Improving situational awareness in the counter-IED fight with the utilization of unmanned sensor systems
Whiteman, Shannon J.
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An organized and thorough systems design framework is necessary to successfully address large-scale, complex problems, such as the utilization of unmanned sensor technologies to provide situational awareness (SA) in the counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED) fight. An appropriate systems engineering design process was used to develop such a framework, as the completion of the first two phases - problem definition and solution design - provides a basis for analysis of alternatives and a design recommendation. This process generated the following problem statement: Design a system that, through the use of unmanned sensors, provides effective and efficient SA to the commander in a C-IED scenario. By effective, the system must maximize the ability to process sensor imagery and detect, classify, identify, and counter IEDs. To be efficient, the system must address important characteristics of operational suitability and survivability. Thus, providing SA, maximizing operational suitability, and maximizing Soldier survivability are the primary objectives in the effective and efficient employment of unmanned sensors in C-IED. Three physical alternatives were generated and synthesized: baseline, near-term, and long-term. Each alternative consisted of a combination of sensors, satellites, and unmanned systems to ensure that the top-level SA functions are addressed. Each alternative's basic specifications, battlefield flow (highlighting each unmanned sensor's use for observe, process information, and understanding the environment), and drawbacks are addressed.
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