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Are UCAV's really The Answer??

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posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 08:38 AM
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hi all, well i'm still really new to this aircraft game!! - ive only just really started getting interested in military aircraft these past few months.

but theres something ive been thinking about since ive learned about unmanned aircrafts:- 'ARE UCAV'S REALLY THE ANSWER??'

me personally, i the UAV is ok for surveillance etc because if the actual UAV malfunctions big deal!! - its only a £multi-million$ piece of equipment but at least no human life will be lost.

but i think UCAV's are a whole different issue, your talking about giving a piece of unmanned equipment (with onboard weapons) the capacity to think for itself!! - its a scary issue, espcially if theres a fault with the onboard computer and the UCAV fire's at you and not the enemny (or even worse) CIVILIAN LIFE!!

UAV's have been known malfunction in missions - artifical intelligence can never run smoothly, compared to a human being (it will always have faults)!!

but would you honestly feel safe at night knowing that theres a robot in the sky defending the WHOLE of your country?? :O

i would personally love to hear other peoples views about this subject (also people with a military background).

are armed robots in the sky REALLY the future or do you think there will always been 'manned aircaft' ie F-22, F-35's etc??



[edit on 11-2-2006 by st3ve_o]




posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 09:02 AM
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The real answer is peace



posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 09:17 AM
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UAVs are not the "robot" planes you may think. Cruisemissile launch missions require no real human input but typical air support missions would have a HUMAN firing the weapons, just from a remote location. The likelyhood of a systems malfunction is no different from that of a manned aircraft. The scope and consequences are pretty much the same.



posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 09:26 AM
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not really, as far i'm aware UAV's are not self-sufficient!! - they are mainly controled by a joystick in a computer room (i know the predator can pick out targets by itself).

but UCAV's will basicly have a mind of its own, it will complete missions by itself and will basicly think for itself.

of course i know military's will always have a planB if anything went wrong - but still it must be a concern.


Originally posted by planeman
UAVs are not the "robot" planes you may think. Cruisemissile launch missions require no real human input but typical air support missions would have a HUMAN firing the weapons, just from a remote location. The likelyhood of a systems malfunction is no different from that of a manned aircraft. The scope and consequences are pretty much the same.



[edit on 11-2-2006 by st3ve_o]



posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 10:07 AM
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Originally posted by biggd
The real answer is peace


Might be... but you should always be ready for war...



posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 03:58 PM
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Suppose they reduce human casualties but i would rather still use manned fighters instead

Using UCAVs in the Air Force would be like playing a computer game or flying an RC plane for a living. Id rather be out there flying then watching a computer screen for the rest of your career.



posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 11:15 PM
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I predict we will see UCAVs take over a minimum of 50% of Europe's Air Forces, but only 25% or so in the U.S Air Force. Why so much in Europe? Because UCAVs are cheaper and require less people. And Europe's military's aren't as big and well funded as America's.



posted on Feb, 11 2006 @ 11:38 PM
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It depends on who you talk to. We WILL see some UCAVs, it's unavoidable, but some people think that taking the human out of the equation is the ultimate way to go, and the days of humans in combat are numbered. Others think that it's a good idea to always have a human pulling the trigger, and humans will be better at certain things than any computer program ever will be.



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 12:40 AM
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UCAVs don't "think for themselves." The C stands for controlled. WE control them, and fly them in some cases.

Will we see total UAVs in the future? Maybe. But probably not in our lifetimes.
I seriously doubt the computer science types can work out a perfectly reliable system to control something that has to fulfill a number of missions across in such a dynamic environment.



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 12:57 AM
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No. The C stands for Combat.


The objective of the joint DARPA/Air Force Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program is to demonstrate the technical feasibility for a UCAV system to effectively and affordably prosecute 21st century lethal strike missions within the emerging global command and control architecture. The operational UCAV system is envisioned as a force enabler that will conduct Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) and strike missions in support of post-2010 manned strike packages. This SEAD/Strike mission will be the first instantiation of an UCAV vision that will evolve into a broader range of combat missions as the concept and technologies mature, and the UCAV affordability potential is realized.

The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle vision is an affordable weapon system that expands tactical mission options for revolutionary new air power as an integrated part of a system of systems solution. The UCAV weapon system will exploit the design and operational freedoms of relocating the pilot outside of the vehicle to enable a new paradigm in aircraft affordability while maintaining the rationale, judgment, and moral qualities of the human operator. In our vision, this weapon system will require minimal maintenance, can be stored for extended periods of time, and is capable of dynamic mission control while engaging multiple targets in a single mission under minimal human supervision. The UCAV will conduct missions from ordinary airfields as part of an integrated force package complementary to manned tactical and support assets. UCAV controllers will observe rules of engagement and make the critical decisions to use or refrain from using force.

www.fas.org...



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 06:19 AM
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UCAVs would be much more intelligent that you think. I don't know who posted info about the X-45 tests - maybe intelgurl - but those X-45 were able to find the best solution to bomb a target and work in team - one of them attacked while the second served as backup and when Anti aircraft radar went on the second one attacked it with bombs - all automatically.

BTW many people fail to realize that the main advantage of UCAV besides no human risk and price is also almost zero maintance cost. For example according to Boeing proposal the X-45 would be stored in special containers for 5-10 years WITHOUT inspection and only moved ou in case of armed conflict. Operator training would be accomplished solely through computer simulators. Also operator don't need to be so good trained and fit as pilot it can be some fat office guy with 30 000$ per year income.
Compare it to manned fighters which need to train pilots "LIVE" in air, whic require expert maintance after each mission and so on.



