat UAVs to adapt to a new role . This new function is the reconnaissance . The radar signature of the jet-powered Q-2C Firebee was reduced by fitting a specially designed screen over the engine ‘s air intake , placing radar-absorbing blankets on the fuselage covering the aircraft with a newly developed anti-radar paint . The modified aircraft was designated the AQM-34 Ryan Firebee During operations , the Firebee is controlled from a DC-130 director aircraft and after flying on a mission , the UAV is directed to recovery area previously plotted to be safe . The UAV is then picked up by helicopter after deploying its parachute to touch land ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004

The Firebee continued to undertake reconnaissance and covert surveillance missions during the Vietnam War and other part of Southeast Asia as well . The Firebee were further utilized in daytime and nighttime surveillance and leaflet-dropping missions . One of the Firebee ‘s most important surveillance operations is radar detection of surface-to-air missiles over North Vietnam and China ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004 . Such function can be considered as one of the most important function in the security of the nation , the main goal of the armed forces

Because of the Firebee ‘s success rate of missions flown during the Vietnam War , UAVs further gained notice and recognition among the military hierarchy . Military strategists recognized the UAVs versatility and were starting to look for other ways that the UAVs maximum potential could be utilized . Eventually , the Firebee was modified to deliver payloads . It flew its first flight test as an armed UAV on Dec . 20 , 2002 (Bone Bolkcom , 2003

The advent of the Cold War emphasized the need for a more reliable high-quality reconnaissance images . In 1960 , Gary Powers flying his U-2 spy plane was shot down over Russia . The incident elicited uproar from the Russian government and generated an international crisis . The incident also brought embarrassment to the US government . The mishap convinced the Central Intelligence Agency that an unmanned aerial vehicle that is invulnerable to attack should be considered seriously ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004

The government tasked Lockheed to develop a high-speed ultra-stealth UAV . The result is the single D-21 UAV launched in 1965 The Mach 4 aircraft , the fastest so far developed for an UAV was carried on the back of a manned Lockheed M-12 aircraft . When released , the D-21 ‘s maximum range is 3 ,000 miles and operated at a height of 80 ,000 feet . It was covered with plastic anti-radar coating developed also by Lockheed which is the precursor to the outer skin of the modern Lockheed F-117 Stealth Fighter and B-2 Stealth Bomber . The D-21 project proved to be disastrous . Three times it failed to complete a mission and its fourth flight resulted in a crash , sinking at an undisclosed location Eventually , the D-21 project was shelved ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004

After the D-21 debacle , an RC-121 communications monitoring intelligence aircraft was shot down over the Yellow Sea . All of its crew died in the crash . The tragedy spurred the US military to develop new UAVs suited for communications monitoring intelligence which can fly at very high altitude and out of range of hostile missiles . Ryan Aeronautical produced the Ryan Special Purpose Aircraft or SPA 147 capable of intercepting enemy radio messages and take photographs above 60 ,000 feet . Such capability was deemed necessary to be able to detect any danger in flight . Additionally , the SPA 147 was capable of flying for eight hours straight with a 300-pound camera . It was the first UAV used for intelligence gathering at high altitude ( Timeline of UAVs 2004

In the late 1970s and into the 1980s , the Israelis pioneered several UAVs that were used during operations in Lebanon in 1982 . Israel Aircraft Industries built the Scout , a piston-engine aircraft . The scout emitted low radar signature and is small in size making it almost impossible to be shot down . Several Scouts were used by Israel to draw out Syrian missile sites by tricking them to activate their radars . Israeli bombers swooped in and destroyed all the Syrian missile sites missing only two ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004

Because of successful utilization by Israelis of the UAV technology , US observers were impressed and eventually , joint development of UAVs between Israeli and US industries were conducted This also marked the transition of the United States view of UAVs from experimental projects to acquisition programs (Bone Bolkcom , 2003 The action again marked the need for the UAV technology

One of the UAVs that the US government acquired from Israel is the Pioneer . The Pioneer proved to be useful , providing useful intelligence at the tactical level during Operation Desert Storm (Bone Bolkcom , 2003 . The purchase of 20 Pioneers by the US Navy , Marines and Army became the first small and inexpensive light UAVs in the modern US military forces ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004

