Vertical Take-Off and Landing


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle


Concept of Employment



1 June 1999







Prepared by: OPNAV N853f




1.1 Statement of Purpose *

1.2 Background *


2.1 System Description *

2.1.1 Air Vehicle * Modular Mission Payload (MMP) *

2.1.2 Ground Control Station (GCS) *

2.1.3 Launch and Recovery *

2.1.4 Data Link *

2.1.5 Remote Data Terminal (RDT) *

2.1.6 Tactical Communications *

2.1.7 Transportation and Basing *

2.1.8 Support Equipment (SE) *

2.2 Sea-Based System Considerations *

2.3 Land-Based System Considerations *

2.4 Threat *

2.5 System Limitations *


3.1 USN Vision *

3.1.1 Sea and Area Control *

3.1.2 Power Projection *

3.1.3 Engagement and Deterrence *

3.2 Key Advantages at Sea *

3.2.1 Surface Combatant Operations *

3.3 USMC Vision *

3.4 USMC Operational Environment *

3.5 Operational Concepts – OMFTS and VTUAV *

3.6 USMC Employment Considerations *

3.6.1 General *

3.6.2 MAGTF Sustained Operations Ashore *

3.6.3 Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Support *

3.6.4 MEU Support *


4.1 Overview *

4.2 Types of Missions *

4.3 Deploy/Conduct Maneuver (NTA-1) *

4.3.1 Navigate and Close Forces (NTA 1.2) * Movement of Forces * Direct Tactical Reconnaissance and Surveillance (NTA 1.2.8) *

4.3.2 Maintain Mobility (NTA 1.3) * Mine Detection *

4.3.3 Conduct Counter Mobility (NTA 1.4) * Maritime Interdiction Operations *

4.3.4 Dominate the Combat Area (NTA 1.5) * Ship to Objective Manuever (STOM) (NTA *

4.4 Develop Intelligence (NTA-2) *

4.4.1 Collect Information (NTA 2.2) *

4.4.2 Produce Intelligence (NTA 2.4) * Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) (NTA 2.4.5) * Bomb Hit Assessment (BHA) *

4.5 Employ Firepower (NTA-3) *

4.5.1 Process Targets (NTA 3.1) * Target List Information *

4.5.2 Attack Targets (NTA 3.2) * Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) * Artillery Spotting * Close Air Support (CAS) * Deep Air Support (DAS) * Strike *

4.6 Perform Logistics and Combat Support (NTA-4) *

4.6.1 Provide/Execute Training for US and Other Nation Units and Individuals (NTA 4.9.2) *

4.7 Exercise Command and Control (NTA-5) *

4.7.1 Acquire, Analyze, Communicate Information and Maintain Status (NTA 5.1) *

4.7.2 Assess Situation (NTA 5.2) *

4.7.3 Plan and Employ C2W (NTA 5.5) * Employ C2 Attack (NTA 5.5.3) * Perform Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) (NTA 5.5.5) *

4.8 Protect the Force (NTA-6) *

4.8.1 Enhance Survivability (NTA 6.1) * Protect Individuals and Systems (NTA * Positively Identify Friendly Forces (NTA * Conduct Deception in Support of Tactical Operations (NTA 6.1.4) *

4.8.2 Rescue and Recover (NTA 6.2) * Evacuate Noncombatants from Area (NTA 6.2.1) * Perform Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) (NTA 6.2.2) *

4.8.3 Provide Security for Operational Forces and Means (NTA 6.3) * Provide Harbor Defense and Port Security (NTA * Maintain Law and Order (NTA *


5.1 Manpower and Personnel Considerations *

5.1.1 USN Manpower and Personnel Organization *

5.1.2 USMC Manpower and Personnel Organization *

5.1.3 USN and USMC Detachment Organization *

5.2 Training Considerations *

5.2.1 VTUAV Training *

5.2.2 MOSs and NECs *

5.2.3 Squadron/Organizational Training *

5.2.4 Formal Training *


6.1 Introduction *

6.2 USN System Maintenance Concept *

6.2.1 O-level Maintenance *

6.2.2 I-level Maintenance *

6.2.3 D-level Maintenance *

6.3 USMC System Maintenance Concept *

6.4 System Support *

6.5 Storage *

6.6 Transportation *

6.7 Technical Manuals *

6.8 USMC Supply *


7.1 USN Detachment Operations *

7.1.1 Flight Schedule *

7.1.2 Mission Responsibilities * Squadron Mission Commander (MC) * Mission Pilot * Mission Payload Operator (PO) * Detachment Maintenance Officer *

7.2 USMC Detachment Operations *

7.2.1 Flight Schedule *

7.2.2 Mission Responsibilities * Operations Officer * Mission Commander (MC) * Pilot * Payload Operator (PO) * Imagery Analyst (IA) *








The Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) System will replace the Pioneer UAV in both the US Navy (USN) and US Marine Corps (USMC). The VTUAV’s speed, endurance, and payload carrying capacity, combined with its ability to takeoff and land on all air-capable naval platforms and from unimproved ground sites ashore, will provide the Naval Services with a robust, multi-purpose unmanned platform in support of operational concepts and capabilities addressed in Forward … From the Sea, Operational Manuever from the Sea (OMFTS), and Long Range Planning Objectives. Additionally, the VTUAV ground control station (GCS) with its embedded Tactical Control System (TCS) hardware and software will provide a revolutionary capability to command and control all tactical UAVs and interface with a multitude of C4I systems. While initially designed to support reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) missions, the utility of the VTUAV is expected to rapidly expand to other missions areas wherein functional capabilities such as communications/data relay; electronic warfare; nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) sensing; and dispensing a range of materiel from chaff to sonabouys is crucial to operational success.

The purpose of this document is to provide the initial foundation concerning the methods and techniques for employing the VTUAV in the Naval Services. It is intended to provoke thought and discussion. While necessarily influenced by the employment techniques of the present operational Pioneer UAV system, this document strives to break paradigms and encourage the development of new employment concepts. It is desired that this document serve as a ‘lightning rod’ of new thought for Naval tactical UAVs - it will be updated as necessary to accommodate new ideas.

This document will be used as a building block for formal VTUAV Naval documentation such as a USN required operational capabilities/projected operational environment (ROC/POE) document, a USMC’s mission statement, USN and USMC training plans, and a Naval Warfare Publication.


1.1 Statement of Purpose

This document provides the introductory VTUAV Concept of Employment (CoE)* information required by tactical commanders and systems operators to plan shipboard and land-based operations with the USN and USMC VTUAV system and includes a program description; operational concepts; missions; manpower, personnel and training; logistics support, and detachment operations for the VTUAV system. Detailed technical, performance, and logistics information will be provided in other documents as the program matures. This document will be updated periodically as the VTUAV program completes engineering and manufacturing development (E&MD) and enters operational use for the USN and USMC. Appendix B provides the latest VTUAV program schedule for development and fielding.

1.2 Background

The deployment of the Pioneer UAV system starting in the late 1980’s demonstrated the utility of a sea-based UAV system. The increased mobility of naval forces, the extended range of operations, and the variety of missions confronting naval task forces were all factors driving the need for an integrated reconnaissance asset such as Pioneer. Pioneer was very successful in Desert Storm. Operating from the battleships, it provided imagery for targeting for the 16" guns and real-time battle damage assessment (BDA). This was first time the battleships had an independent capability to adjust fires. Operating from land-based sites, Pioneer was effective in conducting surveillance operations that supported improved situational awareness, disposition of enemy troops and weapons, and observation of enemy routes. This demonstrated the effectiveness of a UAV providing real-time imagery in support of intelligence operations.

As the requirement for organic surveillance collection capability continues to grow, UAVs must be capable of operating from a variety of ships with limited impact on flight deck operations. Additionally, these UAVs must be able to transition to shore-based operations. The USN operational concept of Forward… From the Sea and the USMC operational concept of Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS) both drive an increased need for the organic real-time, collection of information and the precision targeting of ship and air delivered weapons. Pioneer, as a fixed-wing UAV with complex shipboard launch and recovery procedures and inadequate precision weapon targeting capabilities, has limited ability to support these new USN and USMC operational concepts. The high mishap rate resulting from these difficult at-sea operations along with its limited performance capabilities were keys factor in the decision to replace the Pioneer with the VTUAV.

Routine surveillance from surface ships for maritime interdiction also drives the need for a robust tactical UAV capability. Currently, ship-based helicopters fulfill the requirement for visual identification of contacts at sea. In particular, the SH-60 Light Anti-Submarine Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) MK III units fly a significant number of hours in support of interdiction operations. For example, during operations against Libya, in the Persian Gulf, and in Desert Storm, LAMPS MK III detachments routinely flew over 200 hours a month per aircraft detachment. These high sortie rates underscore the demand by individual ships for increased airborne reconnaissance.

The VTUAV will provide the ability to conduct unmanned reconnaissance operations from all ships capable of conducting helicopter operations including amphibious ships as well as cruisers and destroyers. The small footprint of the VTUAV will reduce the impact on flight deck operations compared to the Pioneer, resulting in a major paradigm shift on tactical UAV operations. Coupled with performance improvements over Pioneer, the VTUAV number of systems, availability, and reduced impact on personnel and flight deck operations will vastly expand the opportunities for UAV employment in tactical operations. Appendix C identifies amphibious ships and surface combatants that are planned to host the VTUAV and provides further discussion of installation and operations considerations.

Additionally, the VTUAV will bring a quantum improvement in payload sensor capability for naval surface fires. The VTUAV will be a force multiplier of significant value to ships equipped with Extended Range Guided Munitions (ERGMs), firing 5"/62 guns, the Advanced Gun System of DD-21, and land attack missiles. It will expand its host ship’s capability across many mission areas by providing a platform that dramatically affects ‘sensor-to-shooter’ capabilities along with the ability to conduct real-time battle damage assessment (BDA). Operations from amphibious platforms will provide seamless integration with the types of naval aircraft already in operation on these ship classes. This will improve battlefield awareness, enhance abilities to direct and coordinate fires, and provide real-time feedback from actions taken.



2.1 System Description

A VTUAV system will consist of air vehicles, ground control stations (GCSs), modular mission payloads (MMPs), data links, remote data terminals (RDTs), launch and recovery equipment, and tactical communications equipment. Presently, the VTUAV Operational Requirements Document (ORD) listed in Appendix D specifies a system to consist of two GCSs, 4 air vehicles, 4 EO/IR laser designator MMPs, and two RDTs. GCS, tactical communications, and transportation and logistic support equipment will vary in number and configuration depending upon specific shipboard or land-based use.

A summary of representative performance characteristics is listed in the following table. (See the VTUAV ORD, Appendix D, for a description of all requirements.) Performance characteristics may change based on completion of an analysis of requirements study being conducted by the Center for Naval Analysis and the performance/affordability trade-offs that could occur during the source selection of the E&MD contractor.

Air Vehicle/System

Threshold Performance

Operations worldwide

All air capable shipboard platforms and austere land-based forward operating sites

Combat radius

110 nm

Endurance (Single air vehicle)

Endurance (System)

3 hours on station at 110 nm

12 continuous hours on station at 110 nm

Operational/cruise airspeed

135 Kts

Service ceiling

15,000 ft (msl)

VTOL operations altitude

4000 ft density altitude


JP-5, JP-8

Target location error (TLE)

Less than or equal to 25 meters

Modular mission payload (MMP)

EO/IR/laser designator

MMP capacity/volume

200 lbs. minimum/2 cubic feet internal

Internal power output

2.5 kW excess for MMP

Embedded communications capability

UHF and VHF radio relay

2.1.1 Air Vehicle

The air vehicle will consist of several major components:

- airframe - engine

- fuel system - electrical generation and distribution

- navigation/avionics - air data terminal (ADT)

- modular mission payload (MMP)

- shipping/storage container.

