The JAPCC Flight Plan for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in NATO
NATO is in the process of improving their structures and working procedures to better fulfill the requirements of the new international security environment. The implications of new and very challenging and demanding roles obliges Alliance members to adapt their way of doing business while looking to transform in many fields. In this process of transformation UAS are playing a very important role that without any doubt has not yet reached his full potential.
Today we have in our hands a completely new capability that allows commanders to project power in every way we may imagine through the use of unmanned systems. The reduction of threats to friendly forces is indeed one of the main factors to be taken into account. But also the increased demand for UAS in NATO is being fostered by the large variety of tasks that UAS may perform such as precision target designation, communications and data relay, mine detection and a host of other missions. We can say that UAS are changing the way commanders conduct military operations.
More than six years ago, the first working groups were formed in NATO to address the issues associated with integration of UAS into the force structure. Today, there are no less than five major NATO organizations and working groups, who are addressing various aspects of
integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems into NATO. The document you have in your hands today is the second edition of the “JAPCC Flight Plan for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in NATO”. The 2008 update of the Flight Plan is intended to make the document an even more useful tool for the commanders in the field. Additionally, the 2008 Flight Plan provides an update regarding the 26 issues that were identified in the 2007 Flight Plan.
The main body of the Flight Plan maintains the structure of the previous edition. Like with the 2007 version, the main body is limited to less than 30 pages. The additional 100+ pages are annexes that provide greater detail for readers who would like such information. After the Introduction, Chapter 2 analyzes current and projected capabilities focusing in the following six areas:
- Hardware and Software.
- Command and Control Architecture.
- Operators and Training.
- Integration and Interoperability.
- Airspace Management.
- Mission Planning and Tasking.
A great effort has been made to expand, update and elaborate the Annexes to provide more useful information for operational planners, procurement personnel, and commanders:
- Annex B (NATO Operational Unmanned Aircraft Systems) has gone through a complete expansion and redesign. The new structure classifies the systems into three basic categories (HALE, MALE and Tactical) attending to design characteristics. Sensors for NATO UAS have been included under an additional sub annex.
- Annex C (Airspace management and Command and Control) now includes considerations on European Airspace, ICAO vs. FAA regarding Airspace Classification, NATO Air Command and Control Systems in European Airspace, and a list of National Laws pertaining to UAS.
- Annex D (Unmanned Aircraft System Missions) has been restructured to make it more in line with Allied Joint Publication 3.3. (Joint Air and Space Doctrine), mission types, and applicable STANAGs or other allied publications. Types or categories of UAS more appropriated to fulfill the mission, need and priority for NATO and considerations on how to fill the existing gap are given.
- Annex E (Acronyms) was updated accordingly with the acronyms introduced by the new enlarged document.
We hope that you will find this updated version useful to your duties in NATO or in your support of the NATO goals.