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Air Force reaching for stealthy surveillance

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posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 12:32 AM
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The Air Force has been talking a lot lately about a long range penetrating ISR platform. Recent comments by Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan have shed a little light on what the Air Force wants, or may already have. In his remarks, he said that Anderson AB, Kadena AB, and potential bases in the Philippines are under a threat that hasn't been seen since WWII. They need a platform capable of going deep into contested airspace, where high threat environments exist, and surviving.

Future ISR capabilities will include a High-Low mix, of stealthy, penetrating ISR platforms, as well as Global Hawks and Predators for lower threat environments. Sensor fusion capabilities are improving dramatically in recent years, and will continue to improve, as are sensors. An upgrade for the MS-177 sensor, already one of the best in our inventory, include two hyperspectral configurations, with a semi-autonomous capability, that will improve it far beyond anything out there.

Another potential configuration is a mix of manned/unmanned platforms. The unmanned platforms may be smaller unmanned aircraft launched from a mothership, working with a manned platform. The unmanned platforms could do data fusion, and take the place of analysts to assist with the data.


The U.S. Air Force is “aggressively” pursuing a long-range, stealthy unmanned surveillance aircraft to go places its high-altitude Lockheed Martin U-2S and Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk cannot, according to the Pentagon’s director for defense intelligence warfighter support, Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan.
Speaking after an event in Washington on Dec. 1, Shanahan—who led the aerospace service’s operational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) arm until August 2015—confirmed what has long been suspected: the Air Force already has, is developing, or is planning to develop, a “penetrating ISR” aircraft, supporting a Defense Department-wide push for “high-end” warfighting capabilities to counter those of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.


Shanahan says U.S. bases in the Pacific—namely Kadena Air Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa; Andersen AFB, Guam; and those in the Philippines—are “threatened unlike they’ve ever been threatened since World War II.” He is referring to new road-mobile, silo, submarine and ship-based ballistic missiles introduced by China and North Korea, with Beijing’s weapons being the most threatening because of maneuvering and potentially hypersonic re-entry vehicles.

aviationweek.com...




posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 01:05 AM
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So the green Lady not up to task?



posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 01:15 AM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

They don't discuss classified platforms. Even ones that we know about.



posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 11:18 AM
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Well let me tell you it's toys for the boys. Do you honestly think that they do not already have ,should I say, eyes in the skies?
I think even I am a bit long in the tooth to believe the line "oh, we want this because we can't see" BS.



posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 11:28 AM
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a reply to: crayzeed

They can't very well just go from "We need this" to "Oh we've been flying this for 10 years" without laying some groundwork to do it.



posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Ah well, here's the thing. I know and you know and even China knows the eyes have been there for at least 20 years or how does the US know that the Chinese are developing and expanding islands off Japan? did a passing fisherman tell them?
As I said it's toys for the boys,but the killer stroke comes when people like Lockheed take heed and spend a few billion dollars developing a platform for them and you picking up the tab for something that you actually know is totally redundant before it even reaches the drawing board.
Stop the"we want better weapons" BS and cut the defense budget. That's what always baffles me, they call it the defense budget yet the weapons are for offensive uses.



posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 12:18 PM
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a reply to: crayzeed

So are everyone else's. You think Bear bombers, or J-20s are for defense? Or H-6 bombers? As for knowing the islands are there, it's kind of hard to hide them from satellites and aircraft flying overhead you know.

We know there's something out there, but don't know the details about what it does, or what it's capable of doing.



posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 04:50 PM
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originally posted by: Blackfinger
So the green Lady not up to task?


My guess is Green Lady is CIA-tasked strategic reconnaissance, not designed for immediate real-time operations.



posted on Dec, 8 2016 @ 12:38 AM
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a reply to: mbkennel

define real time?

unless you had indefinite loiter time on a platform, how would you have eyes on anything instantly.


Having eyes over a target in a hour or less, way less if they are flying from the south Saudi desert isn't quick enough?

heck you could even give her a strike option if you were feeling salty, any important targets will be able to be found if they have less than two hours to move.



posted on Dec, 8 2016 @ 01:02 AM
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a reply to: mbkennel

they do launch her on short notice to get eyes on real world events as needed.



posted on Dec, 8 2016 @ 01:14 PM
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originally posted by: penroc3
a reply to: mbkennel

define real time?


real-time info and connections to battlefield commanders.

The logistics of the thing are probably unwieldy especially with fuel---AF wants something that they can use regularly and easily on day to day missions.
edit on 8-12-2016 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2016 @ 06:41 PM
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a reply to: mbkennel

fair enough,

i will agree there is definitely a use for a 'daily driver' persistent surveillance system, seems like it would still be costly.

i hope we get to see some of these ideas before(if) they get classified

maybe whatever they pick will be a watered down version of black projects




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