Monday, October 20, 2008

USAF Laying Out 4-Decade UAV Plan

Published: 17 Oct 16:09 EDT (20:09 GMT)

The U.S. Air Force's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force is set to brief the new service chief and Defense Secretary Robert Gates Dec. 15 on the long-term future of UAVs.

The task force is laying out a road map for UAVs all the way to 2047, the Air Force's centennial, said Col. Eric Mathewson, director of the Air Force Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force at the C4ISR Integration conference in Arlington, Va., Oct. 17.

"I wish I could say more about it now," Mathewson said, but did disclose that it will outline technological decisions, procurement, personnel needs and capabilities for the future.

That future will include something of a change in mind-set for Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), said Col. (select) Scott Murray, the Air Force headquarters special assistant for ISR transformation.

"ISR and intelligence missions are no longer support operations, they are the operations," Murray said. The service is still getting its collective brain around the domain-neutral demands of persistent global ISR, he said, but transformation and moves towards more joint ways of doing things are slowly but surely coming.

"Trust is what it really comes down to," Murray said: trust that the ISR assets any war fighter needs will be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.

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