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Thread: General UCAV/UAV discussion - A New Hope

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rookh View Post
    Is there a particular example you're referring to here? I was assuming it was the US retaliatory strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan after the Kenya embassy bombings in the late 90s?

    If so, what alternatives did the US have at that time? I don't think they had anything like the armed UAV capability they have today. In hindsight, although the US didn't achieve much by the strikes, short of full scale and sustained air operations over 2 large sovereign states, what choice did the US have? And I don't think the US is particularly short of cruise missiles, so I doubt they were "wasteful".
    Since they didn't hit anything they should have done, the strikes were very wasteful indeed. But what, if any, options the USA had at the time is not relevant to current & future requirements of the USA, UK, France, etc., & procurement decisions to be made on how to meet those requirements. We should be considering the future utility of cruise missiles vs UCAVs. Note that this doesn't mean that we should consider whether to buy one or the other, but which is best suited to particular purposes.
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
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  2. #182
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    Yes, UCAV brings unique ISTAR capabilities over cruise missiles,
    so the determining factor will likely be whether further info is needed or not.
    But on top of that, an UCAV can also assess damage
    A cruise missile OTOH is by far cheaper to lose, so that will be the preferred weapon for a massive punch on a strong foe, like wiping out an air base.
    the missile will require about five times the G capability of the target to complete a successful intercept.
    -Robert L Shaw

  3. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by swerve View Post
    Since they didn't hit anything they should have done, the strikes were very wasteful indeed.
    The fact that the cruise missile strikes didn't actually achieve anything was primarily an intelligence and recon failure. If cruise missiles weren't used but rather a full scale and sustained air operation, it would have been significantly more wasteful.

    Quote Originally Posted by swerve View Post
    But what, if any, options the USA had at the time is not relevant to current & future requirements of the USA, UK, France, etc., & procurement decisions to be made on how to meet those requirements. We should be considering the future utility of cruise missiles vs UCAVs. Note that this doesn't mean that we should consider whether to buy one or the other, but which is best suited to particular purposes.
    Okkaaay But I was referring to your specific example of US cruise missile strikes in the 90s. Like I tried to explain before, things have moved on since then and will continue to do so, with technology dictating where and how UAS/UCAVs are used.

  4. #184
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    Apparently Global hawk is to be killed and U2 to be kept flying for a lot longer.
    Wrinkles wrinkles my kingdom fallen to a wrinkle

  5. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt View Post
    U2 to be kept flying for a lot longer.
    well they do have Bono going for them

    seriously, does this mean they'll upgrade the U-2s? give them satellite links, make them unmanned perhaps?

    does the U-2 come even close to the Global Hawk's JSTAR like abilities?

    here's decade old proposal for unmanned U-2's

  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    well they do have Bono going for them

    seriously, does this mean they'll upgrade the U-2s? give them satellite links, make them unmanned perhaps?

    does the U-2 come even close to the Global Hawk's JSTAR like abilities?

    here's decade old proposal for unmanned U-2's
    U-2 has been flying with a high bandwidth satellite link for 15 years. The Satcom antenna and coms gear is housed in the dorsal pod.

    The photo shows a U-2 equipped with the ASARS IIA AESA antenna in the nose.

    U-2 sensor systems when through a major upgrade from 2001-2005 and an advanced signals intelligence package was added in the past 24 months. It provides more and higher quality data than Global Hawk.

    That Global Hawk has not been able to match U-2's capability is why USAF cancelled Block 30. In a world with limited money, it was the correct decision.

  7. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    they succeeded in tanking the other day, using a surrogate. that's pretty huge, as it proves the system can do that
    Quote Originally Posted by the link in the quoted post
    The Learjet successfully completed multiple air-refueling test points autonomously while commanded by a ground operator.
    Quit with the weasel-statements!

    If it was under the control of a ground operator it was NOT "operating autonomously", and if it was "operating autonomously" it was not receiving commands from a ground operator.

    Sounds like the test got some "help" to actually work.

  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by obligatory View Post
    For ISTAR, they are nothing short of God-sent,

    this is the only thing you could get close enough to a US CBG to pinpoint it,
    and the only thing you would ever want to send that close also !