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 02:21 PM
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ucavs are definatly the way forward


they are cheaper, turn quicker, easier to maintain, simpler, stealthier, easier to co-ordinate attacks, no risk of human life etc

and ucavs will not be given the abillity to think, they will operate like any computer game, they will have codes written by humans that they cannot change or exceed.

justin



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 03:24 PM
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as said, i'm still learning about UCAV's etc. but when people talk about incorporating codes into the computer of the 'unmanned craft' (ie inputing the data of its MAIN mission before hand)!!

is there a way around that??
- i might be wrong but can all computers can be hacked into?? (even mobile phones etc).

could it be possible that the enemy could hack into the UCAV's computer and tell it do the do the 'opposite' of its orginal mission??


Originally posted by justin_barton3
ucavs are definatly the way forward


they are cheaper, turn quicker, easier to maintain, simpler, stealthier, easier to co-ordinate attacks, no risk of human life etc

and ucavs will not be given the abillity to think, they will operate like any computer game, they will have codes written by humans that they cannot change or exceed.




[edit on 12-2-2006 by st3ve_o]



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:50 AM
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St3ve_o, food for thought:
UCAV computer programs are not particularly different from those of the latest manned combat aircraft (notably Typhoon, F-22, Rafale and JCA). The malfunctions you worry about are just as likely on these manned platforms.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 10:31 AM
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Well... In modern military you do everything to spear lives... cruise missiles, the Raptor (meaning it's unbeatable) etc. etc. And these UCAV aren't going to think for themselves... This isn't "I Robot"... besided, they are made to "A human must always allow the attack before it happends..."



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 12:05 PM
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St3ve_,

>>
Hi all, well i'm still really new to this aircraft game!! - ive only just really started getting interested in military aircraft these past few months.

but theres something ive been thinking about since ive learned about unmanned aircrafts:- 'ARE UCAV'S REALLY THE ANSWER??'

me personally, i the UAV is ok for surveillance etc because if the actual UAV malfunctions big deal!! - its only a £multi-million$ piece of equipment but at least no human life will be lost.
>>

In Kosovo, where we lost 26 UAVs but only 3 Predators vs. 2 manned aircraft (an F-117 and a Puma IIRR), the reason for havin the RQ-1s on scene often coming down to a failure to trust 'expert' human judgement with a requirement for a '2 eyes on target' second opinion.

Whereby you had to confirm what one pilot saw with his limited pod FOV/FOR (literally /seconds/ of viewing time before overflight and LOS loss, often without any 'playback' or 'digital zoom' features) and screen magnification by tasking a Predator that might well take upwards of a half hour to get there after being instructed to 'go see'.

Of course by this time junior jet ranger was out of gas and had so stirred up the threat that not only was the TST (Time Sensitive Target) /long/ gone. But the drone was flying into a hornet's nest of fires for which it no longer had a bomber able to kill what it authorized.

Which is all the more incredible when you consider that, had we had 20 such drones on station throughout the country, we could have spot scanned the whole nation before engaging point targets with AGM-114 which was among the few weapons that COULD be safely used in direct proximity to civillian collaterals.

And was readily carriageable by the Predator. But not an element in the arsenal of the F-16.

i.e. Not only was the F-jet a complete hash for the mission of 'COP' or Continuous Overhead Presence due to inadequate targeting and loiter. But the very thing it was designed to do /well/ (carry big bombs a long ways, drop them and come home) was less and less useful.

It cost about 27 million for the USAF to buy a General Dynamics F-16C.40, the only variant of the F-16 jets with LANTIRN at the time. It cost the USAF between 2.5 and 3.2 million to buy an MQ-1, depending on era and variant. Often another 2 million is spent on the mission equipment suite which is where the '4.5 million' number most often quoted for the type is generated.

Comparitively, it costs 30 million to buy 4 such viehicles, a GCS control setup and the initial logistics bed down of a deployable flight. And one team of two men can (now) fly all of them.

'Last I checked' (i.e. before another numb nuts 'rated pilot' crashed one) there were about 54 MQ-1s in service, even as we bouth about 615 F-16C.40's.

It costs less than a 1,000 dollars per flight hour to keep an MQ-1 airborne. It costs about 5,000 dollars per flight hour to keep an F-16CG airborne. An MQ-1 can loiter for about 17-24hrs, depending on radius and payload. An F-16CG is good for about 2 without refueling, again depending on radius and threat levels.

i.e. If you had 20 operative SENSCAP/CAS Orbit aircraft over a given country, per theater day, you would be expending roughly 915 X 20 or 18,300 dollars for Predators. Vs. the approximately 5,000 X 60 X 2 (since the AF works on a 'buddy system') or 600,000 dollars it would would take to maintain a similar number of F-16CGs on station.

Per Day.

This is roughly two full wings of 3 squadrons of 18-24 aircraft. And you would run the jets and the crews ragged trying hold the sortie evolutions up so that you might have to bring in 'other' air and ground crew to artificially pump up the manning ratios.

Furthermore, if your percentage loss rate is around .2% per 1,000 flight hours in combat, .002 X 24 X 30 X 2= 2.88 airframes which means that, for
an initial investment of 81 million dollars in three Vipers which cost almost 7 times what the Predators do, you have expended (30 X 2 X 600,000) another 36 million dollars in maintaining the aircraft which you don't lose.
For a total attrition plus ops account cost of 116 million dollars. Not including jet fuel or ordnance expenditures.

