Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Systems Engineering


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Amy M. Cox, PhD


The DoD has recognized the need for persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) over the last two decades. Recent developments with commercial drones have changed the market structure; there is now a thriving and extensive market base for drone based remote sensing. This research provides system engineering methods to support the DoD use of this burgeoning market to meet operational ISR needs. The three contributions of this research are: a process to support Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) design, tools to support the design process, and tools to support risk assessment and reduction for both design and operations. The process and tools are presented via an exemplar design for an ISR SUAS mission. The exemplar design flows from user needs through to an allocated baseline with an assessment of system reliability based on a compilation of commercial component reliability and failure modes.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number