The U.S. Navy UAS program office PMA-263 is planning to expand
the family of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operated by the
Navy and Marine Corps. Currently the services use the Pioneer
Tactical UAV (known as Tier III) which will be sustained in
service until 2009, when the new Vertical Takeoff UAV (VTUAV)
is expected to mature. The USMC also operates the miniature
Dragon Eye (Tier I). The Marine corps are also provided with
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) services
performed by Boeing, with its ScanEagle UAS.
PMA-263 intends select a Small Tactical UAS (known as STUAS
or Tier II UAS) in a competition to be opened by fall 2007.
The required system would deliver persistent intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance support for tactical level decisions and
unit level defense, as well as protecting Navy ships and Marine
Corps land forces.
The STUAS / Tier II
is scheduled to reach initial operational capability in FY 10.
The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in Quantico, Virginia, has
begun a Tier II UAS concept demonstration effort utilizing MTC's
SpyHawk UAS. This system will serve as a test bed for developing
concepts of operation; techniques, training and procedures (TTPs);
new technologies; and advanced payloads. SpyHawk is capable
of flying missions of up to 12 hours endurance in day and or
night. The payload provides accurate geo-referenced imagery
with target tracking capability and laser illuminator.
During the three year evaluation program, the Warfighting
lab plans to employ the Spyhawk to evaluate both electric motor
and heavy fuel engine propulsion. Various sensors will be tested,
including advanced electro-optical/Infrared as well as multi-
and hyper-spectral imaging sensors, laser designator, miniature
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors. Other payloads to be
tested include communications and data relays and signals intelligence