Figure 1 . The Pioneer and its parts

Source (Pioneer UAV , 2002

The Pioneer is a rocket-boosted UAV which takes off from runways on land or flight decks of aircraft carries . The Pioneer proved to be very effective in working with the US Air Force ‘s Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar Systems . Its primary role is to confirm high-priority mobile targets using the synthetic aperture radar (SAR ) from other aircraft . The Pioneer is still being used today both in Israel and in the United States ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004

The 1990s ushered in the proliferation of UAV models that are more advanced from their predecessors . Several countries have also produced their own UAVs either for combat or reconnaissance purposes . The United States , after recognizing the importance of UAVs , has been in the forefront in the development of this technology

The Firebird 2001 is another Israeli innovation . It is remote controlled and can deliver real-time and highly accurate information regarding a wildfire ‘s size , speed , perimeter and movement . US scientists are currently testing the Firebird for use in fire management ( Timeline of UAVs , 2004 Figure 2 . A Firebird , one of the UAV innovations

Source (PBS , 2006

Probably the most advanced of all the UAVs in the US military arsenal is the MQ-1 Predator . The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude , long endurance remote controlled aircraft . Its primary function is conducting armed reconnaissance against hostile targets . The MQ-1 ‘s secondary mission is surveillance and target acquisition ( MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle , 2005 . Due the advanced features of the system , it is already capable of a multitude of tasks

Figure 3 : A Look Inside the Predator : the placement of components and its intended functions . Source (Valdes , 2006


Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR ) Antenna

Inertial Navigation System /GPS

Ku-Band Satellite Communications Antenna

Video Cassette Rec

GPS Antennas (Left and Right

APX-100 Identification Friend or Foe Transponder

Ku-Band Satellite Communications Sensor Processor Modem Assembly

C-Band Upper Omnidirectional Antenna Bracket

Forward Fuel Cell Assembly

Aft Fuel Cell Assembly

Accessory Bay

Engine Cooling Fan

Oil Cooler /Radiator

914F Engine

Tail Servo (Left and Right

Battery Assembly 2

Power Supply

Battery Assembly 1

Aft Equipment Bay Tray

Secondary Control Module

Synthetic Aperture Radar Processor /AGM-114 Electronics Assembly

Primary Control Module

Front Bay Avionics Tray

ARC-210 Receiver /Transmitter

Flight Sensor Unit

Video Encoder

De-ice Controller

Electro-Optical /Infrared Sensor /AN /AAS-52 (V )1 Electronics Assembly

Front Bay Payload Tray

Ice Detector

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR ) Receiver /Transmitter

Nose Camera Assembly

The MQ-1 is controlled by a crew miles away from the actual theater of combat . The Predator has different variations such as the RQ-1 and the MQ-1 Hunter /Killer . The RQ-1 is the reconnaissance model of the Predator UAV equipped with the most sophisticated monitoring equipment available today . It can relay real-time image of enemy positions as well as troop and vehicle movements . With this kind of information , field commanders in the field of battle are afforded to make fast and reliable decisions about the enemy ( How the Predator UAV Works , n .d

Figure 4 . Illustration shows a fully operational system consisting of four Predators , a ground control station that houses the pilots and sensor operators and the primary satellite-link communication suite Text and Image from howstuffworks .com (2004

Source (Valdes , 2006

The Hunter /Killer version is loaded with two Hellfire missiles and MTS or the Multispectral Targeting System . The MTS includes the AGM-114 Hellfire missile targeting system , infrared system , laser designator and laser illuminator . With all of these components , the operators of the Predator MQ-1 are provided with multiple ways to lock on a target in any combat environment . This makes the Hunter /Killer a deadly automated combatant capable of inflicting large amount of the damage on enemy targets (Valdes , n .d

The Predator has been widely utilized together with manned combat aircraft and to provide air support to ground forces in several US military campaigns in the Middle East . Control on the ground consist of technical and support personnel with designated tasks and functions The full complement of 82 personnel is needed for the whole system to run successfully . This unit can handle the 4 aircraft for 24-hour surveillance within a 400-nautical-mile radius from the ground control station (Valdes , n .d