Specific performance characteristics will be provided upon selection of the contractor E&MD design. Modular Mission Payload (MMP)

The baseline, threshold MMP capability for the VTUAV will be an equipment package with electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors and a laser designator. Other MMPs are under consideration for possible future integration into the VTUAV. Implementation of any new MMPs in VTUAV will involve tradeoffs among mission priorities, affordability, technical and integration risks, and schedule impact. The basic VTUAV program will procure sufficient assets to support intelligence collection and targeting for sea operations and forward-based Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) and Marine Air Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs). Additional mission areas and MMPs may require procurement of additional VTUAV systems and increased manning/personnel. A discussion of VTUAV missions is contained in Section 4.

2.1.2 Ground Control Station (GCS)

The air vehicle and MMP are controlled by the GCS, which includes the air vehicle and MMP operator workstations, and associated software/hardware, cabling, and antennas. The GCS communicates to the air vehicle through the data link, described in paragraph 2.1.4 below. There will be multiple GCS configurations to support the various ship classes and land-based systems. Additionally, there will be a HMMWV configuration to support USMC operations ashore. The GCS will contain the hardware, software, and software-related hardware to facilitate mission planning, air vehicle and MMP control, and receipt/dissemination of imagery/data. The VTUAV ORD requires geo-location threshold accuracy of 25 meters to support precision targeting. Shipboard mensuration of VTUAV imagery will be performed external to the GCS by another workstation. Land-based USMC VTUAV units will have a mensuration capability sufficient to provide 25 meters geo-location capability organic to the GCS.

The GCS architecture and embedded software will be provided by the Tactical Control System (TCS). Additionally, TCS will provide command and control capability for all tactical and medium altitude endurance (MAE) UAVs and connectivity to identified C4I systems. See reference D.2, Appendix D, the TCS ORD, for a full description of TCS requirements, and reference D.3, the draft TCS Joint Concept of Operation (CONOPS), for a full description of TCS employment concepts. The table below describes the levels of UAV control provided by TCS.




Receipt and transmission of secondary imagery and/or data.


Direct receipt of imagery and/or data.


Control of the MMP plus Level 2.


Control of the UAV, less launch and recovery, plus Level 3.


Full function and control of the UAV from takeoff to landing.

Note: TCS software provides for the levels of control listed above, however, each level requires specific hardware to enable that level.

2.1.3 Launch and Recovery

An automatic takeoff and landing system will be used for launching and recovering the VTUAV both at-sea and on land. A manual interface device will be incorporated into the system to enable takeoff aborts and recovery waveoffs in event of emergency. For land-based systems, automatic takeoff and recovery will be inherent in the VTUAV autopilot. Threshold launch and recovery conditions are provided below.



Wind limitations for launch & recovery

25 kts

Limits for ship motion

+/- 3 degrees pitch,

+/- 5 degrees roll

+/- 5 degrees yaw

+/- .25g heave

2.1.4 Data Link

The VTUAV data link will support video, data, and telemetry communications between the air vehicle and the GCS and the RDT. The data link includes an air vehicle component, the air data terminal (ADT), and a ground component, the ground data terminal (GDT). The VTUAV will use the Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL), a digital data link operating in the Ku frequency band.

2.1.5 Remote Data Terminal (RDT)

The RDT will provide a capability to receive annotated (geo-location, north arrow, etc.) video imagery from the air vehicle MMP at remote locations from the GCS. This receive-only capability will primarily be used in conjunction with USMC operations ashore to support scouting, targeting, intelligence dissemination, and other small unit activities. It will use embedded TCS software.

2.1.6 Tactical Communications

Tactical communications will be provided by two VHF and two UHF radios located in ship or land-based GCSs. The air vehicle will have an embedded VHF and UHF radio relay capability that will augment the system’s tactical communications by extending its range and assisting in overcoming line-of-sight (LOS) problems.

2.1.7 Transportation and Basing

The VTUAV system will be sea, ground, and air transportable. Aboard ship, the system will be incorporated within existing ship spaces and stowed and transported using existing ship equipment. VTUAV systems used ashore will require multiple High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) with standard shelters and trailer(s). The number of HMMWVs will depend on the selected VTUAV system and mission requirements, including endurance, ashore.

2.1.8 Support Equipment (SE)

SE and shipboard secure and traverse equipment requirements will be determined as a part of air vehicle selection. Support equipment includes all equipment necessary for vehicle assembly/disassembly, storage, shipment, and maintenance such as jacks or lifts necessary for repair/replacement of components.

2.2 Sea-Based System Considerations

The USN will operate the VTUAV from surface combatants and the USMC will operate it from amphibious ships. GCS configurations will vary depending upon the specific ship/ship class. USMC systems will be transferable to shore-based operations with mobile components for logistics, command and control, and launch and recovery. The capability will exist to transfer control of USN ship-based air vehicles to shore-based USMC units.

One organic VTUAV system embarked on an amphibious ship will support each Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). USMC units operating from ships will utilize the ship-based GCS to control the VTUAV. The MEU may receive additional support from VTUAV systems embarked on USN surface combatants operating with the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). The USN system may be used to support either the MEU and/or the ARG.

Each BG will be supported by one or more VTUAV systems depending on the type of ships assigned to the BG. This will allow the VTUAV to provide up to 24 hours of continuous operation when two or more VTUAV systems are assigned. Surface combatants equipped with a stand-alone GCSs will possess up to Level 4 (air vehicle control) TCS capability. If BG operations require handoff of an air vehicle to one of these combatants, a qualified VTUAV pilot must be embarked on the combatant since only qualified and current VTUAV pilots will be allowed to operate the air vehicle.

Most surface combatants will eventually be equipped with the TCDL and TCS interface necessary for VTUAV connectivity. Appendix C identifies amphibious ships and surface combatants that are planned to host the VTUAV and provides further discussion of installation and operations considerations.

2.3 Land-Based System Considerations

USMC VTUAV detachments will be capable of conducting operations afloat and ashore. This will include split ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore operations, in which the VTUAV will be launched from the ship, handed-off to another ship or shore-based GCS, operated at-sea or ashore, and, finally, be recovered aboard ship.

2.4 Threat

The VTUAV system will be exposed to direct and indirect threats. The level of threat is scenario dependent. The range of weapons to be used against the VTUAV system will vary from region to region. Threats that can damage or destroy the aircraft in flight include surface-to-air missiles and air defense artillery. Fighter aircraft and helicopters armed with air-to-air missiles pose a secondary threat to the air vehicle. Indirect threats, which can reduce mission effectiveness, include information warfare and electronic warfare (EW). VTUAV MMPs may be vulnerable to jamming, spoofing, and camouflage, concealment, and deception. Data communications links may be vulnerable to jamming disruption and deception. In addition, lasing and subsequent damage of VTUAV’s optical sensors is also a possibility. Further, specific system vulnerabilities and susceptibilities will vary depending on which specific system design is chosen for E&MD.


2.5 System Limitations

The VTUAV system is not an all-weather system. Adverse weather, atmospheric icing, sea state launch and recovery conditions, and other weather conditions can all impact air vehicle, MMP, and data link performance.



3.1 USN Vision

The VTUAV will directly support operational capabilities cited in the USN’s Long Range Planning Objectives (LRPO) approved in March 1998. These capabilities include Sea and Area Control and its subset Command, Control and Surveillance; Power Projection; and Engagement and Deterrence. Virtually every operational capability outlined in these three areas will be enhanced through utilization of Naval VTUAVs. The VTUAV also meets the general objectives of "...increase use of remote sensors, unmanned offboard vehicles, sensor/data networking, and modular reconfiguration..." as well as "...reduction of decision making layers, through increases in direct sensor-to-shooter connectivity..."

3.1.1 Sea and Area Control

The VTUAV will provide enhanced sea and area control primarily by improving situational awareness within the theater of operations. The VTUAV, equipped with a baseline EO/IR sensor MMP, will be used to identify contacts of interest within the air vehicle’s range. Operating as an extension of its host ship’s combat systems, the VTUAV will be used to detect and identify enemy submarines, surface combatants, and land-based anti-surface weapons in the area of operations.

VTUAV related enhancements to Sea and Area Control will ultimately occur as a result of maturation of MMPs in various stages of development including:

- laser radar (LADAR) systems for near-surface mine detection

- missile plume detectors for anti-ship cruise missile detection

- electronic support measures (ESM)

- EO/IR and radar payloads for detection, identification and targeting of hostile surface targets

- sonobouy relay capability and light weight acoustic source deployment for expanded area undersea warfare prosecution.

Other sensor developments will allow electronic identification of "friendly" forces to prevent ‘blue-on-blue’ engagements and to better enable return-to-force procedures. Initially, the VTUAV baseline EO/IR MMP will likely be used as a queued sensor either in conjunction with a LAMPS aircraft, performing unobtrusive, low-risk optical identification of contacts of interest detected with maritime search radar, or in response to targets detected by host ship sensors.

In the longer term, VTUAVs equipped with EW MMPs will provide force protection through active and passive neutralization/spoofing of anti-surface weapons. This may require procurement of additional systems and additional personnel/manning.

3.1.2 Power Projection

Assigned in support of Naval Fires, the VTUAV will provide real-time targeting identification, designation, and BDA of areas of interest. VTUAV EO/IR imagery data will be mensurated to provide precision targeting coordinates for engagement by naval weapons afloat. The VTUAV’s baseline laser designator MMP will provide target designation for terminal guidance of precision weapons. The system will support precision targeting of stationary and mobile targets for preemptive or retaliatory strikes.

The LRPO calls for development of battle management systems:

"... which provide the capability to have seamless connectivity of naval forces to a JTF commander, permit this JTF commander to operate from a ship, and make naval capabilities fully responsive to command from and fully capable of providing support to ground and air component commanders."

The VTUAV is ideally suited for these missions and will likely find a significant amount of tasking acting as a "surrogate satellite." The anticipated future availability of communications/data relay MMPs suitable for VTUAV carriage will help make network centric warfare a reality by functioning as a BG "internet hub" in the sky. Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) initiatives such as Extending the Littoral Battlespace (ELB) are focused on residing within a UAV, providing seamless interoperability between forces in support of expeditionary warfare. The organic nature of the VTUAV as a surrogate satellite mitigates a critical vulnerability to information warfare attack on US command and control networks and supporting satellites.

Task Force commanders will have enhanced situational awareness and positive control of assigned forces due to the VTUAVs role as a communications relay as well as providing real time monitoring of an area of interest. This enhanced situational awareness will provide the Task Force commander exceptional flexibility in operations by offering the ability to expediently and positively direct mission and force allocation tasking in reaction to changing operational conditions.

A new generation of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) sensors is being designed with the intent of employment from a UAV system. This future capability, if integrated and fielded in VTUAV, will allow the early detection and potential for avoidance of these threats without putting our Sailors and Marines at risk.

The VTUAV will provide previously unknown capability for long-term surveillance of areas of interest. Through EO/IR, signals intelligence (SIGINT), communications intelligence (COMINT), synthetic aperture radar/moving target indicator (SAR/MTI) and other emerging sensor MMPs, VTUAV systems will allow continuous on-station monitoring of an area of interest, limited only by air vehicle availability within a BG.

The use of VTUAV to perform any missions beyond the basic EO/IR/laser designation mission will require an assessment of usage priorities, procurement of additional systems, and assignment of additional personnel.

3.1.3 Engagement and Deterrence

The LRPO requires implementation of strategies and technologies that allow larger fractions of the fleet to be forward deployed while emphasizing smaller crew sizes. By extending its host ship’s view of the area of operations, the VTUAV will allow more complete control of a larger geographic area of operations than non-VTUAV equipped units. This may result in a decreased reliance on manpower-intensive ship based systems. Additionally, the material improvements designed into the VTUAV structure should result in a detachment manpower complement of less than one-half of that in a Pioneer detachment.

3.2 Key Advantages at Sea

The VTUAV employment will extend the effective range of the weapons and sensors of the ship, promote centralized planning by BG commanders, and enhance decentralized mission execution by individual ships. The VTUAV will increase the number of air assets available to each ship, provide a smaller profile than manned aircraft in the objective area, and assume operational employment schemes which present unacceptable risks to manned aircraft. The objectives for the tactical employment from ships will include:

- Concentrate more sensors and weapons directly in the target area.

- Provide ships with agility or flexibility to project a presence in multiple locations at the same time.

