Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Roadmap Report
(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
(UAV) Roadmap Report. Also Participating: Maj. Jim McCormick with
the Office of the ASD (C3I).)
Staff: Good morning.
This morning we have Mr. Dyke Weatherington, the deputy to the
UAV Planning Task Force. He's here to discuss the recent release
of the UAV Roadmap, which lays out the development and use of
unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned air combat vehicles over
the next 25 years. The electronic version of the roadmap is on
the DOD website, and it's listed in your press advisory.
Also, Air Combat Command
at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, would be happy
to make every attempt to arrange interviews for the media with
UAV pilots who are available. If you'll see Cheryl Irwin in the
press office after the briefing, she'll be happy to give you the
phone number for that.
I will now turn the
podium over to you.
morning. I'm Dyke Weatherington, deputy, Office of the Secretary
of Defense, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Planning Task Force. And today
I have the privilege of announcing the release of the department's
2002 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Roadmap. And as you've heard, you've
been given the website and URL where that's located.
This document will
help guide the department, services and agencies in the development
and use of unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned combat aerial
vehicles for the next 25 years. Today I'd like to provide you
a short summary of the contents of the roadmap, how it was developed,
and some of the key highlights. I'll then open it up for questions.
But before I start, I would like to thank the many individuals
from the services, agencies, joint staff and commands that helped
write this document. This roadmap would not have been possible
without their hard work and commitment.
I'd now like to take
a few minutes and walk you through the roadmap. The overarching
goal of this roadmap is to define the clear direction to the services
and agencies for the logical, systematic migration of mission
capabilities to a new class of tools for the military toolbox;
The specific purpose
of this document is threefold. First, to help provide senior decision-makers
options in the development of broad strategies that will define
future DOD force structure. In this regard, the roadmap identifies
those near-term mission areas that can be impacted significantly
by emerging UAV technology. We want to address the most urgent
mission needs that can be supported both technologically and operationally
by the various unmanned air vehicles and unmanned combat air vehicle
Some mission areas
are well supported by current capabilities inherent in fielded
or near-term systems. An example of this might be our transport
capability, where the C-17, in combination with other fielded
systems, provides the required capability to our war fighters.
In other missions
-- in other mission areas, however, there is need for additional
capability, and several of these mission areas present high risk
to our air crews. These are the mission areas that the UAV Roadmap
will focus both in technology and systems development.
The second goal of
the roadmap is to help with the resource allocation process, in
concert with the Defense Planning Guidance. While there many potential
development options the department may choose to invest in, the
roadmap provides those high-priority investments necessary to
move UAV capability to the mainstream.
Many of you have written
articles on a variety of UAV systems, technologies, vehicles and
capabilities. And in many respects, it seems that new UAV systems
and concepts are popping up daily, and in many cases this is true.
The potential value UAVs offer range across virtually every mission
area and capability of interest to DOD. At the same time, a systematic,
logical method to migrate UAV capability will help maintain focus
for the delivery of that capability to the war fighter and help
organize the use of limited DOD resources.
Finally, the roadmap
is a guide to our industry and allies, identifying the highest
value areas for independent investment and areas for international
cooperation. While our industry partners have and certainly will
continue to show innovation, a little help from the government
identifying key areas for improvement will aid in focusing industry
This roadmap is a
living document. We will update it as technology and programs
mature, and as DOD continues to transform.
I will now be happy
to take a few questions from you. Yes, ma'am?
Q: Could you highlight
for us what some of those near-term missions are and what you
achieve in migrating here?
certainly UAVs have demonstrated a capability in that mission
area we typically call ISR, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance.
And you're all very familiar with the current capabilities that
our fielded UAV systems are providing. Other mission areas that
have high interest from the department and the services' perspective
are the capabilities inherent in those systems that are being
demonstrated by DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency]
the combat UAV systems. So in general, those encompass SEAD/strike/electronic
airborne attack -- generally, those class and mission areas where
successful demonstration of those missions puts our aircrews at
Q: So comparing now
to 25 years down the line, where do you see the mix being between
air breathers -- between, I'm sorry, piloted vehicles and UAVs?
Do you see it becoming 50-50, 90-10?
an excellent question. I certainly can't answer that.
Q: Is that not --
I identified, what the real focus of the roadmap is is to identify
those key technology areas that we think are right for investment,
provide the investment in those areas, then provide options for
decision makers when those capabilities are demonstrated. As you
know, we have not demonstrated capabilities in SEAD [suppression
of enemy air defenses]/strike/AOA [analysis of alternatives] except
in a very limited sense with Predator. But certainly, as those
programs progress, as we demonstrate capability, then that provides
options for our senior decision makers. And that's the real key
here, is providing options.
