Un manned aerial vehicles

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by Sailor, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    :usa:
    PALMDALE, Calif. The Navy's plan for its future carrier air wing took a leap into autonomous flight on Tuesday with the unveiling here of a stealthy, bat wing-like unmanned jet.
    This comes right when other countries are considering aircraft carriers with 20th century manned aviation.

    Dubbed Air Vehicle 1, the X-47B aircraft is the first of what will be two demonstration aircraft built by Northrop Grumman Corp. It was designed to test the idea of an autonomous airplane that would launch and recover on Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and conduct strike and other missions without the hands-on controls of an onboard pilot.
    Hundreds of workers joined military and company officials in a hangar at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale site Tuesday afternoon for the official unveiling ceremony, where guests got a close-up look at an aircraft the Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstration, or UCAS-D that only two months ago wasn't yet assembled. The X-47B's bat wing shape takes a page from the Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber, which Northrop Grumman designed and built, then in secret, at this desert location north of Los Angeles.

    Program officials plan to conduct sea trial s and the first flight aboard an aircraft carrier in November 2011, an event set to mark the 100th anniversary of naval aviation. The aircraft carrier Truman will likely get the nod as the first to host and operate the aircraft at sea, said Capt. Martin Deppe, the Navy's UCAS program manager.

    Officials said the X-47B was designed for autonomous aerial refueling by both naval tankers, which use the probe and drogue system, and Air Force tankers, which refuel with a boom and receptacle.

    Northrop Grumman, which last year won the Navy's $635.8 million contract to build the two X-47B aircraft, leads an industry team building the single-engine aircraft, which is designed with landing gear and an arresting hook for carrier catapults and launches and foldable wings for easier stowage. The jet's twin weapons bays will hold a pair of 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or guided bombs, for strike missions, but it also will be outfitted with various systems and sensors that would expand its capabilities to include time-sensitive targeting and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

    Navy officials hope to ultimately outfit and deploy the first unmanned combat squadron by 2025, when the unmanned airplanes would operate from carrier flight decks alongside the Joint Strike Fighter jets.

    The X-47B, painted in the Navy's traditional haze gray scheme, already bears the aircraft's bureau number of 168063 on a bomber bay hatch.

    [​IMG]

    COURTESY NORTHROP GRUMMAN The X-47B unmanned jet, the first to launch and recover aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, would strike targets and do aerial reconnaissance, surveillance and time-sensitive targeting -- all without a pilot aboard. Officials unveiled the single-jet, cockpit-less aircraft, one of two known as Unmanned Combat Air Systems-Demonstration, or UCAS-D, during a Tuesday ceremony at Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Palmdale , Calif. , site.
     
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  3. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    Gee Willikins guys, I am really staggered. No one is interested in what the bloody US Navy does in the twenty first century. Is this because developing nations are still miles behind? Better find out this is the twenty first century before you order those expensive aircraft carriers for the politicians to have parades on the flight deck with expensive manned aircraft with more expensive flight training for pilots.
     
  4. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    Just take a look at the awesome video of the future. :usa:

    YouTube - Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS

    X-47B UCAS

    The X-47B will be a transformational, carrier-capable, multi-mission, unmanned combat air vehicle. Strike fighter-sized, it is a survivable, long range, high endurance and persistent platform capable of a variety of missions including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and Time Sensitive Targeting/Strike.
    Specifications

    Altitude:
    40,000+ ft (12 km)
    Combat Radius:
    1,500+ nm ISR
    Payload:
    4,500 lb (2,045 kg) Internal
    Ferry:
    3,500+ nm
    Speed:
    High Subsonic
    Sensors:
    EO/IR/SAR/GMTI/ESM/IO:usa:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    Not one answer about this naval aviation topic from any member of the Defense Forum of India. Not one.
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    sailor I was wondering if a stealth plane that is pilotless will really become popular? Although it is high tech it almost feels like a fancy UAV.
     
  7. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    No need to wonder, it is the definite future of US naval aviation. Their program has started and they intend to implement it.
    As I intimated, all other countries are so far behind with this technology that they are yet to even get into manned naval aviation let alone this.
    Modern aircraft carriers need 6000 personnel. Never ending expensive flying training.
    Unmanned flight does away with all this and it has proven to work.
    Anyone only has to see the work being done in war zones to see how successful drones have been to understand the next step to carrier borne.
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Sailor I agree with you but this is similar to sending a probe on the moon or a man on the moon people would rather have humans doing it than machines, Also the price has to come down and it could be implemented widely, at 640 million for 2 planes you can buy quite a few superhornets, but this would make a nice addition to any carrier.
     
  9. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    It is already happening. Unmanned combat flight is here. There is no denial. They are doing it and expanding on it as fast as possible.
    Your example of human exploration is absolutely irrelevant when it comes to war. In war, anything goes. The only aim is to win, not sell Readers Digests.
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    The best new projects are coming out of the US navy, next to the rail gun this is probably the best new project.
     
  11. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Seeing this thread forbthe first time today. Should say ggsts a very impressive bird. Northrop excels in this kind of design. Reminds a lot of the B2 though it's not exactly like it.
    However a true ummanned fighter has ages to go. Cost maybe one thing, but taking out the piolt from the fighter takes away the spontaeity that a pilot can show in combat situation.
    Unmanned aircrafts will probably be used more in a hunter killer role than a fighter but with greater payloads. They can also be used for strategic bombing missions. But not as true fighters.
     
  12. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    This is an exciting thread started by Sailor, the video and the pictures are really awesome, and if successful then it can change the concept of war in the sky, but at the same time I agree with Yusuf, there is a difference between a human being and a machine, machine can do the job, but in the end it is the machine, and the best role for this UCAVs can be hunter/ killer roll or bomber.

    Regards
     
  13. kuku

    kuku Respected Member

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    I think most nations do not have the resources and need to start building up on naval aviation.
    They are looking at 2025, i think there are more than a couple of European programs which are supposed to come into service around similar time frame.

    Well the 6000 people spend money so the monetary side might be a bit inflated that ways. And till now you have people flying the unmanned jets so the training etc. was the same.

    With the next generation people are talking about UCAVs that can perform a large part of their mission autonomously.
     
  14. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    Yusuf, it is my interpretation that aircraft carriers loaded with these things are for covert bombing strikes on land targets. I don't think anyone sees these things in a dog fighting role such as the Battle of Midway.

    As I said in earlier posts, I believe aircraft carriers to be peacetime ships anyway.
    In a real shooting war, they are one hell of a big target for today's modern weapons.

    Surface navies found that out at the Falklands twenty five years ago.
     
  15. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    WASP is the smallest UAV in use today

    As unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, become a staple of modern military operations, their uses and forms have grown more varied. Today they range from slingshot-launched spybots to global guardians. In fact, the acronym itself may be morphing into UAS (unmanned aerial systems) to indicate that these are not just aircraft, but systems that include ground stations and other elements.
    It's not just the military that uses them -- police use the same technology for surveillance, while terrorists build flying suicide bombers. Check out the stealthiest, deadliest and highest flying drones in use today, and the UAVs that are most likely to be making tomorrow's headlines.

    [​IMG]

    Above: WASP is the smallest UAV in use today, weighing less than 300 grams. The miniaturization is achieved by the use of multifunctional components, like the combined wing/battery. WASP is nearly silent and, when flown at night, it's almost undetectable. The Air Force has just ordered several hundred for reconnaissance and bomb-damage assessment.
    Photo: U.S. Navy :usa:
     
  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I'm a carrier fan. Carriers project power and adds a pu china to the navy. Not one carrier has been lost since the world war.
    I like the UCAVs as they can be used for high risk jobs, though wars are high risk anyways. The Predators are doing a great job, but it's limited by it's payload. A 4000lb plus payload carrying UCAVs will be usefull in covert bombing as well in war time can be used for strategic bombing from a carrier or land based air strip though launching from a carrier will give military planners more flexibility.
    War strategies keep evolving and new technology will keep coming in. UCAVs are here to stay but not in a conventional fighter role.
     
  17. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Carriers are needed for aircover. The subs are more efficient with air cover. Mainly in the land attack mode. According to me a floating air base and a submerged missile silo are both awesome and complement each other. Like they do on land.
     
