The military potential of unmanned cargo aircraft

Hans Heerkens, Frank Tempelman

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Abstract

Unmanned cargo aircraft (UCA), which we may see being developed in the coming years, have characteristics that make them suitable for a variety of military operations. The absence of flightcrew and the resulting freedom to use novel configurations reduce costs. The decoupling of aircraft and crew whereby the controller operates from a fixed site regardless of the UCA’s location facilitates planning and basing and increases utilization, and hence productivity. UCA are expected to be able to move relatively small cargo loads efficiently, thereby increasing flexibility of resupply. The application of dual-use technology may spread development cost over a relatively large production run and facilitate the use of support infrastructure during outof-area operations. There are limitations too, mostly related to the fact that UCA have yet to be introduced into service. In this article we investigate the potential and limitations of UCA and offer a development agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArmed forces for 2020 and beyond
Subtitle of host publicationroles, tasks, expectations
EditorsWalter Feichtinger, Benedikt Hensellek
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherRepublik Österreich - Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport
Pages55-71
ISBN (Print)978-3-902944-82-5
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2016
EventAnnual Conference of the International Society of Military Sciences (ISMS) 2014: Armed forces for 2020 and beyond: roles, tasks, expectations - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 21 Oct 201423 Oct 2014
https://www.isofms.org/isms-conference/past-conferences/isms-2014

Publication series

NameSchriftenreihe der Landesverteidigungsakademie
PublisherRepublik Österreich - Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport
Volume27

Conference

ConferenceAnnual Conference of the International Society of Military Sciences (ISMS) 2014
Abbreviated titleISMS Conference 2014
CountryAustria
CityVienna
Period21/10/1423/10/14
Internet address

Keywords

  • IR-100444
  • METIS-316811

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  • Cite this

    Heerkens, H., & Tempelman, F. (2016). The military potential of unmanned cargo aircraft. In W. Feichtinger, & B. Hensellek (Eds.), Armed forces for 2020 and beyond: roles, tasks, expectations (pp. 55-71). (Schriftenreihe der Landesverteidigungsakademie; Vol. 27). Vienna: Republik Österreich - Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport.