On September 10th, National Defense Magazine published “Unmanned Aerial Systems at a Crossroads” by Joshua Pavluk. This past August, the U.S. Navy delayed their final RFP for UCLASS a second time, pending the Pentagon’s fall review of ISR programs against the backdrop of the 2016 fiscal budget process. The contract, which was supposed to be released this month is “the last major new start, fully open U.S. military unmanned aerial system competition planned for the foreseeable future,” and embodies a key debate about the future of UAS: what requirements are necessary? Should they simply be incremental developments, creating systems that only assume tasks either too dangerous or too monotonous for military pilots? The technology development choices that are made today — and how the UCLASS program unfolds — are going to determine the future capabilities and utility of unmanned systems, in military and commercial markets alike.”Or should they be evolutionary, and potentially challenge legacy priorities assigned to manned aviation? The latter option would yield systems that wouldn’t be battle ready as quickly as the former, but if given the resources could engender an airpower revolution. High level military and commercial leadership must champion technical innovation in this area to achieve this outcome. Otherwise, nextgen UAS programs run the risk of obtaining neither the authorization to “dream big” nor sufficient funding and support through public-private partnerships to achieve those technological breakthroughs that will be critical to ensuring that the U.S. will maintain primacy in unmanned systems.
Read the full article here, and stay tuned for more insight on this topic, Mr. Pavluk will be publishing a white paper later month discussing the business implications of the UCLASS decision.
Joshua Pavluk is a Senior Associate at Avascent, where he advises clients on developing and achieving their strategic growth objectives across the aerospace & defense, homeland security and public safety sectors. In particular, he has significant experience analyzing unmanned systems, C4ISR and air traffic management market trends. Josh also has extensive experience working with clients to create enhanced strategies for government market entry and growth, business development organizational design and new product development.