- Allow ships to extend operations over a wider area.

- Expedite and improve individual ship capability to locate and identify enemy centers

of gravity, differentiate these centers of gravity from peripheral activities, and determine vulnerable areas to attack.

- Improve a ship’s capability to sequence and synchronize employment of all shipboard weapon systems and sensors.

- Provide multiple ships with an enhanced capability to achieve a unity of effort through cooperative targeting and improved communications.

- Provide additional sensor data to promote concentration of force on key objectives.

- Allow individual ships to seize the initiative to execute an operational assignment and increase the ship’s freedom of action by providing real time long-range sensor data independent of national assets or force assets.

- Extend operations through enemy territory and promote sustained operations in pursuit of an objective.

3.2.1 Surface Combatant Operations

Potential platforms for VTUAV embarkation are reviewed in Appendix E. Although VTUAV embarkation is not expected on all surface combatants, eventually every surface combatant will have the necessary data link and TCS hardware and software required to interface with the VTUAV. UAV operations will not be limited to those ships equipped with VTUAV detachments; properly equipped detachments will be able to utilize the information transmitted by the VTUAV in developing a common tactical picture.

3.3 USMC Vision

Joint Vision 2010 (JV 2010) sets forth the guiding operational principles upon which US forces will operate in the very near future; dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics, and force protection. Forward…From the Sea is the USMC’s operational vision, and Operational Maneuver From the Sea (OMFTS) is the USMC’s implementation concept to meet JV 2010.

A key tenant of OMFTS is the focus on objectives as opposed to seizing a beachhead. Using the sea as a maneuver area as well as a relative safe haven for C3 and logistics support, objective-focused maneuver will capitalize on the USMC’s ability to operate at extended ranges with a small logistics footprint. By eliminating the large shore-based lines of communication, OMFTS will achieve its objectives with an economy of force unmatched in past operational concepts. To ensure that OMFTS does not become the modern equivalent of "A Bridge Too Far" OMFTS will rely on revolutionary integration of the four elements of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) – Command Element (CE), Ground Command Element (GCE), Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and Combat Service Support Element (CSSE). Major programs such as the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV), the MV-22 Osprey, the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC), and other technologies, such as the VTUAV, will be critical. Additionally, the VTUAV will play an important role in achieving the high levels of vertical integration within an element as well as horizontal integration among the elements necessary to make OMFTS a success.

The USMC will integrate the VTUAV into MAGTF operations primarily through its GCS. As previously discussed TCS forms the core of the GCS. TCS will provide USMC VTUAV operators interoperability with all TUAV and MAE UAV systems and connectivity with over twenty designated C4I systems. Interoperability is critical to the concept of flexible operations and connectivity is the cornerstone of information dissemination.

3.4 USMC Operational Environment

Tomorrow’s USMC operations may vary in size from small unit operations to major theaters of war, but will more likely be a response to chaos in the littoral areas of the world. Littorals are the home for over three-quarters of the world’s population, eighty percent of the national capitals, and most of the international trade marketplaces. While the size of forces involved can range from small units to major combatant forces, future conflicts will often confront Marines with a relatively recent phenomenon – the replacement of the professional soldier with the warrior. Warriors are different from past threats in that they are often affiliated through cultural or tribal/clan relationships as opposed to "state actors." They are often loosely organized with widely varying levels of equipment, and symbolize the "all against all" concept of warfare. Contending with this level of conflict - while being prepared for more traditional forms of warfighting - presents the commander with significant challenges. The USMC will respond to these challenges by training and equipping Marines with revolutionary concepts and technologies.

First among the employment concepts will be to place a greater reliance upon the individual Marine. That means empowering Marines with decision-making responsibility and providing them with the tools to make critical decisions rapidly. The VTUAV system will be one of those responses.

3.5 Operational Concepts – OMFTS and VTUAV

"The maneuver of naval forces at the operational level, … that aims at exploiting a significant enemy weakness to deal a decisive blow… directed against an enemy center of gravity."

OMFTS is characterized by a high degree of integration of USN and USMC resources and the use of the sea as an area in which to maneuver for advantageous engagements. The sea is also a barrier to enemy actions. VTUAV will integrate with USN and USMC forces to provide, at first, RSTA and laser designation capabilities, and then other capabilities, as new MMPs are fielded. With its ORD-required 135-knot dash speed, four-hour endurance, and 15,000 foot service ceiling, the VTUAV will offer a highly capable platform for RSTA. Able to operate at 110 NM with a three-hour loiter, the VTUAV system will provide all echelons with near-real-time intelligence for decision-makers.

Previously, beachheads were needed as starting points for lines of communications for follow-on maneuvers against objectives. OMFTS seeks to bypass the beachhead to strike directly at military objectives. For example, the landings at Inchon, Korea established a lodgment from which to prosecute operations against enemy lines of communications well inland. Today, OMFTS would seek to bypass Inchon and strike directly at enemy lines of communication (LOC) and forces.

To be successful, commanders must have continuing up-to-date information on enemy force dispositions and capabilities, weather, and terrain. The VTUAV system will provide the information link because of its ability to operate from ships without the significant takeoff and landing infrastructure required by today’s fixed-wing UAV systems. The TCS will also be a quantum leap forward in the level of integration with ships’ C4I systems – a level that far exceeds existing UAV systems. VTUAV’s vertical takeoff capabilities will also make it highly compatible with shore-based operations by obviating the need for prepared surfaces for landing and takeoff.

3.6 USMC Employment Considerations

3.6.1 General

A major conflict may require one or both VMU Squadrons to deploy in support of USMC and/or joint operations. Movement to the theater may be done as a complete squadron, or by phasing detachments as the combination of operational requirements and available lift. Large geographic areas, close and deep battle areas, as well as a rear area characterize major theaters.

Shore-based VTUAV detachments will be positioned to take maximum advantage of the system’s performance as well as operational considerations. The VTUAV will be forward based when the tactical situation requires. Forward basing considerations include enemy counter-UAV capability, tempo of operations, size of the operational area, the types of units to be supported, C4I connectivity requirements, air control, repair environment, logistical support, movement, and security.

While the types of forces occupying the area, in general determine the width and depth of each battle area, the VTUAV can provide commanders with significant operational advantages in all geographical areas of responsibility. In the rear area, the VTUAV can monitor the security of fixed command and logistics sites as well as lines of communication. If OMFTS operations have eliminated the need for a rear area, VTUAV RSTA will provide route clearance and monitoring for potential enemy attempts to isolate the assault force and prevent reinforcement/resupply. In the close battle area, VTUAV will provide the RSTA services using the EO/IR/laser designator MMP. The embedded UHF/VHF radio relay will provide limited C2 capability until a more robust communications/relay MMP is integrated. Future MMPs, such as active and passive EW, NBC sensors, and mine detection, if developed and integrated, will provide commanders with a full range of operational capabilities. The deep battle area will present commanders with special problems. While the aforementioned MMPs will provide commanders with numerous options for engaging the enemy’s operations, the range at which these operations may be undertaken will require an additional air vehicle or other aviation asset as a relay.

3.6.2 MAGTF Sustained Operations Ashore

As an operational maneuver element, a MAGTF’s inherent flexibility will enable it to operate as an enabling force, a decisive force, an exploitation force, or any combination. In conducting these types of operations, the MAGTF will require a high degree of connectivity to its sea-based fire, logistics, and command elements. As part of the MAGTF, and under the control of the Air Combat Element (ACE), VTUAV units will provide organic RSTA support to the MAGTF.

Once the MAGTF has maneuvered ashore, it will continue to rely on its sea-based support. The VTUAV will assist command elements ashore and afloat in maintaining a common operational picture through its TCS interface with the C4I network. VTUAV will provide information essential to coordinate the maneuvers of widely-dispersed forces, to perceive, understand and respond to changing operational situations, target fires, and a conduit for gathering and disseminating information. The MAGTF must be able to conduct rapid planning and dissemination to maneuver elements. The VTUAV will contribute to the planning process by providing vital operational information and by responding to short fuse tasking through use of its automated mission planning system resident in TCS.

3.6.3 Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Support

MEF operations will normally typify division/multi-division operations with aircraft wing/re-enforced aircraft wing/multiple aircraft wings support by a large CSSE in a major theater of war. To support MEF operations, VTUAV will normally deploy an entire squadron or multiple squadrons. Typically, MEF operations will be characterized by long duration, large areas of coverage, and complex command structures.

VTUAV units will operate throughout the MEF area. When based in the forward area, it will conduct launch/recovery and mission control in much the same manner as when ship-based. Launch and recovery sites will be offset from the mission control sites that will normally be co-located with division, or other assigned C4I elements.

The VTUAV may be assigned to directly support MEF operations as a means to provide on-call RSTA. In general support, the VTUAV may operate with the GCE, ACE, or services support elements. Additionally, it may be assigned direct support of GCE or ACE elements. However, all aviation assets, including UAVs, must be incorporated into the air plan. This includes incorporation into the Air Tasking Order (ATO). Because the ATO cycle is normally 96 hours to fully maximize the VTUAV’s potential, maximum use of preplanned and strip alert sorties is required. To facilitate direct support operations, the supported unit and the VTUAV commander must anticipate UAV requirements and submit at least an initial tasking for daily requirements. When providing direct support, operational tasking will come from the supported element, and the VTUAV unit(s) will be based at a location that will enhance its ability to conduct operations with the supported unit. Further, it will support rear area operations, if applicable. These missions will consist of augmenting rear area security forces to provide LOC route security, perimeter patrol, area surveillance around fixed supply points, and monitoring potential infiltration routes.

3.6.4 MEU Support

MEU operations embody the OMFTS concept – sea-based support of ship to objective maneuver (STOM). When supporting a MEU, the VTUAV can be ship or shore-based. Air vehicles will launch and recover and be maintained from LPDs. However, after launching, the VTUAV will be handed-off to VTUAV payload operators residing on the LHA/D/LCC (command) class ships, the site of most C4I resources. VTUAV detachments will split personnel resources to support the concept of split operations. Normally, the officer-in-charge (OIC), 4 of the 6 pilots, 4 of the 6 payload operators, and other mission specialists will embark with the command ship. Mission planning will be accomplished on the command ship. Maintenance personnel and two pilots and two payload operators will embark aboard the LPD to accommodate launch and recovery and to provide backup mission control in case of an equipment problem aboard the mission control ship.

The VTUAV will also be launched from the ship and handed-off to a HMMWV-based GCS on shore. These types of operations will often offer greater mission flexibility in support of the MEU, since the VTUAV operators will be closer to the commander in tactical command of the operations. When conducting these types of operations, mission personnel must be split between three locations: the command ship, the LPD, and the shore component. This will clearly strain detachment mission personnel resources, and the allocation to each location will be based on the anticipated length and tempo of operations.

A third employment option will be limited operations ashore. During these types of operations, the bulk of the VTUAV detachment will move ashore to support operations, leaving only a liaison with the command ship to provide any necessary coordination. Once ashore, the detachment will conduct operations to directly support the ground commander. The VTUAV mission commander will still be responsible for the safe and efficient employment of the air vehicle as well as its incorporation into the overall air plan. The detachments will employ all mobile control system assets. Logistics support will continue to be provided by the ship-based supply system, with fuel supplied by CSSE. Maintenance personnel may be split between the shore site and the LPD to accommodate repair of VTUAV air vehicles or components.

The RDT will provide TCS Level 2 receipt of the VTUAV MMP. The RDT may be carried aboard a HMMWV, command LAV, AAAV, or helicopter. In these cases, VTUAV data will be directly available to commanders. The RDT may also be available in a man-portable configuration (depending on which VTUAV system design is procured) that will be organic to the communications sections. RDT teams will be composed of two personnel with a portable RDT, antennas, and a power source. These systems will provide small units with the ability to conduct operations based on information gathered by the VTUAV, or to provide data and laser targeting for other forces.


