Greater UAV autonomy needed: former ISR chief

One of the greatest weaknesses of the U.S. military's unmanned aircraft fleet is that every platform must be controlled by an operator on the ground, thus leaving links between ground control and unmanned aircraft vulnerable to jamming, said retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the Air Force's first Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), reports Aviation Week's Ares blog.

"To counter [the hacking threat] you need to move toward a greater degree of autonomy, but along with moving to autonomy you’ll encounter a variety of policy issues that when you have a man in the loop you don’t have to worry about that much," Deptula said.

Developing ways to process more sensor information on board unmanned aircraft also will reduce the amount of bandwidth required for ISR data transmission, he said.

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