OPTIONS FOR ENHANCING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE'S UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE PROGRAMS
 
 
September 1998
 
 
NOTE

Numbers in the text and tables of this paper may not add up to totals because of rounding.

 
 
PREFACE

The Department of Defense spends about $600 million a year on various programs to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Historically, however, the department has had trouble developing and fielding UAV systems. Currently, two UAVs have been deployed or are in production (Pioneer and Predator), and three more are in development (Outrider, Global Hawk, and Darkstar).

This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper reviews the plans, requirements, and costs for the Department of Defense's UAV programs. It also examines five options intended either to address problems in those programs or to make greater use of UAVs' potential as cheap, unmanned reconnaissance systems. The analysis was requested by the Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. In keeping with CBO's mandate to provide objective and nonpartisan analysis, this paper makes no recommendations.

Eric J. Labs of CBO's National Security Division prepared the paper with the assistance of Evan W. Christman and under the supervision of Christopher Jehn, Cindy Williams, and R. William Thomas. Joann Vines of CBO's Budget Analysis Division performed the cost analysis under the supervision of Michael Miller. Evan Christman wrote most of Chapter III. Delia Welsh thoroughly reviewed the manuscript before publication. The authors would also like to thank Rachel Schmidt of CBO for providing many useful comments, and the numerous people from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Office of the Secretary of Defense, RAND, Bell Helicopter, Canadier, MITRE, the Stratos Group, Israel Aircraft Industries, TRW, and Sikorsky who provided essential information and comments. Of course, all responsibility for the analysis lies with the authors and CBO.

Christian Spoor edited the manuscript, Melissa Burman proofread it, and Cindy Cleveland prepared the paper for publication. Laurie Brown prepared the electronic versions for CBO's World Wide Web site (www.cbo.gov).

June E. O'Neill
Director
September 1998
 
 


CONTENTS

SUMMARY

I - PROGRAMS AND MISSIONS FOR UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES

II - DEVELOPING UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES: THE ACTD PROCESS

III - ILLUSTRATIVE OPTIONS FOR DoD'S UAV PROGRAMS

TABLES
 
S-1. Major Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Programs
S-2. Comparison of the Capabilities of Predator, Darkstar, and Global Hawk
S-3. Costs and Savings for Five Illustrative Options for UAVs
1. Major Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Programs
2. Operational Factors for Deployed UAVs
3. Technical Objectives for UAVs Under Development
4. Comparison of the Size of UAVs and Manned Aircraft
5. Costs and Savings for Five Illustrative Options for UAVs
6. Meeting Army Brigade-Level UAV Requirements Under DoD's Plan and Option IA
7. Meeting Navy and Marine Corps UAV Requirements Under DoD's Plan and Option IA
8. Meeting Corps- and Division-Level UAV Requirements Under the Army's Plan and Option II
9. Number of UAVs Substituted for Comanches Under Option III
10. Performance Capabilities of a Comanche Versus a Tilt-Rotor UAV
11. Comparison of the Capabilities of the Moving-Target Indicators on JSTARS and Global Hawk
12. Comparison of the Capabilities of Predator, Darkstar, and Global Hawk
 
FIGURE
 
1. Possible Outcomes for an ACTD Project
 
BOXES
 
1. Calculating Attrition for UAVs
2. UAV Survivability in Wartime

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