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Life Cycle Logistics

Report on Capability Support Away from Fixed Infrastructure

The RAND Project Air Force team recently issued a new research report of potential interest entitled “Supporting Combat Power Projection Away from Fixed Infrastructure.” According to their overview…

Report on Capability Support Away from Fixed Infrastructure

Bill Kobren

The RAND Project Air Force team recently issued a new research report of potential interest entitled “Supporting Combat Power Projection Away from Fixed Infrastructure.”

According to their overview of this report, “…the authors examine the logistics and sustainment aspects of an emerging operational concept for employing a family of unmanned aerial vehicles that can be launched, recovered, and sustained with minimal reliance on runways, thereby improving operational resiliency in the face of adversary targeting of runways.” Key findings included:

  • The time required to recover an ARIUAV and prepare it for its next mission determines the amount of combat power that an ARIUAV-equipped unit can deliver and is the largest determinant of personnel and equipment requirements.
  • Sustainment requirements for ARIUAV operations are significant. ARIUAV takeoff and recovery methods currently being considered by the USAF (i.e., rocket-assisted takeoff rockets and parachute/airbags) contribute significantly to the sustainment footprint.
  • Few traditional USAF capabilities (e.g., basic expeditionary airfield resources, R-11 refuelers, fuels operational readiness capability equipment) are suited for the type of expeditionary, runway-independent operations envisioned for the ARIUAV.
  • For a given turn time, alternative, nontraditional capabilities can reduce the footprint and increase resilience by enabling distributed operations.
  • Logistics and sustainment analysis early in the process of considering future force designs provides benefits to both the research and acquisition communities. It highlights the issues that are barriers to deployment and employment and affords the research community an opportunity to consider engineering design modifications around those areas. For the combat support acquisition community, it signals the types of capabilities (e.g., vehicles, munitions loaders) that they should be considering for future operations.”

For those who may not be familiar with the issuers of this report, the RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. Inclusion of a link to this report here is for defense acquisition workforce informational and professional development purposes, and does not imply DAU or DoD endorsement of any particular organization, document, findings or recommendations.