Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael E. Miller, PhD.


Incredible loiter times coupled with the ability to make extremely detailed collections at significant stand-off distances with a relatively expendable platform has made demand for, and diversity of, Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operations grow at voracious rates. Conversely, financial resources are becoming increasingly constrained. As such, innovators are looking to maximize the effectiveness of existing personnel and assets by considering concepts such as simultaneous Multiple Aircraft Control (MAC) by a single aircrew. Research has identified procedural inefficiencies in current operations as well as substantial impediments to MAC implementation, including dynamic task saturation and communication challenges. An identified inefficiency afflicting both current operations and the feasibility of MAC is the time required to transfer operational situation awareness at shift change -- dubbed "change-over." The present research employed synergistic application of Cognitive Task Analyses, Situation Awareness Oriented Design, and Monte Carlo simulation to inform the development of a highly efficient user-centered process for the Mission Intelligence Coordinator -- the RPA aircrew's situation awareness linchpin. Discrete-event simulations were performed on existing and proposed protocols. These analyses indicate that the proposed protocol could require as little as one-third the time required by the current method. It is proposed that such an improvement could significantly increase current RPA mission-readiness as well as diminish a known obstacle to MAC implementation.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number