The Utility of Unmanned Combat Air Systems in Gaining Control of the Air in Future Warfare in 2040: The Importance of Situational Awareness

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14-3-3.jpg

The Utility of Unmanned Combat Air Systems in Gaining Control of the Air in Future Warfare in 2040: The Importance of Situational Awareness

9.95

Author(s): Colin Wills
No pages: 7
Year: 2011
Article ID: 14-3-3
Keywords: command systems, situational awareness, uninhabited vehicles
Format: Electronic (PDF)

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Abstract: This paper examines the part Situational Awareness (SA) plays in counter-air operations, focusing on the utility of future Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) in gaining control of the air in 2040. Current UCAS development focuses on Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting, Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) roles. If a UCAS cannot control the airspace in which it is operating in, and unless control can be gained by other means, then manned fighter aircraft will be required to achieve this task. This would seem somewhat perverse, largely negating the purpose of utilising UCAS in the first place. Could a UCAS gain control of the air in 2040? The author believes that such a system could; UCAS should not be viewed in isolation, but rather as part of a system of systems, that aid, it can be argued, the most critical component of warfare—SA. The importance that SA plays in warfare, particularly in control of the air, is not only vital, but will be the critical node in enabling this to be achieved.