US Air Force to outline unmanned air system doctrine to 2047


Mob Control Manager
Senior Member
Feb 12, 2009
US Air Force to outline unmanned air system doctrine to 2047

The US Air Force expects to soon incorporate into doctrine its 80-page unmanned air systems flight plan, now nearing the end of its development.

Extending from this year until 2047 - the USAF's centenary year - the flight plan has themes of joint teaming, interoperability, interdependency, adaptability and sustainability.

Its goals include teaming between the MQ-X next-generation UAS and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs and Lockheed F-22 Raptors for air-defence suppression.

The document also shows today's deployed unmanned capabilities evolving into air-to-air refuelling and electronic attack missions and gaining improved network connectivity. Further ahead, swarming unmanned systems would dominate the battlespace, while a hypersonic system is viewed as being at least 20 years away.

Automation is seen as key, and the USAF wants a joint open architecture for control and subsystems that would use common interfaces, but could have proprietary technology within them.

"The [General Atomics] MQ-9 Reaper is a high-capability aircraft, [but] it's limited by its integration efforts, non-standard interfaces, proprietary command and control networks, nodes, [and] a lack of open architecture," USAF UAS task force deputy director of operations Col James Gear told SMi's Unmanned Systems conference in London on 18 May.

A joint common control segment study involving the US armed services started in March, with the army will host an industry day in June in Huntsville, Alabama.

While the US Department of Defense has already released a UAS roadmap, the USAF has until now not published its own long-term plans. The secretary of the USAF was expected to see the flight plan on 18 May, and UAS task force officials hope that he will sign it into doctrine imminently.


Senior Member
May 25, 2009
USAF examines X-aircraft candidates-28/09/2004-Flight International

USAF examines X-aircraft candidates

US Air Force research laboratories are examining three potential X-aircraft programmes to explore new forms of persistent strike, including combat application of directed energy.

The three programmes - designated MAS-X, MQ-X and DE-X - are part of what Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) researchers are referring to as a new emphasis on experimental aircraft in exploring persistent strike missions for the air force.

Planning for the new X-programmes was revealed in presentations shown at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' (AIAA) Unmanned, Unlimited conference in Chicago.

AFRL adaptive structures team leader Dr Brian Sanders told the conference the proposed Morphing Aircraft Structures (MAS) -X programme was being scoped as a follow-on to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) existing morphing aircraft structures technology demonstration.

The current DARPA MAS programme is due to conclude in 2009. The MAS-X programme with AFRL would run from 2010 through to 2014.

Sanders acknowledged planning for the proposed MQ-X and DE-X programmes, but was unable to provide further data about them. MQ-X is believed to be a new multirole strike platform, possibly unmanned.

DE-X is believed to be based on development of a dedicated air vehicle that would carry directed-energy weapons. A concept drawing included in Sanders' conference presentation showed a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules equipped with an energy-beam weapon as part of his discussion of areas of current persistent strike research by AFRL. Sanders says AFRL is "right now very interested in getting X-planes going again".

The three proposed new X-programmes remain distinct from the DARPA-led Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) technology demonstration programme for which Boeing and Northrop Grumman are competing.

J-UCAS programme director Dr Michael Francis told the conference that MAS-X, MQ-X, DE-X and J-UCAS "are different ideas, some of which may make the cut, some of which may not, some of which may have a technology solution that is here, and some of which may come up with an answer that we are not yet ready for".



On Vacation!
Super Mod
Apr 5, 2009
US military thinking has always been 10-20 yrs ahead of the world thinking. That is why it is the sole super power now and will remain for some time now till the other countries catchup with it economically & technologically.

Global Defence

New threads