USAF presentation on future of drones (RPA)

Click image to see full presentation (note may take a while to download)

Last week I posted two presentations by the RAF on British drones. Here is a presentation by Dr Mark Maybury, USAF Chief Scientist on the future development of USAF drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) as he prefers to call them.  The presentation was given at a conference in Indiana in September 2011.

Highlights from the presentation include:

  • The USAF currently flies 54 Combat Air Patrols per day using drones
  • It takes 168 people to run a Predator drone Combat Air Patrol and 300 for a Global Hawk.  Hence the push for greater autonomy for drones.
  • Predicts ultra-long endurance drones that will stay aloft for years and “large airships containing football field size radars giv[ing] extreme resolution / persistence”
  • Advocates for greater autonomy for drones and suggests that in the future the operator will only decide the “mission intent and constraints” and leave it up to the drone to find the best (and I quote)  “execution path”
  • Researchers working on best way to control multiple drones so they can act as “single coordinated unit to meet mission need”
  •  Tiny micro drones “open up new opportunities for close-in sensing in urban areas”

To view full presentation click on the image above.

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