4.1 Overview

The VTUAV will be assigned a range of missions consistent with its MMP capabilities. Any one mission may include a variety of objectives from different mission areas. The baseline VTUAV system capability will be limited to missions that can be performed with the baseline imagery (EO/IR) and laser target designation MMP. Over time, it is expected that the VTUAV will be able to prosecute a variety of additional missions as new MMPs are developed, integrated, and fielded. The ability of the system to perform additional missions over the baseline capability may require procurement of additional VTUAV systems and assignment of additional personnel in addition to procurement of the new MMPs.

4.2 Types of Missions

The VTUAV will be tasked from ships and shore for missions over land and sea. Missions may include tasks that are unique and others that are common for USN and USMC units. The basis for describing VTUAV missions is the Universal Naval Task List (UNTL), OPNAVINST 3500.38/MCO 3500.26, reference D.4. The UNTL combines the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) Universal Joint Task List (Strategic and Operational) with the Naval Tactical Task List. The tactical missions identified in the UNTL have been used to identify and establish an initial set of missions for the VTUAV that are described in the following sections. The below table identifies, from the UNTL, the six Naval Task Assignments (NTAs), and the number of unique subtasks in each NTA.

Naval Tactical Level Tasks



Number of Unique Subtasks


Deploy/Conduct Maneuver



Develop Intelligence



Employ Firepower



Perform Logistics and Combat Service Support



Exercise Command and Control



Protect the Force


Total Subtasks



Many of the subtasks of the NTAs, particularly those in NTA 4, i.e., NTA 4.11.5 – provide legal assistance, will never be VTUAV missions. However, many others, i.e., NTA 3.2.5 – conduct electronic attack, can become VTUAV missions as MMPs beyond the baseline imagery (EO/IR) and laser designator MMP are developed, integrated, and fielded. The following VTUAV mission descriptions are representative of missions that can be performed or supported with the baseline MMP. Performance of some of the missions described may be limited or non-existent because, at present, only the baseline MMP is available.

Appendix E provides a generic list of functions that can be performed with a UAV. Using Appendix E and UNTL subtasks, readers are invited to develop descriptions of additional UNTL subtasks that could be performed by the VTUAV. Such descriptions will assist in establishing priorities for the development, integration, and fielding of growth MMPs for the VTUAV system.

4.3 Deploy/Conduct Maneuver (NTA-1)

4.3.1 Navigate and Close Forces (NTA 1.2) Movement of Forces

The VTUAV will allow the commanders to execute options with forces on the move at preset points in the operation. VTUAVs will provide direct support to individual units at the decision points to assist in the selection of the best tactical option. The VTUAV data will help inform the task force commanders on the effect of the options selected by units in the field. Specifically, VTUAV may aid in Hydrographic Survey (NTA 1.2.3) of proposed landing areas, or perform Surf Observations (NTA 1.2.4) prior to and during an amphibious assault. Direct Tactical Reconnaissance and Surveillance (NTA 1.2.8)

MAGTF operations often require the ACE to perform Route Reconnaissance (NTA and Helicopter Landing Zone Reconnaissance (NTA to support the commander’s scheme of maneuver. Normally, essential elements of information on this type of mission deal with trafficability, obstructions, choke points, and possible ambush sites. Squadron imagery analysts (IAs) will be able to provide narrated video and annotated images to the MAGTF commander of the intended route(s) through the ACE intelligence officer. If time is critical and locations/distances permit, an RDT can be co-located with the MAGTF commander, or the supported subordinate commander, to speed up the process.

4.3.2 Maintain Mobility (NTA 1.3) Mine Detection

The VTUAV can be employed to locate mines. The imagery (EO/IR) MMP can be used to look for floating mines and to detect objects in clear water.

4.3.3 Conduct Counter Mobility (NTA 1.4) Maritime Interdiction Operations

Maritime interdiction operations for drug trafficking, surveillance, or enforcement of a shipping quarantine can require localization and identification of hundreds of vessels. VTUAVs can be used to close a contact or suspect ship in support of a law enforcement detachment boarding team. During the team’s approach to a target ship, the VTUAV can be stationed on the opposite side of the target ship from the host ship. This allows the host ship’s bridge/combat information center (CIC) and boarding team to simultaneously observe both sides of the target ship in real time, thus permitting monitoring of attempts to destroy evidence or preparations for an attack on the boarding team either in the water or after boarding the ship. The VTUAV will allow the task force to conduct more visual identifications at a greater range and increase the effectiveness of a maritime blockade.

4.3.4 Dominate the Combat Area (NTA 1.5)

Potentially, the VTUAV system will support all warfare areas: surface, undersea, strike, amphibious, special and unconventional warfare. Reconnaissance will be conducted to support intelligence collection and classification of tracks on the surface plot. Localization, classification, and targeting at-sea of surface contacts will be coordinated with cueing sources. Cueing sources will include host ship sources such as shipboard radars, embarked LAMPS MK III helicopters, data from other ships and/or aircraft in the task force, forces ashore and national assets. VTUAVs performing reconnaissance can be employed to monitor hostile forces, such as mine-laden ships as they sortie from their ports. The data can then be passed to units assigned to interdict the contact. Ship to Objective Manuever (STOM) (NTA

STOM implements OMFTS by focusing on the operational objective, treating the sea as maneuver space, emphasizing intelligence, deception and flexibility, applying strength against weakness, creating overwhelming tempo and momentum, and integrating all elements to accomplish the mission. STOM is characterized by a rapid projection of combined arms teams ashore, but emphasizes sea-based command and control and fire support. VTUAV will play an important role in applying each of those principles.

STOM uses four new coordination measures to control the battlespace. The littoral penetration area (LPA) is a large area for penetration operations and is divided into littoral penetration zones (LPZs) for the purpose of maneuver and fire control. Littoral penetration sites (LPSs) are a continuous segment of coastline through which landing forces will pass. LPSs contain one or more littoral penetration points (LPPs) which will define the locations where the force transitions from "feet wet" to "feet dry." VTUAV performance will provide commanders with the ability to search the LPA to determine the most advantageous location for STOM, determine the best division into zones, and to monitor the penetration sites and points for enemy activity prior to and during the assault.

The VTUAV will support the movement of forces ashore by providing advance information about the objective and assault routes. During the assault, VTUAV will provide information on any changes in enemy disposition and capabilities, as well as monitoring progress of the movement of the assault forces toward the objective. The VTUAV will also be key to maintaining the virtual LOC with the force once it is inserted at the objective. Using information obtained from the VTUAV EO/IR MMP, commanders both afloat and ashore will be able to direct fire support where necessary in support of the force, and determine the best maneuver routes to either engage or bypass enemy forces. Commanders will also be able to monitor force movement.

The VTUAV’s performance, small footprint, and flexible basing will allow operation from either ships or ashore. Command of VTUAV units will remain with the ACE, whether the unit is ship or land-based and will connect with the C4I networks regardless of basing site. The TCS-based GCS will also enable the widest possible dissemination of information from command nodes down to small units equipped with man-portable RDTs. The RDTs will allow enhanced situational awareness by local units. This flexibility will allow the most effective employment of the VTUAV. Key STOM capabilities include:

Mobility - The VTUAV’s speed, flexible basing, and sensors will support the force’s rapid maneuver by providing precise locations of enemy forces as well as any obstacles facing the forces.

Command and Control - Information enables commanders to make accurate and timely decisions. The speed of maneuver will require near-real-time information to assure that commanders have a clear understanding of the situation. VTUAV will provide this information through its TCS-based GCS.

Intelligence - The VTUAV will provide the means to collect the specific intelligence required to support STOM. Because commanders will often be able to make operational decisions based on direct, real-time access to intelligence by observing VTUAV data, the traditional model of intelligence flow (gather – analyze – decide) will need to be reevaluated.

Fires - Fire support elements, both organic to the landing force and ship-based, must be able to respond immediately to calls for fire from all echelons. With the limited number of fire support resources, these fires must be available, accurate, economic, and timely to be effective. All fires must be fully integrated via the appropriate Supporting Arms Coordination Center (SACC) afloat, or Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) ashore. The VTUAV will support fires by providing highly accurate target location data, visual identification to determine targeting priority, and post-strike BDA.

Information Operations - These operations are characterized by a disruption of the enemy’s battle picture. To do this, friendly forces must have a detailed understanding of the enemy’s disposition, capabilities, and command and control (C2) capacities. The VTUAV will contribute to this understanding through integration with the force C4I network. Additionally, VTUAV will play a major role in both the collection of the enemy order of battle and support the application of force to disrupt enemy C2.

Sea-based Logistics - Logistical continuity will be vital to ensure survival of the deployed assault forces. To maintain that continuity, commanders will require information on enemy dispositions in the areas between the landing force and command/supply elements. This will be especially critical when objectives are well removed from beachheads. The VTUAV will provide that information from either ship or land bases.

Organization, Doctrine, Training, and Education - Placing responsibility for the STOM on the landing force commander departs from current doctrine and will require a higher level of integration of C3I and logistics than ever before. The VTUAV will enable commanders to execute maneuvers while maintaining connectivity with supporting sea-based echelons.

4.4 Develop Intelligence (NTA-2)

4.4.1 Collect Information (NTA 2.2)

Enemy Orders of Battle – The VTUAV’s day/night imagery (EO/IR) MMP, extended range, and loiter capability will make it an ideal asset for building orders of battle from over-the-horizon or in denied areas. This function is normally the first step toward building the MAGTF Commander’s situational awareness of the area. Squadron IAs will provide squadron intelligence officers with either annotated framed-grabbed images or a live running tally directly from the downlink. The intelligence officers will then process this data to form a picture of the battlefield and prepare intelligence summaries, which are then forwarded to the ACE intelligence officer.



4.4.2 Produce Intelligence (NTA 2.4) Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) (NTA 2.4.5)

The VTUAV will provide immediate BDA in the objective area. The data will be critical to accurately determine the pre- and post-attack status of hostile forces, to assess the number of units destroyed, and to retarget viable contacts. The VTUAV will be required to operate in coordination with manned aircraft, provide targeting for attacks, and observe the level of damage including the remaining offensive/defensive capability of the target. BDA will frequently be performed immediately following an attack for which the VTUAV provided the targeting. In these cases, targeting and BDA can be performed in the same sortie. The VTUAV may also be sent on missions with the sole function to determine damage inflicted by units outside the task force. Bomb Hit Assessment (BHA)

The VTUAV will be used to determine weapon impact distance from the intended target for BHA by viewing the area of interest from multiple axes. Since many strike operations involve multiple targets, near-real-time planning and coordination between weapon systems operators and VTUAV operators is required to ensure accurate and timely BHA/BDA information from VTUAVs.

4.5 Employ Firepower (NTA-3)

4.5.1 Process Targets (NTA 3.1) Target List Information

The VTUAV provides a quick response, organic asset to locate, identify, and, if necessary, track additional critical targets for inclusion on the MAGTF target list. The VTUAV sorties support follow-on daily regeneration of tactical target lists when the operation is executed. This can be conducted from over-the-horizon while reducing the potential for alerting the enemy. Reconnoitering target areas of interest, notional areas of interest, or "pop up" targets detected by other assets, squadron IAs will provide intelligence officers with processed imagery. Initial assessment by squadron intelligence officers will be passed to ACE intelligence, where it will be fused with other data and passed to the MAGTF intelligence officer. If time critical and distance parameters permit, an RDT can be co-located with the MAGTF staff, who will then receive and fuse the imagery directly. This intelligence is added to the list of targets, which eventually becomes the MAGTF target list. The VTUAV will support post-launch re-targeting capabilities through continuous monitoring of the objective and analysis by squadron IAs.

For ships with VTUAV detachments, the payload operator will conduct first order VTUAV product analysis and forward it to appropriate intelligence personnel and/or tactical commanders. For ships manned for TCS Level 4 control only, without a VTUAV detachment, the internal pilot and payload operator on that ship will forward real time VTUAV products to the mission commander/tactical action officer (TAO). Products that require analysis will be forwarded to ship/airwing intelligence staff and/or archived.


