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New Stealth UAV

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posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 06:26 PM
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Ran across this Aviation Week & Space Technology article from late 2003 giving an indication of the RCS values [regardless of aspect] of the F-35, F-22, and of a concept Lockheed Martin UCAV Project called Minion.

Check this:


The tightlipped crew at the Skunk Works has parted its veil of secrecy enough to show images of a stealthy, cruise missile-like unmanned aircraft that will go where even the F/A-22 won't so that it can grab intelligence or slam sensitive electronics with a small bomb or a destructive stream of microwave energy.

Lockheed Martin's Minion UAV is being designed with an even stealthier radar cross section than the F/A-22 Raptor (return smaller than a marble) and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (smaller than a golf ball). The low-observable, 7,500-lb. unmanned aircraft will be physically small enough that one can be carried under each wing.

Lockheed Martin Has Revealed a New Stealthy UAV

Past related ATS topic of interest:
Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) An ATS Analysis & Discussion

Coverted to an average, what we looking at here?
A solid core golf ball averages 38-40mm in diameter [Approx. 1.5-1.68 inches]?
A marble averages 12-14mm in diameter?

Bear in mind that the folks in the know at Lockheed Martin are stating "smaller than", not the 'size of', which implies that these aircraft and UAV RCS values are actually maximum RCS values.

Of further interest:
Stealth Radar Cross Section RCS


Past related ATS topic of interest:
American Overuse of Stealth

Overuse? No.
First strike capabilities near-assured? Yes.
Very feasible when applied? Yes, no matter the platform: aircraft of UCAV/UAV.






seekerof

[edit on 27-6-2005 by Seekerof]



CTO

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 07:27 PM
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The technology discussed here is probably now pushing ten years old...

The kids over at Palmdale are remarkable, inventive and resourceful...

Just think what the guys at Scaled could do with the Skunk Works resources!!!



posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 11:25 PM
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Lockheed Martin Skunkworks Minion UCAV




posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 12:04 AM
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Excellent find, Murcielago.

Now, how about give me your account information and psw for aviationnow.com.






seekerof



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 09:29 AM
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A Marble? Holy cow, make a marble with your hand, and see how a huge airplane can be so small on radar.

Also, to get into aviation now, all you need is the title of the artlcle, then type it in google with " ", and hit the "Cache" button and you can read the whole article.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 10:06 AM
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Didn’t I read someplace that you don’t want to be completely invisible to radar? As the LACK of return can be just as much as a giveaway as the actual objects return?

I don’t remember where I read it, but it also stated that some have figured out ways to detect these “holes” in radar returns using multiple banks of radars to pinpoint the location of the hole.

It did mention that they cannot actively target using this method.

That’s why these planes still have some level of return.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 10:34 AM
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I don't know about that, doesn't empty sky have a zero radar return? Maybe you are thinking about the cloaking device on Star Trek instead



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:32 PM
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Although its not hard to believe that its more stealthier than the F-22 and the F-35 by looking at its pic and 'cause its not got a cockpit;

and imo the F-22 and F-35's RCS comparisions is nothing more than wishful thinking.

but the rest is too astounding to be believed, to say the least


[edit on 28-6-2005 by Stealth Spy]



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:42 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Excellent find, Murcielago.

Now, how about give me your account information and psw for aviationnow.com.


Hah, you can have my AWST access whn you can pry the mouse form my cold ......... Ah never mind


Good find both of you. Im not surprised that the SW has developed this. Since the advent of Project Harvey they have been doing research on this and the D-21 drone was one of the first stealth UAV's that we know of.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
I don't know about that, doesn't empty sky have a zero radar return? Maybe you are thinking about the cloaking device on Star Trek instead


They say the sky is full of radar "noise", after all, even weather can effect certain types of radars.



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 02:24 PM
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Originally posted by CTO
The technology discussed here is probably now pushing ten years old...

The kids over at Palmdale are remarkable, inventive and resourceful...

Just think what the guys at Scaled could do with the Skunk Works resources!!!

Scaled Composities IS working on UAVs for the DoD... just not with Lockheed, they seem to be more comfortable with Northrup Grumman.
I was assigned to a Scaled Composites project while I was at Indian Springs for the past 7 months and Scaled has a minimum of 3 UCAV projects ongoing...
Natalie~


RAB

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 02:58 PM
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a link: www.vectorsite.net...

Good ucav / uav page lots of interesting information, Love the idea of having the UCAV fired from the F22.

RAB



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 06:35 PM
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Intelgurl
Scaled has a minimum of 3 UCAV projects ongoing...

Three...?

Theres the :model 395" and "model 396"...whats the third one called...and do you have any pics?

Model 395 (which derived from Scaled Comp Proteus)


Model 396 (much like the Global Hawk, but smaller and armed)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


RAB
Love the idea of having the UCAV fired from the F22.

Really? Thats the one thing I hate about it, whats the point of a 100+ million dollar jet farring the real aircraft?

The point of the F/A-22 is stealth, it can fly in undetected and drop its own bombs, Do we really need a Fighter to drop a Bomber to Bomb.
It makes the Raptor seem like a mothship of sorts.

The Minion: Is supposedly 7,500 lbs...A single Raptor pylon holds 5,000 lbs, the Raptor can carry one on each wing...which means they must have a device that bridges the 2 pyons, giving it a 10,000 lb capacity per side.

[edit on 28-6-2005 by Murcielago]



posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 06:48 PM
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Originally posted by Murcielago

Intelgurl
Scaled has a minimum of 3 UCAV projects ongoing...

Three...?

Theres the :model 395" and "model 396"...whats the third one called...and do you have any pics?