Q: How about the main
barriers to development and use of the UAVs, either technologically
roadmap defines those areas that we think we have pretty well
in hand. It also identifies areas where we require future work.
Certainly, airspace integration is an area that will require additional
effort. We have a variety of programs ongoing, but the successful
integration of unmanned aerial vehicles into the airspace, both
the military airspace with other manned systems and the civilian
airspace, we believe is key to enabling the full capabilities
that UAVs promise to provide. So, airspace integration is one
Certainly, the weaponization
aspect of UAVs needs additional effort, and frankly, that's what
the challenge that DARPA has taken on in the UCAV programs. And
so that --
Q: Why is that? I
mean, could you explain why weaponization is a problem? Is it
a matter of weight, use --
it -- well, there are a number of aspects. And one of those aspects
is positive control of the weapons. When you remove a human from
the aircraft and you move that functionality for weapons control
somewhere else, that requires an additional burden on the system
to make sure you're maintaining positive control. And so, the
incorporation of that capability into the UCAV program, for example,
is one that demands rigorous demonstration and evaluation to support
the eventual migration of that capability to war fight.
Q: There's a section
in the roadmap that discusses reliability, and there's been a
lot of talk among UAV folks about expendability versus attritability
of vehicles. Can you talk to me about at what point vehicles shouldn't
be attritable, they should be expendable, and the reverse?
question. When we remove the human from the vehicle, we open up
a range of possibilities that was never possible when we had humans
on board. Obviously, if we have aircrews on board, we must protect
that system. And as you're familiar with, we protect that in a
number of ways. We can operate those systems out of harm's way
in a stand-off role, and that protects the system. We can also
add technologies and capabilities to those systems, which allow
them to operate in the threat rings of various systems to provide
protection. A third option that we have with unmanned systems
is we can choose, when appropriate, to design them so they are
expendable or attritable. That is a range of capabilities that
is a function of the mission and the need that the specific war
fighter has. So to draw an arbitrary line across the continuum
of UAV systems and say systems above this threshold are non-attritable
and systems below that are attritable is, in my opinion, overly
simplistic. What it provides us is a range of capabilities based
on the threat, to allow that system to go into harm's way, and
if the war fighter so chooses, to use it as an expendable asset.
Now, certainly, with
the high cost systems, we wouldn't expect to do that. But again,
that is an option that we have with any unmanned system.
Q: So what -- is it
a case by case basis, then?
Q: You've said all
along how important it is to demonstrate the UAV's capability
in terms someone could understand very plainly. How important
is it going to be if there is some operation in Iraq? How important
a role would these UAVs play? What sort of role would they be
doing in terms of using weapons? But just very generally explain
to the average American person what this would mean in any possible
immediate upcoming actions.
let me say the purpose of this press conference is to announce
Q: But since it's
to demonstrate also the use of UAVs, this might provide an upcoming
theater to showcase the UAVs.
for these systems, these UAV and UCAV systems to migrate and be
used by the warfighter, he has to have confidence that when called
upon to do a specific mission, they are reliable and effective
to do that mission. That is fundamentally what the demonstrations
support. Additionally, he's got to be confident that he can integrate
those assets in with the other assets, the other tools he has,
to conduct military operations. It is not enough just to demonstrate
that a system can go out and do a specific mission. He's got to
have confidence that that integrates in with the hundred other
systems that he also has to manage. That is why OSD is so concerned
and aggressive in the demonstration of these range of capabilities
in real-world operational assessments.
Q: Okay. What is the
range that one might see upcoming in Iraq? In other words, unmanned
drones firing weapons? I mean, what range might they possibly
Weatherington: I probably
will not provide you an answer that satisfies you. In general,
I will tell you that there are a number of UAV systems that are
currently deployed supporting operations around the world, and
that includes Iraq. We have more unmanned systems today supporting
the warfighter than we ever have before.
Q: How many?
Weatherington: I would
prefer not to say an exact number, but in general I will say every
service has a number of systems deployed today. You're familiar
with Predator and Global Hawk for the Air Force; Army has Shadow
and Hunter deployed; Marine Corps has Pioneer and Dragon Eye deployed;
and there are a number of other systems that I won't identify
specifically that are deployed. But --
Q: (Off mike.)