    For strike, they out-range manned fighters by a wide margin, and out-stealth them several times over.
    There is nothing magic about UAV. UAV need to be stealthy as they carry only short range weopons. so it needs to fly near to targets.
    I am not expecting supersonic missile lunched at supersonic speeds from UAV.
    what special about ISTAR and getting close to CBG. CBG cannot see a UAV or they consider UAV as toy.
    Multirole fighters can be refuelled, have longer range weopons, they are way faster to the target. there is no air to air capability in these UAVs and they are way slower for endurance.

  9. #189
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    Only an UAV can be made with so small RCS that it is even worth trying,
    and sending in a manned a/c to do it ? well, perhaps ask some old Japanese Kamikaze pilots then.
    They also have enough endurance to make the info useful
    Last edited by obligatory; 27th January 2012 at 04:57.
    the missile will require about five times the G capability of the target to complete a successful intercept.
    -Robert L Shaw

  10. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by djcross View Post
    U-2 has been flying with a high bandwidth satellite link for 15 years. The Satcom antenna and coms gear is housed in the dorsal pod.
    U-2 sensor systems when through a major upgrade from 2001-2005 and an advanced signals intelligence package was added in the past 24 months. It provides more and higher quality data than Global Hawk.
    excellent, that's what I'm all for: take a paid for, proven airframe and put proven, affordable technology in it. plus the U-2 can be refuelled in the air and land on aircraft carriers, that make it a very flexible aircraft

    this does mean the U-2's biggest disatvantage is its pilot, who can only stay up for 12 hours at the most extreme, needs oxygen, has in the past been shot down and captured...

    how much would it cost to transfer the RQ-170's architecture to the U-2? a few million? that's about the cost of a human pilot

    Quote Originally Posted by Bager1968 View Post
    Sounds like the test got some "help" to actually work.
    NG has succesfully made a system that allows jets to land on an aircraft carrier, one of the hardest things to do in aviation. I doubt they needed "help" for air refueling, which is kid's stuff by comparison

    10 years from now both manned and unmanned aircraft will refuel in the air and land on aircraft carriers using automated systems, because they're simply much better at it. letting a human do it will be dangerous by comparison

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  12. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanem View Post
    excellent, that's what I'm all for: take a paid for, proven airframe and put proven, affordable technology in it. plus the U-2 can be refuelled in the air and land on aircraft carriers
    ?
    I didn't even know they are operated from carriers,
    how many in USN inventory ?
    the missile will require about five times the G capability of the target to complete a successful intercept.
    -Robert L Shaw

  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by obligatory View Post
    ?
    I didn't even know they are operated from carriers,
    how many in USN inventory ?
    In 1963, the CIA started project Whale Tale to develop carrier-based U-2Gs to overcome range limitations. During development of the capability, CIA pilots took off and landed U-2Gs on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger and other ships. The U-2G was used only twice operationally. Both flights occurred from USS Ranger in May 1964 to observe France's development of an atomic bomb test range at Moruroa in French Polynesia.
    U-2 ops aboard USS Ranger video

    Testing continued through at least 1966, aboard the USS America: USS America CV-66 with a U-2

    However, none of the carrier-capable versions had inflight-refueling capability.

    U-2C: Enhanced single-seat model with J75-P-13 engine with 15,800-17,000 pounds of thrust and modified engine intakes

    U-2G: U-2C converted for carrier compatibility with arresting hook and accessories, rear fuselage beef-up, 50 degrees of flaps and extended main stoke main and tail landing gear (3 aircraft).

    U-2H: U-2G converted to inflight-refueling capability, found to be too heavy and converted back to U-2G (2 aircraft)

    This model had a wingspan of 80' 2" and a max take-off weight of 24,150 lb.


    The currently-operational U-2s are all the U-2S model, with a wingspan of 104', a max take-off weight of 41,000 lb, and a General Electric F118-GE-101 engine with 18,300 pounds thrust, but these are not inflight-refueling capable. However, their lengthened wing includes two fuel pods, which increased range from 2,200 miles in the early models to 3,500 miles in the -R, 4,000 miles in the TR-1, and 4,600 miles in the -S.

    U-2R: Larger version of original U-2. Designed with carrier capability from outset with RX107 Hook Kit installed. 12 built.

    TR-1: Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft (all aircraft redesignated U-2R). 33 built.

    U-2S: Re-engined U-2R with General Electric F118-GE-101 with 18,300 pounds thrust; the F118 engine is 30% lighter and 39 inches shorter and more fuel effect, than the J75-13B, and allows the "S" to cruise 1220 nm farther, and fly 3500 feet higher. It also has a new digital autopilot, and sensor wiring has been standardized.

