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DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS:

Micro-Air Vehicles in the Service of Air Force Missions


by

Arthur F. Huber II, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force


July 2002

Occasional Paper No. 29

Center for Strategy and Technology

Air War College


Air University

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama


DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS:


Micro-Air Vehicles in the Service of Air Force Missions


Arthur F. Huber II, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force


July 2002


The Occasional papers series was established by the Center for Strategy and Technology as a forum for research on topics that reflect long-term strategic thinking about technology and its implications for U.S. national security. Copies of No. 29 in this series are available from the Center for Strategy and Technology, Air War College, 325 Chennault Circle, Maxwell AFB, Alabama 36112. The fax number is (334) 953-6158; phone (334) 953-6460.


Occasional Paper No. 29

Center for Strategy and Technology


Air University

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama 36112


Contents




Page


Disclaimer…………………………………………………………….…...i


Tables and Illustrations………………..………………………………….ii


Preface and Acknowledgements…………………………………………iii


Author…………………………………………………………………….iv


Abstract……………………………………………………………………v


I. Introduction…………………………………………………………….1


II. Why Micro Air Vehicles?………………………………….…………..3


III. The State of Micro-Air Vehicle Technologies…………………...…..13


IV. Micro Air Vehicle Support to USAF Functions…...………………..31


V. Summary and Concluding Thoughts…………………………………47


Notes……………………………………………………………………..51


Disclaimer




The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, the United States Government, or of the Air University Center for Strategy and Technology.


i


Tables and Illustrations




Page


Table 1. UAV Classifications, Characteristics, and Examples……….…..4


Figure 1. Comparison of Micro-Air Vehicle Flight Regime …………….5


Table 2. Baseline MAV Weight Distributions …………………………14


ii

Preface and Acknowledgments




What are the potential Air Force applications of emerging micro-air vehicle (MAV) systems and supporting technologies and what are the implications of this potential for the execution of military operations? These are the central questions that motivated the development of this research paper. As an Air War College (AWC) student in an elective class sponsored by the Center for Strategy and Technology (CSAT), I was afforded the chance to delve into this area, one that I have been watching with interest for several years. I have found this area to be of personal and professional interest, because it harks back to the aerodynamics research I conducted as a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame. Also, it opens up possibilities for enhancing the asymmetric advantages of air power enjoyed by the United States as compared with the rest of the world.

While I am solely responsible for the work represented by this research paper, it could not have come to fruition without the key contributions of several people. At the top of the list are my wife, Beth, and daughter, Juliann, who endured many late nights during which I worked away on this research. I am pleased to acknowledge the sage guidance and key insights provided by my CSAT advisors, Dr. Grant Hammond and Colonel (Ret., USAF) Ted Hailes. Several professionals in the field of micro-air vehicle development also deserve praise for reviewing this manuscript and they include Dr. William Davis and Mr. David Johnson of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Dr. Thomas Mueller of the University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Steven Walker of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Lastly, I thank my fellow CSAT and AWC Seminar 3 classmates for their genuine interest in this research topic and their constructive comments to make it a better product.
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