Weatherington: I just
won't -- this isn't --
Q: I mean, is there
some kind of operational security -- (inaudible)
just not going to identify those specifically.
Q: But that doesn't
-- for the average person, what would they be expecting to see,
just in general terms? I'm not asking for specifics, but in general
terms, we would see what?
general terms, the missions that those UAV systems I just described
are supporting those mission areas. So intelligence, surveillance,
reconnaissance; for Predator, armed reconnaissance has been demonstrated
in other theaters.
Q: Oh, well, we --
Q: Weapons? Firing
Weatherington: I won't
comment on that specific mission area.
Q: But firing weapons,
I mean using them to fire weapons?
previous demonstrated capabilities, I think you're speaking directly
for Predator, are currently a capability that is available to
the war fighter. How he chooses to employ those capabilities is
up to him.
Q: How about those
used to simulate cruise missiles or incoming aircraft like Chukar?
Can you talk about that at all?
not sure I understand the question.
Q: He's talking about
Q: Thank you! (Laughter.)
I would prefer not to discuss that topic.
Q: Sir on the -- just
tagging on to the answer that you gave a couple of questions ago
about trying to make sure that your roadmap has addressed interoperability
and weapons needs and ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance]
needs, requirements, across service boundaries, what has the Pentagon
done recently about establishing a joint program office that would
organize and follow the dictates of the roadmap and try to keep
everybody on the same page, since there are so many different
programs and so many different players in this game? Have you
established a joint program office, and if so, where -- where
will that be, and who runs it?
question. The first part of your question on interoperability,
I would like to introduce Major Jim McCormick. Jim is in the Office
of the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communication
and Intelligence [C3I]. Jim is a co-lead with Joint Forces Command
on a relatively newly established UAV Interoperability Working
Group that is specifically working those interoperability issues
that cross service boundaries.
As you may be aware,
if you have not seen the roadmap yet, we specifically have added
an appendix exclusively on standards that support interoperability.
From the department's perspective, the increased use of UAVs provides
us an excellent opportunity to build in interoperability into
these systems rather than going back and trying to add it later,
which is problematic.
Jim's working group
is attacking those fundamental issues that will allow us to do
air-space integration, enable broader use of UAV systems to a
broader user base than we typically have today. And so certainly
that is one example of the department's commitment in working
interoperability for UAV systems.
The second part of
your question, on joint program office -- you're probably aware
the department is working aggressively the establishment of a
joint program office for combat -- unmanned combat aerial vehicles
that would integrate Air Force and Navy requirements into a joint
office. We're early in the development phase of that office. I
can't give you any specific details on that.
But again, I believe
the department has identified the high utility that a joint service
solution would provide to both Air Force and Navy requirements.
And I will also mention that we believe there is probably some
utility for the Army in that organizational structure also, and
so we've invited the Army to support the development of a concept
that would ultimately result in a joint program office.
Q: Is there a debate
about which service should take the lead? Is that part of the
discussion that you're dealing with now?
with any new program, there's always debate. I believe the department
has that well in hand. And again, we're working through that.
We're making sure that each of the services are fully engaged
in the development of that program office and bring their attributes
and talents forward to the -- in the development of that -- in
Q: Following on to
that, can you give us an update on where -- the demonstration
efforts that DARPA is doing with the Navy and with the Air Force?
At the moment, they're separate demonstrations. Will they go ahead,
and do they dovetail at some stage downstream?
probably very familiar with the recent success of the DARPA Air
Force UCAV program -- just flew, I believe, its 14th flight, very
Pegasus air vehicle flew last month -- again, short flight, but
very -- we believe, a very successful demonstration. Certainly
those two demonstrations kind of lay the foundation for the eventual
incorporation of those and full capability into a joint program
As I indicated before,
we're working through the specifics of how that happens, how those
individual programs merge into a joint program office. I really
can't be any more specific than that at this time. But certainly
they are a key component in the eventual incorporation of those
talents, those capabilities that would encompass the range of
mission areas that those demonstrators have started to demonstrate.
Q: (Off mike) -- demonstrating,
which was the X-45A, which would lead into the B. My understanding
is, you basically told these guys, "Get on with the C," which
is a bigger and longer-range vehicle. Is that correct?
short, yes, that is correct. In fact, we mentioned the X-45C in
the Roadmap, in the section defining UCAV. We are laying out the
general characteristics for that system. We believe that gets
closer to a vehicle or a family of vehicles that might support
both Air Force and Navy requirements. But again, that --
Q: (Off mike.)
