The Pentagon is exploring the possibility of developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAAV) that can fly up to 30,000 feet in the air, and then return to land.
The military has long considered unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as a means of protecting its military installations from enemy attack, and in the years since the start of the Iraq War, the Pentagon has tried several different designs.
The Air Force has a small unmanned drone known as the Predator, which is operated by an individual, and has flown missions to the U.S. East Coast.
But in the coming years, the Air Force plans to add UAAVs to its fleet, including a prototype that was unveiled in November.
The unmanned system would be operated by the Air Combat Command, which has around a dozen UAAV teams that operate from bases around the world.
The concept is similar to the military’s long-range drone, the Reaper, which can fly for up to three months and has been used for surveillance missions, in part because the Reaper is able to travel up to 50,000 miles.
However, the military plans to keep the Reaper unmanned, and is hoping to eventually use it for surveillance in the future.
The Pentagon’s Air Combat Air Patrol (ACAP) program is also looking at developing a UAAVA that can take off and land autonomously, or autonomously from a helicopter.
The aircraft is intended to be a smaller, more agile and quieter version of the Reaper.
A test pilot will fly the unmanned aircraft on a test flight on Tuesday at a drone facility in Virginia.
In addition to the test flight, the ACAP will also use the unmanned vehicle to conduct field training exercises with the US Air Force.
The UAAAVs would also be used for reconnaissance and for “near-real-time” data collection.
The drones would be used to gather imagery and data about enemy activity, and they would be able to transmit and receive data from other unmanned aerial aircraft.
US Army test pilot Maj. Gen. Tom Littles said the UAAVD is not a replacement for a helicopter, but rather a more efficient way to transport troops and equipment around the battlefield.
“There’s not going to be an army that is going to come out of the gate and say, ‘Well, we have a helicopter and a UAV,'” Littels told Al Jazeera.
“You’ve got to make that choice on how much time you can give them, how many hours, how big you can make the aircraft.
You can’t just go out and make it all-in.”
The ACAP program has been a long-term project in the US military.
In 2005, the US Army Corps of Engineers began work on a prototype for the UAV called the Multi-rotor Aerial Vehicle (MRAV).
It was developed using a combination of helicopter, aircraft and drone technologies.
By the time the MRAV was ready for testing, the Army had already developed an unmanned prototype that could fly for 10 hours at a time, and could operate for around 10 hours a day.
The MRAVs are still in development, but Littells said the US has been able to make significant progress with the technology.
“The Air Force is working on a system that has been tested and approved by the Secretary of the Air [of] the Air and Space Command and is approved for deployment by the military and the Air Mobility Command,” he said.
Littens also noted that the US Navy is developing a drone-based surveillance system that could be launched from a naval ship.
The US Navy has also developed a “cabin” version of its unmanned aerial system that would have the ability to carry a camera, a radar system and other equipment.
The system could be deployed in a fleet of unmanned aircraft, which would be similar to how the US Marine Corps uses its fleet of autonomous drone ships.
Lattis said the Airborne Surveillance System (ASARS), a military drone program that is currently in its third year, has been working on an autonomous system for surveillance.
“We’ve had the [US Navy’s] first test flight of a drone in the Navy, which was a pretty exciting moment,” Litts said.
“So, yes, there’s a real potential for unmanned aerial technologies in the [U.S.] military.”
The Army’s current plan is to continue the development of a fleet-wide unmanned air vehicle (URV), with the first of these systems being the Reaper that will be ready for combat operations in 2020.
But with the Reaper and the UUVs already in development and being tested in the UMP, the air force is also planning to launch a second drone, which will carry a similar payload, but will be able operate autonomously.
Lippes said the first unmanned air vehicles will be used in conjunction with the Navy’s MRAUVs, which are also in development.
The first MRAAV was launched