4.5.2 Attack Targets (NTA 3.2) Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS)

The VTUAV will operate as a direct extension of the ship’s fire control system, allowing the gunfire control officer to observe targets in enfilade and defilade without an air or ground observer, thereby eliminating the delay of a second party call-for-fire. The VTUAV will allow ships to operate shipboard guns at maximum range with real time targeting with less than 25m-target location error (TLE). VTUAV imaging will allow ships to visually identify and engage with targets such as small surface craft at maximum range, thus providing an alternative to the use of shipboard missiles such as Harpoon. Direct targeting by the ship will permit the ship to adjust rounds rapidly and shift targets quickly, thereby reducing the rounds-required-per-target due to increased first round accuracy. These improvements will allow the ship to conduct more engagements in less time and with fewer shells. Targeting by the VTUAV will also reduce the number of ground spot net or air spot net communication channels for the ship using the VTUAV. This permits ships to provide more gunfire support with fewer communication channels. (Note: All fires in a specific engagement must be coordinated by the appropriate fire support coordination agency to prevent fratricide or adverse impact on a planned mission by losing the element of surprise.) Artillery Spotting

The VTUAV will perform as an artillery forward observer. The battalion commander will inform his company commanders of the VTUAVs support, and will most likely assign it to the company, which is the focus of his main effort. The RDT will be co-located with the company forward observer, who will use it to locate and call fire upon targets as per the company commander’s fire support plan. As the situation develops, the battalion commander can re-direct the VTUAV between his subordinate units as required. The VTUAV crew may also discover targets of opportunity and prosecute them with the consent of the Fire Support Coordination Center. Close Air Support (CAS)

VTUAVs will be deployed to assist the forward air controller (FAC) and the CAS aircraft by providing detection, identification, and video of the target area and laser spotting for precise targeting. In this scenario, the position and altitude of the VTUAV, the video camera direction and magnification, and selection of EO and/or IR sensor functions will be directed by the FAC. FACs will also position VTUAV orbits to provide airspace deconfliction between the VTUAV and CAS aircraft. VTUAV integration into combat CAS scenarios will be improved when live UAV video or still photos of the target area are displayed in the cockpits of CAS aircraft. With the FAC directing the VTUAV video camera and providing descriptive commentary of the video, acquisition of the specific, small ground targets can be dramatically improved. The ability to see live video will provide the CAS aircrew a better feel for the distances between ground references, and will ultimately result in improved target recognition and destruction. Deep Air Support (DAS)

During Desert Storm, the air tasking order (ATO) cycle was too slow for the pace of the war. BDA could not be conducted quickly or thoroughly enough for targets to be removed from the ATO. Consequently, sorties were often scheduled against dead targets, resulting in wasted missions. The VTUAV will alleviate this bottleneck by bringing the flexibility and responsiveness of CAS to the DAS mission. Like CAS, manned sorties will be conducted in conjunction with a VTUAV. BDA will then be performed immediately and forwarded to the Tactical Air Command Center (TACC). Additionally, the VTUAV’s laser targeting capability will permit release of ordnance from manned aircraft at high, relatively safe altitudes. Strike

The VTUAV will support strike operations by providing critical, time sensitive data to tactical commanders, plus methods for designating targets for a host of USN/USMC weapons systems. These commanders could be located on the launch/control ship within line of sight of the air vehicle, or on ships several hundred miles from the vehicle, yet controlling and receiving data through an airborne relay platform. This data could be used to support Tomahawk cruise missiles and manned strike aircraft. The laser target designator MMP (or potentially a geo-location and/or an IR pointer system) can be controlled by trained VTUAV mission commanders who are also, concurrently, TAOs or CVW Element Leads on ships other than the VTUAV host


4.6 Perform Logistics and Combat Support (NTA-4)

4.6.1 Provide/Execute Training for US and Other Nation Units and Individuals (NTA 4.9.2)

The VTUAV will be an extremely useful tool for evaluating complex military training exercises. An example is using the VTUAV EO/IR MMP to observe Special Forces training operations and then using the video as part of the debrief. Another example is observing and registering mine delivery slash points for airwing mining exercises.

4.7 Exercise Command and Control (NTA-5)

4.7.1 Acquire, Analyze, Communicate Information and Maintain Status (NTA 5.1)

The VTUAV may be employed as a communication and data relay. Extending communications range beyond line-of-sight with the VTUAV is a critical capability that will decrease dependence on satellites or manned aircraft. The baseline VTUAV will have a limited, embedded communications relay that will be able to support combat search and rescue (CSAR) operations. For CSAR, the UAV communications relay will permit the force package and the survivors to maintain communications out to the marshaling area (50-60 NM or more) as opposed to 20 NM without the relay. The communications relay will permit the rescue mission commander to conduct survivor authentication/status procedures in a safe haven, clear of threats, and allow the rescue mission to be accomplished with seamless communications between the survivor and the rescue force. Data relay will be accomplished when the VTUAV is equipped with a suitable MMP capable of supporting data relay functions. Other growth MMPs for the VTUAV will allow digital data connectivity between forces ashore and afloat including high bandwidth messages for targeting, operational maneuver and situation reports. Specialized communications/data networks for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, maneuver warfare, EW, and other missions may also be pursued as growth MMPs evolve.



4.7.2 Assess Situation (NTA 5.2)

VTUAVs dedicated to observing operational maneuver will assist commanders to maintain unity of command and continuum of control. Monitoring the status of ship to shore movement will include location and classification of contacts approaching the LCAC or AAAV operating area and previewing potential obstacles, which could hinder the planned LCAC or AAAV route at-sea or on land. The VTUAV will support airborne ship-to-shore movement and STOM of troops by conducting a systematic visual search of the objective area. This aerial observation will be used to detect ground objects or activities to determine identity and location of hostile forces in relation to the landing zone. This information will be used to analyze, evaluate, and dynamically change flight routes and to select possible landing zones for heliborne troops. The system may operate only moments in advance of a heliborne assault package, relaying information from just over the next ridge. Decisions taken by the Battle Group Commander will be relayed through the VTUAV to maneuver elements.

The VTUAV can be used to determine weapon impact distance from the intended target (BHA), to provide initial assessment of mission success (BDA) or to rapidly redirect follow-on strike assets. The VTUAV is well suited for this task due to its dual EO-IR sensor MMP, its extended dwell time, and its ability to view the area of interest from multiple axes. Many air strike operations involve multiple targets, and will therefore require close planning/coordination between strike aircrew, weapon systems operators and VTUAV operators to ensure accurate and timely BHA/BDA information from VTUAVs. This data will be critical to accurately determine the status of hostile forces, to assess the number of units destroyed and to retarget viable contacts.

4.7.3 Plan and Employ C2W (NTA 5.5) Employ C2 Attack (NTA 5.5.3)

The VTUAV will prevent effective C2 of an adversary’s forces by denying information to the enemy force and/or by influencing, degrading, or destroying the adversary’s C2 system. To accomplish this mission will require the development and integration of EW jamming or deception MMPs for VTUAV. Perform Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) (NTA 5.5.5)

VTUAV will conduct planned PSYOPS to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. This mission will be accomplished through the development and integration of loudspeaker, broadcast, and pamphlet dispenser MMPs for VTUAV. The observed presence of the VTUAV alone may be sufficient to influence the behavior of opposing forces.




4.8 Protect the Force (NTA-6)

4.8.1 Enhance Survivability (NTA 6.1) Protect Individuals and Systems (NTA

To use protective positions, measures, or equipment to reduce the effects of enemy and friendly weapon systems and to enhance force effectiveness. This activity physically protects a military unit, area, activity, or installation against acts designed to impair its effectiveness and retains the unit’s capability to perform its missions and tasks. The planned EO/IR/laser designator MMP can perform this mission by providing surveillance of perimeters and known avenues of approach to important facilities, however, additional MMPs, including EW jamming, deception, and decoy MMPs, may be developed and integrated to perform or support this mission. Positively Identify Friendly Forces (NTA

To provide the means, procedures, and equipment to positively identify friendly forces and distinguish them from unknown, neutral, or enemy forces. This task includes positively distinguishing friendly from enemy forces through various methods including visual, electronic and acoustic. The JCS has not yet identified a uniform combat identification system. When a uniform system is identified, VTUAV will incorporate it as a growth MMP. Conduct Deception in Support of Tactical Operations (NTA 6.1.4)

This task is to mask the real objectives of tactical operations and delay effective enemy reaction. The VTUAV will be able to do this by misleading the enemy about friendly intentions, capabilities, objectives, and the locations of vulnerable units and facilities. This task includes manipulating, distorting, or falsifying evidence available to the enemy to ensure security to real plans, operations, or activities. It includes counter-targeting and physical and electronic (imitative, simulative, and manipulative) deception, using a communications relay payload. To accomplish this mission will require the development and integration of appropriate growth MMPs.

4.8.2 Rescue and Recover (NTA 6.2) Evacuate Noncombatants from Area (NTA 6.2.1)

In addition to providing valuable reconnaissance prior to a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) such as landing zones, routes from embassy to landing zones, and potential ambush sites, the VTUAV will fill other valuable roles. Deployed initially in the operation, the VTUAV will provide situation updates before the start of the NEO through live video feed. After initiation of the NEO, the NEO mission commander will be provided real-time VTUAV tactical intelligence via the RDT or via voice reports from the VTUAV mission commander. Changes to the NEO can be made in real-time based on these updates. It may be possible to accomplish this mission with the baseline VTUAV MMP and embedded communications relay capability. Perform Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) (NTA 6.2.2)

VTUAV operating altitudes of 5,000-15,000 feet AGL provide a field-of-view wide enough to conduct an effective search with the Downed Aircrew Location System (DALS), minimize hostile forces’ ability to pinpoint the survivor’s position, and enhance deconfliction with the rescue mission commander’s aircraft operating above the VTUAV. Once the approximate location of a survivor is determined, the VTUAV can be employed to provide the location and disposition of hostiles in the survivor area.

4.8.3 Provide Security for Operational Forces and Means (NTA 6.3) Provide Harbor Defense and Port Security (NTA

VTUAV will provide naval forces protection of vessels and port/waterfront facilities, including friendly forces within a designated geographic area, harbor and approaches, or anchorage, against external threats, sabotage and subversive acts, accidents, theft and negligence, civil disturbance and disasters. Maintain Law and Order (NTA

VTUAVs will be operated in support of law enforcement detachments. The VTUAV will provide surveillance information on the specified objectives when the Coast Guard detachments are launched from the ship. For military police (MP) assistance, the VTUAV will be used to monitor the status of the population from key views as well as assist in providing security for monitoring prisoner of war (POW) compounds and other facilities staffed by MPs.





5.1 Manpower and Personnel Considerations

5.1.1 USN Manpower and Personnel Organization

There is a consensus that the USN should establish separate squadrons for the VTUAV, departing from the existing Pioneer strategy of integrating UAVs into a composite squadron. To support the OPNAV N-86 requirements (presently mostly unfunded) for 45 systems for surface combatants will require a large number of squadrons and detachments. Two to four squadrons have been proposed, each consisting of up to ten detachments. It has also been proposed that one or two squadrons operate on each coast and report administratively and operationally to Commander, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light Wing, Atlantic and Pacific (COMHSLWING LANT and PAC) respectively. Specific locations of the squadrons will be determined at a later date and will depend on airspace and available infrastructure, training requirements, and proximity to the wing commanders.

The initial force structure of each squadron will reflect the USN plan for employment of VTUAV systems and the TCS architecture which will allow varying levels of command and control of the VTUAV from ships other than the host ship. The Appendix C surface deployment plan developed by OPNAV (N86) will have a significant impact on VTUAV squadron composition and the TCS stand-alone command and control capabilities of other ships.

Initial deployment of the VTUAV system will be aboard DDG-51 class ships in support of each BG. Personnel to support VTUAV from additional ships in the BG will be established as VTUAV operations and maintenance support plans are more clearly defined. Personnel to support VTUAV operations that do not embark an organic VTUAV will not exceed 2-3 personnel. As the surface combatant VTUAV deployment plan expands to include organic capability aboard additional ship classes, squadron composition will be reviewed and augmented as required.

