Estimates call for annual spending on unmanned aerial vehicles to double over the next decade to $11.3 billion.
As NASA’s space shuttle program comes to a close and budget cuts loom at the Department of Defense (DoD), the focus for military/aerospace electronics shifts more decisively to commercial manned spaceflight, unmanned autonomous vehicles for defense and exploration, and cyber security.
The prioritized missions in the proposed 2012 DoD budget make effective operations in both space and cyberspace a goal. In the document, the Pentagon states its desire to enhance the resiliency of key space-based communications systems through “initiatives that will strengthen computer network defenses, enhance training for the cyber workforce, and expand science and technology efforts relating to military operations in cyberspace.”
One DoD strategic objective is to “provide space-based communications capabilities and advanced position, navigation and timing to ensure timely access to space for net-centric and other space-based capabilities.”
Among the tactical assets the U.S. military possesses to attain such goals are its unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) programs on the ground and in the air. UAVs are used for both combat operations and intelligence gathering, and the potential for deploying certain aspects of the UAV concept for commercial use has not been lost on the industry…
This is an excerpt from "After the shuttle, the stars…," a special supplement from EE Times. For the full story, including a nifty animation, click here.
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