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UCAV Oerations

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posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 08:13 AM
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I've seen the pictures of the various UCAV prototypes and development aircraft but can anyone here tell me how they would operate? Would they be flown from a ground station or fly as part of a manned mission?

I ask because of a report I have seen in a magazine of variable repute where it talks about a possible new version of the Typhoon that is being investigated for the RAF. It is a two seater, based on the current two seat version, and although it says it will be a fully capable attack aircraft it also states that its main role would be as a UCAV leader in which a flight of Typhoons would be accompanied by up to four times as many UCAVS with redundancy across the aircraft avoiding the situation where the loss of a Typhoon would take all its UCAV's with it. I found it an interesting concept but wonder about its validity, maybe as does the RAF as no decision has been taken yet. it is all part of the FOAS study which will one day replace the Tornado GR4 and the area in which the RAF is said to be studying a mix of manned and unmanned airfcraft. As a possible alternative to the Typhoon a version of the F-35 is to be considered as well.

Any thoughts on this?

[edit on 12-12-2004 by waynos]




posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 08:30 AM
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Both is possible. They can either operate on their own (do their seperate missions). Or help manned aircraft with their operations.

Here is a bit of information I wrote about the J-UCAS program(which covers bot the X-45 & X-47 UCAV programs) J-UCAS Program

Use the links of the sources for more info.

DARPA J-UCAS Website



posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 10:03 AM
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Waynos,
I am not farmiler with the RAF latest and greatest, but the US UAV are flown by a pilot at a remote location, or from a computer console by some one who just hits a few computer keys. As to how well they will work I will let history decide that one.



posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 01:53 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
I've seen the pictures of the various UCAV prototypes and development aircraft but can anyone here tell me how they would operate? Would they be flown from a ground station or fly as part of a manned mission?

Waynos,
The last several months I have been working in a peripheral program of the UAV BattleLab.
Both of your scenarios are options to the military.

I know that in the case of Predators they are launched from inside the theater of operations but the crew is usually stateside, in many cases at Edwards AFB, although anyplace with a control panel and a fat digital pipe via satellite will do. (For instance Indian Springs AFB)

There are UAV programs ongoing that provide the UAV to be "slaved" to a command/control air unit in the area, once the air unit is done with the UAV it is handed over to the ground controllers who get the drone back home.

In this scenario you can expect a "swarm" attack on ground targets with a stealthy controller in the air somewhere nearby. In many cases computer game programmers have been contracted to build the interface thus making this very much like some of the games played on computer.
The options are as open as the requirements, and the software being written for these UAVs is very versatile.



posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 02:15 PM
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Intelgrl: Im interested in how they overcome latency issues with the controllers being so far away from the UCAV, especially over a satalite link which is horrendous for latency. Any ideas?



posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 02:37 PM
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Cheers for the feedback, especially you Intelgurl
. I guess it might be a goer then. I wonder if we would seek participation in the X-45 (UA-45?) and adopt that system as I can't really see BAE being allowed to do an independant UCAV?



posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 03:39 PM
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Originally posted by RichardPrice
Intelgrl: Im interested in how they overcome latency issues with the controllers being so far away from the UCAV, especially over a satalite link which is horrendous for latency. Any ideas?

Sat delays of 1-2 seconds are simply not an issue - the UAV's are not engaged in air-to-air combat where absolute real time feed back would be a must. Nor is the controller of the aircraft actually carrying the UAV through the landing process, that is generally an auto (AI) function with the larger UAVs or a handover to in-theater sub-controllers.
As far as target acquisition, weapon delivery and follow-on assessment, none of these functions are generally affected negatively by the delay of the sat signal... and if they are it is just a difficulty inherent with the system and there's nothing that can be done about it - which is why there is so much automatic functionality involved in the larger systems anyway.

Also keep in mind these are not commercial satellites loaded down with commercial signals etc.
these are dedicated sats with very fat data pipes having multiple subcarrier channels containing (as near to real time as you can get) 30 frames per second, variable bandwidth/spectrum 720x480 video. Delays are generally about 2 seconds from the middle east to the CONUS...









[edit on 12-12-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 10:48 PM
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The predator crew that operates the aircraft stateside is it at Nellis. They use a building on Nellis to operate the aircraft. The controls are sent over fiber to Europe. From there the information is transmitted over KU to a satellite. Which also happens to be a comercial satellite The aircraft is launched and recovered with a Line of Sight link with a control station on the back of a hmmwv.

