Minutes: UAV C2 Workshop Wrap-up Session

(Workshop Leader: Barry Brown)

Areas Identified as Significant during Workshop per the Workshop Leader:

  1. Communications bandwidth
  2. UAV airworthiness certification and regulating bodies
  3. Interoperability
    1. Common control systems (e.g., TCS)
    2. Common data interfaces
  4. Level of integration into the C2 system for mission planning, etc.
  5. Ops and Intel issues
  6. ID of UAVs (hostile and friendly)
  7. Data dissemination
  8. Collision avoidance

Recommendation: Define categories of UAVs to facilitate planning for UAV integration into the C2 system (the categorization can be bases on whatever works for the area being investigated)

Discussion Area 1 Leaderís Wrap-up Comments:

Operations and C2 of UAVs: from a NATO perspective, in times of peace, crisis, or war, and regardless of the type of theater organization or situation, the UAV is a national asset. As such, UAVs could be: declared to NATO and made part of the proper level of command and dealt with as any other centrally-controlled asset; retained and tasked by nations in accordance with requests from the NATO organization; or part of organic assets of a subordinate organization in theater. In any case, routing and special use airspace would need to be specified and be part of the ATO as would be any manned aircraft.

A key element will be the establishment of communications to support the C2 functions, e.g., bandwidth and frequency allocations, distribution of the UAV data, etc.

Full integration of UAVs into the NATO C2 structure will present challenges, but not insurmountable ones.

Comments Following the Area 1 Leaderís Comments:

The primary challenge that we have faced in the operation of UAVs is the timely dissemination of UAV reconnaissance and surveillance data to the users, whomever they are designated to be by the commander.

Responses to Workshop Leaderís Call for Final Comments:

Question: How could we characterize the major differences between the upper level (large, complex, high altitude) UAV systems and the lower level systems?


Question: What procedures will be used for ships at sea to fly UAVs through NATO airspace?

Responses: Need to look at scenario first. Very different during peace/exercise or war situations. Remember that multiple types of UAVs are currently operated in a NATO AOR on a daily basis, and the procedures used are a good example of how to effectively control UAVs.

Comment: The question of detection of UAVs needs more consideration. The price for failure to detect or failure to correctly ID could be high. It was stated that, with the cancellation of the US Darkstar program, there are no "stealthy" UAVs under development, and even relatively small UAVs can be expected to have a RCS of about one square meter. (Note, however, that the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle candidates artistsí depictions very definitely show stealth features.) and other nations/ industries have a less than positive view of UAV delectability. Surveillance and ID should remain a high priority.

Comment: The detection, tracking, and ID issues are a prime example of the need to categorize UAVs to be able to make sense of the whole situation.

Comment: We are also concerned with detecting, tracking, and Identifying cruise missiles whether they are defined as UAVs or not.

Comment: But, again, UAVs are not necessarily stealthy but cruise missiles may very well be. Different paradigms may be necessary to defeat enemy UAVs and enemy cruise missiles.

Comment: This discussion clearly shows the differences between the C2 data needed for the planning/tasking/current ops non-real-time versus the real-time (ATC and intercept control) elements.

Comment: The UAV re-tasking cycle time must be addressed because re-tasking is a critical C2 function. [Post workshop comment Ė DERA visit]. The issue of weapon Ė sensor pairing is very important. UAVs are often given an area in which to perform surveillance. Once a target is detected, there needs to be a pairing of weapon platform and UAV sensor to effectively engage targets. Once the engagement is completed the UAV should also be released back to its surveillance role. This type of mission interaction is not catered for in the current Air C2. This applies as well to AGS platforms.

Comment: UAVs, although they fly like aircraft, do things differently than manned aircraft re the ATO/ACO process such as a UAV that launches today and comes back tomorrow (or next week or next month). (Note, however, that the current C2 system supports situations such as where a B-2 launches from the US today and arrives in the Middle East tomorrow.) The UAV that crosses the 24-hour period could simply be treated as an asset that is already airborne at the start of the ATO/ACO period.

Comment: Defense against enemy UAVs involves more that just shooting them down (e.g., neutralize them in some other way, feed them mis-information, etc.). There are many possible scenarios.

Comment: NATO Air Defence Committee (NADC) investigated to what extend all air vehicles (including UAVs) need to be equipped with IFF. NADC stated that all air vehicles that are recoverable should be equipped with ID equipment. Air vehicles that are not intended to return would be identified through other means such as trajectory, flight characteristics, etc.

Workshop Leaderís Closing Remarks:

Special thanks given to the briefers and discussion leaders. Our intent was not to solve problems, but to highlight them as well as to meet new people who are doing work that is related and complementary. We hope that your visit was pleasant and productive, and we invite you to come back and see our facilities at NC3A in more detail. Thank you for your excellent participation and contributions.