Or the life insurance paid out for each worthless gutsack's widow.

Compared to 4.5 X 3 + 30 X 2 X 18,300 = 14.5 million dollars.

The 'UAV' thus is not only a better shooter (because it is _present_ across a wider area, longer, for fewer dollars each day). It is a substantially more capable asset to _lose_.

And winning wars is almost always about being able to lose more rather than kill more.

>>
but i think UCAV's are a whole different issue, your talking about giving a piece of unmanned equipment (with onboard weapons) the capacity to think for itself!! - its a scary issue, espcially if theres a fault with the onboard computer and the UCAV fire's at you and not the enemny (or even worse) CIVILIAN LIFE!!
>>

Nonsense. A UCAV is a cruise missile with a separable warhead and landing gear.

There is not a single mission-critical 'computer' (FLCS, FCS, MMU) in a UCAV which is also present on a fighter. If any of these fail on _either_ jet, not only is the fighter a 'mission kill' but it is most likely going to end up unable to survive.

What differentiates a UCAV from a UAV is the fact that it has a big wing and a lot of thrust so that it doesn't tumble in bad weather anymore than a manned jet does.

Flying a Predator into a crosswind landing environment is often like flying a kite in a hurricane. Particularly where you have a slow-to-respond-over-link human behind the controls.

In terms of mission and particularly combat systems, it is simple to 'poll' the datapathways and install logic which requires an RTB if a given system is not up to snuff. Again something which often happens on manned jets with a 'mission spare' or 'ramp spare' (over tasking of assets to a fragged mission) because the pilot being there doesn't mean a damn thing if he can't call upon an _automated_ system to save his bacon or kill someone else'.

While nobody will miss R2D2 if that failed system subsequently causes the loss of the airframe itself, the fact remains that the asset is worth more than the sortie or the pilot in a truly contested war. While in a lower intensity campaign, the UCAVs reduced signatures and better targeting all make it a superior _penetrating_ strike agency able to control the fall-of-shot (ballistic envelope) 'scatter' of munitions by laying even PGM down almost atop target if need be (no cross/head winds, less chance of last minute changes in target position or collateral cooccupation zones.)

Of course there will always be scenarios in which somebody 'walks in front of the muzzle' but here too, humans are too blind and stupid to do better than machines. As can be seen with the OAF AGM-130 strike from an F-15E on a rail bridge. The 15-20nm release, necessary because the manned jet is an utter pig of high signature, low evasive energy, aerodynamic capability; hit dead center twenty seconds before a passenger line went over the broken span and killed almost everyone on board.

Awwwwwhhh, the poor humans, I bet they felt better knowing they were butchered by 'professionals', yup-yup.

>>
UAV's have been known malfunction in missions - artifical intelligence can never run smoothly, compared to a human being (it will always have faults)!!
>>

Recent history has shown human intelligence is vastly less stable. Witness a Canadian infantry unit fired up because the pilot, high on uppers his flight doctors _require_ him to take for extended night flights, 'thought they were shooting at him'.

Never mind that he was over 12,000ft and nothing they could do could hurt him. Never mind that he had options to check over radio.

Or the two F-15C pilots who flew _over the masthead_ of a pair of UN designated UH-60 helicopters. TWICE. And persisted in identifying them as Mi-24's. Despite the lack of correct camo, weapons, shape configuration or displayed hostile intent. Relying on an E-3 AWACS (150nm further away) which _had the choppers flight plans listed on it's daily activity lists_ to give them permission to shoot. And then killing both aircraft with a Sidewinder and an AIM-120, neither of which could be called off once launched.

This latter being particularly heinous since the helos started out the engagement _20 minutes_ from the nearest Iraqi border.

And particularly given that each jet was also equipped with both AIM-7 Sparrow (SARH can be starved) and a 20mm cannon to give a 'wake up call'.

Not to mention that EITHER pilot could and should have taken the opportunity to think "What if I kill just one and then see if someone screams on Guard?"

Pilots are myopic morons. Robots have a 90% better likelihood of targeting a threat first and classifying it by MASINT total-signature value to-type before the human can even /acquire/ (10% as dot-image) let alone process the equivalent (90% sanity check) data needed for a similar decision.

What's more, a robot can go places where a pilot cannot. And since the 'MITL effect' of relayed visuals doesn't come with a tightened sphincter if someone DOES shoot back, junior is more apt to 'be jiggy with it' in terms of making the right choice from the safety of a chair NOT on the airframe, than he would be inside it. Preempting his own shoot-on-sight engagement doctrine as he sees fit.

>>
But would you honestly feel safe at night knowing that theres a robot in the sky defending the WHOLE of your country??
>>

Since 1982 former ADC/ADTAC pilots have sat in on wargames in which they openly admitted Russian aircraft could operate at will throughout the central U.S.. Usually without detection.

And still they continually shut down not only the FIG detachment bases but the primary stations and all of SAGE relays throughout CONUS until there were virtually NO active QRA birds available.

Why? Because /everyone/ knows that interceptor jock is a fate worse than death, giving the GCI controller-mouth practice in steering you onto airway zombies and maybe (if you're a good little git) the odd drug smuggler.

'Fighter Pilots' (said with the same emphasis as 'Real Men') only duel each other, didn'tya know?

