U.S. Military UAV Tier System
The modern concept of United States Department of Defense UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) is to have the various aircraft systems work together in support of personnel on the ground. The integration scheme is described in terms of a "Tier" system, and is used by military planners to designate the various individual aircraft elements in an overall usage plan for integrated operations. The Tiers do not refer to specific models of aircraft, but rather roles the aircraft must fill. Periodically the models that fill each role become outdated. The roles are also periodically expanded to encompass more functionality. In these cases, several different aircraft designers such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin write design proposals. These proposals are compared, and the best design is then put into production as the next aircraft to fill the given role. The U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps each has its own tier system, and the two systems are themselves not integrated.
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