X-45C is simply a demonstrator.
Q: (Off mike.) I mean,
the Navy at this stage isn't required to commit and buy into 45,
it can still go ahead with its own demonstration and make a decision
on the best type of vehicle for the Navy's use from --
Let's get one from
the back. Yes, sir.
Q: The X-45C. Is that
-- the rumor has been that that's going to be much bigger so it
can fulfill the outstanding Air Force requirement for penetrating
reconnaissance aircraft or strike aircraft. Is that the way you
current design of the X-45C is somewhat larger than the design
of the B. Both services expressed a concern that the capabilities
inherent in a B-like vehicle were not sufficient to demonstrate
-- and I want to emphasize the word "demonstrate" -- the capabilities
that a service might eventually want to procure an unmanned combat
air vehicle to do that. So through a process including both Air
Force and Navy and the department and DARPA -- DARPA's got a large
role in this also, obviously -- we have determined that an X-45C
is the next logical step in the progression of those air vehicle
characteristics that enable some future missions. And, you know,
I'm being rather vague on what specific missions those would be,
because to a large degree those are driven by war fighter requirements.
Q: Well, maybe not
an endurance penetrator, but on the road to an endurance penetrator?
that is to a large degree war fighter requirements. I will say
that there are a number of mission areas, specific mission requirements
that a vehicle in the class of the X-45C we believe could support.
Q: Can you give us
a sense about how far this program has come in the last 10 years?
Specifically, how many more UAV programs or aircraft are available
today compared to '91?
1991 the armed forces of the United States deployed Pioneer in
support of Desert Storm. Today, as I mentioned before, we have
in excess of eight different types of UAV systems supporting the
The roadmap states
that we have about 90 deployed systems in the field. That doesn't
really count some small UAV systems that really have some niche
capabilities. They're procured in relatively small numbers, so
we didn't include those. But we have about 90 systems.
Enduring Freedom demonstrated some key attributes that UAV systems
can provide that are difficult to garner from manned systems.
Certainly persistence, as has been demonstrated by Predator and
Global Hawk, is a key attribute that our current state-of-the-art
UAVs have demonstrated. The department believes the next step
in that migration is a demonstration of real combat capability
through vehicles like the UCAV programs that -- for both the Air
Force and the Navy. You know, while we can't estimate what in
the next five years the force distribution might look like, certainly
the range of options, the range of potential capabilities that
UAV systems seem to support is fairly large.
Let me also say that
there are clearly some mission areas that UAVs do not appear now
suited to support. From a dynamic technology perspective, missions
like air-to-air don't seem to be supported by capabilities resonant
today or in the next five years. So the department -- and I don't
believe the services would support a statement like, you know,
"UAVs are going to support 90 percent of the current manned force
structure." But we do believe there are plenty of mission areas
that need support, and the attributes that those mission areas
need seem to fit well with the capabilities that UAVs provide.
Q: Yeah, how does
the roadmap, if at all, address the question of defense against
UAVs in the future as potential enemies start developing this
that's a somewhat sensitive area. You would imagine that organizations
and countries that have a robust offensive UAV capability would
be familiar with the techniques and capabilities needed to defend
themselves from those equivalent kinds of systems, and that's
about all I'll say.
Yes, sir? In the back.
Q: Earlier you mentioned
that one of the objectives of the roadmap was to identify technology
areas so industry could work on those areas and bring technology
to bear on those challenges. Can you characterize the degree to
which the department thinks that there are international technologies
resident with our allies that could address DOD requirements?
a pretty broad question. Certainly we believe there is excellent
opportunity for joint cooperation across a range of UAV capabilities.
You know, we use the term "UAV" fairly loosely, but you know,
in actual sense, we're talking about systems that I can hold in
my hand up to systems the size of Global Hawk, that range through
a very broad capability mix.
So we believe there
are opportunities focused at specific systems and specific mission
areas that we can partner with our allies and coalition partners
to support systems that meet their requirements and add to the
overall NATO force structure.
Q: (Off mike) -- the
tactical level to what you're saying, as opposed to --
Weatherington: I would
not limit it exclusively to the tactical level. There are -- there's
a broad range of sensor technology development ongoing, not only
in this country but in other countries, that may, at the appropriate
time, support mission needs of this country. So to some degree,
sensor technology could be included.
is another area.
-- I mean, there's a whole range of capabilities that have yet
to be demonstrated in any country that we feel there are areas
for mutual cooperation.