The Predators are under the 11th , 15th and 17th Reconnaissance Squadrons in Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field in Nevada ( MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle , 2005

Another UAV that the US military developed is the Global Hawk . The Global Hawk provides Air Force and the joint commands in the battlefield near-real-time and high resolution intelligence , surveillance and reconnaissance images . More than 15 ,000 images were provided by the Air Force for the joint commanders in support of Operation Enduring Freedom logging in more than 50 missions and 1 ,000 combat hours to date ( MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle , 2005

The Global Hawk flies at very high altitudes and can survey large geographic areas with incredibly pinpoint accuracy providing the most up-to-date information and enemy dispositions and resources . Mission parameters are programmed into the Global Hawk and the UAV can do everything autonomously from take off to landing or remain in the air transmitting valuable images . The ground control team monitors the UAV status and can change navigation and sensor plans during flight ( MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle , 2005

The Global Hawk is capable of cruising at 340 knots and has a range as far as 12 ,000 nautical miles at an altitude of 65 ,000 feet . More than fifty percent of its components are of lightweight , high-strength composite materials . The Global Hawk is capable of penetrating cloud formations because of its Synthetic Aperture Radar /Ground Moving Target Indicator ‘ and electro-optical and infrared sensors ( MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle , 2005 . In comparison with the early technology related to UAV , this can be considered as one of the advance technologies

A new version of the Global Hawk is in development . It is called the Block 20 and touted to be capable of carrying fifty percent more payload compared to the original . The Block 20 is also being designed to accommodate new communications and sensors equipment to enhance its capability .Figure 5 . The prerequisite for operation and the physical appearance of the Global Hawk

Source (Pike , n .d

The US Department of Defense in the government agency that is in charge of procurement and overall supervision of all unmanned aerial vehicles in the military . Currently , the Department of Defense has five major UAVs under its command . These are the Air Force ‘s Predator and Global Hawk , the Navy and Marine Corps ‘ Pioneer and the Army ‘s Hunter and Shadow (Bone Bolkcom , 2003 . These are to be utilized for different objectives by the armed forces

Today , several countries around the world have developed or are developing their own UAVs for military and civilian purposes . The countries known to posses UAVs in their arsenal are China , France Germany , Greece , India , Israel , Iran , Italy , Japan , Jordan , Pakistan South Africa , Russia , Switzerland , Turkey , United Kingdom and the United States ( Unmanned aerial vehicle ‘ 2006

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also uses UAVs in their peacekeeping and intelligence operations . Among the countries that use UAVs , the United States has the most number of models in service as well as in the experimental stage

Some UAV models around the world are the WZ-2000 of the People ‘s Republic of China , the Top I Vision Casper 250 of Israel , the Sperwer of France , the Mheger 3 and 4 of Iran , the HAI Pegasus of Greece , the Global Hawk and Pioneer of the United States ( Unmanned aerial vehicle ‘ 2006 . The Predator and Pioneer UAV models are a joint program between the United States and Israel

The tremendous potential in terms of effectiveness and cost-saving advantages that UAVs are seen to deliver , countries around the world are pouring in more resources in money and technological investment in UAV-related programs . The purpose of this study is to determine the whether the UAVs will play an important part in the future of aero technology and how will the UAVs perform in comparison to modern day combat aircraft


This study was performed by conducting extensive research to arrive at a justifiable conclusion in answering the main question of the . The researcher gathered numerous materials regarding the unmanned aerial vehicle , its early history beginning in the middle of the 1800s up to the present and its foreseeable role in the future

There are a lot of material sources that was available to the researcher that contributed to the success and the completion of this study Research materials that were available came from magazine and news articles , books , journal and report articles and the Internet

The researcher also visited a number of libraries to peruse on the subject to help in the writing process . Some bookstores also served as sources of great reading materials for the researcher . The abundance of resources is overwhelming which is why it became necessary for the researcher to focus only on a few materials

