1997 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security



Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to discuss the Department of the Navy's unmanned aerial vehicle vision, operational strategy, and requirements. It is an honor and pleasure to appear before you.

I will describe the Department of the Navy's plan regarding unmanned aerial vehicles. Initially, I will address the Navy's Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition vision and operational strategy, and then describe the platform-specific plans and programs.

Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition Vision and Operational Strategy

The Navy and Marine Corps objective for airborne reconnaissance and target acquisition conforms with Joint Vision 2010 by achieving rapid Full Spectrum Dominance, whether on the battlefield or during operations other than war. Naval unmanned aerial vehicle assets are key contributors to the Department of Defense's Integrated Airborne Reconnaissance Strategy. Our vision addresses the realities of a global security and fiscally constrained environment.

The Naval airborne reconnaissance goal is to ensure all warfighters have relevant, timely, useable, and sustainable intelligence. The unique expeditionary capability of Naval forces requires early and extended reconnaissance to support the quick reaction capabilities of the task force, especially in newly developing amphibious areas of operations. This ensures an overarching strategic intelligence capability in support of the National Command Authorities, the Unified Commander, and the JTF Commander. At the tactical level, real-time airborne intelligence provides the option for early strike and precision engagement of stationary and mobile enemy targets.

The Naval services have an enduring requirement to operate from the shore and the sea, supporting our concept "Forward...From the Sea." This strategy has ultimately led to a Department of the Navy requirement to establish and maintain the ability to operate and receive all available data via direct link with the Joint service inventories of fully compatible UAV variants, whether land or sea based. These capabilities directly enhance our ability to project power from the sea, unencumbered by land basing rights, overflight limitations, and other host nation issues which frequently impede the attainment of national goals during developing crises.

Naval UAV requirements have been summarized in a 1 February 1996 memorandum, signed by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. The Navy has validated requirements for marinized Tactical UAV (TUAV) systems, and Medium Altitude Endurance (MAE) UAV systems, both of which must be capable of operating with a variety of naval platforms to provide tactical reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition to the maximum effective ranges of CVBG/ARG weapons systems. UAV systems are a force multiplier which complement existing reconnaissance assets and support littoral and strike warfare missions for the Joint Task Force Commander.

Platform-specific Plans and Programs

Until a fully marinized Tactical UAV system can be developed and fielded, sustaining the Pioneer system remains the Navy's number one UAV priority. Because it is capable of operations from LPD Class ships, Pioneer provides greater tactical utility than strictly land-based UAV systems. Accordingly, it is our only organic UAV system supporting amphibious and expeditionary operations. Pioneer improvements include a multi-sensor, EO/IR payload, Multi-purpose Integrated Avionics Group (MIAG), improved engine, and the incorporation of the Common Automatic Recovery System (CARS).

Our highest UAV acquisition priority is the marinized Tactical UAV (TUAV) system. It is currently an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). The TUAV ACTD was fielded as a multi-service UAV system incorporating marinized specifications making it a shipboard capable system supporting littoral warfare, naval surface fire support, and operational maneuver from the sea. Preplanned product improvements for the TUAV include a heavy fuel engine and either Common Automatic Recovery System (CARS) or Integrated Beacon Landing System (IBLS) for safe shipboard operations. The air vehicle presently under contract has not yet fulfilled Navy and Marine Corps requirements for effective range, time on station endurance, and shipboard take-off and landing distance requirements. The system will be fully compatible with the Tactical Control System (TCS), and is projected to reach initial operational capability (IOC) in the third quarter of FY99. Plans call for a total procurement of nine systems consisting of eight air vehicles per system.

The requirement for a Medium Altitude Endurance (MAE) UAV is being met by the Predator UAV system. An Air Force asset, interoperability will be enhanced through the Navy and Marine Corps ability to extract imagery intelligence (IMINT) through a common C4I architecture, satisfying the Naval requirement for positional control and data receipt. A Marinization Study of Predator was conducted to assess the three levels of marinization. They are: 1) the ability to receive Predator imagery products aboard ships, 2) the ability to control Predator and its sensors from Naval vessels, and 3) full marinization of Predator to take-off and land aboard CV/CVN and LHA/LHD Class ships. Based upon a Marinization Feasibility Study conducted by the Naval Air Systems Command, the Navy determined that only level 1 and 2 marinization are required to meet the Naval requirements associated Predator. Level 3 marinization was not determined to be practical or cost-effective for the Predator. Approved required upgrades to the system include an effective wing de-icing capability, IFF, and UHF voice capability.

The High Altitude Endurance (HAE) UAV system is undergoing a dual air vehicle Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). The two air vehicles, Global Hawk and Dark Star, are capable of providing long range, high altitude, wide area surveillance coverage, as well as Dark Star's low observable technology to obtain critical IMINT from highly defended areas. The Naval interest in the HAE UAV system lies within the areas of: 1) the ability to task HAE missions, retask its programmed route of flight, and redirect its sensors from land or sea, to support Joint or Naval operations, 2) the ability to receive HAE real-time sensor data, and 3) the ability to process sensor data afloat and ashore.

The Tactical Control System (TCS) is being designed as the common link between all UAV systems. Its primary function is to maintain complete control of the TUAV, with the secondary function is to receive IMINT data from the variety of endurance UAVs. The TCS is scaleable, and fully deployable. TCS is projected to be initial operational capable in FY99.

The Navy's plan is to support the Pioneer UAV system as the bridge to the future, while continuing current ACTDs to determine the military utility and suitability of the future air vehicles and associated systems. As previously stated, our number one acquisition priority is to develop a marinized TUAV system with increased capabilities (over current systems) to support our defined operational doctrine. As vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technologies continue to evolve, Navy supports continuing RDT&E efforts to evaluate them as candidates for the TUAV system.

In closing, I cannot overemphasize the important role UAVs have in supporting Naval doctrine, and support these evolving concepts. As force multipliers in all aspects of airborne reconnaissance to precision targeting, their value is twofold: increased operational capability at a reduced cost.