Operating under these rules, on 9/11 at 0846, two F-15s are given priority Zulu tasking from Otis AFB in Massachussetts, 153 miles from NYC. They launch at 0852. At full burner with VMax activated and no concern for RTB fuel, they should have been no more than about 2 minutes and 30 miles downrange as they passed Mach 1.7 which is the maximum they can run with Sidewinders aboard. At this speed, 8 minutes later, they should have arrived over NYC at about 9:02-9:03. Just in time to see the fireball of Flight 175 impacting.

They didn't even try. Instead dawdling along, still 71 miles and 8 minutes out.

With such basic lack of competence in our Continental AD as the operating bar, please tell me why there was not a drone or LTA alternative with a basic ability to motor up alongside and 'flash the secret code word' to the cockpit.

Or send a secondary Mode-3a/4 interrogate signal which could subsequently authorize weapons release from a GROUND source if not replied to.

Even why there are no activateable cockpit cameras to verify crew status from on the ground.

All of which would be massively cheaper, easier to implement and more capable in a terrorist scenario of VLA building impacts which the FBI had _indentified_ 5 years earlier in 1996.

Could it be we are so in lust with the gold braid and shiny button image of the vaunted military that we forget that they are incompetent at protecting us and _have always been so_ in every war they've failed to keep us out of?

Don't BS me about how 'good' humans are.

Because it was humans who let 9/11 happen. And humans THAT WERE NOT THERE when it was /civillians/ playing Pearl Harbor for our braindead foreign policies. As indeed it took them another THIRTY GODDAMN DAYS (9/11 10/10) to begin bombing in AfG.

During which time UBL probably roller bladed his way outta Dodge.

A _single man_ that they have yet to even begin to run down.

Now that we have handled the realities of how 'well' protected we would be with business as usual homeland defense, lets get real about where it really matters. Over some other yutz's backyard.

You know, the one where our grunts go out without COP for day after day because the Air Farce is so in love with its pilot corps that they cannot 'afford' to put a jet over every column. And so someone standing with a cellphone within 300m of the target detonation point can /walk away for free/ because there is no overhead to see him.

And ask yourself, as a shooting gallery popup target, how much would you pay for a platform that could stick with you throughout your 5-10hr patrols.

Even if it was 'just' a UCAV.

>>
Are armed robots in the sky REALLY the future or do you think there will always been 'manned aircaft' ie F-22, F-35's etc??
>>

Sometime in 2015, a white scarf dinosaur will look with wild-eyed panic up into the sky and see the flash of a comet impact. Said flash will actually be the dawn of the DEW age in the THEL/M-THEL field trials. And their existence will mean that aircraft can die in the blink of an eye.

At which point I'm sure pilots will be 'all for' not personally flying into combat. Because, for once, there will be as much danger to them as to the rest of us mere check signers.

The problem being that the bank account will be overdrawn paying for their worthless Ferrari Air toys.

>>
not really, as far i'm aware UAV's are not self-sufficient!! - they are mainly controled by a joystick in a computer room (i know the predator can pick out targets by itself).
>>

It is true that the original Predator/Gnats were burdened by the need for LOS links of about 150nm to allow for remote pilotage. Even then, they had options for autorecovery to the conrol zone around an airbase or at least neutral territory self destruct if they lost their tether.

'Traditionally' however; it takes pilots doing braindead things like driving a no-anti-ice wing sailplane through an ice storm. Or reach behind the GUI (like hacking Windows while reading Computers For Dummies) to tweak the sensor package resolution so as to 'accidentally' shut down the engine controls leaving the autopilot no power-out margin to bring the nose DOWN as it tries to recover from a stalled condition. And of course, my favorite, forgetting to turn on a yaw compensation channel in the FLCS while approaching a crosswinded runway doing the ONE thing which all pilots are (supposedly, presumably?) 'expert at' enough to continue living. Which is to say land.

Indeed, now that we are looking at full autoland, the only really useful thing a pilot can do with or to an MQ-1 is keep his clutz puppy hamhands to himself. Because the 3-4 second satellite lag inherent to the /targeting/ means it's easier to 'capture' the camera FOV than flight vector by designating a point coordinate or swath search to the ground, finding a target, designating it, and letting the MTS contrast centroid lock up on it's own to initiate fully coupled tracking. Again, because the machine can do the 'aviate' part of flight so much better, smoother and reliably than we can.

>>
but UCAV's will basicly have a mind of its own, it will complete missions by itself and will basically think for itself.
>>

Nonsense.

A UCAV will fly to a given waypoint. Sit there until it hits bingo or is told to fly elsewhere (whether by a prebriefed mission tape or it's leash holder). And at some point employ it's sensor systems to take a picture of the ground (since we're too stupid to use it in A2A applications) as a function of finding something worth blowing up.

It will then compress this image (upwards of 72mb worth of SAR patch map) and send it over a 'CDL' or Common Data Link pathway operating in the same X or Ku bands as most fighter radars.

As a function of a preprogrammed tape that has nothing to do with cognition, either rational or instinctive.

It will then be up to YOU, sipping coffee and eating donuts at your MCS (Mission Control Station) back at the CAOC or in front of some Operator Console on a jet. To see and interpret that image about 3.5 seconds later (welcome to military broadband) much as if your favorite phone-buddy had snapped a funny picture on his cell and dialed you up to share.