The VTUAV detachment will be embarked in accordance with NWP-42 on the ship with the system under the command of an Officer in Charge (OIC). The VTUAV detachment OIC will report to the ship commanding officer as the aviation department head. When a VTUAV and HSL detachment are deployed on the same ship, the senior detachment commander will be designated as the aviation department head. VTUAV flight crews will be responsible for control and operation of the VTUAV.

The personnel requirement goal to support a shipboard VTUAV detachment is 18 or fewer personnel. A USN notional VTUAV detachment composition is provided in Section 5.1.3 below. The detachments will include an operation and a maintenance section. The operations section will consist of two complete flight crews. The maintenance section will consist of a variety of skilled technicians, type, and number as required. The number of maintenance personnel in the detachment will be influenced by the maintainability attributes of the VTUAV system (yet to be selected). A deployment of LAMPS and VTUAV capabilities on the same ship will result in a composite number of personnel that is projected to be less than the combined total of the two detachments.

VTUAV detachment maintenance personnel will be responsible for all air vehicle maintenance and system avionics support that is not designated a host ship responsibility.

The ship’s company will be responsible for flight deck operations, shipboard safety, developing and revising ship VTUAV procedures, and providing material and personnel support to the embarked detachment. Ship’s force responsibilities will include:

- Provide for fire safety and fire fighting with regard to VTUAV operations and for training of the fire and crash crew.

- Provide designated compartments to the embarked VTUAV detachment including the aviation storeroom, aviation office and the aviation repair facility for maintenance and administrative support, and maintenance of those spaces when detachment personnel are not embarked.

- Maintain installed VTUAV ship equipment, including assigned ship VTUAV launch and recovery equipment. The ship’s Electronics Material Officer (EMO), under the direction of the Operations Officer, will oversee data link and control station maintenance.

- Maintain the fuel storage and equipment and assist in fueling evolutions. The Engineering Officer will be responsible for maintenance of the fuel fittings, hoses, and pumps.

USN VTUAV detachment operations are addressed in Section 7.2.1.

5.1.2 USMC Manpower and Personnel Organization

VMU squadrons will retain the capability to task organize detachments as necessary to support MAGTF operations. Like all USMC air assets, a VMU detachment will remain with the ACE. When in support of a MEU, the detachment will become part of the composite squadron supporting the MAGTF. The basic VTUAV squadron/detachment equipment set will be determined after selection of the specific VTUAV system design. USMC VTUAV detachment operations are addressed in Section 7.2.2. Appendix F provides the VMU organization.

5.1.3 USN and USMC Detachment Organization

USN and USMC personnel requirements for a notional VTUAV detachment organization are provided in the below table. (Note: USMC detachments are larger than USN detachments because they have the capability to deploy ashore and conduct split ship/shore operations.









Detachment OIC



1 (Maj)


Mission Commander



3 (Capt)


Pilot (Air Vehicle Operator)




6 (GySgt/SSgt)

Payload Operator




6 (Sgt/Cpl)

Operations Chief


1 (GySgt/SSgt)

Intelligence Specialist/Imagery Analyst




3 (Sgt/Cpl)

RVT Operator


4 (Cpl/LCpl)

Maintenance Chief




1 (SSgt)

Maintenance Administration





Aviation Mechanic












MT Mechanic


1 (Sgt/Cpl)

Generator Mechanic


2 (Cpl/LCpl)

Aviation Machinist




Power Line



Avionics Technician





Quality Assurance












Billet requirements are based on all personnel fully qualified/current/certified to perform all missions/Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)/Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) requirements. MOS/NEC requirements will be determined upon identification of missions/operation/maintenance/training for VTUAV units and personnel. In the composition of Marine Tables of Organizations and Navy Squadron Manning Documents, detachment structure and requirements should be identified. This allows independent deployment of detachments and establishes a core structure to remain in place.

5.2 Training Considerations

5.2.1 VTUAV Training

At a minimum, the following VTUAV personnel will require formal training:

- Mission Commander (MC)* - Officer

- Pilot* (Air Vehicle Operator) - Enlisted

- Payload Operator - Enlisted

- Air Vehicle Mechanic - Enlisted

- Air Vehicle Avionics/Electrician - Enlisted

* MCs and pilots assigned to non-air vehicle host ships will receive a suitable, scaleable training program for GCS stand-alone operations.

5.2.2 MOSs and NECs

The below table provides a breakdown of current and proposed UAV MOSs and NECs. They may be expanded or consolidated to support the VTUAV. Note: The VTUAV will not require an external operator.



7315, Mission Commander

11XX/13XX, Mission Commander

- Secondary MOS

- Warfare Qualified Officer

- Qualified Naval Aviator/Naval Flight Officer/Air Command Air Command & Control Officer/Air Defense Control Officer/Air Traffic Control Officer

Officer/Air Command & Control Officer/Air

Defense Control Officer/Air Traffic Control


- Formal Training

- Formal UAV Training



7314, UAV Pilot (Air Vehicle Operator)

8XXX, UAV Air Vehicle Operator

- Primary MOS

- Primary NEC

- Formal Training

- Formal Training

- MgySgt - Pvt (E9-E1)

- E9 – E5

- OPNAV 3710 NATOPS Qual


- BUMED Qual

- Source Ratings AM, AE, AT, AD, AW, IS

- Formal Training


- Air Intercept Controller Certified

7314, USMC Payload Operator

8364, UAV Payload Operator

- Primary MOS

- Secondary NEC

- Formal Training

- Formal Training

- MgySgt-Pvt (E9-E1)

- E6 – E4

- OPNAV 3710 NATOPS Qual

-Source Ratings – Any

- BUMED Qual

7314, USMC RDT Operator

- Primary MOS

- Formal Training

- MgySgt – Pvt (E9-E1)

- OPNAV 3710 NATOPS Qual

- BUMED Qual

6014, UAV Mechanic

8361, UAV System OMA Technician

- Primary MOS

- Secondary NEC

- Formal Training

- Formal Training

- GySgt – Pvt (E7-E1)

- E8 – E2

- Source Ratings – AT, AE, AM, AS,AD

6314, UAV Avionics Technician

- Primary MOS

- Formal Training

- GySgt-Pvt (E7- E1)



5.2.3 Squadron/Organizational Training

Squadron/organizational level squadron training will be developed in accordance with the Naval Aviation Maintenance Program (NAMP) OPNAVINST 4790.2 series instructional requirements and will meet Navy Aviation Maintenance In-Service Training (AMIST) guidelines. Specific USMC MOS requirements will be developed and outlined by the Marine Corps Training And Education Standards Branch, Individual Training Standards Section. VTUAV training will be developed in the format specified by the NAVAIR PMA-205 Computer-Based Training (CBT) Initiative.

5.2.4 Formal Training

Formal training will be under the direction of the Chief of Naval Education (CNET) and executed by the Naval Air Training Group (NAMTRAGRU) through a Detachment (NAMTRAGRUDET). NAMTRGRU will be responsible for the development, conduct, and training of all personnel. The location of the NAMTRAGRUDET for UAV instruction will be at a location that is cost effective and advantageous for the conduct of courses.


6.1 Introduction

Logistics support will be integral to operation of VTUAV from ships at-sea or from land- based locations. The ship’s permanently installed VTUAV subsystems, such as VTUAV workstations, will be under the cognizance of the appropriate Navy Surface Type Commander (TYCOM) and will be maintained by ship’s company personnel similar to the shipboard components of the LAMPS MK III system.

The air vehicles, MMPs, and mobile control stations will be assets under the cognizance of the appropriate aviation TYCOM. These assets will be assigned to the aviation units responsible for maintaining these subsystems, and for organizing, training, and providing all UAV detachments. When deployed, the air vehicles, and detachment personnel (including MCs and pilots of stand-alone GCSs) will be under the operational command of the embarked ship’s Commanding Officer and/or the MEU’s Commanding Officer.

6.2 USN System Maintenance Concept

Initially the USN support concept will include two levels, organizational (O-level), and depot (D-level). Based on the post-fielding collection and analysis of maintenance and repair data, addition of intermediate level (I-level) maintenance may be appropriate. Described below are the primary elements of a three level concept.

6.2.1 O-level Maintenance

- System operation: handling, transportation emplacement, launch and recovery, tear down, and mission planning

- Air vehicle servicing and turnaround, (including refueling, inspection, and testing prior to operation).

- System reconfiguration: MMP and communication system configuration changes.

- Removal and replacement of weapon replaceable assemblies (WRAs)/line replaceable units (LRUs), trouble shooting connectors and required preventive maintenance.

- Corrosion prevention and control.

- Inspections (daily, pre-, post-flight inspections, etc.).

6.2.2 I-level Maintenance

- Direct Support: isolating faults in defective shop replaceable units (SRUs) using built-in-test (BIT) and fault indicators (a faulty SRU that cannot be diagnosed on-site will be evacuated to the next maintenance level).

- General support: isolating faults in LRU/SRU chassis mounted components, and wiring harness using SE, and I-level maintenance publications.

- Ship and shore repair of subassemblies determined in conjunction with logistics support analysis maintenance plans and level of repair analysis

- airframe inspection, including X-ray and other inspections applicable to I-level maintenance.

6.2.3 D-level Maintenance

- Performed in accordance with the approved baseline system maintenance concept. Consists of major repairs, rebuild, and modifications of components beyond the capabilities of the O- and I-level maintenance.

Maintenance of equipment under the cognizance of an aviation TYCOM (i.e. air vehicles, MMPs, and mobile control stations) will be accomplished in accordance with the NAMP, OPNAVINST 4790.2 series instructions. Shipboard personnel will accomplish maintenance of the ship-installed equipment, (i.e., GCS, data link, antennas, and launch and recovery equipment). If embarked together, VTUAV detachment personnel and LAMPS Mk III detachment personnel will integrate their operations and maintenance efforts to the maximum extent practicable.

6.3 USMC System Maintenance Concept

- The squadron will be capable of conducting 1st and limited 2nd echelon maintenance on

assigned USMC Ground Table of Equipment Assets including: motor transport, engineering and communications equipment, and infantry weapons.

- The Combat Service Support Detachment (CSSD) will perform 3rd and 4th echelon maintenance on USMC Ground Table of Equipment Assets.

- The squadron will be capable of performing O-level maintenance on aviation equipment to include the VTUAV and Aviation Support Equipment in accordance with approved maintenance plans.

- The Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) or ship I-level maintenance department will perform I-level maintenance on aviation equipment and aviation support equipment in accordance with approved maintenance plans.

6.4 System Support

System WRAs will be lift capable by no more than four (4) personnel to minimize requirements for additional powered equipment. The Consolidated Automated Support System (CASS) is the Naval Aviation standard for automated test equipment (ATE). The VTUAV Program will integrate test program sets (TPSs) requirements within applicable instructions.

The Naval Aviation Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) and the Ship’s Parts Control Center (SPCC) will ensure provisioning requirements are integrated into system procurement.

6.5 Storage

The VTUAV air vehicle will be shipped in an air vehicle container. At least one container will be aboard each ship in case a damaged air vehicle has to be returned to depot maintenance, or an air vehicle needs to be shipped to another detachment/unit. Storage aboard amphibious ships will be accommodated as part of the complete loadout of the ACE in the MAGTF. Spares and pack-up kits will be stored in the supply department’s aviation storerooms. Storage aboard other air capable ships will follow the model of embarked LAMPS Mk III detachments, with air vehicles stored in the hangar and maintenance and pre-flight checks performed in the hangar and on the flight deck as required. For VTUAV detachments embarked aboard air capable ships without a helicopter hangar (DDG 51-78), each air vehicle will be provided an individual storage container for protection from the elements or stored in a special configuration VTUAV maintenance structure. If embarked together, VTUAV and LAMPS MK III detachment personnel will integrate their operations and maintenance efforts to the maximum extent possible.

6.6 Transportation

The VTUAV system will be ground transportable by USN and USMC inventory trucks and trailers. The system components will be air transportable by C-130, C-141, C-5 and C-17 aircraft. All system components will be drive on, drive off capable. The VTUAV system will be capable of being configured for, or deconfigured from, sea, ground or air transport in two hours or less. Systems will be capable of combined internal and external multiple lift by CH-46, CH-53 and V-22 helicopters. The system will have no restrictions for rail or road transportation. Each USMC land-based system will include a sufficient number of ground vehicles to transport the system on land. Each VMU detachment will be authorized one five-ton truck for logistic support.

