A cost-effectiveness analysis of tactical satellites, high-altitude long-endurance airships, and high and medium altitude unmanned aerial systems for ISR and communication missions
Kacala, Jeffrey C.
Collier, Corey M.
Welch, William J.
Racoosin, Charles M.
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Before 1991, the United States military's demand for additional communications bandwidth and timely intelligence was rising rapidly. Since then, with the advent of the Global War on Terrorism, it has increased substantially. To address this growing need, the Department of Defense has focused its acquisition and procurement efforts on obtaining new communications and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms that can help lessen shortfalls and possibly exploit new, untapped resources. Recently, there has been an increasing focus on new technology, such as tactical satellites or high-altitude long-endurance airships, as a way to increase communications and intelligence collection capacities. Likewise, advances in the capabilities of medium-altitude and high-altitude unmanned aerial systems have resulted in a more prominent role for them on today's battlefield. Each of these vehicles has a unique niche in today's military, but the increasing capabilities of each are beginning to create some overlap in their uses. This study will conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis on these systems for use as a persistent communications and ISR platform. In particular, it will measure the effectiveness of each for comparison, and will offer possibilities to increase the overall effective use of the three together to maximize performance and cost.
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