It is basically the same idea as was pioneered by WASP in the Assault Breaker technology effort and then later LOCAAS and now SMACM as turbine powered
followons. All throwaways intended for high value/massed target engagements as a kind of goldplated dutch boy in case of breakout by armor.
IMO, this approach doesn't necessarily work in a recoverable package because the time necessary for ingress/egress (@75 knots cruise speed 500nm is a
6.6 hour trip _even from the border_ [which is as close as a C-jet will ever get to an active IADS]; an action which must be repeated +200nm for the
egress to a recovery field or roughly 16 out of 24hrs flight duration NOT over the target area) exceeds the onstation viability of the COP concept
itself while the _total systems cost_ of a constellaiton of such systems rapidly becomes excessive as well.
Indeed, I also find it ludicrous to think that a 24-40hr loiter is possible within a 4X12ft airframe using conventional power technology. Even heavy
fuel. Not when you are also encapsulating a potentially 31" long stack of SFW like munitions internally. Or even a 12" equivalent (2 vs. 4 Skeets,
using the BLU-108B as the baseline metric).
It should also be noted that a single BLU-108 weighs about 65lbs. Each individual munition itself weighs about 4lbs. Given a 50kg or 110lbs total
system weight, the payload fraction is thus .3 to .6 which suddenly takes us into the Tardisian realms when you consider an empty weight of 80lbs and
a fuel weight of 25lbs.
I also find the notion of AAR to be just shy of 1921 hose+bucket insane in a platform this small because of the requirements it places on station
keeping and airframe rigidity in the wake of even a small (C172) class airframe.
Couple this to a 3,500ft ceiling and suddenly your principal reason for /having/ airpower, namely to widen your horizons while taking the scout/bomber
platform outside the range of trashfire becomes questionable.
What this system proposes, IMO, is risky for four principle reasons:
1. Replication. The smaller the scale, the easier for numnuts nations to copy it. Even given fuel cell and similar technologies (it's likely a one
way trip for Terror Boy X).
2. You've suddenly revalidated all the CMs which will make _manned_ life impossible: Hunting turbodrone interceptors with Metal Storm guns. Laser
+ Hirez optics for smacking ultra-small targets. And Trashfire (10 men with small arms, pointed the same direction).
3. Cost. The LOCAAS was suppsed to be in the 50 grande range. The MALI in the 30 grande equivalent. Both would have been 75-120 grande, minimum.
And both could do this same mission with much more reactivity from higher ingress (launch) speeds.
4. Social Norms. If you make us apt to be mindered by UAVs that are so capable and so small, we will be. By 'good intentioned' law enforcement
and then corporate interests and and and.
I like conventional UCAVs for the simple reason that they are what they are: bomb trucks with big binoculars. Yet their very scale supports the
notions of variable performance over range in a MILITARY ONLY system which dominates the high altitude, high value spectrum where optical masking is
apt to work best. They will not be copied by some yutz with an axe to grind against civillians. Nor by some company looking for an 'edge'. They
embody realistic mass:volumetrics for systems stuff and payload fractions on weapons which CANNOT be used as assassins tools, but must be openly
acknowledged. And their 'full scale' performance (speed + ceiling) means that they can be used either as 10-20 plane mosaic aperture systems
themselves. Or with simplistic (Finder/Silent Eyes) reach-down micro-UAV to make facial IDs or cross border lookin (Natanz etc.) possible without
being obtrusive or warload compromising.
If we insist on preserving manned airpower solely for the egos of the worthless sky jockeys, we will only succeed in 'miniaturizing' the war of the
robots to levels where civillians are even more at risk than they are today. If you let the slaughter dogs play with tools that are openly
acknowledged for their scale, you at least ensure a certain accountability for those who would use them for ill-ends.