Because of the huge amount of resources and materials available regarding the study , the researcher decided to limit to use one to three major sources and other minor sources so as to make the more tight and concise . The materials that were used as basis for this study mostly came from research using the Internet . The Internet became the most viable source of material for the researcher because of its almost unlimited database regarding the study . Another benefit that can be incurred in using the Internet as a source in the research project is the real time update of the data and resources

The researcher also consulted interviews published on the Internet on military personnel who have first-hand experiences on unmanned aerial vehicles . These interviews were partly contributory to the researcher ‘s conclusion and recommendation

Through the methods applied and the actions undertaken through the course of the study , the goal of the research process was achieved in relation to the objective of the study

Study Results

Based on the collected data from different sources and materials used in this study , the unmanned aerial vehicle promises a great potential for the military in terms of aerial technology with less cost . The main consideration in the potential of the UAV for application in the military is the fact that the group of developed aircraft covers a variety of uses . In fact the UAV can be applied on diverse purposes

The application of the SUV covers the different aspects of application One of the groups acts as target and decoy . It can also function to provide ground artillery and to combat aircraft that can a target for enemy to initiate attack . This can give out the positions and the capability of the opposing group . Another function of the UAV is reconnaissance for intelligence to battlefield commanders . This will enable the group to know the subsequent action in a war . Development in technology has developed a system that can generate real-time communication that even included images . After the study of the capability of the opposing forces , the function related to the combat is the next function of the UAV . This is in relation to the main goals of the developer , to be able to be applied in the military for national security . To able to further develop the technology on UAV , research and development of new innovation are undertaken . Observation can be made both on the trial flights while further improvement can be seen in the practical application ( Unmanned aerial vehicle ‘ 2006

The differences of the diversity and variety of the make-up of the UAV can be observed in comparison with the aircraft that is widely being used . This is referred to as the modern day combat aircraft . The structure can be seen in the figure

Figure 3 . The F-15 combat aircraft diagram . The F-15 has all the elements of a regular jet . The main difference lies in its twin engines .Source (Valdes , 2006

Aside from diverse functions that can be attributed to the UAV , there are other benefits in the utilization of the technology . The utilization of the UAV can be deemed as an important technology in the armed forces due to the fact that the application and even the testing of pioneer and prototype modes does required the participation of a human pilot . This is due to the fact that the system can be operated remotely . In times of battle , the risking lives of the assigned pilots will not be necessary ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles , 2006

In terms of the size , another important feature of the UAV is continuously decreasing the size to be able to maneuver with ease and can avoid being detected . Another function of this feature is the fact that although the UAV can be detected , there is a low probability that it can be a target of the enemy ( History of unmanned aerial vehicles , 2006

Although the diversity of the functions of the UAV , the increasing strife and unease of the international community is paving the way to the concentration of the applications of the UAV technology to combat and battles

That the UAV is gaining acceptance not only from the military hierarchy but from enlisted personnel as well . Ground combat troops who before doubted the capability of UAVs are now more appreciative of its value This is upon the observation after witnessing the performance of Predators in action first-hand

The technology is being appreciated by the different groups especially the military that are bound to utilize any further development of the system due to the different UAV that had been developed . The Pioneer in 1985 that can operate and convey images to the control area is one of the important UAV . It has the capacity to observe a 185 kilometers area . This particular technology is being utilized by the US Navy . The tactical UAV works on a real-time image relay . It works on a 200 kilometer area . Another is the Hunter (Joint Tactical UAV . It is involved on a land and maritime group application in the military . It has 200 – 300 kilometer coverage (Pike , 2005

The latest development on the other hand includes the Medium Altitude Endurance UAV , which is also referred to as Predator . It is being used by the US Air Force since 1996 with 500 nautical miles capability Another is the High Altitude Endurance UAV or the Global Hawk (Pike 2005

The most recent groups are the Tactical Control Station (TCS ) with communication links for controlling the TUAV , MAE-UAV , and other future tactical UAV ‘s and communicate with C4I systems . The Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (MAV ) is a new project that is aimed to have very small aircrafts to perform the tasks (Pike , 2005