  18. Sailor

    Sailor Regular Member

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    The Grim Reaper

    :usa:

    If you are a Taliban it's coming to you soon.

    This airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It is outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

    The Reaper is loaded, but there is no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.

    At five tons gross weight, the Reaper is four times heavier than the Predator. Its size 36 feet long, with a 66-foot wingspan is comparable to the profile of the Air Force's workhorse A-10 attack plane. It can fly twice as fast and twice as high as the Predator. Most significantly, it carries many more weapons.

    While the Predator is armed with two Hellfire missiles, the Reaper can carry 14 of the air-to-ground weapons or four Hellfires and two 500-pound bombs.

    "It's not a recon squadron," Col. Joe Guasella, operations chief for the Central Command's air component, said of the Reapers. "It's an attack squadron, with a lot more kinetic ability."

    "Kinetic" Pentagon argot for destructive power is what the Air Force had in mind when it christened its newest robot plane with a name associated with death.

    "The name Reaper captures the lethal nature of this new weapon system," Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, said in announcing the name last September.

    General Atomics of San Diego has built at least nine of the MQ-9s thus far, at a cost of $69 million per set of four aircraft, with ground equipment.

    The Air Force's 432nd Wing, a UAV unit formally established on May 1, is to eventually fly 60 Reapers and 160 Predators.

    The Reaper is flown as the Predator is by a two-member team of pilot and sensor operator who work at computer control stations and video screens that display what the UAV "sees." Teams at Balad, housed in a hangar beside the runways, perform the takeoffs and landings, and similar teams at Nevada's Creech Air Force Base, linked to the aircraft via satellite, take over for the long hours of overflying the Iraqi and Afghan landscape.

    American ground troops, equipped with laptops that can download real-time video from UAVs overhead, "want more and more of it," said Maj. Chris Snodgrass, the Predator squadron commander here.

    The Reaper's speed will help. " O ur problem is speed," Snodgrass said of the 140-mph Predator. "If there are troops in contact, we may not get there fast enough. The Reaper will be faster and fly farther."

    The new robot plane is expected to be able to stay aloft for 14 hours fully armed, watching an area and waiting for targets to emerge.

    "It's going to bring us flexibility, range, speed and persistence," said regional commander North, "such that I will be able to work lots of areas for a long, long time."

    The British also are impressed with the Reaper, and are buying three for deployment in Afghanistan later this year. The Royal Air Force version will stick to the "recon" mission, however no weapons on board.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Isnt this an offshoot of the Predator program? I thought this beauty was already in operation in Af-Pak?
     
  20. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    On 1 May 2007, the 432d Wing of the United States Air Force was activated to operate MQ-9 Reaper as well as MQ-1 Predator UAVs at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. The pilots are expected to fly combat mission in Iraq and Afghanistan in the summer of 2007.
    As of October 2007 the USAF is flying operational missions in Afghanistan.
    As of 6 March 2008, according to USAF Lieutenant General Gary North, the Reaper has attacked 16 targets in Afghanistan using 500-lb bombs and Hellfire missiles. On 4 February 2008 the Reaper dropped a bomb on a truck carrying an insurgent mortar and team near Kandahar.
    On July 17, 2008, the Air Force began flying Reaper missions within Iraq from Balad Air Base.
    It was reported on August 11, 2008 that the 174th Fighter Wing of the USAF will consist of nothing but Reapers.
     
  21. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    The MQ-9 Reaper (originally the Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) for use by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and the British Royal Air Force. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance.
    The MQ-9 is a larger and more capable aircraft than the earlier MQ-1 Predator. It can use MQ-1's ground systems. The MQ-9 has a 950-shaft-horsepower turboprop engine, far more powerful than the Predator's 119 hp (89 kW) piston engine. The increase in power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance and cruise at three times the speed of the MQ-1.
    In 2008 the New York Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing began to transition from F-16 piloted planes to MQ-9 Reaper drones, which are capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight, becoming the first all-robot attack squadron.
    Retired U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley said, "We've moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper.
    As of 2009 the Air Force’s fleet stands at 195 Predators and 28 Reapers.
     

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