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Fundamentals of Reconnaissance

Of course preparation for MUM-T should begin in initial aviation training. Manned helicopters and UAS each have non-overlapping advantages and limitations, and these capabilities could be taught in the initial training of new pilots and UAS operators in order to provide a realistic perspective of MUM-T in the SR mission. Even though specific SR skills are taught in flight school (especially OH-58D Phase II training), few SR-specific skills are taught during initial UAS operator training (Stewart, et al., 2011). As a consequence, a stronger tactical-skills training program could be implemented at the UAS schoolhouse (Stewart et al.) that includes a broader set of MUM-T skills. Such a training should emphasize execution of those MUM-T mission skills identified in prior research as training-critical (e.g., Sticha, Howse, Stewart, Conzelman, & Thibodeaux, 2012) as well as SR mission planning and rehearsal. A critical part of that training program also would be the use of communication and coordination techniques appropriate to Army aviation. Another possibility would be the development of a joint training program with manned pilots that would focus on planning and execution of 12 simulated reconnaissance missions using networked simulation facilities currently in place. Any opportunity for joint training would be an essential first step in the socialization and assimilation of RQ-7B and OH-58D aircrews. Taken together, the current findings provide important feedback to decision makers regarding the perceived present and future tactical roles of manned and unmanned aircraft by experienced operators of both aircraft types. Knowledge of current attitudes toward capabilities of UAS could provide insight on the part of training developers who must devise strategies for training manned and unmanned aircrews to work together as players in MUM-T. The findings also point to the need to more precisely specify respective roles of manned and unmanned team members for each SR mission skill before UAS can fully participate in MUM-T.