UAVs fly into action, integrate battle space
the Forward Look series of experiments, U.S. Joint Forces Command
will continue to examine how to better integrate the wealth
of unmanned aerial vehicle capabilities available to joint
JO2 Jessica Benigni
USJFCOM Public Affairs
Va. -- May 5, 2004) - Over the next several months, U.S. Joint
Forces Command (USJFCOM) will conduct a series of experiments
focused on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the future of
we're trying to do with our series of Forward Look experiments
is examine the synchronization and synergy from coordinated operations
from different types of UAVs," said Frank Roberts, USJFCOM's
Joint Operational Test Bed System (JOTBS) director.
to Roberts, JOTBS works as a system of systems brought together
to coordinate UAVs, to include a variety of components used in
experiment activities for the year. JOTBS developers integrated
four different UAVs to experiment with the synchronized coordinated
operation of them.
working with four UAVs to examine the architectural implications
of how to command and control those UAVs and how to receive and
disseminate the essential products from them. We're finding what
the procedural and technical implications are associated with
trying to manage and coordinate the activities of those UAVs," said
four types of UAVs include the endurance-type Predator, the tactical
Shadow, and smaller UAVs, Scan Eagle and Silver Fox. The categorization
of each different UAV describes its performance characteristics
and operating environment.
is an endurance-type UAV that operates at medium altitude, 15,000
to 20,000 feet and can stay airborne for more than 24 hours.
Shadow is a tactical UAV that operates below 10,000 feet and
in the neighborhood of five to six hour's maximum in the air.
Scan Eagle and Silver Fox are such small UAVs that essentially
one person can pick it up and carry it around. They are very
light, about 50 pounds or so, and they operate in the 2,000-foot
regime or lower and are able to stay up for maybe an hour or
two," said Roberts.
to Roberts, integration begins with asking, "how do you
move a small UAV up to support more tactical operations, and
how do you take an endurance UAV and coordinate its operation
such that it would support the smaller unit level requirements."
a truly joint look at how you would take capabilities that currently
are operated in an organic fashion, said Roberts.
organic I mean, if the Air Force brings the UAV, the Air Force
operates it and if the Army brings the UAV the Army operates
it. This is looking at cross-echelons of warfare that would increase
the flexibility and utility of UAVs across the battle space to
all levels of war fighters," he said.
role in JOTBS allows the military to look at joint aspects of
each UAV and determine their military value.
real significance that we're seeing is that we are able to take
the different products coming out of these UAVs and convert them
to a common format. By doing some manipulation of the products
we're able to significantly reduce the bandwidth requirements
and share the information among all the UAV locations and with
everybody we can put into the network. Therefore, all UAV information
would be available to any war fighter that plugged into that
network anywhere," said Roberts.
USJFCOM's focus on net-centric operations and total integration
of the different branches of the military to transform the battle
space for the better and to succeed in conflict situations, JOTBS
represents a substantial step forward, according to Roberts.
is a first step toward the net-centric operation of UAVs and
the integration of their sensor products," said Roberts.