Q: Yes. Do you foresee
increased investment into UAV programs cutting into the acquisition
and development of traditional human- piloted base systems?
-- no, I'm not going to go there. (Laughs.) My focus is on UAV
Yes, sir? Right here.
Q: Ground stations
is a major area of focus, both using the information from the
UAVs and controlling them. There's a lot of effort toward commonality
in ground stations, yet there are some questions about how common
can you make them. Could you address that?
I'll let Major McCormick answer that question. He's got a very
good background in ground stations.
Dyke. You always give me the easy questions. (Laughs, laughter.)
The ground station
is certainly an integral part of any unmanned system, because
of just the inherent nature of the technology. We have a background
within -- the Navy has put a great deal of effort into the tactical
control station; you're all familiar with that. We've gone through
several iterations. There's a lot of development remaining in
that particular program. Similarly, the Army has gone to great
lengths to try and standardize their ground station components.
The Air Force is in the process of doing the same thing.
I guess to summarize,
after a lot of effort involving a lot of people, what we've tried
to do to bound the scope of how much commonality is appropriate,
UAV missions -- UAV applications are very diverse. So we don't
believe that a single solution is going to address all the needs.
What we are doing
under the Interoperability IPT [integrated product team] that
Dyke mentioned earlier is trying to identify those standards that
can facilitate, I guess, a more efficient development of the components
on the ground and in the air to better bring UAV technologies
into different mission areas where they can be very effective.
So, we think that's a very fruitful area and we're putting our
energy into the standards side of common ground station solutions.
Q: Can you give some
examples of things that are common that you think could be used
by all the services -- that are common components?
McCormick: Yes, ma'am.
For example -- and this will show both the pros and the cons of
the common solution -- but there's a -- for mission planning for
some of the larger air vehicles, that there's - JMPS [joint mission
planning system] is being developed as a common mission planning
system across manned and unmanned systems. It makes a lot of sense.
On the other hand, there are some micro-UAVs and smaller UAV applications
where it's not cost-effective to carry the overhead of the processing
and the capability to use that common software package. So, the
piece that we're trying to pull out of that -- the mission planning,
the JMPS is certainly established and in place. And UAV developers
can draw upon that as a common component. We don't need to direct
that at this point in time.
What we are trying
to do, for example, is implement the common route definition that
JMPS and many other mission planners use to describe a route that
a UAV is going to follow. So I think that's the best example of
how the standards can support a common component.
And I think as much
as possible, we're trying to go out and establish de jour standards,
standards that are generally accepted by the developers rather
than by law. And I might have gotten those backwards. The de facto
is the ones that people choose to use, and de jour, by law, sort
of assumes a perfect ability to decide what it is that everybody
needs. And again, I mentioned how diverse the applications are,
so it's very challenging to be right for all of those applications.
I'll take two more
questions for me -- how about that? -- and then I'll get out of
the way and back for Dyke.
Ma'am, did you have
a question about the C3I?
Q: When it comes to
deconfliction and airspace integration, what are you guys doing
to make sure that UAVs can be integrated into airspace not only
in the United States, but abroad, when we need to use them?
McCormick: A very
important area. And we're teaming aggressively with industry,
with FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] , to work these challenges.
We're, of course, focused on DOD's challenges. And industry has
many more challenges that current procedures help us with, I guess,
in a way -- you know, we can control airspace when we're in combat
situations that commercial customers can't do.
But there is a great
deal of effort going on within the individual programs as they
employ. Global Hawk has about four years of experience of going
and interacting internationally with airspace authorities and
working out the arrangements and the procedures that allow them
to operate in international and U.S. airspace. We're building
We have a study underway
to work towards a common set of rules within all the regions in
the U.S. that will allow for routine file- and-fly access to the
national airspace. We see that as a multi-year effort, and working
that pretty aggressively.
Industry has an Access
Five activity that I will let them describe to you in another
forum, but it is closely supported by the FAA, and the objective
is to provide an established level of access for UAVs to the national
airspace system within five years. And they've set specific goals
and they have budget laid out to get there.
Q: Well, how is it
going, though, working with international partners, that may not
be partners today, in terms of making sure we can fly Global Hawk
through France, for example, or Russia. (Laughs, laughter.)
Obviously, I can't predict what will happen in any particular
situation. But I can say that we've never encountered yet a case
where we've needed to go someplace and we haven't been able to
do so because of airspace restriction.
