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Technology challenges of stealth unmanned combat aerial vehicles

  • E. Sepulveda (a1) and H. Smith (a1)

Abstract

The ever-changing battlefield environment, as well as the emergence of global command and control architectures currently used by armed forces around the globe, requires the use of robust and adaptive technologies integrated into a reliable platform. Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) aim to integrate such advanced technologies while also increasing the tactical capabilities of combat aircraft. This paper provides a summary of the technical and operational design challenges specific to UCAVs, focusing on high-performance, and stealth designs. After a brief historical overview, the main technology demonstrator programmes currently under development are presented. The key technologies affecting UCAV design are identified and discussed. Finally, this paper briefly presents the main issues related to airworthiness, navigation, and ethical concerns behind UAV/UCAV operations.

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