Category Archives: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV)- Experts To Report On October 16, 2013

The rise of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is driving the development on unmanned technologies in other areas.  Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming so commonplace that the FAA is hard-pressed to come up with regulations to control their operations.

Unmanned marine vehicles, meanwhile, are becoming a hot technology topic, as military researchers push a program forward to develop a long-endurance unmanned underwater submarine.

The experts are scheduled to report on this project on October 16 at Alion Science and Technology Inc.

On the schedule of the briefings:

LDUUV vision and missions

program schedule


technology risks and payoff

technology development and transfer



testing requirements

Q & A session

You can register by emailing Navy’s Ron Merlene at

Read more here.

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Remotely Operated Aircraft

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) is scheduled to present the following Unmanned Aircraft Courses below.

Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Sep 24-26, 2013 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Jan 28-30, 2014 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Jul 23-25, 2013 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Feb 25-27, 2014 Columbia, MD

This is an article that we think will be of interest to our students. It was written by Alon Unger – UVID 2013 Conference Chairman – Israel – 10.10.2013and originally appeared at


The global demand for unmanned systems, in conjunction with the high rate of technological progress in this field, often leads to these weapon systems being fielded before they reach operational and logistic maturity.

The rapid growth in the number of companies engaged in unmanned systems and the rapid technological progress made in the fields of miniaturization, electrooptics, communication, and computers, have led to a situation where state-of-the-art technology is installed in these systems. This, in turn, creates numerous challenges for everyone involved.

The most significant implication of the uniqueness of unmanned systems is that they are technology-intensive systems that make it possible to set advanced operational challenges and objectives in diversified operating environments. This requires that the personnel operating these systems have a high level of proficiency and professionalism. In addition, this proficiency includes numerous capabilities and skills beyond the mere steering of the airborne platform and the operation of the payloads.

In UAV systems (also called UAS – Unmanned Aerial Systems), which are controlled in real time, the operator normally occupies a remotely located ground control station where he must analyze the status of the system, the operational environment, and real-time occurrences through “remote control” sensing. He understands, for example, the weather  conditions at a distance of tens to hundreds of kilometers, without being able to see the whole environment through the canopy, or identify a drop in engine thrust merely through the gauges, without physically sensing it. These seemingly simple tasks necessitate proficiency from a distance.

As part of current UAS development efforts, two prominent factors directly affect system operation. The first factor, which mainly affects the steering and system operation, provides advanced capabilities to the aircraft, including a higher degree of autonomy and automation, improved reliability, extended operation and communication ranges, and upgraded propulsion systems. In addition to simplifying system control, reducing the number of operators at the ground control station, and improving the basic safety standards, these technological capabilities often have the opposite effect on the operating aspect.

One example of a negative side effect is the deterioration in basic operator proficiency. This has the potential to damage the operator’s ability to cope with emergency situations, or in extreme cases, conceive the steering of the UAV as the operation of a flying model aircraft. This consequently affects the basic operator training standards (this conceptual error is typical made by countries taking their first steps into the field of unmanned systems).

The second factor, which mainly affects the mission and interpretation aspect, is improving and adding mission capabilities through new payloads or through the improvement of existing ones. This trend significantly raises the level of complexity for the operator. Today, operators are required to control multiple payload types (Electro-Optical, IR, SAR, EW, SIGINT) in different environments (close and long range, urban and open terrain, day and night, extreme weather conditions, and so forth), and be able to effectively execute a range of mission types. Such missions include intelligence collection, close surveillance support for advancing ground forces, battle damage assessment, and many others.

In the last decade, these factors were supplemented by the objective of reducing the number of operators at the ground control station. This process, whose primary objective is improved efficiency, does not necessarily improve mission performance, and often leads to an increased operating workload to the point of rendering mission execution impossible, or at times, failing to steer the UAV in a reasonably safe manner. For example, the majority of Mini-UAV systems boast the ability to have the mission executed by a single operator. Technically, this system operation is possible. However, a simple analysis of the operator’s functional characteristics will show that the mission environment and the number of simultaneous activities (system control, payload control, maintaining and tracking target contact, reporting, etc.) usually do not allow for the mission to be executed effectively and safely by a single operator.

