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Peer 1 (Derek): Since the predator drone program is the subject of discussion in this forum when it comes to describing alternate strategies to meet mission needs, the question can be addressed in the Defense Acquisition Process and the JCIDS process that drives it. At the beginning of the Defense acquisition system, there is the requiring activity that is beginning to define its operational need, a capability that it must possess, which occurs during the Materiel Solution Analysis phase. Within this phase, the requiring activity reached the materiel development decision, which is represented in the initial capabilities document (ICD), which defines the desired capability the MDAP needs to possess. Also during this phase, the Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) study is being conducted, AOA is defined as an analytical comparison of the operational effectiveness, suitability, and life-cycle cost of alternatives that satisfy established capability needs. The requiring activity is determining whether the MDAP will represent a long evolutionary acquisition with incremental technological advancements or a single step acquisition that is capitalizing on an already existant technology or system that just needs to be adapted and tested. A good example of this sort of analysis in the predator’s timeline was during a crucial point in the MDAPs incremental development when it was being decided with which missile system it would be armed with for the first time. During their analysis, the Airforce team had to pick from two airforce missiles that were still in their developmental phase and the Army’s already operational Hellfire missile. From a contracting perspective, there are also alternative strategies to meet mission needs when it comes to making choices on how to conduct solicitation, source selection, and contract type.

Peer 2 (Matt):

Good Afternoon Class,

After reading and watching the resources provided for us this week, I had quite a bit of confusion completing this week’s forum. But I think I finally got it figured out, the predator’s mission was the military needing a way to surveil suspected enemies. I found it interesting that the early models didn’t hold as many munitions as the newer models that are currently out now. From the get-go of the program, it sounded like it was met with massive oppositions, no one felt it would take off and become the valuable resource that it is today. The main goal was to protect Airman’s life while still providing the valuable intel that the military needed to get the job done. The strategies used to get them further along once the military realized how important a tool this was, I found it to be fascinating. It took the influence of some very secretive organizations to get into the notoriety that it has today finally. It has played a crucial part in the operations that our country is taking part in today and the past. The predator has allowed the military not to give us some clue as to what we are facing beforehand.

Peer 3 (Brad):

Good day everyone, I pray this finds you all well,

The topic this week asked for two alternate strategies for the mission needs of the predator drone. I watched the videos and reviewed the lesson and it provided some great information. The videos spoke of the dangers associated with the drone and how it executes the mission. I have seen the predators work first hand and can speak directly to some of the issues that were there in the be ginning stages and then how they are meeting the mission now.

In the beginning there was an issue with the just literally falling out of the sky. There was a very short transition period between who and where they were controlled from and sometimes that link would not hold up and a fail safe would put the drone in the ocean. The autonomy was a disadvantage. The alternative was to have one person pilot the drone until it was over a operating area. Then, the actual combat pilot took over to carry out the mission. This allowed for longer on-station times and more effective battle. A change that would be effective is to have a pilot in a larger aircraft such as a P-3 or a P-8 with the ability to take control of the drone for short periods of time. This would be very effective in such places as the straits of Hormuz. The danger to large aircrew would be eliminated.

Lately in the news we have seen what the true capability is when a drone is used to its full potential. The use of a laser guided munitions system was a big change from the initial thoughts of what the drone could do. A strike was ordered to remove one of the top terrorist threats in the world. It was carried out effectively with no civilian causalities. No matter your political views on the subject, the weapon system worked very well.

The troops on the ground love it. It provides silent eyes in the sky. One way that I can see the program changing the mission to better serve the ground troops is to give them some form of control and a live feed. That would be an invaluable tool that would save countless lives.

As for alternate strategies, the system is performing as required. The ability to adjust and change a platform or weapon system is what makes it viable for the long term. There have been growing pains and costs, but that is with any weapon system or aircraft. The longer a weapon system stays viable and ahead of the game the more value it becomes.

I look forward to the feedback.

superadmin (28431)
New York University
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