Swarming the battlefield

Unmanned systems-in the air, on the ground, or in the water-are the force multipliers for the battlefields of today and tomorrow.

Jul 1st, 2007
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Unmanned systems-in the air, on the ground, or in the water-are the force multipliers for the battlefields of today and tomorrow.

The most high-profile autonomous systems have been unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), especially after their success in Iraq and Afghanistan-particularly in surveillance and reconnaissance.

Analysts at Frost & Sullivan say that the revenue in this market totaled $1.3 billion in 2006 and estimate this will more than double by 2013.

“The increasing need for timely intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) is a key driver for growth in the North American unmanned-aerial-systems market,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Lindsay Voss. “UA systems continue to prove themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing critical intelligence data that could minimize casualties in potentially lethal missions.”

Despite the possibility of future defense cutbacks, UAVs expect to receive substantial funding in the future. Furthermore, UAV technology is constantly advancing and becoming more focused on meeting the needs of the warfighter, Voss says.

However, UAVs are becoming much more than reconnaissance tools, they are transforming into lethal weapons used to destroy enemy targets.

In this supplement, Unmanned Vehicles: Armed and Dangerous, the main feature focuses on Hunter-Killer UAVs and their increased use by U.S. military commanders on the battlefield. Correspondent J.R. Wilson looks at how the Predator UAV evolved from a reconnaissance platform into an autonomous bomb-dropping aircraft.

Senior Editor Courtney Howard discusses modeling and simulation for unmanned systems. Howard examines how nano- and micro-UAV designers are modeling their aircraft on birds.

Be sure to check out our Unmanned Vehicle Products section as well, where the latest electronic products for unmanned vehicles from top vendors are showcased.

This supplement, Unmanned Vehicles: Armed and Dangerous, from PennWell, publishers of Military & Aerospace Electronics, is a guideline to important unmanned systems that are helping the military of today and tomorrow.

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John McHale
Executive Editor

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