Mind you, assuming the target is prebriefed (static) as a function of the 'let's do urban 5-rings renovation on empty C2 facilities!' standard of Air Farce ATO doctrine; the drone will likely make it's own sensor suite comparisons with a previously inserted (satellite or other national asset radar/optical target maps). Much the way DSMAC does on a cruise missile.

During which it will use it's mathematically vastly superior target correlation algorithms to match and correct geometries of image for any error in it's initial (GPS/INS or terrain profile matched) predicted position sense relative to the actual target slantrange and bearing indicated by the sensors.

But it will still be YOU. Who can say yay or nay before consenting (joystick, trigger, hold down) to release a 2,000lb JDAM which is subsequently itself 'fully robotic' in playing pin the tail on the donkey all the way down to impact. Even from a manned jet.

At each point, YOU the remote tasker will still have the option of saying no, that is NOT the right target. And since YOU won't be full of yourself, adrenaline and/or drug hyped and saturated with a thousand and one other flight tasks, YOU will likely make a better judgment that a 'real pilot'.

But only based on what the drones sensor suite sends you. As it would him.

Of course it will help if YOU have studied your own set of mission brief images while the drone was spending it's 3-8hrs transiting in to the target. And YOU are also sitting infront of a 17" monitor instead of a putz 6X6 MFD like Sir Eagle Eye is.

Bam. One crunched (twice) Kandahar Red Cross building or Belgrade Chinese Embassy. Courtesy of _human_ mission planning errors, before the drone (or B-2) ever took off.

Mission over, come home, rinse, repeat. Where's the donuts?

Now, let's assume instead that this drone is flying as part of an ongoing maneuver warfare (ground) campaign instead. One in which all target 'folders' are created on the fly because the enemy is so rude in flitting about like..well, Feyadin barbarians.

If the target is part of an active battlefield matrix, the drone will report it's arrival at IP to both an ETAC or TACP (enlisted playing pilot or pilot playing grunt) on the ground. And to YOU, the operator snoozing at YOUR console with donut sprinkles all down YOUR fresh-pressed uniform.

Now, when the call for support comes in, it will probably be somewhat urgent and YOU will skip through a list of 20 drones using a hot-key to get to the one which is nearest to the engaged force with the correct munitions. Not very hard actually since 90lbs of IHE will generally kill just about anything on the battlefield.

Finding the correct bird, YOU hit another (Function like) hotkey and 'snap to' it's control functions as it turns inbound and presents YOU with a wide-FOV image that is grid overlaid.

All so that YOU can actually do something approaching a real job. Namely sorting and confirming what the drone says are target-X classifications from the white-hot or MMW worm trail little blips which it sees (mathematically) in a lot more definition than it puts on the simplified screen view for dumb old YOU.

Also shown are where the good guys are, both through their own classification algorithms (engine/track/wheel harmonics, turret locations/shapes, mass reads) and quite likely via an IR beacon or flare or a lase+GPS offset from a known terrain feature (200 meters from Bullseye 122North, 227East!).

Most importantly, because YOU have a lousy memory as well as poor eyesight and inadequate signal processing capacity, the drone will number and /track/ all these objects so that, even though your own image is historical (static from X many seconds ago). The targets you tap-tap task to it are updated to their current-realtime positions.

All so that as YOU yawn and stretch and try to figure out what the heck is going on, it is still doing a better job as a warrior 'on point', feeding YOU what little dataset information you can actually handle.

Finally, (where's the coffee?) YOU will scratch some part of your anatomy as a function of making a final decision and say "OK, I want you to track 1-2-5-9 and 23 with magnified images". And a minor 10-20kb data squelch later the drone will do so, confirming to YOUR pathetic vision the actual silouhette shapes and perhaps even distinctive signature patterns (tread marks, muzzle blooms etc. etc.) of the targets is indeed enemy based on YOUR memory of what 'friends' look like in exercises.

YOU will then send the updated picture to junior mint butterbar on the ground and he will then highlight to top-10 he wants serviced, hurry-quick.

YOU will then grumble something 'sarcastic' about ungrateful bastards thinking they deserve 5 minute CAS in under two. Hit another hot key to signal acceptance of the shoot list by the 'airborne coordinator and his second set of eyes' and hold down the trigger pickle, which opens both physical and electronic 'draw bridge' interconnects that consent the drone to drop a small diameter bomb.

At which point, YOU are largely out of the picture. Even as a fighter pilot would be. Since it is the drone will not only continue tracking the targets but will also follow the transceivers locations on said munitions, applying AMSTE correction based on the relative movement rates of the enemy targets.

And the bombs will land, about 20-30 seconds into the future, where the enemy is going to be based on it's entirely superior anglerate + lased range tracking predictions.

This will continue about 4 more times until the A-45 (UCAV) is empty and YOU hit the 'go home then' key while reaching for another donut as the next cow bomber from the CAS stack herd arrives on station.

IN NO WAY is the robot more 'autonomous' in it's actions than a manned jet is. Because all's it is using it's own automation for is to snap-align the optics with what YOU are telling it is the target grid. It may well be doing it /better/ than a human can. As a function of throttling up or down the IAS and cranking the nose up and over to get the longest/cleanest possible lookin to the designated grazing zone.

But even these are nothing but tools which are also available to pilots to employ. If they remember to (and half the time they don't) in the hullaballoo of other ANC housekeeping while trying to be 'proactive' in a combat area.

>>
of course i know military's will always have a planB if anything went wrong -but still it must be a concern.
>>

The base question I hear a lot of is how easy is it to jam.

