The Reconnaissance Aircraft Problem



This is an extraordinarily complex problem because the program determines aircraft speed to optimize the plan. The speed affects fuel consumption generally, higher speeds increase consumption. The system plans refueling at an available base based on the aircraft fuel capacity and the delivery rate of the refueling trucks at that base


Each target has:

A mission desired start time

A priority

Allowable hours early and late (allowable variance for arrival at target, if any)


The problem starts with an inventory of assorted aircraft at specified bases.


For the demonstration there are three bases.

Each base has one refueling truck. One base has a 300 gallons per minute refueling truck. The other two have 100 gallons per minute refueling trucks.


Each aircraft is modeled

            Minimum flying speed

            Maximum flying speed

            Fuel capacity

            Fuel consumption based on a speed/fuel consumption curve

            Bases that the aircraft can use


Assignment of aircraft to target always involves:

            Travel to target

            Time at target


Assignment of aircraft to a target may involve:

            Travel from current location to a base to refuel


            Wait at base (to prevent early arrival)

            If aircraft did not travel to base, circling to prevent early arrival



To see a video showing the reconnaissance aircraft problem, click here. (This is a link to YouTube. You will need a full screen view to see it clearly.)

The demonstration system has a graphic play of the plan over the time period planned.




The data can be modified at any time. In this screen shot, the mission to Fresno was cancelled. The program rerouted Jet1 to Richfield, Utah.