This insight is further emphasized when the background of the operating personnel is less than optimal. This is currently the case in several countries around the world where the relevant authorities are not sufficiently stringent about screening and selecting the appropriate personnel for the execution of these systems and missions.

A review of the psychological aspect also suggests that UAV operators are unique. A US study published in 2009 examined the population of Predator (MQ-1) UAV operators in the US. The study established a correlation between the nature of their activity and extremely high levels of fatigue, sleep disorders, and stress. Other studies established a  circumstantial correlation with high psychological pressures emanating from cognitive and emotional transitions in the operational daily routine of UAV operators and from the rapid leaps between the executions of critical operational missions over the battlefield to daily life with family.

The gamut of environmental, mission, and technological variables has made the operation of UAV systems much more complex than ever before.

UAV operators are required to be technically proficient in and professionally knowledgeable about numerous technological measures and different computer environments, all while having to meet their operational objectives in real time. Even for a seasoned, highly skilled operator, this constitutes a major challenge.
The following variables illustrate the range of capabilities and characteristics UAV operators are required to possess: multitasking, working under pressure and making decisions in real time, good spatial perception, teamwork, assertiveness, perseverance, patience, service awareness, work ethics, maturity, creativity, a methodical approach, and an ability to learn quickly. Accordingly, these implications should be reviewed through the aspects of selecting the operators, training them, maintaining their competence, assembling teams, developing careers, adding mission tools, assimilation, and legislation.

The Human Factor aspects are also particularly important in layouts and system engineering required to apply remote control operations, such as UAV systems. Most of the current studies that deal with analyzing the causes of UAV accidents and the performance standards of UAV systems have established that the human factor is the most influential element with regards to the two variables outlined above. To date, most UAV accidents are caused by failures linked to the human factor, such as faulty user interface design, operating errors, and other factors, all coming under the definition of “Human Error.”

One prominent example of this is the investigation of the crash of the Predator B (MQ-9) UAV in Arizona on April 25, 2006. The National Transportation Safety Board, who investigated the accident, came up with numerous variables that may have caused the crash, most of which are linked to the human factor. One of the lessons drawn from this accident suggests that the phenomenon of gaps in this field far exceed the boundaries of this particular accident that are prevalent in all UAV systems.

Many years ago, Israel identified the Human Factor aspect as a primary factor in system performance and safety standards. Accordingly, for many years afterwards, human factor professionals were involved in the field of UAVs in Israel. However, even in Israel, the investments made in the effort to develop the system around the operator are in no way similar to the investments made in manned systems. This gap is especially evident on the ground, often because of the absence of specific standards for this field.

“The Human Behind the Unmanned System Will Make the Difference” is a slogan I invented many years ago. Since then, I have often been asked to explain it by using various aspects outlined in this article.

The complexity of UAV systems environment parameters, the technological race, and above all, the increasingly ambitious operational demands, are external variables that are likely to remain with us for many years to come. Understanding the central role that the human element plays in unmanned systems is a process that has just begun. As such, we must internalize the axiom “the system is only as good as its operator.”

In the last year, the US has begun to change their definitions of UAVs from “Unmanned Vehicles” to “Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).” This trend, which amends the system manning issue, may lead to a change in the prevailing concept regarding the central role played by the human element, and could also lead to a change in Israel’s concepts and terminology. Nevertheless, it raises an historical debate of Pilot vs. Operators issue. Personally, I would recommend the term “Remotely Operated Aircraft” but this is an issue for another article.

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ATI’s Instructor’s Featured in the Top Five Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study

ATI’s instructor Paul Gelhausen’s  company was featured in a recent survey of up-and-coming companies in Unmanned Aircraft Systems.  Paul Gelhausen teaches Unmanned Air Vehicle Design. He is Founder, Managing Member and Chief Technical Officer of an Avid, an aerospace and software company. His company was featured in the recent report  “Emerging Market New Independent Study: Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft Systems And Whom To Watch”.

AVID, LLC.  AVID, an aerospace engineering and software development firm provides multidisciplinary aircraft design and analyses. AVID’s focus is the development of novel aerodynamic concepts and aircraft designs, as well as the creation of standards-based, platform-independent, aircraft design and optimization software.

These UAS courses are scheduled. The first two are taught by Paul Gelhausen. The second two are taught by Dr. (Col. Ret.) Jerry LeMieux, who is President Of Unmanned Vehicle University. He has over 40 years and 10,000 hours of aviation experience.

Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Sep 24-26, 2013 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Jan 28-30, 2014 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Jul 23-25, 2013 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Feb 25-27, 2014 Columbia, MD



Somalia Video Shows The Remaining Pieces Of The Unmanned US Surveillance Drone

ATIcourses provides short courses on Unmanned Vehicles Technology and post relevant news articles.

This link provides a highly opinionated discussion of the use of unmanned drones in Somalia. These photos show the remaining pieces of the unmanned US surveillance drone and also show fighters celebrating the US loss of one of its spy drones. The video appears to be generated by a press TV in Somalia.

“Analysts say these drone attacks have proved counterproductive in many Muslim countries and have also undermined the country’s sovereignty by violating its airspace. “

What is your opinion? Are unmanned drones in Somalia effective? What portion of the overall missions are surveillance versus those that attack specific targets?


Future UAV courses include

Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Sep 24-26, 2013 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Air Vehicle Design Jan 28-30, 2014 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Jul 23-25, 2013 Columbia, MD
Unmanned Aircraft System Fundamentals Feb 25-27, 2014 Columbia, MD



Training budgets: Smaller is not an option


The debate on the budgets for the government organizations is pretty toxic in the US. Both US Navy and US Army alongside other organizations have declared budget shortfalls which effect many areas including training. Without commitment to training and learning new skills there can be no continuous improvement, which is one of the prime directives of any government or company.

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) specializes in short course technical training in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, systems engineering and signal processing. Since 1984 ATI has provided leading-edge public courses and on-site technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DOD and aerospace contractors. The courses provide a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications.


When your company does not want to pay for the training you really want, as an alternative, you can:

  • Spent your own personal money and funds; if you believe in it and then you will do it
  • Find a user group who are practicing the skills you desire
  • Don’t accept the classic answer from the boss, “How does X help the business?”. If the training is relevant to you achieving a goal of being a much better employee then of course it is relevant.
  • Find another organization to work for

A training manager with a good team can:

  • Fight for your team and their training; fight for your team’s budget and don’t let the senior management take it away
  • Give up your personal training for the entire year and suggest that they allocate the extra budget to training for your team members
  • Perhaps, it is time to evaluate the relationship with the preferred supplier of training. Has your firm been getting decent value from the PSL (preferred supplier list)?
  • Find alternatives to training like brown bag lunches and/or collaborate with other businesses

Everybody needs training and self-improvement.

Please share your opinion with us by commenting below.

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Are you OK with growing use of unmanned drones in U.S.?

It’s happening in the United States more and more. A technology once confined to foreign battlefields is becoming increasingly common in domestic airspace.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, “With little public attention, dozens of universities and law-enforcement agencies have been given approval by federal aviation regulators to use unmanned aircraft known as drones, according to documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests by an advocacy group.

The more than 50 institutions that received approvals to operate remotely piloted aircraft are more varied than many outsiders and privacy experts previously knew. They include not only agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security but also smaller ones such as the police departments in North Little Rock, Ark., and Ogden, Utah, as well the University of North Dakota and Nicholls State University in Louisiana.

What do you think about this trend?

– Does it worry you … or reassure you?

– Should drones be limited or welcomed like other new technology?

– Does your right to privacy extend to the airspace above your home or business?

– Would you accept any drone as long as it is unarmed?

If you have a comment on this  topic, post it below now!

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Warfare of the future: does it belong to the drones?

There is no doubt that the use of unmanned aircrafts or drones has seen a tremendous growth over the last few years. Since 2005 there has been a 1,200% increase in combat air patrols by UAVs. Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone only last month. But does this mean that the future belongs to UAS? What are the pros and cons of using unmanned aircraft vehicles vs manned?

What are the pros and cons of UAVs?

