UAV development is making an important directional change because of the new rule currently being prepared
by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will allow small UAVs to operate in civilian airspace.
This will make unmanned aerial vehicle development for civilian uses become a focal point for companies
around the world. Development will be concentrated on small unmanned aerial vehicles which can be utilized in
the U.S. for border surveillance, criminal surveillance, monitoring and surveying natural resources and wildlife,
as well as continued focus as weather-related uses.
However, the functions and proficiency for military uses of unmanned aerial vehicles will remain at the
forefront. Reduction of American casualties in war will remain a priority and this will keep the development of
UAVs at the top of the list for all the Armed Services.
Military Uses and Capabilities of UAVs
The U. S. Military has been using UAV technology for many decades. Over the past decade we have seen an
evolution of unmanned aerial vehicles of many sizes and shapes transforming from reconnaissance and attack
type UAVs to fighter vehicles that can operate from aircraft carriers.
An attacking UAV would be guided by a human operator using the color video or thermal camera until it is
seconds away from launching an armor-piercing grenade. The laser rangefinder would not be used until then,
and the operator would only need to illuminate the target briefly (less than a second) to establish the target’s
position before switching control to the UAV’s GPS/INS navigation system.
After that point, there is no need for the laser designator, so any device that blocks the laser designator would
be ineffective in thwarting the attack. The UAV would “remember” the target’s location and fire a grenade along
a trajectory that intersects that location, without further assistance from the designator. Thus, even the most
capable laser detection and jamming systems on the horizon would be ineffective against the UAV.
A single UAV could launch grenades at point-blank range at the sensitive radars and electronics mounted on
the exposed island of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, then launch grenades through the windows of the bridge
and primary flight control station, disabling the carrier’s ability to steer, navigate, and launch and recover the
ship’s aircraft. A UAV could fire 40 mm grenade rounds through the windows of the control tower at any
airbase, destroying the control tower, then proceed to use 40 mm rounds to destroy each aircraft on the
Advancements in UAV technology could leave the conventional military in a vulnerable position. A small
number of UAVs could destroy a division of soldiers and the armored vehicles and artillery they have on the
field. If terrorists had control of a group of UAVs, they could operate them from the back of a pickup to
decimate an urban area after slipping the small objects through security centers.
The positive aspects are that UAVs could save an enormous amount of money by replacing costly weapons
systems, aircraft and tanks, and greatly reduce casualties.
If remotely controlled UAVs have an Achilles’ heel, it is the data link between each operator and each UAV.
Perhaps a method could be developed that would jam all of the 40 data channels that link a Raven UAV with its
operator, and could be effectively deployed throughout every nation and in every theater where UAVs might
However, it would be a simple matter to expand the number of data channels in order to resist jamming, and it
is difficult to imagine a jamming technology that could be easily deployed throughout all Western nations and
all military theaters. Nonetheless, it is expected that the problem of defeating UAVs will be solved in the future.
UAVS WILL FUNCTION TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT NATURAL RESOURCES
The unmanned aircraft system (UAS), also known as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system, is emerging as
an important new tool for remote observation, ecological research, and monitoring natural resources.
These systems offer the ability to measure biomass, plant cover, animal populations, and hydrological
attributes of large areas rapidly, and with excellent accuracy and precision. A UAS can be used in areas that
are difficult or dangerous to enter, or to monitor phenomena for which an intermediate perspective between
high-altitude aerial or satellite imaging and ground-based data collection is desirable.
The increasing availability of small, lightweight sensors has enabled users to mount visible-spectrum, near-
and thermal-infrared, and even hyper spectral and LiDAR sensors aboard LJAS.
Various UAV developers expect their designs to carry everything from simple cameras to smart bombs. The
UAVs already in production carry an assortment of sensors. For instance, the Global Hawk, for example, is
nowhere near as commonplace as the Predator – it costs more than $30m to build each one – but it has a
group of sensors which approaches that of the Lockheed Martin U-2 spy plane. The Global Hawk carries
infrared imagers, synthetic radar and visible-light imagers to let it find targets in almost any conditions.
UAVs may also be fitted with very high-frequency radar for penetrating foliage, and laser-based radar systems.
However, as with any aircraft, there is a major trade-off between the weight of the instrument packages and
what they can do.
The smaller you make the UAV, the less fuel it can carry, which cuts down on vital flying and loitering time. A
further problem for micro-UAVs in particular is noise if they need to be stealthy.
FUTURE UAV DEVELOPMENT
The Global market for UAVs and their payloads will grow at a rapid pace. The world-wide use of unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAV) has resulted in large spending increases for signals intelligence, detection, cameras,
sensors and payloads with communication and attack capabilities. Companies that produce sensors capable of
providing better processing, greater storage, advanced images and more refined intelligence capability.
Driven by sales volumes, it is expected that technological advancements in UAV payloads will outpace the
emphasis on the UAV vehicle technology in the next decade.
Focus is expected to improve communication and data system shortcomings which currently limit real time
video transmission. Users demand higher resolution in video and imagery and increased capacity for
Military and Civilian agencies are expected to spend enormous amounts of money over the next decade.
UAV sub-markets which are expected to grow the fastest are: 1) Small UAVs; 2) Civil UAVs; 3) Endurance
UAVs; 4) Unmanned combat aerial vehicles; (UCAVs); and 5) Tactical UAVs.
Designers of vehicles and their control systems and sensors will be looking at both civilian and military uses.
Technological improvements and advances in reduced size and precision of sensors and communication on
board small UAVs will catapult the industry into the future.
Austin, R. Unmanned Air Systems: UAV Design, Development and Deployment. 2010.
Valvanis, K. Handbook of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. 2012.
Chao, H. Remote Sensing and Actuation Using Unmanned Vehicles (IEEE Series on Systems Science and
MQ9 Reaper- used for
UAVs: Major Changes In Development Are