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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

Multi Role Endurance (MRE) UAV

The Multi Role Endurance (MRE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is intended to perform medium range and/or long endurance surveillance, reconnaissance, relay, targeting, and potentially, attack (both lethal and non-lethal) against a wide variety of possible land and sea-based targets, across the spectrum of conflict. This differs from a UCAV, which emphasizes lethality. The MRE UAV will provide the level of organic, survivable, interoperable reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting, and attack (RTSA) required by Naval forces in the 2010 to 2015 timeframe. The MRE UAV should be capable of providing targeting data, conducting active and passive EW, and potentially employing lethal and non-lethal ordnance. It will be a flexible asset capable of many different missions (ISR, C4I, SEAD, etc.), and is potentially lethal. Basing mode (CV, LHA, CG/DDG/FFG) is a study variable that should consider and trade-off vehicles, size/weight limits, survivability, littoral operations, deck cycles, logistics/support and force levels for around the clock coverage.

The Predator UAV system, although not organic to US naval forces, has the range, endurance, and possibly the payload capacity required to meet some MRE requirements. However, the existing Predator system would also require extensive "marinization" to become shipboard compatible. Land and sea-based aircraft (P-3, EP-3, S-3, E-2, EA-6B, F-14 and F/A-18 with reconnaissance pod) currently perform the bulk of the role envisioned for the MRE UAV. To varying degrees all these aircraft have limitations in either range/endurance, or survivability. Even with projected procurements and service life extensions, all of these aircraft except the F/A-18 will be at or near the end of their service lives between 2010 and 2015. Spaced-based systems are highly capable, but have time, weather, and connectivity limitations. Additionally, they cannot employ weapons or conduct targeting missions. Space-based systems are frequently heavily tasked by National and Theater-level authorities, and are generally not responsive enough to meet all RSTA requirements.

In April 2000 the Program Executive Office (Cruise Missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) selected the following companies for contract award:

Collectively, the contracts were valued at $3 million. They are Section 845 contracts for study and design of multiple areas. The contracts include payable milestones for each study area. The goal of this risk assessment is to perform definition and design of systems to meet the MRE draft Mission Needs Statement (MNS). The draft MNS is a combination of over 20 validated requirements, decomposed into functions and re-compiled into a single document. Successful analysis will find appropriate, cost-effective naval solutions to the requirements. This analysis will lead to documentation for planned approval by the Naval UAV Executive Steering Group in early FY02.

Sources and Methods

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Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood

Updated Thursday, April 27, 2000 5:29:41 PM