To which I reply, a lot more difficult than it is to jam a voice link.

Why?

1. Microwave is directional and burst-short due to wide bandwidth availability. Thus microwave up from the ground can be selectively filtered vs. that which is from XX degrees above the UCAVs local horizon. Even if the threat can see the /receiver/ well enough to jam IT and not a million cubic miles of void.

2. An APG-77 is to any Taliban (or for that matter, Chinese Radio Signal Corps) 'handheld jammer', what a flashlight is to stadium arc lamps. Probably 20-30watts vs. over 15 KILOWATTS of effective radiated power. Denying the burn through is like trying to mask the rising sun behind the light of a shaded candle. Furthermore, since RADAR (which is what the CDL is based on) has a 4th power rule for detection of objects vs. the distance the signal itself can be (RWR) counter-detected, if an F-22 can detect a 1m2 target at 125nm/200km. A UCAV can likely hear the modem-squeal of the same jet's radar acting as a digital morsecode unit at 500nm/950km.

Which is effectively over the horizon for most ground based jammer applications.

Lastly, it should be noted that the power of comms satellites exceeds that of fighter radars by an order of magnitude at least. And a UCAV operator on a C-135 or similar class heavy bird may well be able to route messages to his leashed UCAVs through a multiple-node combination of several such assets that triple the power loadings the UCAV can hear 'over the jammer' yet again.

3.
SR((*A#&%*&D*SF(DS&FJGHJKDH&@#$%()(*(W$#$@$((9800098fadf
dkjfPlsdjfksdlkf502509405Plfgl;fg;l;lg4-2-250-450-4dsglg;lkll;g;;k35--45
4095904509450940925848582405809584L280504950998402850940
3578579825829357985d;lfkdsElcl-3-3-;d;dlklkslkjfksgkklgjkl23-50-0-0

That's pseudorandom noise. SOMEWHERE in all that digital garbage (which takes about two milliseconds to send compared to a human voice which will be lucky to say anything useful in under 4) is the word 'Apple'. Apple doesn't mean diddly dip to anyone who hears it. Even if they can find it among the garbage.

4. APPLE= Fly to Waypoint 29. As a 'single use key pad' go code prefix to a longer 'sentence' of commanded action. It ONLY means fly to Waypoint 29 _this time_. It will not mean fly to Waypoint 29 for another MILLION occurences of APPLE. And it only means fly to Waypoint 29 for THE ONE UCAV which has that term uploaded with about a half million other words and a proper terminal address (ISP code).
On this particular mission.
Not any of the 500 other UCAVs that the network can support. Not /next/ mission when a completely new list will be uploaded for this drone and all the others.
Just this one machine. This one time.
Next Time, Fly To Waypoint 29 might well be CHEVY.

5. The drone doesn't know what Apple /means/. Because it's list of go codes is not interrogatable from it's comm suite. Being 'moated' in such a way as no drawbridge can cross. YOU the treacherous slimeball Islamic Terrorist Supporting drone operator have no idea that the command for Fly To Waypoint 29 is Apple. Because you just point and click at a screen icon on your console and the drone does. Transparent to your interrogative abilities to say how or why.

6. As a kind of 'Azimovs Three Laws' it should be possible to generate both a total mission time. And an absolute spatial/geographic constraint by which the drone will safe out (weapons systems interlock go dead) it's ordnance systems making it impossible to do harm to U.S. forces at their most critical vulnerable point: around our own bases and those of allied forces on the right side of a 'fence' line.
This to happen irrespective of whether you have the right GC's or not.

CONCLUSION:
Our military cannot prosecute a realtime (netcentric) war without a digital signals environment. Whether those signals originate on a manned jet or a robot will not make either more secure because the man in the loop is not able to intervene to increase the safety factor on garbage-in/out (GIGO) in either case more effectively than the machine can 'Norton Antivirus' check itself.

He simply doesn't have the time or brains or sensory resolution to do anything but drop on a blip which the machine tells him is a certified target.

We probably couldn't prosecute a static interdiction campaign without these latter digital onboard systems. Both of which are vastly less likely to make key _targeting_ mistakes than the humans running them.

Robots never having been alive to die can at the very least, approach closer to get the target-certainty factor over a base threshold. Something which humans will predictably 'preempt' to save their own hides in a shoot-or-die environment.

The question then becomes: If you have to have these systems anyway.

If these systems greater competencies in all things related to air warfare render man more or less a monkey-presses-button consent mechanism.

If, further, you don't have to have him /on board/ to guarantee the 'connectivity' by which that consent is given or withheld.

Why limit the COP (Continuous Overhead Presence = must coocuppy space with it's victim to kill it) factor of an airframe. To carry the weakest element of it's warfighting capacities?


KPl.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 03:58 PM
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Originally posted by justin_barton3
they will operate like any computer game, they will have codes written by humans that they cannot change or exceed.

justin


Despite any number of bad movies and star trek episodes and sci fi novels pridection "my man " they will not run amuk.

What people call "robots" are really just fancy remote contolled objects.

Dead steve

Dead steve.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 07:52 PM
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@ ch1466

wow, thanks for your reply (it must have taken you agers to write all that out)
you have defiantly made some good points and gave good answers to my questions.

i think you made a great point about the 9/11 issue humans defiantly let this happen, and a UCAV (or a more advanced UCAV in the future) on patrol defaintly may have prevented this and may prevent another 9/11 in the future.

great post




[edit on 13-2-2006 by st3ve_o]



posted on Feb, 14 2006 @ 12:13 AM
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Originally posted by dead steve
What people call "robots" are really just fancy remote contolled objects.


