Magazine article National Defense

Army to Field Four Classes of UAVs

Magazine article National Defense

Army to Field Four Classes of UAVs

Article excerpt

In the Army of the future, a brigade would bring to the battle no less than 200 unmanned aircraft ranging from small platoon-class vehicles to larger, high-- endurance aircraft equipped with heat-seeking missiles.

The services overarching modernization program, the Future Combat System, will develop four classes of UAVs. Program officials are sketchy on the details of what exactly each class will look like. So far, they have outlined draft guidelines for potential contractors, who will be competing separately for each class of UAVs.

Class I will be a platoon-class small aircraft. Class 2 will operate at the company level, class 3 will be attached to the battalion and class 4 to the brigade commander. Each FCS brigade would have 36 class-1, 36 class-2, 12 class-3 and 16 Bass-4 aircraft.

The FCS program generally has been described as a network of ground and air vehicles-both manned and un-piloted. A team of Army and Boeing Co. FCS project officials are working on the specific requirements for UAVs, said Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Yakovac, program executive officer for ground combat systems.

The most "undefined" of the four classes of UAVs is the brigade-level aircraft The funding and design of the FCS class-4 UAVs closely are tied to the Arms next-generation helicopter, the Comanche. The service cut more than 600 helicopters out of the program (about half of the total), on the assumption that they would be replaced with UAVs.

For that reason, it is possible that the class 4 may include two types of aircraft said Lt Col. …

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