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UCAV/UAV/UAS News and discussion 2015

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  • St. John
    Rank 4 Registered User
    • Jan 2018
    • 554

    First Flight of the Valkyrie a Step Closer to Manned-Unmanned Flying Formations

    Comment

    • Sanem
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Oct 2010
      • 583

      a few years ago on this forum I predicted that by early 2020 many air forces around the world be deploying small jet UCAVs at a cost of just a few $ million, optionally stealth, with STOVL capability, and a usable payload. everyone told me I was crazy, that no one was working on such a design, so surely it couldn't be ready by then

      Comment

      • SpudmanWP
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Jan 2009
        • 5171

        It's still years away as Valkyrie is a sub-scale demonstrator.
        "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

        Comment

        • bring_it_on
          2005-year of the RAPTOR!!
          • Jun 2004
          • 12426

          I don't think the Valkyrie is a sub-scale demonstrator. I think it's to scale for its mission need. It is also not a substitute for a UCAV for air-combat operations. It is a companion drone designed to be low cost and attritable (remains to be proven) and something that assists more capable manned and unmanned aircraft . Both of those categories run into tens of millions if you are going to design them to be capable enough to defeat a broad spectrum of threats.

          In a nut-shell it is a value add and capability enhancer much the same way cruise missiles, EA jammers, AEW BM platforms and long range ISR and space capability are force multipliers. No one, not even those developing it, claim this thing to be a $2 Million replacement for a fighter that can perform air combat.

          Last edited by bring_it_on; 10th March 2019, 20:02.
          Old radar types never die; they just phased array

          Comment

          • swerve
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Jun 2005
            • 13604

            Looks very similar to the EADS Barracuda, which I think was dropped when EADS/Airbus & Dassault started working together..
            Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
            Justinian

            Comment

            • halloweene
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jan 2012
              • 4105

              The principle of Barracuda is not dropped. Simply expect something looking more like a nEUROn.

              Comment

              • djcross
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2000
                • 5381

                LCAA requirements include a mission package of 500 lbs, which could include a JDAM. The current Valkyrie is probably to small for that.

                Comment

                • TomcatViP
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Nov 2011
                  • 5865

                  Originally posted by halloweene View Post
                  The principle of Barracuda is not dropped. Simply expect something looking more like a nEUROn.
                  it won't make it attritable. What is 90% of LCAA intends...

                  djcross : Barracuda had a similar "payload" (what might however have to include sensor and weapon).


                  And notice how funny is the fact that EADS had twice to put aside what seems that could look today winning projects (Barracuda / Mako).
                  Last edited by TomcatViP; 12th March 2019, 20:14.

                  Comment

                  • bring_it_on
                    2005-year of the RAPTOR!!
                    • Jun 2004
                    • 12426

                    LCAA is a loyal wingman, or an attritable AI enabled companion for manned aircraft. nEUron is a full blown UCAV and is most definitly not going to be attritable and won't be at a price point that can allow one to buy hundreds to thousands to use alongside the manned fighter/bomber fleet.

                    DJC, the requirement was for a 500 lb payload. I don't they ever specified what that payload could be in terms of specific weapon types. Also, this thing doesn't have a landing gear so it could have a much larger bay than a similarly sized vehicle with a landing gear.
                    Last edited by bring_it_on; 15th March 2019, 20:19.
                    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                    Comment

                    • TomcatViP
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Nov 2011
                      • 5865

                      this thing doesn't have a landing gear so it could have a much larger bay than a similarly sized vehicle with a landing gear.
                      Good point! Also the inherent simplification in systems design would obviously help keeping the cost down.

                      Regarding the Neuron, I did wrote years ago that this mad push for a full blown UCAV airframe as an attritable could only have been born in the mind of the greediest industry leader. It seems today madness is contagious.


                      *pronounce "MadnessEU" la French.

                      Comment

                      • Marcellogo
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Jun 2014
                        • 1787

                        Originally posted by TomcatViP View Post
                        Good point! Also the inherent simplification in systems design would obviously help keeping the cost down.

                        Regarding the Neuron, I did wrote years ago that this mad push for a full blown UCAV airframe as an attritable could only have been born in the mind of the greediest industry leader. It seems today madness is contagious.


                        *pronounce "MadnessEU" la French.

                        The Valkyrie seems me a clever concept but with a caveat or two: given that it is supposed to be launched with a booster and to land on its own belly, why the Air Force and not the Army also?

                        Second, even a payload of 500lbs (i.e. a pair of SDB) is really too small for anything.
                        Not any word on sensors also: if it have to autonomously find its own targets, let's forget about the 2-3 mls pricetag.

                        Comment

                        • bring_it_on
                          2005-year of the RAPTOR!!
                          • Jun 2004
                          • 12426

                          Originally posted by Marcellogo View Post


                          The Valkyrie seems me a clever concept but with a caveat or two: given that it is supposed to be launched with a booster and to land on its own belly, why the Air Force and not the Army also?
                          Why not the Army? It is supposed to partner and "sync" with the fighter fleet so yeah there is nothing stopping the Army from the service that works with the Air Force on deployment concept. The US Army has its own MUM-T focused on its attack helicopter fleet. Also the Navy since this thing is supposed to be able to land on water, be-recoverable, and offer a rapid turn around option. It is just that this current project is contracted by the US Air Force Research Lab..nothing is stopping from it being spun off into other service's requirements just like MALD-N is a spinoff of the USAF MALD air vehicle with a USN specific EW payload.