Q: The standards that
you're trying to develop that will make sure that everybody operates
together must bear some fruit fairly soon, it would seem, because
there are programs out there -- thinking of the Army's future
combat system; the Navy has a pretty strong demand for tactical
systems at some point out at sea that they're interested in for
submarines or surface ships. How soon will products from the working
groups that you have going on interoperability start to bear fruit
and really get out there and start to influence how these different
services acquire systems so that they're all working together?
McCormick: I think
you're right on about where the priorities should be, and we are
focused on those emergent systems - FCS [Future Combat System],
UCAV. I think that's where we ought to be listening to them as
our most important customers at this point time. There are many
standards that exist today, and so the first step is to go down
the joint technical architecture, if you will, and identify those
already approved items that are well suited to UAVs. At the same
time, we want to identify shortfalls, whether it's a profile to
overlay on top of an existing standard or a missing standard that
UAV developers need and want, and then identify the appropriate
way to either write a new standard, find another organization
who's interested in writing a standard or adapting an existing
standard to do that.
Some of the -- the
more challenging areas that aren't fully addressed, such as weapons
employment, I think those are going to take a little more time
because you already have a lot of people working in different
directions. So how to achieve consensus, that's going to take
time. But we expect in the very near term, within a year, to expand
the standards that are already listed in the roadmap, particularly
in the area of communications, and have some concrete results.
Q: Will the roadmap
be the vehicle through which you publish the findings and the
standards that you set, or will you put out a separate report
that says these are the standards for this particular kind of
mission area to which all services must apply?
McCormick: The roadmap
is a fairly top-level document. We would not see that as being
the JTA [joint tactical architecture] for UAVs, for example. We
have not yet determined exactly what the form is for all those
standards. There's really no reason for it to be different from
other systems. And the model, if you're familiar with the Distributed
Common Ground System, I think that's a real good way to look at
a series of integrated product teams and a set of standards and
implementation guidance to go with it. That's what I would envision.
Q: I don't know who
this question is for, but following up on the airspace issues,
one of your top 10 goals in the roadmap here is replacing FAA's
COA process, their certification of authorization process, which
I guess most people say is pretty time-consuming, with using Form
DD-175. Can you just explain that in a little detail what the
advantages are there for you?
McCormick: What we're
really getting at that -- and that form, I believe, is a standard
flight plan. The main point there is the same procedures that
manned aircraft use today we want to use for UAVs. The simple
answer is that as soon as UAVs are equipped to satisfy all the
requirements of an airspace, they should be able to operate just
like any other system in the airspace. Today, systems either or
not yet -- haven't developed the level of confidence or they don't
yet have that equipment. The biggest challenge, of course, is
the see-and-avoid part of it. So we are -- we're pushing the technologies,
we're pushing the procedures and building the confidence to get
to that point where we can file and fly.
Q: And this is --
well, I mean, does this represent file and fly, this step which
you say here is due in FY '04?
McCormick: Yes, that's
the objective, to file and fly.
if I could. That more specifically is a regulatory piece of airspace
integration. In a broad sense, there are three pieces for airspace
integration. There is the equivalent-level- of-safety piece. Jim
mentioned that as see-and-avoid. But there's a technology piece
there that UAVs have to demonstrate not only for the civilian
community but the military community too that we have assurance
that we know where they are, we know where they're going and we
can avoid collisions.
There's a regulatory
piece. Now the focus here is on FAA regulations. There's also
pretty much an equivalent site of that on the military side. And
then there's an implementation piece. Someone else mentioned the
reliability of UAVs, and certainly that implementation piece,
part of that is demonstrating reliability to the degree that we
are confident that when we launch these systems, that they go
where we tell them to go, that they stay in the airspace that
we command them to stay in, and, if so commanded to do so, they
can -- they can move their track.
So there's really
three pieces, in a large sense, of airspace integration. That
goal really addresses the regulatory piece, because we think we
are putting adequate resources in the technology piece. And when
we have those developed, we believe we have a pretty good process
to do the implementation piece.
Q: And would you be
limiting this initially to high-altitude? You know, some of the
larger platforms like Global Hawk typically fly above traffic
this area is so important that in the roadmap, we have included
in the appendix just on airspace integration. But yes, to answer
your question, the systems that typically operate above 60,000
feet, Global Hawk, present an option to work those issues first.