    31 U-2R/TR-1s were converted to U-2S.
    Last edited by Bager1968; 28th January 2012 at 01:10.

  14. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by obligatory View Post
    Only an UAV can be made with so small RCS that it is even worth trying,
    That so small UAV will not be usefull either. modern radars of ships suppose to track stealth subsonic missiles. Any noisy turbo prop UAV is not worth trying.
    and sending in a manned a/c to do it ? well, perhaps ask some old Japanese Kamikaze pilots then.
    Those days are gone. Size and speed of aircraft carrier hasnt change much compared to WW11 but enormous improvement has been done in Airpower and continue to done. There is simply not enough money on carriers alone.
    They also have enough endurance to make the info useful
    That endurance comes at expense of speed and payload. it is very low subsonic like chopper.

  15. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bager1968 View Post
    The currently-operational U-2s are all the U-2S model, with a wingspan of 104', a max take-off weight of 41,000 lb, and a General Electric F118-GE-101 engine with 18,300 pounds thrust, but these are not inflight-refueling capable. However, their lengthened wing includes two fuel pods, which increased range from 2,200 miles in the early models to 3,500 miles in the -R, 4,000 miles in the TR-1, and 4,600 miles in the -S.
    The wing pods house COMINT equipment, not fuel.

  16. #196
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    Thanks @Bager.
    So today, does any U-2 operate off Carriers ?
    the missile will require about five times the G capability of the target to complete a successful intercept.
    -Robert L Shaw

  17. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt View Post
    Apparently Global hawk is to be killed and U2 to be kept flying for a lot longer.
    USAF are killing off the Block 30 but are still pursuing the Block 40 Global Hawk. USN still keeping Global Hawk for BAMS.

  18. #198
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    I made a U-2 specific thread, as this is getting too much off topic

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    The top secret state-of-the-art Heron TP UAV crashed.

    Human error caused IAI Heron test flight crash

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    Block 20 RQ-4s to be fitted with BACN, re-designated EQ-4B.

    Get Ready for the EQ-4 Global Hawk

    The jets equipped with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node will be dubbed EQ-4s and will likely head to Afghanistan where BACN has been in use aboard a WB-57 Canberra (old school, huh) and a Bombardier Global Express business jet. Keep in mind that the company was awarded a similar contract to install BACN on a pair of Global Hawks several years ago. The jets loiter over the war zone using BACN to translate communications between ground troops and attack jets. In theory, BACN should also allow the F-22 Raptor’s stealthy Intra-Flight Datalink (IFDL) to talk to older jets that use the standard Link-16 datalink.

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  22. #202
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    a fascinating video on micro-UAVs flying in crazy formations (and sounding extremely scary)

    http://defensetech.org/2012/02/01/cr...-in-formation/

    I see this video as vital to UCAVs, as it shows what a UCAV formation would look like in air combat: a single hive swarms, flying in perfect coordination, constantly maneurvring so they cover each other and setting up cross fires, instantly adapting to a changing situation

    equip a single stealthy UCAV with F-35 grade sensors and communications, and it can sit nearby, overlooking the situation, feeding data to human controllers in the air or on the ground, who can guide them on a tactical and strategic level


    on the Rafale win in India, does this make it more likely for France to steer away from the UK for future UAV and other defence programs, as it has proven that going solo has its advantages? or will Dassault be sick of the risks it brings?

    going solo would fit with France's independant political course, but teaming up stresses their desire for a unified Europe (under French leadership ofcourse), especially if they can ally with the UK at the cost of US and German influence (we can already see EADS' frustration at losing the UK's and France's support for their UAV programs)

  23. #203
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    That is most lovely!

    Stabilizes istself after being thrown into the air. Wonder what reference they use (int? ext?). And how to they do collision and obstacle avoidance? Is there swarm-communication or do they use external control? These things seem way too small for on-board sensors and computing.

    But still lovely. Software seems to work, and once things move onboard you're good to go.

