Small unmanned aerial system (SUAS) flight and mission control support system (FMCSS) design
Lamb, Timothy G.
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Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are playing a significant role in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Until recently, small UAS (SUAS) were an insignificant part of these efforts. Now their numbers exceed those of their larger counterparts by an order of magnitude. Future projections anticipate a growing demand for SUAS making now the best time to examine the functions they perform in order to make better decisions concerning their future design and development. This thesis provides a brief history of UAS and discusses the current capabilities and mission areas in which they perform. Their relevance to modern warfare and assumptions concerning their future roles on the battlefield is presented. Predominant UAS missions are identified, as well as the technical requirements deemed necessary for their success. A generic UAS functional model is developed to illustrate where the challenges and technology gaps manifest in SUAS design. Possible technology solutions that could fill these gaps are presented and a field experiment is conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of several possible solutions. The goal of this thesis is to identify existing technology gaps and offer technology solutions that lead to better design of future SUAS flight and mission control support systems (FMCSS).
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