Posted by: mulrickillion | December 29, 2011

USAF ISR review highlights need for survivable unmanned platforms, improved data processing

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The Pentagon plans to slowly ramp up MQ-1 combat air patrols to 65 by 2014.(US Air Force).

By Marina Malenic, Jane’s Defence News, 12/19/2011 —

An internal review of the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities indicates the need for unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) that can survive in contested airspace, as well as improved data processing and greater capacity for movement and dissemination of that data, according to a senior service official.

"As you think beyond Afghanistan and perhaps beyond a permissive environment to a non-permissive environment, you may find that [remotely piloted vehicles] are certainly not as survivable as you would like," Lieutenant General Larry James, the USAF’s deputy chief of staff for ISR, told Jane’s during a 9 December interview at the Pentagon.

"We have to prepare for a non-permissive or denied environment," he added.

The results of the months-long review conducted earlier this year form the basis of the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget proposal for the air force, which will be presented to Congress along with the rest of the defence budget early next year, according to the general. The study will also influence FY14 budgets, said Gen James.

Other elements emerging from the review include what Gen James called "the data problem" – in other words, "how do you do the processing, exploitation and dissemination of data more effectively and efficiently?"

"We don’t want analysts staring at full-motion video all day; we want computers to help them out," he added.

The service is using and developing new tools to help manipulate the massive streams of data that ISR systems can generate. These tools primarily include software solutions that allow for tagging of objects as well as types of activities.

The review also examined the creation of adequate bandwidth capacity for the distribution of data. . . .

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