An operational manpower analysis of the RQ-8 Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV)
Stracker, Matthew C.
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In August of 2001 the Secretary of the Navy announced the Navy would expand the work and experimentation in unmanned vehicle systems. After the events of September 11 this was accelerated with the increased urgency to combat terrorism and asymmetric threats. The U.S. Navy is currently undergoing testing and evaluation of the Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) and its integration into the fleet. An in depth analysis of the Fire Scout's manpower requirements is necessary as part of total force integration. At the present time, the Navy only utilizes aviation ratings by requirement and assignment as unmanned aerial system operators, unlike the Army and Marine Corps. Therefore, the Littoral Combat Ship manpower requirements exceed the Navy's target of 25 persons for the combined RQ-8B and SH-60 air detachment. Analysis shows a possible remedy to this problem is to allow non-aviation ratings the opportunity to operate the Fire Scout. This change in policy and occupational standards would generate greater operational capability and personnel flexibility for this newly acquired air ship and surface platform. Specifically, occupational research showed the Aviation Administrationman (AZ) rating is no more qualified to operate a Fire Scout VTUAV than the Operations Specialist (OS) rating. In fact, it can be argued that an OS is better qualified according to occupational standards to operate the Fire Scout. Therefore, one of the recommendations of this research is to add Operational Specialist as a source rating to NECs 8363 and 8364 immediately.
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