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UAVs in the CAS role

Observations from Op ATHENA ROTO 6 TACP (3 RCR BG) in the Task Force Kandahar (TFK) Are of Operations

Matt Crosbie

on 3 October 2011

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Transcript of UAVs in the CAS role

Mission Statement
Tennets of Aerospace Power
Assets in Theatre
Strengths and Concessions
Conclusion Concessions
Sensitivoty to technology and the environment Fast Air Assets in Theatre
Safe from all assessed AA weapons
Can integrate anywhere into the stack
Hard to visually spot Reach
2500+ NM but reach is not essential within the localized, small TFK AO.
LOS GCS or satellite (home side) control or both Support

Reduced human and logistical footprint in theatre (Contractors provide maintenance and support).

Consider the pers required on a CVN or the maintenance infrastructure for a B1-B

Advantages of colocation of UAV crews/Ops staff and the 'user' (Integration. . . . .) Payload
Ideal for the nature of the fight within the TFK AO; Hellfire is the WPN of choice.

Guns, unguided rockets, large bombs, are of limited utility in this environment where precission, dynamic retargetting and PID are all essential......and challenging to establish. Impermanence
ONSTA is unrivalled; 12 hr uninterupted was normal in AO for MQ-1, MQ-9. Up to 22 hrs observed.
No need to head to the tanker

Compare to Fast Air
12 hrs ONSTA would require 2 x B1-B sorties, 6 x F-15E/A-10C Stealth
Low audbile footprint day or night
Small physical size - human eye
Composite construction, low RCR (not highly applicable in AO).
Medium alt operations (FL120-250, usually FL-190
and above) Close Air Support (CAS)
-CAS consists of air operations against hostile targets in close proximity to friendly forces.
Furthermore, these operations require detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of those forces. Definitions
AGM-114 Hellfire - Laser Guided A2G Missile
AO - Area of Operations
C4 - C2 plus communications and computers
FMV - Full motion video
GBU-12 - 500lb Laser Guided Bomb (LGB)
GBU-38 - 500lb JDAM (GPS)
GCS - Ground Control Station
PID - Positive Identification
SCL -Standard Conventional Load (Weapons)
TACP - Tactical Air Control Party
TIC - Troops in Contact
TOC - Tactical Operations Centre (Tactical HQ) Speed...or lack of...
Improved Speed with MQ-9
Longer response and transit times. Mitigated by stealth and extensive ONSTA capability
Within the confined boundaries of the AO, speed is not always a benefit. Sensitivity to Technology
Technology and C4 intensive. Satellites, lost Link, connectivity issues, Multinational considerations Armed UAVs are an effective and efficient CAS platform when employed in an air supremacy environment with
favourable environmental conditions. Specifically, Armed UAVs excelled in the hunter-killer CAS role within the TFK AOR during Op ATHENA Roto 6 Sept '08 - Apr '09. So successful were the Armed UAVs that they were unanimously preferred by the 3RCR BG and TACP as a strike option over purpose built Fast Air CAS platforms. Environmentally Fragile
No anti-ice/de-ice capability
Optics can be degraded with
blowing sand and dust
Requires hardball runway MQ-9 Reaper F-15E Strike Eagle 'Dude' Mirage-2000 (FAF) B1-B 'Bone' F-18 A-F (USN) F-16B 'Rammit' Rafale (FAF) Think about HPMA!!! Precission MQ-1 Predator Precission
-Deadly precission with AGM-114, JDAM and LGBs.
-Low CD WPN options
-High resolution camera/optics
-TCDL and real time C4 connectivity provides players with real time FMV resulting in increased SA; reduced CD, blue and green casualties
- Self designate or "buddy lase" targets Deadly persistence.....deadly effect..... Fear the Reaper Precission

Deadly precission with AGM-114, JDAM and LGBs.
Low Collaterl Damage options
Highest available resolution camera/opticS
Allows UAVs to adopt a 'hunter-killer' role where as Fast Air CAS has limited 'hunting' time.

Critical when playing the cat and mouse waiting game. CONCLUSION

Within the Kandahar AO, armed UAVs were the preferred CAS delivery platform. These key strengths enabled UAVs to be excellent hunter-killer platforms in a combat environment where close air to ground integration and precision delivery of lethal effects were a daily occurence.

Armed UAVs have several key strengths which provide a distinct tactical advantage over Fast Air platforms in the delivery of CAS (in an air superiority environment and with favourable weather conditions).

Armed UAVs in the Close Air Support Role
TF Kandahar AO
Op Athena Roto 6
Sept -08 - April 09

USAF ALO/JFP courses
www.af.mil (USAF)
Theatre Experience
UNCLASS Briefing Note
(2 PPCLI, USAF, Roto 5)
AFODBlock 2
Tennets of Aerospace Power
Sensitivity to technology A-10C 'Hawg' SUMMARY
Mission Statement
Tennets of Aerospace Power
Assets in Theatre
Strengths and Concessions Gr.9 Harrier (RAF) Key UAV strengths

Stealth. . .you can't see or hear me
Support. . .all about integration and $aving money!
Impermanence. . .not permanent but pretty close.

Armed UAVs in Theatre Tennets of Air Power
Strengths of UAVs
Precission fjfjdj
Full transcript