Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Systems Engineering


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

David R. Jacques, PhD


Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is a high-demand Department of Defense mission performed by unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) at the tactical and theater levels. Coordinating UASs through cooperative control offers the advantages of persistence, distributed and adaptable sensor coverage, and reduced revisit time on points of interest. The purpose of this thesis is to apply systems engineering principles to the problem of developing a flexible, common control system for cooperative UAS surveillance at the tactical level. The AFIT team developed a concept of operations (CONOPS) encompassing various users and surveillance tasks. The team then used the scenarios in the CONOPS to build a conceptual architecture. Concurrently, the team constructed a developmental test system that closely resembled the architecture and successfully conducted flight tests of multiple aircraft. The team then used this architecture and the prototype system to identify significant technical risks and future research areas to be explored prior to the development of an operational system.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



co-authored thesis