Pros include:

    1) significantly lower cost compared to manned vehicles (although they can get pretty expensive depending on their sophistication); this should allow the military to buy UAVs in much larger quantities than manned aircraft
    2) expendability, you can afford to send them into heavily defended areas and risk losing some without endangering a pilot
    3) more maneuverable than manned planes without the limitations of a human pilot
    4) can be built stealthier than a manned plane since one of the least stealthy parts of the aircraft (the cockpit) is unnecessary
    5) should be lighter, smaller, and easier to transport

Cons include:

    1) limitations of their programming, may not be able to compensate for the changing battlefield environment (such as being able to attack a new more desirable target that appeared after the aircraft was launched or changing course to avoid enemy defenses)
    2) because they are typically smaller than a manned plane, they cannot carry as large a payload (however, they do generally have a greater ratio of payload to total weight)
    3) along the same lines, they may not be able to carry as much fuel and therefore may have a shorter range
    4) typically tailored to specific kinds of missions and not as versatile as a modern multi-role fighter
    5) if contact is lost with a ground station, the vehicle may be lost

Overall, but the pilot in the cockpit is already an endangered species.

What is your opinion? Please comment below.

Read more here.

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Keylogger Virus Vs US Drones? Place your bets?

Yes, it has come to this! Apparently, a “keylogger” virus (that the nasty kind that records EVERY keystroke) has hit Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Chreech is the main base of operations for US Drones. The virus kept coming back resisting every attempt to remove it from the drives. Eventually, the drives had to be wiped clean and rebuilt from scratch. That is a lot of man hours!

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.
Drones have become America’s tool of choice in both its conventional and shadow wars, allowing U.S. forces to attack targets and spy on its foes without risking American lives. Since President Obama assumed office, a fleet of approximately 30 CIA-directed drones have hit targets in Pakistan more than 230 times; all told, these drones have killed more than 2,000 suspected militants and civilians, according to the Washington Post. More than 150 additional Predator and Reaper drones, under U.S. Air Force control, watch over the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. American military drones struck 92 times in Libya between mid-April and late August. And late last month, an American drone killed top terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki — part of an escalating unmanned air assault in the Horn of Africa and southern Arabian peninsula.

But despite their widespread use, the drone systems are known to have security flaws. And this recent virus definitely proves it!

What do you think?

You can read more about the virus here.


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Last Chance to Sign Up for Course on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Video Clip: Click to Watch
ATI Offers Short Technical Course on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Worldwide government, commercial and military use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is anticipated to increase significantly in the future.

If you need to know more about UAS maybe you should attend the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course?

This one-day course is designed for engineers, aviation experts and project managers who wish to enhance their understanding of UAS. The course provides the “big picture” for those who work outside of the discipline. Each topic addresses real systems (Predator, Shadow, Global Hawk and others) and real-world problems and issues concerning the use and expansion of their applications.

Attending training courses can also put you in touch with peers in your industry affording you the opportunity to network. Networking can help you discover new industry trends, as well as new ideas and insights from others.

Our short courses are designed for individuals involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space and defense systems. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex systems in a short time. You will become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues.

Course Outline, Samplers and Notes

But don’t take our word for it; determine for yourself the value of our UAS course before you sign up. Check out ourUAS Course Slide Samples or see a video clip about the course from the instructor at UAS on YouTube.

After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information.

About ATI and the Instructors

Our mission here at the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses.

ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology.

Mr. Mark N. Lewellen is the vice chair of an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) group in the United States that is responsible for generating future UAS spectrum requirements. He is also chairman of a global UAS group that may revise the international Radio Regulations. He is an instructor for a course designed for engineers, aviation experts and project managers who wish to enhance their understanding of UAS.

He has twenty-five years of experience and has actively participated in over forty international meetings where he successfully advocated technical and regulatory issues. He is co-founder of RMT Spectrum Associates, Inc.

Mr. Lewellen teaches GPS Workshops in conjunction with several Universities. He is an active member of Toastmasters International and an excellent speaker who knows how to take command of an audience.

Dates, Times and Locations

The UAS short course is currently scheduled for:

• November 8th, 2011 in Columbia, MD

• February 28th, 2012 in Columbia, MD

Now is the time to think about bringing an ATI technical short course to your site. If there are eight or more people who are interested in a course, you save money if we bring the course to you. If you have fifteen or more students, you save over fifty percent compared to a public course.

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X-47B Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is a Smarter, Stealthier System

The Navy is currently developing the X-47B unmanned aerial system (UAS), designed to operate from an aircraft carrier and refuel in midair. The drone includes stealth technology and a shape similar to the B-2 stealth bomber. The Navy hopes to have a carrier based squadron by 2018. See the article in the WSJ.