6.7 Technical Manuals

Technical manuals to support USN and USMC requirements will be developed in an electronic format that is compatible with the maintenance data collection system and the individual electronic technical training record.

6.8 USMC Supply

Supply support for USMC VMU squadrons will be provided by the Marine Air Group (MAG) (Marine Corps Ground Table of Equipment Assets) and the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS)(Aviation Supply). Aviation Supply Support for the USMC VMU squadrons will be developed under the Marine Aviation Logistics Program and the Marine Aviation Logistics Support Concept.


7.1 USN Detachment Operations

7.1.1 Flight Schedule

The BG or ARG VTUAV detachment OIC(s) will prepare squadron flight schedules based upon the BG/ARG Air Plan. If the squadron does not receive tasking via the Air Plan, but VTUAV services are requested by the host ship, sorties supporting that request will be scheduled provided the airspace is coordinated with the BG/ARG Airspace Control Plan.

When the host ship is steaming independently, the VTUAV squadron operations officer will coordinate airspace and intelligence requirements, and prepare an appropriate flight schedule that will support host ship requirements.

7.1.2 Mission Responsibilities

UAV watch stations include personnel who will operate the VTUAV GCS and flight deck crews supporting pre- and post-flight preparation as well as launch and recovery operations. Squadron Mission Commander (MC)

The squadron MC, a warfare qualified officer trained in aviation operations, will oversee the operations and serve as the primary point of contact with the ship’s battle management officers (amphibious ships)/CIC watch team (other air capable ships). The MC will coordinate tasking requirements including review of requests, generation of a flight schedule, and coordination of changes to the mission flight profile during the mission. The MC assists in planning and selection of the overall flight profile and MMP tasks. The MC prepares the UAV OPTASK message and conducts the pre-flight brief with members of the VTUAV crew and ship’s company.

CV/CVNs will not have an organic ability to launch and recover the VTUAV. However they will have stand-alone GCS’s with embedded Level 4 TCS capability. Thus the CV/CVNs and other surface combatants with stand-alone GCSs require an MC that will be physically located on these platforms. This MC:

- will have Level 4 TCS capability which includes operation and control of both the air vehicle (Level-4) and MMP (Level 3) and receipt of MMP products (Level 2),

- may be assigned to either the host ship or one of the associated staffs/squadrons,

- will have received the appropriate training and sustained currency in order to receive air vehicle handoffs and integrate the platform into the assigned mission, and

- will have attained a warfare specialty that carries with it the qualifications and responsibility appropriate for the mission.

If the MC is not an aviation officer, the stand-alone mission pilot, described below, will be responsible for safety of flight of the air vehicle. Mission Pilot

A flight qualified UAV pilot will be responsible for the safe control and operation of the air vehicle as directed by the MC. He/she will:

- be involved in mission planning,

- ensure completion of all pre-launch, mission, and recovery checklists and assist in evaluating and disseminating in-flight data, and

- be responsible for the safe conduct of flight, modification of the mission plan while in flight, and monitoring of all air vehicle systems.

VTUAV pilots located on ships other than the VTUAV host ship will be administratively assigned to the ship/staff where he/she is physically located. Mission Payload Operator (PO)

The PO will control the operation of the MMP during a mission, evaluate returned video imagery, and coordinate with the ship’s battle management officers as required to ensure real- time reporting. Also the PO will recommend waypoint approaches to employ MMP sensors. Detachment Maintenance Officer

The Maintenance Officer will ensure equipment readiness and availability including staging and fueling, to meet the flight schedule, and will be available to the MC during the mission to assist with any system difficulties. He/she will coordinate with operations officer and the ship’s aviation department to ensure efficient and effective VTUAV operations.

7.2 USMC Detachment Operations

7.2.1 Flight Schedule

Upon receiving the ATO, the detachment Operations Officer will review the mission and any amplifying information from the intelligence support staff. He/she will then assign aircrews to the mission and draft the squadron flight schedule for the Commanding Officer’s signature. The flight schedule will include all information necessary for squadron personnel to plan, launch, and recover the air vehicle as tasked by the ATO.

7.2.2 Mission Responsibilities Operations Officer

The Operations Officer will be responsible for employing the system per the BG/ARG Air Plan and formulating flight schedules. He/she will coordinate all detachment personnel to meet the flight schedule and the Air Plan. The Operations Officer will also be responsible for detachment training and readiness and will serve as interface with ACE staff. Mission Commander (MC)

The MC will be responsible for overall conduct of mission. He/she will oversee and approve mission planning to ensure compliance with the ATO, flight schedule, and detachment standard operating procedures. The MC will formulate and conduct mission brief. USMC VTUAV units may conduct split operations wherein the MC is not co-located with the air vehicle operator who launches and recovers it. Pilot

The pilot will be responsible for the safe control and operation of all assigned air vehicles as directed by the MC. The pilot may be involved in mission planning per squadron standard operating procedures. The pilot will ensure completion of all pre-launch, mission, and recovery checklists and assist in evaluating and disseminating in-flight data. Payload Operator (PO)

The PO is responsible for the efficient and effective use of the MMP. He/she will operate the MMP, process the data to be sent to C4I users, and will recommend waypoint approaches to employ MMP sensors. Imagery Analyst (IA)

The IA will be responsible for obtaining, annotating, storing, and disseminating imagery or real time intelligence. He/she will provide information used for analysis and formulation of Intelligence Summaries to the Intelligence Officer. Additionally, he/she will be responsible for formulating Imagery Reports as required. Maintenance Officer

The Maintenance Officer will ensure equipment readiness and availability including staging and fueling, to meet the flight schedule, and will be available to the MC during the mission to assist with any system difficulties. He/she will coordinate with operations officer and the ship’s aviation department to ensure efficient and effective VTUAV operations.

7.2.3 Conduct of Mission

Each detachment will formulate specific operating procedures that ensure mission success. The system’s intercom net will provide instant communications between the MC, pilot, PO, and IA. At the MC’s discretion other personnel may join the net. Normally, the MC will assume a more interactive role during launch and recovery, directing the VTUAV in response to controlling agencies, and will assume more of a "silence is consent" role as the mission progresses. The pilot, PO, and IA will interface as required to accomplish the mission, with the MC involved as required. Intelligence requests will reach the MC via the detachment Intelligence Officer. Immediate operational requests will reach the MC through the Marine Air Command and Control System (MACCS) or TACC afloat.

7.3 Launch and Recovery

7.3.1 At-Sea

Launch and recovery at-sea is heavily impacted by the pitch, roll, and yaw movements of the ship deck and the continual change in the grid coordinates of the launch and recovery spot as the ship moves through the sea. An automated launch and recovery subsystem will be part of the VTUAV system. Recovery assist, secure, and traversing (RAST) equipment will be required for each ship-class operating the VTUAV.


7.3.2 Land-Based

Land-based launch and recovery operations will not require secure and traverse equipment other than tie-downs used to ensure air vehicle security. Launch and recovery will be fully automatic.

7.4 Operational Communications

7.4.1 At-Sea

Interior Voice Communications – Intercom voice circuits at the GCS will be required to coordinate VTUAV flight operations and pass tactical data between operators. The following is a preliminary list of the shipboard stations with which voice communications will be required:


Surface Combatant

Air Controller (TACC)


Primary Flight Control Officer (PRIFLI)

Landing Safety Officer (LSO)

Supporting Arms Coordinator (SACC)


Helicopter Control Officer (HDC)

Helicopter Control Officer (HDC)

Intelligence Staff (JIC)

Mission Pilot


Payload Operator

External voice communications on covered lines will be required for each console for airspace management and the passing of tactical data to off-board stations. The lines include UHF and VHF clear, secure voice nets, strike, airwing common, Red Crown, Green Crown, and all tactical frequencies that support integrated strike operations. The VTUAV operators will be required to participate on UHF voice nets specified for airspace control and as required by mission tasking.

7.4.2 Land-Based

Since the air vehicle has an embedded radio relay capability it will therefore have the same communication capabilities as any USMC aircraft. This will permit the MC to communicate with any MACCS node that a pilot can communicate with across the battlefield including FACs. Additionally, the MC will have the capability to communicate via landlines or land radios. This will provide a redundancy and expanded capability not afforded to manned aircraft.

7.5 Intelligence Dissemination

7.5.1 At-Sea

VTUAV generated video will be exported to other ship systems via the TCS interfaces. The closed circuit television system and secondary imagery systems on-board ship will utilize this video. The secondary imagery systems will frame-grab the video, digitize the video frame, display, and store the freeze-frame video. This will provide an off-line freeze-frame video exploitation capability for VTUAV video. The ship’s secondary imagery systems will also provide access to exterior communications circuits to distribute the exploited freeze-frame imagery off-board to other secondary imagery systems both at-sea and ashore.

7.5.2 Land-Based

The squadron’s organic TCS-based GCS and communications equipment will provide for successful interfacing with ship and land-based intelligence dissemination links, but does not contain the links themselves. When land-based, these communication links must be provided by ACE or MAGTF communications assets. USMC land-based VTUAV systems will have an organic capability to process video imagery to include frame capture, target mensuration to 25 meters, and dissemination.

7.6 System Response Time

The VTUAV response timetable shows the time required for various components of the UAV operating cycle. The length of the elements in the cycle will be a principal factor in determining how many sorties can be supported by a VTUAV detachment within a set period.




Setup to mission capable (land or sea)

120 min

Launch after receipt of tasking from mission capable status

30 min

Disassembled and made ready for transport (land)

120 min

Launch after positioning on flight deck

10 min

Removal from flight deck

10 min




AAAV Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle

ACE Aviation Combat Element

ACTD Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration

ADT Air Data Terminal

AEW Airborne Early Warning

ARG Amphibious Ready Group

ATE Automatic Test Equipment

ATO Air Tasking Order

ASUW Anti-Surface Warfare

ASW Anti-Submarine Warfare

BDA Battle Damage Assessment

BG Battle Group

BHA Bomb Hit Assessment

BIT Built-in-Test

C2 Command and Control

C2W Command and Control Warfare

C3 Command, Control, and Communications

C4I Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence

CAS Close Air Support

CASS Consolidated Automated Support System

CBT Computer-Based Training

CHSL Commander, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light

CIC Command Information Center

CID Combat Identification

CNET Chief of Naval Education

CoE Concept of Employment

CSAR Combat Search and Rescue

CSSD Combat Service Support Detachment

CSSE Combat Service Support Element

CVBG Carrier Battle Group

DALS Downed Aircrew Location System

DAS Deep Air Support

D-Level Depot Level

E&MD Engineering and Manufacturing Development

ELB Extending the Littoral Battlespace

EO Electro-Optical

ERGM Extended Range Guided Munition

ESM Electronic Support Measures

EW Electronic Warfare

FSCC Fire Support Coordination Center

FAC Forward Air Controller

GCE Ground Combat Element

GCS Ground Control Station

GDT Ground Data Terminal

HMMWV Highly Mobile Multi-Wheeled Vehicle

HSL Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light

IA Imagery Analyst

I-Level Intermediate Level

IR Infrared

JCS Joint Chiefs of Staff

LADAR Laser Radar

LAMPS Light Anti-Submarine Multi-Purpose System

LCAC Landing Craft, Air Cushion

LOC Lines of Communications

LRU Line Replaceable Unit

LPA Littoral Penetration Area

LPP Littoral Penetration Point

LPS Littoral Penetration Site

LPZ Littoral Penetration Zone

LRPO Long Range Planning Objective

MACCS Marine Air Command and Control System

MAE Medium Altitude Endurance

MAG Marine Air Group

MAGTF Marine Air-Ground Task Force

MALS Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron

MSL Mean Sea Level

MWSS Marine Wing Support Squadron

MC Mission Commander

MEF Marine Expeditionary Force

MEU Marine Expeditionary Unit

MMP Modular Mission Payload

MOS Military Occupational Specialty

MP Military Police

MTI Moving Target Indicator

NAMP Naval Aviation Maintenance Program

NAMTRAGRU Naval Air Training Group

NAMTRAGRUDET Naval Air Training Group Detachment

NBC Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical

NEC Navy Enlisted Classification

NEO Non-Combat Evacuation Operations

NSFS Naval Surface Fire Support

NTA Naval Task Assignment

NWP Naval Warfare Publication

OIC Officer in Charge

O-Level Organizational Level

OMFTS Operational Maneuver from the Sea

ORD Operational Requirements Document

PO Payload Operator

POE Projected Operational Environment

POW Prisoner of War

PSYOPS Psychological Operations

RAST Recovery Assist, Secure, and Traversing Equipment

RDT Remote Data Terminal

RDT&E Research, Development, Test and Evaluation

ROC Required Operational Capabilities

RSTA Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition

SACC Supporting Arms Coordination Center

SE Support Equipment

STOM Ship to Objective Maneuver

TACC Tactical Air Command Center

TCDL Tactical Common Data Link

TCS Tactical Control System

TPS Test Program Set

TLE Target Location Error

TYCOM Type Commander

TUAV Tactical UAV

UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

UHF Ultra High Frequency

UJTL Universal Joint Task List

UNTL Universal Naval Task List

USMC US Marine Corps


VHF Very High Frequency

VTOL Vertical Takeoff and Landing

VTUAV Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical UAV

WRA Weapon Replaceable Assembly



To be provided after the specific acquisition strategy option is chosen.