But I will also point out that to get to 60,000 feet, you have
to penetrate those other airspace corridors. So it's not quite
as simple as just saying, "If I satisfy the FAA for 60,000-foot
operation, that I have all my issues solved." But there are other
ways that we can get those systems from the ground to 60,000 feet
and then begin to build a database that provides FAA confidence
that for that airspace segment, we have a good handle on how we're
McCormick: And also
on the '04 objective, by no means is that going to get us to the
point where all UAVs can file and fly in the airspace. There are
going to be many challenges.
Q: Back to the electronic
attack missions. The first of the priority recommendations is
that combat UAVs should emphasize early fielding of an electronic
attack capability, with growth to other missions. What's the state
of the art in that area right now and what's the goal by this
Weatherington: I won't
discuss state of the art. I will simply say that, as I identified
at the beginning, opening statement, there are mission areas that
have critical deficiencies, and airborne electronic attack is
one of those mission areas that has critical deficiencies. The
department and, in fact, the Air Force believes that a portion
of that mission area could be supported by UAV systems operating
in that role. And that's really all I'll say at this point in
Q: Could you please
discuss what the roadmap said regarding much more unconventional
UAVs, like stratospheric airships? Do you feel that those hold
a lot of promise as a persistent ISR asset? Do you feel that the
DOD is investing enough in technologies for those type of assets?
an excellent question because it brings up the definition of UAV.
In Section 1 of the roadmap, we define a UAV, and actually we
use the definition out of Joint Pub 1-1, which basically says
a UAV is an unmanned system that generates its lift through propulsion.
So balloons, stratospheric airships don't fit into the category
that we've defined for the UAV roadmap.
Q: I believe the Air
Force decided some time ago that Global Hawk, to preserve its
ability to do reconnaissance and perform itsU-2 role, would not
be armed in any way. Would that include such things that are not
dropping bombs, but things like jamming, electronic attack, some
forms of SEAD or whatever, or is that simply -- could you explain
roadmap, again, in the platform section defines the general mission
areas and some of the attributes and capabilities a platform needs
to support those mission areas. The roadmap does not define specific
mission areas and specific vehicles. The services understand their
limitations in a variety of mission areas and are aggressively
looking at how current UAV systems might be modified to support
some of those mission areas that have deficiencies. Of course,
they're also looking at the development of new systems that might
also support those mission areas. It's not really up for OSD to
say what Global Hawk is used for. Certainly Global Hawk has demonstrated
-- even its development phase today has demonstrated a good capability
to support sections, segments of the ISR mission area. What other
mission areas that system might evolve to are still open for debate
Q: As we get more
UAVs from different services all acting in the same airspace --
and people have touched on this -- but how do you prevent friendly
fire, like from the Army shooting down a Dragon Eye, or whatever?
Or does it not matter so much because they're unmanned?
that goes back to that airspace integration issue. You know, we've
kind of characterized airspace integration as a civil issue. It's
equally important -- maybe more so from a military perspective
for military airspace integration. And all the requirements that
go along with manned platforms to identify themselves, identify
where they are, where they're going, what their mission is, who
owns them, who's controlling them, are equally important issues
that must be addressed in the development of these UAV systems.
So the short answer
is, that is a challenge, and it will become more of a challenge
as we proliferate UAV systems across the battlespace. But that
is an area that's being worked very hard.
Q: The U.K. is just
starting up a program called Watchkeeper. Would it be possible
that the U.S. and the U.K. might team on a future tactical system
of this nature?
last month we had the program manager for Watchkeeper over here
at our interoperability IPT and they briefed Watchkeeper. So the
department and the services are very attune to their requirements
and capabilities that the U.K. is attempting to support with the
Watchkeeper program. Again, I won't be specific, the previous
question about international cooperation, certainly Watchkeeper
provides one of those avenues where some form of joint cooperation
might be appropriate.
Q: How about the Euro
you're probably aware, the department and the Air Force was supporting
the demonstration of second capabilities on an Air Force Global
Hawk to support German requirements. That demonstration program
had to be curtailed because of real world operations. But again,
that is one of those development areas where there potentially
could be joint cooperative development. In fact, the department
and the Air Force are exploring other avenues to support that
-- to support the German government and their demonstration of
Q: Do you think --
(inaudible) -- using a Global Hawk?
Weatherington: I would
more appropriately use the word "modified."
Q: So it still might
take Global Hawk being loaned to the Germans to do this demonstration?
are a number of ways to demonstrate pieces of what the German
government would like to see, and those are actively being worked
both at department and the Air Force level.