That is just not true.

There are many autonomous robots. Which are not remote controlled in any way. I should know because I have built some.

They may be dumb as nails right now but they are autonomous. They are also getting smarter at a exponential rate something on the order of a million times faster then humans are.

Evolution on a express train



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 05:29 PM
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Ch1466,
What are you angry at? Your posts, besides being long-winded, are full of emotion and name calling. Why? One of the worst ways to convey information and sell your point is filling your argument with emotion. Your argument should be supported with emotionless facts and you should keep personal opinion, especially where that personal opinion is derogatory to certain individuals / groups, to a minimum. It’s a sure-fire way to turn off your audience.

“Junior jet ranger”, “worthless gutsack”, “numb-nuts ‘rated pilot’”, ‘myopic moron’, “white-scarfed dinosaur” – I’ll say I was the first and am now the last. I recently retired after 23 years as a fighter pilot in the USAF. While I’ve been called much worse than the middle three names, I was called these names by greater men than you. They were trying to instill in me a desire to be better and to raise my standards of performance, not to put me down. It also taught me to put on the armor-plated skin and take criticism without getting emotional about it. If you get caught in a tight jam, the short list of people you want on your side includes ‘fighter pilot’. Right or wrong, there’s nothing we believe that we can’t at least take on. That’s half the battle; believing you can do something. I worked for a short time for a Colonel that was soon to retire. Here was a Vietnam vet, old-school fighter pilot who was forced to give up his command and flying billet because he announced his retirement. Room had to be made for the next in line for command. He spent his last couple of months playing goat herder to a bunch of non-rated shoe clerks. Luckily, the Colonel still came by the squadron bar on Fridays to have a beer or two with the boys. I’ll never forget him telling us that in his nearly 30 years in the Air Force he had never doubted a task to get done when given to a fighter pilot. He had also never been lied to by another Air Force officer until he started herding ‘goats’. You want integrity and a ‘the-buck-stops-here’ attitude? Call a fighter pilot. Sure, we screw up and bad things happen. But real fighter pilots don’t make excuses. Flying in a drug-induce haze was just some poor excuse dreamed up by a desperate defense lawyer.

The nice thing about web sites such as this is they offer near perfect anonymity. You can say just about anything you want about anyone without fear of any real reprisal. If you don’t like what they say you just have to turn your computer off. There’s no real requirement for open debate or real embarrassment. No one really knows who you are. What happened in your case? Did you not get selected for pilot training? Did you wash out of pilot training? Did some mean fighter pilot pee in your corn flakes or take your woman? Do you suffer from jealousy that is only soothed by belittling those of whom you are jealous? Does this make you feel better?

Let’s get back to your points. I’m sure you would agree that any point should be supported by verifiable facts. Some of your facts, however, make me wonder what your sources are. It certainly isn’t from having the ‘been-there-done-that’ T-shirt. Here are some examples:

>>
“in Kosovo, where we lost 26 UAVs but only 3 Predators vs. 2 manned aircraft (an F-117 and a Puma IIRR)”
>>

Did you forget about the Block 40 F-16CG from Aviano Air Base? The pilot was a good friend of mine and was one of my Fighter Weapons School classmates. Thankfully, he was picked up shortly after getting on the ground. He was the squadron commander and had his flagship shot out from underneath him. We still give him a hard time about it. Now he’s a Brigadier General – select. I should’ve gotten shot down. I’d be a General too.

>>
“The F-15s ran at Mach 1.7 which is the maximum they can run with Sidewinders aboard”
>>

Does this mean the F-15 can’t overcome drag to go any faster than 1.7 M with Sidewinders onboard or is placarded to a maximum of 1.7 M when carrying Sidewinders? Since I do have the F-15 been-there-done-that T-shirt, I’ll tell you that the F-15C has no problem exceeding 1.7 M with a full load of missiles. It is also not placarded to a maximum of 1.7 M with any air-to-air missile. I’m looking at T.O. 1F-15A-1 which is the flight manual for the F15A, B, C and D. The manual is open on my desk as I type. The chart I have from Chapter 5 of the above document concerning AIM-9 carriage states ‘BAL’ which means basic aircraft limits (2.5 M / 800 knots indicated). Some variants of the AIM-120C are placarded to 2.3 M, but those are the only carriage limits I see for air-to-air missiles. Any speed above 2.3 M for the F-15 is limited to one minute maximum.

>>
“even as we bouth (spelling?) about 615 F-16C.40's”
>>

I’m not sure how many Block 40s were built because other countries also bought Block 40s. Among them were Egypt, Greece and Bahrain. Korea? Perhaps. If the ‘we’ means the USAF, according to T.O. 1F16CG -1 (the Block 40 Flight Manual), the number is 409 Block 40 / 42s. T.O. 1F16CG-1 contains a list of all aircraft to which it is applicable. All the combat-coded, active-duty units that fly the F-16CG fly the Block 40 since it is equipped with the more powerful General Electric F110-GE-100 engine and not the Block 42’s Pratt and Wimpy F100-PW-220 (the same engine that powers some of the later-model F-15Cs). The Block 42 is a PIG.

