UAVs and ISTAR
15. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), usually
called Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) in the United States (US),
have emerged as an important means of collecting ISTAR information.
They have become increasingly capable and, compared with manned
platforms, are well suited to missions / tasks involving the
/ tasks which require persistence or repetition over days, weeks
/ tasks which carry a high degree of risk.
/ tasks which are carried out in hazardous environments.
/ tasks which are beyond the range of tactical manned platforms.
16. UAVs are one possible solution to the collection
part of ISTAR capability. The MoD acknowledges that, given the
ability of UAVs to undertake missions / tasks involving the 4
are therefore often seen, when equipped with Full
Motion Video (FMV) and in some cases radar and other sensors,
as the right solution to ISTAR collection requirements at the
Theatre/Operational, Formation/Higher Tactical, and Lower Tactical
17. AVM Butler told us that UAVs were "an
extremely important part of the collect" part of the DCPD
chain, but for a "UAV to work it must be a system and must
fall within the DCPD chain, because a platform on its own just
collecting the data is worthless".
The Defence Technology Strategy (DTS) published in October 2006
notes that UAV is increasingly referred to as UAS (Unmanned Aerial
System) to reinforce the concept that the platform is "just
one component of the wider integrated system, including payload
and sensors, but particularly the communications and control environment
within which the platform has to be integrated".
In our report we have generally used the term UAV, although we
recognise that the UAV platform is only one part of a wider system.
18. Our inquiry into ISTAR focuses primarily
on the current and future contribution of UAVs to improving ISTAR