Other result of the study that was conducted supports the notion of the probable major role that the UAV can occupy in the society and the government . The UAV is the wave of the future in terms of modern air combat . The US Department of Defense is mapping up plans specifically programmed for the advancement of the UAVs . Several models are in the pipeline with varying and expanded roles

In the comparative study of the UAV technology with the standard combat plane revealed certain concepts . On of these benefits is having smaller platform . This is due to the fact that no human occupies the space . In relation to this , the production of such aircrafts can be cost effective . This can mean smaller size and less cost incurred , thus , it can be considered as cost effective (Chang , Dixon , and Wickens , 2005

Another benefit of the UAV over aircrafts that needs a pilot is the fact that it can extend and work efficiently through a longer period of time . This can be explained by the needs of the pilot in terms of food and other necessities . Man can limit the performance of the aircraft thus , this is considered as one of the most important benefit that can be incurred from UAV . In addition , there is less danger for the pilot due to the fact that it is being controlled remotely and security is increased (Chang , Dixon , and Wickens , 2005

Another advantage of UAV over the aircraft that requires a pilot is the control that can be done from the station . Greater maneuvering is also possible without the man on board . This can also lessen the fatality of members of the Air Force (Chang , Dixon , and Wickens , 2005

That the UAV can , in the future , replace manned combat aircraft Already , combat pilots are being shifted to flying UAVs . Initial feedback from enlisted men has been favorable


Since the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles in the modern environment , debates have sparked on whether which is more effective between the UAV and the manned combat aircraft . While manned combat aircraft have proven to be a reliable and effective weapon of war since fires seeing action in World War I , the tremendous potential of unmanned aircraft cannot be ignored

Inflicting great damage to the enemy while at the same time minimizing the risk of casualties and resources as much as possible is the main argument for the unmanned aerial vehicle . The idea of sending attack aircraft piloted by aviator miles away from the actual combat into enemy strongholds and destroying targets with precision accuracy is another argument in favor of UAVs

Putting arguments aside , the US government through the Department of National Defense has put a premium on the future of unmanned aerial vehicles and has invested a lot to research and development as well as manufacture of these UAVs

As a result , investment in unmanned aerial vehicle projects has been increasing annually . With more funds to invest in research and development , more upcoming models are being developed by the military Some of these include the joint efforts between the Air Force and the Navy working on an unmanned combat air vehicle , the Navy ‘s vertical takeoff and landing UAV or VTUAV , the broad area maritime surveillance UAV and the Marine Corps ‘ Dragon Eye and Dragon Warrior

As new designs are being developed , the UAV ‘s role is becoming more and more complex and all-around . In the future , unmanned aerial vehicle designed for air-to-air combat is not farfetched . Already , the Department of Defense is experimenting on this role for the UAV Designing UAVs with sensors and weapons that are needed to conduct air-to-air missions are on the table

In fact , there has been a report during the war on Iraq that a Predator engaged an Iraqi MiG combat aircraft . The Predator was able to launch its Stinger air-to-air missile before being shot down by the MiG Although the encounter resulted in the shooting down of the Predator the engagement proved to be significant . Aerial combat is often described as the most challenging for a manned aircraft which some argue that a UAV cannot accomplish (Bone Bolkcom , 2003

This bit of episode proved that with further development , the Predator or other unmanned aerial vehicle designed specifically for air-to-air combat is feasible

The Department of Defense is also considering designing unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering 4 ,000 pounds of payload at an altitude of 70 ,000 feet . The role of these UAVs would be to serve as surveillance machines able to spot incoming hostile missiles or aircraft . This idea is borne out of the September 11 terrorist attacks . To prevent hostile aircraft or missiles into the country , the DOD is formulating a plan that will put UAVs specifically to spot these kinds of terror attacks It is hoped that by 2010 , an operational system would be in place and be put under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security

Other future designs for the UAV are being developed with its mission parameters primarily focused on offensive orientation such as striking and destroying enemy air defenses . Aside from unmanned aircraft designs the military is also developing helicopters called the unmanned combat armed rotorcraft

Predator innovations have also improved its attack capability by fitting it with more firepower in the form of eight Hellfire missiles instead of only two