>>
“Take this another step further and look at an F-22 firing out an acoustically and Q fire hydranted sidebay onto targets as much as 20,000ft below from a high end supercruise. The pilot rolls to acquire with JHMCS, and then the targets reverse under to deny the shot…”
>>

The F-22 has no JHMCS or any other helmet-mounted display or cueing system.

>>
“The only thing useful about the MiG-29's close-in weapons suite is the OEPS-29 IRST. And even that has lost about 70% of it's functionality with the deactivation of the KOLS laser ranger. Largely this is because they Luftwaffe MiGs didn't have the latest standard in R-72 (45 degree boresight capability which is roughly the same as the AIM-9M /after/ lockon, realy primitive IRCCM qualities and the older autopilot/motor)…”
>>

This is another case of having the been-there-done-that T-shirt. I flew the MiG-29 for nearly 3 years as an exchange pilot with the Luftwaffe. The only useful thing about the MiG-29’s close-in weapons suite was not the OEPS IRSTS (infrared search and track system). The KOLS was a POS and could have been deleted from the Fulcrum with no noticeable impact on combat capability. The most useful thing(s) about the Fulcrum’s close-in weapons suite was the helmet-mounted sight (HMS) and R-72 IR-guided missile (NATO AA-11 Archer). The HMS could slave the radar and the German-owned R-72 up to 60 degrees off boresight (missile slaving limits) and the IRSTS within its full envelope of plus or minus 15 degrees in elevation and plus or minus 30 degrees in azimuth. For the radar and missile, the 60 degree limit applied to the pure vertical / horizontal axes (in relation the aircraft). In between those 4 points, the maximum off-boresight angle was somewhat less than 60 degrees. The Luftwaffe had the R-72 version 1, which has limited capabilities against countermeasures (flares). It had all the same kinematic capabilities of the version 2 which has very robust capabilities against flares. We test fired 12 Luftwaffe R-72s from Luftwaffe MiG-29s in 2003 as part of a weapons evaluation. We wanted to test the extreme in-close envelope of the Archer. We consistently slaved the missile to nearly 60 degrees off-boresight during target acquisition and had a couple of cases where the missile left the jet at near its gimbal limits of around 90 degrees. Eleven shots were successful in that they guided to the target. There was one missile autopilot failure. We also successfully fired 12 AA-10 Alamos.

>>
“As to the Archer as granddaddy of all 'expanded envelope' threat missiles, this system is /highly/ overrated. True, the original missiles had a 40-45` HOBS capability (at a time when the AIM-9L was about 27.5`) but the combination of IRST bore cue and helmet tracking are both dependent on dated electronics equivalent to the 1972 VTAS system wherein 'if the radar sucks, so does your handoff' (not to mention sill lines on the Flanker and Fulcrum and the terrible electromechanical 'flashing LED' latency of the systems themselves).”
>>

See above. I was very impressed at how well this system worked and how simple and reliable it was. Unfortunately, this was about all I found impressive with the MiG-29. OBTW, the Luftwaffe did not operate some watered-down export version of the Fulcrum A. They had the same radar, same weapons computer and just about everything else as the Motherland.

>>
“But it works because the Luftwaffe drivers were only wanted as 'threat emulators' whereby they flew WARPAC tactics utterly unsuited for few-on-few engagements.”
>>

We didn’t fly WARPAC tactics – ever! No one ever asked us to or required us to do so. The attitude of our training adversaries was ‘bring it’.

So now some of your facts have been proven to be suspect (or just plain wrong). What does this do the credibility of your other ‘facts’ and the points you are trying to make?

You want UCAV-like aircraft to take over for manned aircraft. One reason you give is cost. Another reason is that pilots are idiots, morons or whatever name you can think of. UCAVs, as you say, will be able to do the job better and reduce fratricide and collateral damage. Another reason is just man in general. You seem to hold man in contempt because man is imperfect. I’m just wonderin’ how imperfect people can build ‘perfect’ machines with ‘perfect’ software? There seems to be a disconnect there.

So you can respond in some emotional manner and rant and rave how I don’t know WTF I’m talking about. I don’t really GAF. You’ve already called me an idiot once for stating that an F-16C has better range than a similarly configured F-15C. You really hurt my feelings – not. This is supported in an article in the Spring of 1989’s edition of the “USAF Fighter Weapons Review”. The article was even written by an F-15 pilot. I’ll give you that when you start hanging bombs on the F-16, range does suffer. I often wondered what I was doing there when I pulled into the arming area in my F-16 carrying 2 JDAM and parked next to an F-15E carrying many times more than that. The F-16 was saddled with the wrong mission. It should have been primarily an air-to-air machine. Why not hang bombs on the F-15C and give it a real mission? I preferred the F-16’s avionics over that of the F-15C (2000 hours in the Viper and 1000 hours in the Eagle). When you don’t need the airframe to support the ‘emergency’ engine, you can invest more in avionics. Don’t say the F-15’s radar can see further. That’s a mute point against the normal RCS adversary fighter. I would concede a big edge to the AESA boys in Alaska but they are the exception. Did you know the F-16’s radar has greater peak power than the F-15’s radar? However, the F-16 radar’s lower duty cycle means that its average output power is less than that of the Eagle. For pure performance, I still prefer the F-16. That’s my opinion and it doesn’t make me an idiot; especially when someone who has not flown both aircraft claims I am. You don't like the F-16. I'm OK with that.

CH1466, in the immortal words of wise Sergeant Hulka, “Lighten up Francis”.



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