Unmanned Vehicles:

Assessment of DOD's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Master Plan

NSIAD-89-41BR: Published: Dec 9, 1988. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 1988.


Louis J. Rodrigues
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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Master Plan to assess its adequacy and compliance with congressional intent to achieve commonality in military services' UAV.

GAO found that the UAV Master Plan: (1) provided for an affordable family of UAV systems that all services could operate and that would maximize commonality consistent with different service missions; and (2) provided for systems configurations that would allow cost-effective block changes to incorporate advanced developments. GAO also found that the UAV Master Plan: (1) was not scheduled to start until 1990, with delivery of production units in 1992; (2) provided for procurement of additional single-service systems that would not meet common service needs; (3) did not include lethal UAV and target drone programs that involved the same technologies as other UAV; and (4) had limitations such as potential duplication between UAV and manned aircraft that performed the same missions.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: The Subcommittee may wish to consider opposing funding any new UAV programs that do not promote commonality to the maximum extent practical.

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to an official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, DOD has created a lethal/non-lethal policy which requires that all potential commonality issues be reviewed by a special study group for every UAV system. These reviews are intended to identify ways to promote the use of common systems whenever possible. DOD also terminated the Army's Deep Ops UAV system.

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