There are also studies for UAVs to take on the role of aerial refueling commonly performed by KC-10 and KC-135 tanker aircraft . Some planners believe that unmanned aircraft is suitable for this kind of task

On the personnel side , UAVs are gaining the acceptance of enlisted personnel with varying degrees of approval . Based on the reactions of personnel tasked to operate UAVs , many are satisfied with the performance of these aircraft . Some crew is elated to be working for such an advanced type of technology and actually participate in combat while sitting at the relative safety of their command vehicles

Initial problems encountered regarding the personnel is persuading pilots of combat aircraft such as the F-15 and other attack aircraft to shift to flying the Predator . The Air Force leadership is making efforts to encourage these pilots to piloting UAVs

The rapid advance of technology and the endless possibilities available make the UAV ‘s role for the future more important


From the results of this study , it is clear that the future of the UAV as an all-around combat vehicle is a possibility . With more research and technological advances , it is possible that the UAV may well replace manned combat aircraft in the future

The advantages of unmanned aerial vehicle against manned combat aircraft are numerous . First , UAVs cost less to produce than a manned combat aircraft . Second is the risk of being shot down . If a UAV is shot down , the military can just assemble another one and be ready to fly in just minutes while if a manned combat aircraft is shot down , the risk of the pilot being killed and /or captured is high . With combat UAVs , casualties in war could be reduced tremendously . Also , the government can save a lot from training future manned combat aircraft pilots . The present roster of pilots can be convinced to become UAV aviators with just the right motivation and encouragement


The study recommends that further development of the UAV be continued The advantages that the particular technology can bring about can be essential for future application and utilization . It is also recommended that the most advance technology be applied to the programs involved in developing these UAVs . In such case , the safety and security in its application can be achieved though in-depth research using the most advanced machinery and techniques

The advantages that UAVs could deliver cannot be ignored so it is important that all the government agencies involved work together to ensure the success of all UAV-related programs . Also , the public needs vigilance to be able to direct the agencies involve in the development of the technology in cases wherein objective diverge from the main goal of securing the nation


Bone , E Bolkcom , C (2003 . Unmanned Aerial Vehicles : Issues and Background for Congress . Retrieved on August 24 , 2006 , from http /www .fas .org /irp /crs

RL31872 .pdf

Chang , D , Dixon , S . and Wickens , C (2005 . Mission Control of Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles : A Workload Analysis . Human Factors , 47 (3 , 479

History of unmanned aerial vehicles . Wikipedia Website . Retrieved on August 24 , 2006 fromhttp /en .wikipedia .org /wiki /History_of_unmanned_aerial_vehicles

Hughes , T .P (1993 . Elmer Sperry : Inventor and Engineer (Johns Hopkins Studies in theHistory of Technology . The Johns Hopkins University Press Reprint edition

MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle . Af .mil .com . Retrieved on August 26 , 2006 from http /www .af .mil /factsheets /factsheet .asp ?id 122

PBS (2006 . Firebird . PBS Website . Retrieved on August 29 , 2006 from http /www .pbs .org /wgbh /nova /spiesfly /uavs_15 .html

Pike , J (2005 . RQ-4A Global Hawk (Tier II HAE UAV . FAS Website . Retrieved on August 29 , 2006 from http /www .fas .org /irp /program /collect /global_hawk .htm

Pioneer UAV (2002 . PUAV Website . Retrieved on August 29 , 2006 from http /www .puav .com /home .asp

Remote Piloted Aerial Vehicles : An Anthology . Monash .edu Retrieved on August 23 , 2006 from http /www .ctie .monash .edu .au /hargrave /rpav_home .html

Timeline of UAVs . Pbs .org . Retrieved on August 25 , 2006 from http /www .pbs .org /wgbh /nova /wartech /uavs .html

Unmanned aerial vehicles . Wikipedia .org . Retrieved on August 23 2006 from http /en .wikipedia .org /wiki /Unmanned_aerial_vehicle

Valdes , R (2006 . How the Predator UAV Works . How Stuff Works Website . Retrieved on August 26 , 2006 from http /science .howstuffworks .com /predator .htm


PAGE 1 … [banner_entry_footer]



This author has published 9190 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.

Comments are closed.