    And what a chance for newcomers. I'm convinced for a long time already that these days it would be possible for a high-tech country like e.g. South Korea to leap ahead in robotic warfare and start a revolution like the one that came with the stirrup or the compound bow.
    Last edited by Distiller; 2nd February 2012 at 09:34.
    "Distiller ... arrogant, ruthless, and by all reports (including his own) utterly charming"

  24. #204
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    Intriguing, i reckon first units to put it to use is SWAT & SF,
    it takes something with better endurance for regular forces,
    i believe battery tech will improve substantially in 10 years
    the missile will require about five times the G capability of the target to complete a successful intercept.
    -Robert L Shaw

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    One thing that has puzzled me for a long time is why all operational and planned UCAVs in existence are restricted to the air-to-ground role. Given they have radars, optical sensors and precision targeting(autonomous and remote-controlled) systems, what's stopping designers from putting AAMs on them?

    So long as UCAVs remain limited to air-to-ground the fears of them replacing manned fighters will remain ungrounded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by obligatory View Post
    Intriguing, i reckon first units to put it to use is SWAT & SF,
    it takes something with better endurance for regular forces,
    i believe battery tech will improve substantially in 10 years
    about that
    these days you can buy a remote controlled, camera equiped car for like $20, and plenty of battery power (or easy to put in new ones)
    even without putting a remotely detonated grenade on it, that little things alone will change the face of urban combat, at basically no cost. no more putting your head through a door and hoping you don't get ambushed or set off an IED
    yet they insist on building these things at prices of atleast $100.000, when you expect them to get blown up. I don't know whether to laugh or cry

    Quote Originally Posted by Witcha View Post
    One thing that has puzzled me for a long time is why all operational and planned UCAVs in existence are restricted to the air-to-ground role. Given they have radars, optical sensors and precision targeting(autonomous and remote-controlled) systems, what's stopping designers from putting AAMs on them?

    So long as UCAVs remain limited to air-to-ground the fears of them replacing manned fighters will remain ungrounded.
    on UCAV air combat

    search for my previous posts, I've done quite a bit of thinking/ranting on the subject

    in my opinion its technically perfectly feasable to use a UCAV or even a UAV for air combat (the Predator has actually fired a Stinger at an Iraqi Mig in 2003, and the Predator is qualified to use the AIM-9X)

    an AMRAAM for example uses its Link-16 datalink to receive the target location, INS to close in, and its own radar to actually hit the target. it does not care if its launched from the ground, an F-22 or a RC aircraft. and the targets location can come from the launch aircraft's sensors, but just as well from a satellite or an AWACS

    in this age of missile warfare, aircraft are no longer weapons themselves, they're little more than sensors and cargo aircraft (which explains why the F-35 has an optional gun, and is more focussed on sensors and load capacity than on things like turn rate, speed or climb rate)

    my belief is that the air forces block the idea, because then fighter pilots would become obsolete. why risk a $300 million aircraft and a human life trained to perfection, when a $1 million overgrown toy aircraft controlled by an 18 year old with a few weeks of video gaming practice can achieve pretty much the same result?

    as always, change will not come through foresight, but through necessity. I just hope if we ever go to war with China, they don't think of it first, because no amount of F-22s or F-35s are going to help much when the aircraft they face cost less than the missiles used to shoot them down. and then when you've run out of missiles, you realise J-20s have snuck past and are attacking your AWACS/tanker/air base/aircraft carrier, so your 5th generation fighter probably won't even make it back home, without the enemy having fired a single shot at them. rant rant rant...

  27. #207
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    North Korea is developing unmanned attack aircraft using US target drones based on MQM-107D Streaker target drones imported from the Middle East.

    N.Korea developing unmanned attack aircraft: report

  28. #208
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    that MQM-107D Streaker sounds very interesting: costs about $30,000, has a range of 2000 km, can fly up to 900 km/hour, maximum altitude 40,000 feet and can carry a payload, including flares and chaff

    with some basic sensors it would make a decent scout, its small size and high-g turns making it a hard target

    or give it a basic INS or GPS, an explosive warhead and use it as a cruise missile

    or put some (fake) air-to-air missiles on it and use it to swarm enemy air defences

  29. #209
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    I find it hard to believe that it costs $30000 when the engine (of late production models) alone costs more than that.

    It's been out of production for almost ten years, so the North Koreans must be buying old stock. Its replacement in US service, the BQM-167 Skeeter, is said on the official US .mil datasheet to cost $570K - with the same engine.

    Put a significant warhead or recce payload in it & the price will go up & the range will come down. It doesn't look low RCS. It's designed for launching from rails, with RATO assistance, at a low tempo.
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
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