November 3, 2000
The Small UAV is the newest category of Navy unmanned air vehicles. Taking advantage of miniaturization, they are being developed to compliment current systems by performing missions that are too dull, dirty, dangerous, or expensive for existing unmanned and manned platforms. The Naval Research Laboratory has been developing Small UAV technologies and mission demonstrators since 1975 and has pioneered four key technology areas that currently define a state-of-the-art Small UAV They are: rapid deployability, advanced propulsion, autonomous operation, and affordable expendability. An overview of these technologies, plus highlights of several Small UAVs developed at NRL will be presented. These Small UAVs include the Flight Inserted Drone Expendable/ Recoverable (FINDER), that is launched from the Predator UAV; the ship-launched Flying Radar Target (FLYRT); the Extender, designed for deployment from tactical aircraft; the Micro Tactical Expendable (MITE), Navy Micro UAV; and the USMC hand-launched Dragon Eye, man-portable Small UAV.
Mr. Richard J. Foch graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1979. While at FIT, he obtained his private pilot¹s license and assisted with a local airport¹s operations. Following his graduation, Mr. Foch joined NRL as an aerospace engineer. While working for the Tactical Electronic Warfare Division¹s Offboard Countermeasures (OCM) Branch, Mr. Foch attended the University of Notre Dame and the University of Maryland from 1980 to 1985, and received a M.S. degree in aerospace engineering. His thesis work focused on low Reynolds number aerodynamics at transonic speeds. Since 1985, Mr. Foch has been the head of the OCM Branch¹s Vehicle Research Section. During this period, the Vehicle Research Section has developed numerous unmanned aircraft for EW applications, including the Low Altitude/Airspeed Unmanned Research Aircraft (LAURA), the Flying Radar Target (FLYRT) ATD, the Self-Navigating Drone, Expendable/ Recoverable (SENDER), and the Navy¹s Micro Tactical Expendable (MITE) micro air vehicle. Mr. Foch has led several quick reaction EW efforts to support Fleet activities, prior to and during Desert Storm, for which he received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1989 and an NRL Special Act Award in 1991. Since earning his pilot¹s license, Mr. Foch has been involved with the design and construction of several homebuilt general aviation aircraft and is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He has been an avid enthusiast of radio controlled (RC) model airplanes for 28 years and is the vice president of the Charles County Radio Control Model Airplane Club. From 1980 through 1993, Mr. Foch was the chief RC test pilot for the Vehicle Research Section¹s remotely piloted aircraft. He was the project manager for the highly successful Eager Electric Preferential Acquisition Decoy ATD and the Swallow Airborne Bio Agent Detection Unmanned Aircraft programs. In July 1996, Mr. Foch received an NRL Special Act Award for flight testing the first biological agent detector to be successfully miniaturized and integrated into an unmanned aircraft. During 1999, Mr. Foch was the Science and Technology Deputy for Autonomous Operations at the Office of Naval Research, where he helped establish unmanned autonomous systems as a major thrust area for future Navy technology demonstration programs. He is also a key team member of the design and development team for NASA Mars Airplane concepts, which will one day enable the exploration of the Martian surface by sensors carried aboard an autonomous, unmanned aircraft. Presently, Mr. Foch is the principal investigator for the USMC Dragon Eye Program which is in direct response to the Secretary of the Navy Small UAV Initiative to develop a man portable Small UAV for over-the-hill reconnaissance missions.