> our title:

UAVs in Permissive Hunter-Killer Scenario

> original title:

The Effectiveness of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in a Permissive Hunter-Killer Scenario

(Source: Rand Corp.; issued May 9, 2014)

This report analyzes the operational effectiveness of three RPA design concepts, plus the MQ-9 Reaper as a baseline, on a "hunter-killer" mission: to find and destroy a specific moving vehicle. The findings are based on the modeling results for a permissive scenario involving a relatively small search area, a short time frame, and restrictive rules of engagement in an urban setting and includes such environmental factors as fog and clouds.

This scenario allowed researchers to focus on trade-offs between platform size and number; sensor performance; and the complicating effects of darkness, fog, and cloud cover.

With these limitations in mind, the authors offer a series of conclusions, among them that the MQ-9 shows reasonably well against the other design concepts and that improving its sensor capabilities may be cost-effective.

Key Findings

-- There Is No Silver Bullet for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Performance in the Hunter-Killer Mission.
•Even in this highly constrained example, no single RPA concept performed well on all measures under all environmental conditions.

-- Numbers Can Compensate for Capability
•In this scenario, two or three smaller RPAs with less-capable sensor packages were often able to equal or exceed the performance of the larger RPAs employed singly.

-- The MQ-9 Holds Up Well Against the Other RPA Design Concepts We Modeled in This Scenario
•The MQ-9 was never dramatically outperformed and never fared worst on any measure. It compared favorably under most environmental conditions.

-- Improving MQ-9 Sensor Capabilities May Be a Cost-Effective Option
•Although we did not perform a cost-effectiveness analysis, upgrading the sensors on existing MQ-9 platforms, in particular their FMV sensor capabilities, would permit greater operational flexibility and would offer enhanced operational effectiveness for this type of hunter-killer scenario.

Furthermore, if the discrete levels of magnification currently available on the Multispectral Targeting System, Model B (MTS-B) could be replaced with a continuous zoom feature, it could be used more effectively to enable the RPA pilot and sensor operator to balance competing mission objectives.

Click here for the full report (71 PDF pages) on the Rand Corp. website.