Controlling the UAV from an aircraft is part of JSTARS.

Software for unmanned systems is where it is at. Currently Raytheon is a major developer of common control software.






Originally posted by intelgurl

Originally posted by waynos
I've seen the pictures of the various UCAV prototypes and development aircraft but can anyone here tell me how they would operate? Would they be flown from a ground station or fly as part of a manned mission?

Waynos,
The last several months I have been working in a peripheral program of the UAV BattleLab.
Both of your scenarios are options to the military.

I know that in the case of Predators they are launched from inside the theater of operations but the crew is usually stateside, in many cases at Edwards AFB, although anyplace with a control panel and a fat digital pipe via satellite will do. (For instance Indian Springs AFB)

There are UAV programs ongoing that provide the UAV to be "slaved" to a command/control air unit in the area, once the air unit is done with the UAV it is handed over to the ground controllers who get the drone back home.

In this scenario you can expect a "swarm" attack on ground targets with a stealthy controller in the air somewhere nearby. In many cases computer game programmers have been contracted to build the interface thus making this very much like some of the games played on computer.
The options are as open as the requirements, and the software being written for these UAVs is very versatile.



posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 10:59 PM
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They tried to have the Predator B engaged in some air to air combat with Stingers under the wing. The plane subsequenlty lost that battle. The majority of the new gerneration UAVS will be automnomous, communicate with each other, prioritize targets, and engage. Unmanned systems software development is going to get huge in a hurry.

Actually the satellites are commercial. As long as the data is encrypted they have no worries. Now they can if a need arises to use a DOD satellite, but that bandwidth is for operations that are dependent. Remember the most classified networks the Government has; travel over the same fiber and cable as does your broadband connections. Only differance is, that they have a Fastlane encrypting it all.






Originally posted by intelgurl

Originally posted by RichardPrice
Intelgrl: Im interested in how they overcome latency issues with the controllers being so far away from the UCAV, especially over a satalite link which is horrendous for latency. Any ideas?

Sat delays of 1-2 seconds are simply not an issue - the UAV's are not engaged in air-to-air combat where absolute real time feed back would be a must. Nor is the controller of the aircraft actually carrying the UAV through the landing process, that is generally an auto (AI) function with the larger UAVs or a handover to in-theater sub-controllers.
As far as target acquisition, weapon delivery and follow-on assessment, none of these functions are generally affected negatively by the delay of the sat signal... and if they are it is just a difficulty inherent with the system and there's nothing that can be done about it - which is why there is so much automatic functionality involved in the larger systems anyway.

Also keep in mind these are not commercial satellites loaded down with commercial signals etc.
these are dedicated sats with very fat data pipes having multiple subcarrier channels containing (as near to real time as you can get) 30 frames per second, variable bandwidth/spectrum 720x480 video. Delays are generally about 2 seconds from the middle east to the CONUS...









[edit on 12-12-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 11:03 PM
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MQ-9 Predator B is damn sexy, I want to fly them...the Predator is definitly the sexiest UAV out there...sorry, a bit off topic



posted on Dec, 14 2004 @ 12:16 AM
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Actually the PredB can be controled by either Sats or LOS, it really depends on the mission and for what Sat it will use depends on what its doing (IE: test run or spy mission).

and I agree with GZ, the PredatorB is a good lookin aircraft. Better looking then "A" and can haul more and go higher and faster and can carry more hellfire missiles then the "A" version as well.
all around better.




Waynos - (to your first question) Both, they can either be controlled by a stationary ground building or in a humvee, and versions like the X-45 could be a wingman for a jet with a human in it. Boeing also has succesfully tested flying 2 ucavs with one guy on the ground.



posted on Dec, 14 2004 @ 04:29 AM
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Great feedback, thanks all. It would be nice to think that when the UCAV revolution takes place Strike Command will be a part of it. Time will tell.



posted on Dec, 15 2004 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by ignorance is a plenty
Actually the satellites are commercial. As long as the data is encrypted they have no worries. Now they can if a need arises to use a DOD satellite, but that bandwidth is for operations that are dependent. Remember the most classified networks the Government has; travel over the same fiber and cable as does your broadband connections. Only differance is, that they have a Fastlane encrypting it all.

My post concerning sat delay time is in reference to the work Raytheon is doing in development of control systems. New sats are going up for this and other purposes.




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