AUVSI: Plenty of work remains for UAS say US Army
Unmanned aircraft are not yet able to 'do it all' and lack the curiosity offered only by the man-in-the-loop, Maj Gen Tim Crosby, US Army PEO Aviation warned the Unmanned Systems North America exposition this week.
Speaking to delegates in Washington DC on 16 August, Crosby said the main focus of UAS was support of the ground manoeuvre soldier, providing them situational awareness and understanding. However, he warned: 'While UAS are great assets, they don't have the curiosity of the man-in-the-loop'.
Questioning whether UAS can 'do it all', Crosby added: 'We are not there yet within the UAS arena but give us a bit of time to finish that process. For UAS in the army, there are so many aspects and new areas we can be focused on'.
In addition, Crosby said it was much easier to respond to the needs of soldiers and UAS in theatre rather than at home and dealing with FAA airspace.
Recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, US Army TCM UAS Col Robert Sova described how the first Gray Eagle Quick Reaction Capability team, deployed with Special Operations Forces, were 'definitely making a difference for that organisation'. He also highlighted how Puma UAV were being placed into route reconnaissance teams and how warfighters preferred a gimbal EO/IR payload on Raven UAV as opposed to fixed payloads.
Sova also outlined the army's intent to continue with the improved version of the Shadow tactical UAV, complete with TCDL and extended wingspan. In addition, he stressed that the army was still very much interested in VTOL UAS technologies adding that the service was 'fully immersed' in a cooperation analysis with the US Navy. 'We will continue to work that for the next nine to 12 months,' he continued.
Finally referring to the US Army's latest UAS roadmap, Sova outlined his belief that by 2030, US armed forces would see 'more merging of unmanned systems and OPVs where that is going to start setting trends for the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) aircraft'.
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