Q: Using surrogate
Global Hawks --
would be using a Global Hawk. As you're probably aware, we're
-- Global Hawks -- our airframes are in fairly short supply, but
there may be opportunities to use some of the early ACTD [Advanced
Concept Technology Demonstration] vehicles to demonstrate a portion
of that capability.
Q: Following up on
that question, with the planned establishment of the joint program
office, do you envisage having foreign representation there, something
similar to the JSF [Joint Strike Fighter], where you have a level
-- a tiered level of international cooperation? I'm thinking of
the U.K. [United Kingdom], which has expressed interest in that.
that is an option. I believe the near-term focus is to get the
program office established with U.S. assets. But I would not preclude
Staff: We have a couple
questions over here.
Q: You talked about
one of the big issues as positive control of weapons for UAV.
Can you explain, vis-a-vis Iraq, what's going on right now to
ensure that armed drones do not bring fire down on American troops
or civilians? What specific fail-safes are built in to prevent
that from happening?
sir, I cannot.
Q: Well, what -- is
it akin to what goes on with regular manned aircraft?
I will not comment on that subject at all, sir.
Q: Can you talk about
the reluctance of -- generally of commanders who are kind of concerned
in the battlefield that there are unmanned vehicles with weapons
on them? They'd prefer a man in the loop, for positive ID of a
target. Can you talk about what you've encountered in terms of
reluctance of commanders, generally speaking, to cede attack missions
to unmanned vehicles?
let me say the integration of weapons on the unmanned systems
is at the very early stages, very early stages. And so you might
expect the department and the services that are doing that to
be fairly conservative in the implementation of those capabilities.
As we gain confidence,
as we gain expertise in the execution of those capabilities, I
don't think it would be unreasonable to see other options explored.
But your specific question is more appropriately addressed at
the organizations that control those assets.
Q: What is the threshold
that has to be achieved to gain that comfort level that you just
level of safety.
Q: Yeah, but that's
too vague. I mean, is it one out of a million malfunctions? One
out of a hundred? I mean, what has to be demonstrated in the air
to give the comfort that the Pentagon desires?
Weatherington: I really
believe it's an equivalent level of safety.
Q: You're talking
McCormick: I guess
maybe, from a standards perspective, we've given a lot of discussion
to this. And I guess the bottom line is that we have a lot of
confidence in the war fighters to employ this system, much as
they do manned weapons systems. And from what I've observed, they
do that very cautiously.
Q: Can I have a quick
follow-up? You mentioned that in the Gulf War there was essentially
one model used. Today there are eight being deployed. What's your
projection for 10 years from now? I mean --
a very difficult prediction to make. I believe we're going to
see pretty sustained growth in UAV technology across a wide variety
of mission areas. To peg that specifically 10 years from now would
be -- is beyond my capability.
I'll take one more
Q: It would be more
than now, right? More than we have today?
is not unreasonable to expect that we would continue to increase
our use of UAVs in the future.
One more question.
Who hasn't -- yes, ma'am?
Q: Thank you. You
said that the X-45 is a demonstrator and the X-45D is in the design
stages, it's going to take a couple of years, that you're -- in
all likelihood, you're going to have to repeat it another couple
of years. How does this support the whole goal of early fielding
for UCAVs when around that time it's going to be manned aircraft
still, you know, being procured in highest levels?
question. In general, just let me say that a demonstration of
a capability without any service commitment to procure that capability
is probably not terribly efficient in a resource allocation perspective.
Certainly the department and the services want to do demonstrations
on systems and capabilities that represent something that the
services would either procure as they are demonstrated or with
fairly minor modifications.
a step to get to a system capability that was more in line with
what the services thought they could use in about the 2010 time
frame. Now, certainly, we haven't flown that system yet. We don't
know what its full capabilities are. But based on what the services
are communicating to us, that seemed like a logical step to get
to a more -- to a design closer to what the services might be
willing to procure for initial use in a UCAV system.
Let me also say though
that UCAV in general appears to be a program that will be laid
out in a spiral development acquisition. We will probably deliver
some initial capability that will be fairly limited. The intent
there will be to get systems out to the field that fill a niche
capability, and I've described some of those mission areas where
we need support. But then we would expect the department and the
services to grow that capability to expand that to other mission
areas. What exactly those are, we don't know yet. But again, when
you take the man out of the platform, that allows technologies
and capabilities to be incorporated in there that are difficult
to do with a manned system.
I'm going to have
to cut it off there. I'm being pulled away with the hook. Thank
you very much for your attention today.
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