                          Second, even a payload of 500lbs (i.e. a pair of SDB) is really too small for anything.
                          It has been envisioned as more of a sensor carrier as opposed to a pure bomb truck. Weapons carriage definitely seems to be secondary to other support (ISR, EW, SIGINT etc etc). There is also nothing stopping this concept from being expanded and this is precisely where Kratos is working as it is currently working on 2 acknowledged but classified UCAV programs (Project F, and Thanatos) under contract from the US Air Force or other US DOD customer. Perhaps it is a scaling effort or it could be something completely different.

                          The size is very much dictated by finding the right production partners, suppliers, production techniques (rapid prototyping, 3D printing etc) and propulsion for a vehicle with a price target of $2 Million for a production batch of 100 or less. I bet the size is probably the largest they thought they could build at that price point and with the ability to manufacturer at that scale. Perhaps when each of those independent cost elements are validated by the first few production lots (Kratos expects production orders this year) which will be used for additional experimentation then the USAF could consider scaling..But the upper limit of Price is a key specification on this program since being attritable is not an option but a requirement and you want to still keep the vehicle cost at single digit $ MM with the payload because if not then you can't build the inventory required for an attritable concept to work.

                          Between MALD (non re-usable), GREMLINS (reusable), UTAP-22 and the Valkyrie (reusable) there seems to be different price and size points emerging for supporting different missions. Those are likely to expand further on both ends of the size and cost spectrum..

                          Not any word on sensors also: if it have to autonomously find its own targets, let's forget about the 2-3 mls pricetag.
                          The average $2 Million price tag (for production b/w 0-100 vehicles) is the price target for the Air-Vehicle on contract with Kratos. The CNI and sensor suite is being developed through various other programs being worked by industry (Lockheed Martin and Boeing) and US Government agencies (DARPA and AFRL) and that is over and above the host platform cost, depending upon the mission set. DARPA has an entire program focusing on sensor convergence and affordable RF sensors (Radar, Comms, and EW/EA) meant for low-cost attritable platforms. The program is called CONCERTO:

                          https://www.darpa.mil/program/conver...ask-operations

                          The autonomy demonstrations have occurred on various platforms under various AFRL, DARPA and other USAF and USN led efforts but most notable of them is Lockheed's Have Raider demonstrations - https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us...ider-demo.html

                          https://www.c4isrnet.com/air/2019/03/14/introducing-skyborg-your-new-ai-wingman/
                          Last edited by bring_it_on; 16th March 2019, 18:59.
                          Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                          Comment

                          • Marcellogo
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Jun 2014
                            • 1787

                            Thank, Bring_it_on: so they are basically exploring different options to discover what is the most operatively suitable?

                            Comment

                            • bring_it_on
                              2005-year of the RAPTOR!!
                              • Jun 2004
                              • 12426

                              Yes its rapid experimentation and validation via production in small batches. The price point for the Valk. is $2 Million for a production batch in the double digits..The idea is to produce a few batches...experiment with them and provide a canvas for the sensor and payload manufacturers and designers to develop suitable products and then if that works move into buying in larger amounts. Same idea with Gremlins..They want a working air-vehicle that can be launched and recovered in air by a C-130 and is affordable enough when produced in small batches so that they can have enough of them to try out various operational concepts and let the operators determine where they go next...Kratos is doing well on these contracts and competitions because it has a lot of experience of developing and working with suppliers on small-medium sized targets which are produced in small batches and where the cost is a major determinant of program success. The larger OEMs have experience on other ends of the spectrum i.e. very exotic and expensive fighters or relatively cheap but non-reusable missiles and other munitions.
                              Last edited by bring_it_on; 16th March 2019, 19:21.
                              Old radar types never die; they just phased array

                              Comment

                              • XB-70
                                Rank 3 Registered User
                                • May 2018
                                • 187

                                DOD orders second stealth aerial target drone to be built to simulate stealthy Russian and Chinese designs.

                                https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-be-bu-456793/

                                Comment

                                • Bayar
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Oct 2014
                                  • 813

                                  The Turkish Aerospace Industries ANKA-2 (now named ANKA-AKSUNGUR) has made its maiden flight today.



                                  40,000+ ft Service Ceiling
                                  Endurance: 30 hours
                                  Engines: 2 x TEI PD-220
                                  Weapons Payload: 1 Ton
                                  ISR/ELINT Payload

                                  Comment

                                  • TomcatViP
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Nov 2011
                                    • 5865

                                    4 Reaper for Netherland


                                    Notice that Belgium got exactly the same number what should help integrating the force if that was ever the plan.

                                    Comment

                                    • Bayar
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Oct 2014
                                      • 813

                                      How male MALE UAV’s do European Air Forces have? Is there a breakdown of their inventories?

                                      Turkey currently has 150 MALE UCAV platforms in its Police, Army, Navy and Air Force inventories and another 200 on order.

                                      Comment

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