System engineering plan for integrating an unmanned air vehicle system onto cyclone class patrol ships

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) employs Cyclone class patrol ships in support of a variety of missions including, but not limited to, insertion of special operations forces (SOF), and counter narcotics operations. These patrol ships, while fast and maneuverable, are somewhat vulnerable to attack due to a limited sensor suite and limited fire power. Integration of an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system onto these ships would provide them with an over-the-horizon reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capability greatly enhancing the ability of these ships to avoid hostile forces, find suitable SOF insertion points, and track potential drug traffic at sea.

The integration of a commercial-off-the-shelf UAV system onto Cyclone class patrol ships is outlined. This report discusses the development of mathematical models of UAV aerodynamic performance, structural performance, and pneumatic launcher performance. The results of these models, in turn, are used to estimate the UAVs maximum launch weight and useful operational life. Finally, a life cycle analysis of the system is performed based on these results.