The Future of the Airborne Combat Vehicle (AFCV)
A future that is powered by technology that allows unmanned aircraft to operate from a range of more than 10,000 meters above the ground and beyond.
The AAFV is a significant development for a program that has traditionally been focused on the ground, in the air and in the sea.
But the AAFVs capabilities have also raised serious questions.
How will the Air Force keep its fleet up to speed with these changes in air defense?
What kind of data does it need to track its air assets in the field?
And can the AAVs be flown without the need for a single pilot?
These are questions that are still being answered, with a number of different capabilities in the works.
First, the Air Combat Capability Concept, which was unveiled in February by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and is the basis for the Airman First Challenge, will provide a roadmap for the air force’s future air capabilities.
Second, the Advanced Air Warfare Center (AEWC), a joint project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will have the task of building a prototype AAFVS capable of carrying out long-range operations from a variety of platforms, including drones, remotely piloted aircraft, and unmanned aircraft.
Finally, DARPA has already begun testing a system that would allow a single AAFVA to fly missions over the U.S. The Airman first Challenge, also known as the Aegis Ashore, will feature multiple platforms and capabilities that are expected to provide the Airforce with a wide range of air defense options.
The competition is designed to see who can provide the best air defense capability, based on capabilities of existing and future aircraft.
The challenge is expected to begin in 2018, and is expected be a boon for the A-10, A-6 and A-7 aircraft that will be used by the Air National Guard.
The current AAFAVs are designed to be airborne and maneuverable for short-duration air combat, but it’s unclear whether these new AAFVG will be able to do the same for long-duration operations.
The FAA has said that the AAMV will not be able “to carry out the mission of a combatant.”
It’s also unclear what kind of capabilities the AAGV will have that the current AAV does not have, or how much longer it will be required.
The Navy has said it is looking at the possibility of a long-endurance mission, or “the ability to operate longer missions for longer periods of time,” but that it won’t be able or willing to build an AAV that is capable of doing long-term operations.
“We are also looking at different types of mission that may be more challenging to deploy and maintain and may require additional capability,” said Capt. Steve Smith, a spokesperson for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), in an emailed statement.
“Aircraft that can operate for more than a day at a time, for example, will be a challenge for a mission like this.
We are looking at long-lead times and longer-duration mission options as well as capabilities to provide capabilities for mission recovery and long-distance operations.”
But there is one element of the competition that seems certain to be at the center of the discussion: the ability of the AAWVs to operate out of the United States.
“The challenge is how does the Air Forces mission control system, as well, think about this type of mission, especially when they don’t have the capability to do it on the air, and how does it fit in?”
“You have to do that kind of thinking for the mission to work.”
This is not the first time the AirForce has proposed to the FAA that it needs to develop a fleet of AAWVs to meet a new requirement.
Last summer, the FAA announced it was considering a proposal for the first air superiority aircraft that would be able not only to fly at altitudes above 5,000 feet but also to operate in the airspace over the continental United States from a position that would not require a human pilot.
The proposal, which has not been approved, was originally slated for the end of 2019, but was delayed to the beginning of 2020, due to a “significant and unprecedented” security risk posed by the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Iraq and Syria.
The air superiority mission was originally designed to allow the Air Defense Command, or ADS-B, to deploy AAV in response to a threat, but the AADs current capabilities are not able to operate at such altitudes and can only operate at high altitudes, which is a limitation that the Air Guard says would be unacceptable.
The ADS-A proposal, the first of its kind in history, was unveiled at the Air Mobility Command, which oversees the AACV program, and the Air Space Operations Command, where the Airmen First Challenge is being developed