C.1 Amphibious Ships

The USMC will operate the VTUAV systems from amphibious-class ships. Plans are to host, and launch and recover, the VTUAV on the LPDs and operate it from LHAs/LHDs. GCSs, with embedded TCS capability, will be installed on all LPDs, LHAs, and LHDs. The planned schedule for VTUAV fielding on the amphibious-class ships is under development.

A USMC VMU Detachment will embark with all organic equipment, including the mobile GCSs. These GCSs will be stowed below decks awaiting movement ashore. Marines will operate the VTUAV system aboard ship using the host ship GCS, launch and recovery equipment, and SE. As part of this configuration, a number of components will be hard mounted on the ship such as data link antennas and control stations. A mobile VTUAV system will support movement ashore.

C.1.1 LHAs

The GCSs in the UAV Control Center will be located near the SACC and CIC. Two consoles will be installed in this space. Data terminals will be installed on the LHA to provide 360-degree antenna coverage for full control of at least one VTUAV at a time.

C.1.2 LHDs

The GCSs in the UAV Control Center will be located near the SACC and CIC. Two consoles will be installed in this space. Data terminals will be installed on the LHA to provide 360-degree antenna coverage for full control of at least one VTUAV at a time.

C.1.3 LSD-41

The LSD-41 class has a flight deck and flight control tower and a two-spot flight deck. This ship class could be modified for full operation of the VTUAV if the requirement develops to add more organic UAVs to the amphibious task group. The ship is a candidate for a Level 3 or 4 TCS capability and data link to allow Special Forces or other embarked units to have direct control of the VTUAV air vehicle or MMP.

C.1.4 LPD-4

This ship class may be back-fitted with a TCS Level 5 capability to support launch and recovery and flight control of the VTUAV air vehicle and MMP.

C.1.5 LPD-17

This ship class will be forward-fitted with a TCS Level 5 capability to support launch and recovery and flight control of the VTUAV air vehicle and MMP. The GCS will be integrated in the LPD-17 combat system suite. Backfit of TCS Level 5 capability is being considered.



C.1.6 LCC

The LCC class is a candidate to be configured with a TCS Level 3 or 4 capability and data link to allow embarked units to have direct control of the VTUAV MMP or air vehicle.

C.1.7 LST

This ship class is not being considered for VTUAV capability.

C.2 Surface Combatants

Currently air capable ships embark SH-60B helicopter detachments for organic air support. These LAMPS MK III aircraft act as extensions of the ships’ systems, extending the range of the ships’ sensors and weapons. The VTUAV will also embark on air capable ships to provide organic air support, and will also act as an extension of the host ship’s weapons systems. Following the LAMPS MK III model, the VTUAV detachment will operate from the same spaces as a helicopter detachment, and the operations will be broadly similar in concept. The LAMPS helicopters, including the SH-60R when introduced, will continue to be a central feature of the host ship’s combat capabilities, primarily in the maritime dominance mission areas. The introduction of the VTUAV will complement the capabilities of the LAMPS helicopters and allow the LAMPS aircraft to concentrate on those core capabilities that a VTUAV cannot accomplish.

The VTUAV will be critical for the targeting of naval surface fires at extended ranges over land. Ships with a high priority for the VTUAV system include all DD-21 and 5"/62 equipped ships to provide strike-targeting data at maximum weapon range (60 to more than 100 nm) as well as supporting fixed/rotary wing strike assets.

A typical CVBG includes a complement of 1 to 2 CGs, 1 FFG, 1 DD, or DDG FLT IIA, and 1 DDG FLT I/II. The four combatants typically embark 6 to 8 LAMPS helicopters. The VTUAV system will likely be embarked on one or two combatants in the CVBG as well as on numerous combatants conducting independent operations. Over 60% of surface combatants currently operate independent of CVBGs. The dispersal of LAMPS and VTUAV systems within the CVBG and operating theater will enhance capability to conduct strike warfare on a broad front while retaining LAMPS capability to meet required ASUW and ASW tasking.

The projected number of surface combatants and their compatibility with LAMPS/VTUAVs is listed below.





















Active Duty FFG-7









Single RAST DD 963









Dual RAST DD 963









Single RAST CG


















DDG 51-78









DDG 79-105










































































NOTES: 1. Assumes LAMPS data link and embarkation compatible.

2. Assumes Flexible Universal Stowage System or Hellfire modification installed.

3. Assumes VTUAV compatible combat systems suite and flight deck.

LAMPS/VTUAV basing options are listed below.


Number of Helos/Ship

VTUAV Systems/Ship


2 or 1


Single RAST DD 963



Dual RAST DD 963

2 or 1


CG 47, 48 (Single RAST)



CG 49-73 (Dual RAST)

1 or 2

1 or 0

DDG 51-78



DDG 79-105

2 or 1

0 or 1


1 or 2



USN VTUAV system requirements for surface combatants as listed below and are derived from the preceding tables. These estimates ensure availability of the VTUAVs to the Battle Group, in direct proximity to units with significant NSFS capability, while not reducing the typical CVBG below 6 LAMPS aircraft per battle group. It also ensures adequate aerial vehicle support for independently operating surface combatants. The specific schedule for VTUAV fielding on surface combatants is under development.

surface combatant REQUIREMENTS























C.2.1 FFG-7

No VTUAV capability will be provided. This class will continue to deploy with up to two LAMPS helicopters.

C.2.2 DD 963 Single RAST

No VTUAV capability will be provided. This class will continue to deploy with a single LAMPS helicopter.

C.2.3 DD 963 Dual RAST

No VTUAV capability will be provided. This class will continue to deploy with dual LAMPS helicopters.

C.2.4 CG 47 and 48 Single RAST

This ship class will deploy with a single aircraft LAMPS detachment and likely one VTUAV system embarked.

C.2.5 CG 49-73 Dual RAST

The 25 dual RAST CGs will typically deploy with historical 1-7 LAMPS helicopters per ship, leaving seven ships to embark a split LAMPS/VTUAV detachment. It is anticipated that 22 dual RAST CGs will be backfit with the 5"/62 gun firing ERGM rounds, desired for the NSFS mission. Seven VTUAV systems will likely be deployed on these ships in conjunction with single helicopter LAMPS detachments.

C.2.6 DDG 51-78

LAMPS capability will not embark on DDG 51-78. These ships have a flight deck but they are not equipped with a helicopter hangar. Stowage containers may be added to the ships' flight deck to support the operation of the VTUAV systems. This class will eventually be backfit with the 5"/62 gun.

C.2.7 DDG 79-105

The DDG FLT IIA ORD requires embarkation of at least a single ship attack armed LAMPS helicopter and optimally a dual LAMPS detachment. This class has a flight deck and a helicopter hangar. This ship will also have the 5"/62 gun which will be enhanced by the employment of an organic VTUAV system for targeting at maximum range. When deployed with a single LAMPS helicopter, a VTUAV system will be embarked. The loadout of the aviation component for these ships will be reviewed depending on the ship’s expected operations.

C.2.8 DD-21

The DD-21 is intended as a land-attack, power projection platform capable of performing NSFS from within 50 nm of enemy coastlines. The DD-21 ORD threshold requirement includes two armed, rotary wing aircraft and the objective requirement is two armed helicopters and one VTUAV detachment. Subject to the DD-21’s final design characteristics, it is expected that the VTUAV detachment will be a regular component of the ship’s aviation complement.

C.3 Carrier-Based Operations

Although the VTUAV is not planned to operate from the CV/CVN, all eleven deployable CV/CVNs will be equipped with stand-alone TCS capability. The real-time tactical intelligence provided by the VTUAV is essential for carrier-based airwing operations in the littoral. Hence the VTUAV system must have the capability to pass control of an air vehicle launched from a ship in the task force to the CV/CVN for control. VTUAVs will also require integration in the overall traffic pattern coordinated by the CV if operating in close vicinity to manned aviation.

C.4 Mine Warfare Ships

As MMPs are developed and acquired for use in mine warfare, it may become desirable to base a VTUAV system on the converted LPH and control from it from MCMs.


D.1 Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for the Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) validated by JROCM 004-99 dated 13 January 1999

D.2 Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for the Tactical Control System validated by JROCM 011-97 dated 3 February 1997

D.3 U. S. Atlantic Command Draft UAV Tactical Control System (TCS) Joint Concept of Operations (CONOPS), Version 1.2 dated 13 July 1998

D.4 Universal Naval Task List, OPNAVINST 3500.38/MCO 3500.26/USCG COMDTINST M3500.1, 30 September 1996



E.1 Provide imagery (video/still) and geolocate (EO/IR/SAR/multi-spectral):

- Disposition of forces (enemy/friendly/neutral)

- Targets

- Stationary/moving

- Concealed/camouflaged

- Surface/subsurface

- Terrain features

E.2 Provide target return (multi-spectral/radar/lidar) data (moving target indicator (MTI)/surface search/airborne early warning (AEW)):

- Airborne

- Subsurface

- Surface

E.3 Illuminate, range, and/or designate

E.4 Relay (from/to airborne/ground platforms/sensors/communications networks):

- Command and control (to multiple UAVs)

- Communications

- Data

- Video/still imagery

E.5 Detect, identify, and geo-locate communications electronic emissions

E.6 Detect, identify, and geo-locate non-communications electronic emissions

E.7 Electronic attack:

- Broadcast

- Deceive

- Jam

E.8 Electronic protect (self/other platforms):

- Deceive

- Decoy

- Jam

E.9 Detect nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) emissions

E.10 Dispense:

- Chaff

- Ground sensors

- Incapacitating agents

- Logistical supplies

- Meteorological sensors

- NBC sensors

- Pamphlets

- Sonobouys


A VMU is composed of a headquarters section and four detachments and is organized according as follows:












Commanding Officer






Executive Officer













Administration Section


Admin Officer






Admin Chief






UD Clerk






Personnel Clerk






Admin Clerk






Career Planner







Aviation Safety







NATOPS Officer





Ground Safety Officer










Ground Safety NCO





Intelligence Section


S-2 Officer





Collections Officer





Intell Chief







Operations Department


Operations Officer





Logistics Department


Logistics Officer





Assistant Logistics Officer





Logistics Chief






Maintenance Chief






Supply Chief






Supply Clerk
























Engr Equipment Operator














Maintenance Department


Maintenance Officer





Asst Maintenance Officer






Maintenance Control Chief






M/C Airframes






M/C Avionics













MALS Augments


Supply Clerks






FLIR Technicians






Cable Technicians






PME/ATE Repair






Electronics Systems Tech