By Kalwinder Kaur
The 2012 U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD's) budget shows that the unmanned aerial systems (UASs) market represents $5.25 B, as the Air Force utilizes more UAS than all the other U.S. military services. In 2012, the Air Force uses majority of the $2.42 B for purchasing the MQ-9 Predator.
New research analysis from Frost & Sullivan's DoD Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) represents that the DoD UAS market were specifically awarded with $3.78 B of government contracts during FY 2011. Majority of contracts were awarded to RQ-4 UASs, MQ-9, and ER/MP MQ-1 Gray Eagle.
The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) states that U.S. forces ought to be involved in continued development of defenses as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities so that non-state actors cannot access the information operations and advanced technologies. This effort will be directed by UASs.
Further, 24 countries have been red-flagged by a Defense Science Board Task Force report, ‘Counterinsurgency (COIN) ISR Operations’. These countries may cause COIN challenges to the United States. UAS assets are necessary for COIN operations.
Data transfer-based technical issues like bandwidth usage, communications security, and spectrum management are still being unresolved by the UASs. In order to bring the cross-channel interference to low level, DoD UAS platforms need to receive or encrypt and transmit the data across dedicated frequency spectrums.
The combination of frequency bands with size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements remain a challenge. The range and bandwidth capabilities of communications between ISR platforms and their end users will be impacted.
UAS manufacturers’ potential areas include automatic flight-control systems; data-exploitation efficiencies; sense-and-avoid technologies; communications solutions; redundant sensor/control systems; and total systems integration.
DoD Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is a division of Defense Growth Partnership Services program.