The Future of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Support of the Marine Expeditionary Unit
Leslie T. Payton
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The USMC Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is commonly referred to as the nation''s 911 force. It must be capable of executing a full spectrum of missions from low-intensity humanitarian assistance and noncombat evacuations to high-intensity major combat operations. The MEU''s structure and equipment are designed around this multi-mission requirement. However, the USMC owns the fixed-winged Shadow unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and is in the process of acquiring a small fixed-wing UAS, the small tactical UAS to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The USMC is also researching a cargo resupply UAS based on helicopter technology. The USMC focus on single-mission UAS does not fit with the MEUs mission requirements. This thesis will examine MEU mission requirements and recommend a UAS capability set that best supports MEU operations. From this recommended set of requirements, the thesis will use a cost analysis to determine a future UAS program of record.
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NPS Report NumberNPS-CE-11-183
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