The world’s oceans and seas are vast. Maritime challenges occurring to U.S. interests and international legal and humanitarian responsibilities are increasing in both quantity and quality. But the number of Navy and Coast Guard ships available is relatively small, and given current budget realities, not likely to grow sufficiently to meet increasing demand. If the Navy and Coast Guard are going to continue conducting the broad range of missions assigned to them, it will be vital to enhance their airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Equipping surface ships with small unmanned aerial systems (UASs), such as the Insitu’s Scan Eagle and Blackjack, expands their surveillance horizons, lethality, and overall effectiveness at a low cost. Moreover, small UASs are easy to launch and recover. I have written more on this subject here.
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