Unmanned Warfare news blast

The category “Unmanned Warfare” on this site is intended to highlight and comment on unmanned & remote warfare. In this context, I will use unmanned vehicles to refer to the collective aerial, ground, and naval vehicles (and vessels). This is better than writing all the acronyms. These may be not, semi-, or full-autonomous. They may be controlled on the battlefield or on the homeland by a civilian or a soldier.

UAV- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (news here)

UGV- Unmanned Ground Vehicle (info here)

UUV- Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

USV- Unmanned Surface Vehicle

News on both UUV/USV available here

Reports on:

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap 2005-2030 from Office of SecDef Aug 2005

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Uninhabited Combat Aerial Vehicles, Defense Science Board, February 2004


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The pace of unmanned vehicles, increasing sensors and even increasing autonomy will have a visible impact in the near future on the conduct of war. Just as private military companies affect foreign policy, military effectiveness, and national images through intended and unintended means, unmanned or remotely manned vehicles will alter policy. Perhaps PMC use is a foreshadowing of the mass deployment of unmanned vehicles. I suggest that decision-making modeling for the AI of semi- and full-autonomous unmanned vehicles be based on private security contractor decision-making. Eliminating the outliers of national fanaticism and opportunist mercenary, in the middle we have a skilled operator professionally and wholly committed to the job. However, this operator (as the older veteran, likely with a family) will avoid suicide missions, will have different cost-benefit analysis to live another day.

In the deployment of unmanned vehicles, what are we to expect? There are some hints today, including failures to communicate (including between robot and personnel… hopefully not too reminiscent of RoboCop). What about the Laws of War when an unmanned vehicle, “driven” by a civilian on the battlefield, in the US, or even sitting in an allied country kills a US soldier, a civilian, IGO/NGO personnel, or an allied soldier?

With that, here is a blast of unmanned vehicle news, mostly from the UAV blog, but not all:

  • Boeing to Perform Front-Line UAV Support for USMC, Navy
    Boeing contractor support personnel… have been involved in front-line support for their Scaneagle UAVs for some time now, and those UAVs have proven useful in campaigns like Fallujah and al-Anbar, operating from forward-deployed land locations and even from onboard high-speed ships.
  • UAVs get smaller: the Micro Air Vehicle nears readiness
    As each new conflict redefines war based on the technologies coming of age at that time, the Iraq campaign has seen the coming of age of the UAV in its many wonderous forms. It is the most-requested capability among combatant commanders and in the last 18 months, UAV numbers in Iraq have jumped from fewer than 100 to more than 400 and there are now nearly 600 UAVs in the Afghanistan and Iraq theatres. Even more interesting is the dizzying array of unmanned aircraft used in traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance UAV roles.
  • Israeli UAV Fires Upon Own Troops
    The IAF revealed on Tuesday that it had prevented a severe disaster on the previous day when it had halted the fire that a UAV was shooting at Israeli troops.
  • Unexpected Consequences of UAVs
    ‘While the U.S. Army has come to use its growing number of UAVs with great success, there have been negatives as well. For one thing, there are so many UAVs in the air, that the U.S. Air Force, which manages use of air space for all three services, has sometimes declared that even the smallest UAVs have to file flight plans. This usually means planning your UAV use 24 hours in advance. Ground combat commanders do not always have the luxury of 24 hours notice, and often find themselves calling for army helicopters or air force jets, already in the air, to please stop by and give them some top-down views of a ground battle in progress. These restrictions tend to be in effect only in busy areas like metropolitan Baghdad.’
  • UAV Planes’ tiny brains could save lives in war
    The brains of the Mosquito, as with all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), is a tiny electronic circuit board called an autopilot that controls the flight and the camera. The Mosquito’s autopilot comes from Winnipeg-based MicroPilot Inc., a leader in a suddenly hot market.
  • Drone aircraft may prowl U.S. skies
    A House of Representatives panel on Wednesday (March 2006) heard testimony from police agencies that envision using UAVs for everything from border security to domestic surveillance high above American cities. Private companies also hope to use UAVs for tasks such as aerial photography and pipeline monitoring.

More to come later.

Related to unmanned vehicles is unmanned warfare, the title of this category. Below are is remote sensing link:

  • Mini-Sensors for "Military Omniscience"
    Spotting insurgents, sorting out friend from foe – it’s beyond tough in today’s guerilla war zones. So tough, that no single monitor can be counted on to handle the job. The Pentagon’s answer: build a set of palm-sized, networked sensors that can be scattered around, and work together to “detect, classify, localize, and track dismounted combatants under foliage and in urban environments.” It’s part of a larger Defense Department effort to establish “military omniscience” and “ubiquitous monitoring.”