That 3rd one would be the Northrop-Grumman/Scaled Composites X-47 Pegasus.
Link
And Natalie was working on ISR systems on both the 395 & 396.





[edit on 6/28/2005 by bios]


CTO

posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 09:12 AM
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Originally posted by intelgurl
Scaled Composities IS working on UAVs for the DoD... just not with Lockheed, they seem to be more comfortable with Northrup Grumman.
I was assigned to a Scaled Composites project while I was at Indian Springs for the past 7 months and Scaled has a minimum of 3 UCAV projects ongoing...
Natalie~


My thoughts really had more to do with the resources and money that the guys at the Skunk Works have at their disposal v. the same for the kids as Scaled...

Point taken, however...


Edit: removed big quote/compound quote violation.

[edit on 29-6-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Jun, 29 2005 @ 11:30 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
I don't know about that, doesn't empty sky have a zero radar return? Maybe you are thinking about the cloaking device on Star Trek instead


There was a talk some time ago about a theoeticall device able to detect "holes" in space radiowave emisions (the same are used in radiotelescopes). Of course it's everything just teoreticall and would be too complicated.



posted on Jul, 1 2005 @ 12:30 AM
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The 396 version looks impressive, does anyone know the status of that program and if it will see production?



posted on Feb, 22 2007 @ 03:08 PM
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Seekerof,

For myself, the design layout of the system doesn't pass the smell test. The average (BGM-109) CM is about 18.5ft long yet only weighs about 2,600lbs. 7,500bs on an equally small wing/body lifting area is ridiculous.

Most PGMs are only 12-14ft long, any more and you get some _serious_ carriage (literally a pressure buildup on the side of the fuselage from the front of the munition) and clearance issues (on both the main wing TE surfaces and the stabs). The release energies also go way up as soon as you have a lifting body shape to make sure the weapon doesn't 'surf' the wing flows right back up into the pylon. The only weapon which really comes to mind as being 'similar' to the Minion for size:weight on a tacair class jet is the GBU-28 and even those are at least simple tubes.

The design layout actually reminds me more of an AGM-154 JSOW than the JASSM which immediately begs the question of how you plan to put an intake, weapons bay and landing gear into the LOWER hemisphere which is presumably also where you want your greatest LO protection. In the proposed AGM-154D, the fuel tank runs along the strongback and the tadpole tail houses the microturbine and a small lateral intake duct. But nothing that weighs 7,500lbs and is expected to range over 1,000nm is going to work that way (indeed, it would be better if it were a 1,000nm /radius/. Plus 2hrs in the combat area...).

The combination of the size, small wings and questionable fuselage design constraints makes it hard for me to see this platform as being very suitable to continuous use in a surge environment during the first few days of a war, not least because, if you can get it down without HUGE numbers of landing accidents, you are still going to have to turn it and then load it on /another/ airframe whose own operating cycle will be tied to its 'DC' use.

Myself, it's an awfully cheap ass way to get to a 1/3rd deep strike capability when you know you NEED that kind of force asset regardless and so there is no reason to do it on the cheap just to make sure a pilot is along for the ride (because the best drone controller is a bizjet with a comfortable cabin environment and enough performance:payload margin to be relatively safe in the ops area during extended periods of combat control for these assets).

Assuming you just /have to/ do things as cheap as possible:

A. Carry it light and fuel it AT the release point, just like an external tank
only in reverse.
B. Level all the control surface index lines to minimize RCS planes and
then link their extension through a SINGLE (ultra reliable) actuator.
C. Put the VG wings FORWARD and use something akin to a stretch
polymer 'deformable skin' tightened between the forward and aft
wingskins to maximize total lifting area while conserving LO
treatments to only the rigid LE/TE areas. Done right, it may in fact also
be possible to balloon these skins for added fuel stowage.
D. Simplify and reduce the stabilization surface count as much as possible,
including 2D (lateral, ala X-36) TVC to replace the vertical tails (two of
everything is a 100% failure mode when both have to deploy perfectly
for either to function.)
E. Tandemize your munitions carriage in a linear bay ala the Viggie
system. Small munitions with drogue chutes should have no
problem 'slowing down' in the wake, not least because they are
guided. This lets you avoid the problem of nesting rounds and covering
a bay opening while exploiting the full length of the weapon to carry
weapons of varying length and a constant 6-10" carriage box. Putting
most of your lifting area aft (Delta wing) means you can maintain
your CofG while ramming from the front, aft, on a simple pneumatic
bottle which may well be the same one you use to extend your wings.
All while keeping the majority of the lower forward fuselage dedicated
to whatever sensor window you need. My choice would be a hollow
strongback with the VSM/SMACM/GBU-39 munitions completely isolated
as a prepackaged train (bottle-weapon-weapon-weapon rammed at
launch) exiting over the exhaust.
F. Build out sponsons (or even a ruled facet line of the whole body) on the
sides of the missile body so that you can both provide a shelf for the
inner wings to level on and a rigid, level, lower attachment point for
a /slightly/ wider gear track while again keeping the damn interior
volume a little less straight-shot cluttered. Particularly if you go with a
facet, this is also a perfect opportunity to layer RAM and/or fuel into a
dual-liner void. Think 'stealthy KH-55SM' here.

CONCLUSION:
What I am describing is essentially a tinker toy version of the existing X-45/47 design planforms. There is little or no justification for it so long as it remains incapable of VTOL (and thus jet speed operations from small decks without a carrier in attendance). But if the USAF is, as usual, determined to degrade the UCAV concept until they have an excuse to kill it 'because manned is so much better!', this is at least the basis for a good engineering exercise.


KPl.




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