The EP-3E vs. the BAMS UAS An Operating and Support Cost Comparison
Larkins, Colin G.
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The battlefield is constantly changing and the need for swift, persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), has increased the focus on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to help meet collection requirements. Certain UAVs can have longer dwell and on-station times than manned vehicles, with some UAVs capable of dwell times in excess of 20 hours. UAVs have an additional benefit of eliminating some of the risks associated with manned aircraft conducting ISR missions. Consequently, UAVs have been closely reviewed as a replacement craft for several manned ISR aircraft and have taken increasing roles in the world of ISR. Given an uneven record of success in the implementation of UAS, and Congressional concerns regarding the relative cost of UAV programs, the purpose of this thesis is to reexamine, compare and analyze the Operating and Support (O and S) costs for both the EP-3E ISR aircraft with the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) that the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) has declared to be the primary system to replace the EP-3E capability. This comparison includes all costs from initial system deployment through the end of the platforms service life. This thesis uses the revised O and S cost methodology in accordance with Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction 5000.2, Operation of the Defense Acquisition System. In addition, a typical O and S comparison, this thesis modifies the existing BAMS O and S costs to account for the additional costs of bandwidth, ground station support, collection sites, and risks as they apply to the BAMS UAS. These factors were not adequately considered in the original O and S analysis. Once the analysis and comparison is completed, a recommendation is made as to whether or not the decision to replace the EP-3E ISR system with the BAMS UAS should be revisited.
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