July 28, 2009
Air Force Future UAV munitions and One Pilot Flying 12 UAVs
air Force Research Lab (AFRL) is also developing munitions systems for the UAVs [Unmanned Air Vehicles].
One is a precision missilelike bomb for urban strikes that could be mounted on multiple platforms. Designed to cut down on collateral damage, Suburb Warrior could get a flight test as early as 2014.
An integrated submunition guidance system called Sniper will allow UAV operators to target up to four enemies simultaneously inside urban environments. Flight tests are due by 2011 and could be integrated onto UAVs and long-range cruise missiles, according to AFRL.
The Tube Launched Expendable UAS (TLEU) will be launched in-flight by another aircraft. The missilelike weapon will have a warhead as well as a sensor to send back a feed to provide situational awareness to troops. The TLEU will be launched off a gunship and scheduled to reach initial operational capability by 2014.
Finally, the AFRL outlines the steps that the service is taking toward having pilots flying multiple UAVs as well as multiple types of UAVs at a time. Research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Human and Automations Lab shows pilots could fly up to 12 aircraft at the same time.