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Have I found the worlds first UCAV?

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posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 04:20 PM
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I have just acquired an absolute treasure trove, it is a bound volume of 'Flight' magazine which includes seemingly random copies dating between 1949 and 1956. These include the 'Farnborough Air Show' issues and the 'Military Aircraft of the World' annual survey issues and also many exciting revelations of the time such as a two page expose of the B-58 Hustler from 1956 amongst many others, I can't wait to get really stuck into these issues. I have already found an article discussing the 'upcoming' commercial transport sales battle between the Boeing 707, the Vickers VC-7 and the Avro Atlantic ( a passenger version of the Vulcan bomber) with pictures of all three contenders. Reading this stuff with the benefit of hindsight is fabulously entertaining!


The one I am posting tonight about though is sometyhing I think must surely rank as the worlds first genuine UCAV project, although the acronym did not exist of course. It is not even a 'current' project in the 1955 issue which illustrates it and it merits barely a couple of lines under the photo shown.

It is called the Miles Hoopla and dates from 1941-43. was a remotely piloted, via radio control, light aircraft capable of carrying a semi-conformal 1,000lb bomb, which arrangement itself was years ahead of its time. It looked like an overscale model aircraft and was powered by a DH Gypsy Queen engine, like the Tiger Moth amongst many others.

This qualifies as a UCAV, I believe, by dint of the fact that it was not a 'flying bomb' like the V-1 but was intended to drop its load and return for re-use. A remarkably prescient concept, it obviously suffered from the lack of any accurate means of actually deliveringh the bomb in those days but I still think the fact that such a concept was seriously considered to the point of building a test vehicle was remarkable.

I don't have any more information so if anyone has anything about it please post, or even similar UCAV concepts from before the term was invented


Miles 'Hoopla', 1943



ISJ

posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 04:44 PM
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Great find! I'd like to see some more photos from these issues, especially the passenger vulcan!!



posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 05:18 PM
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I'll try and get something up on that tomorrow in a new thread covering the other designs too like the HP.97 and VC.7, we really believed we could take on the 707 with these aircraft, such naivety



posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 05:20 PM
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As usual waynos, great find! I too can't wait to see the info on the 707 competitors.



posted on Jun, 18 2006 @ 11:21 PM
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What an awesome find i hope you have more goodies in that treasure trove.



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 12:38 PM
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The Brits had some R/C aircraft in WWI intended for bombing, but the idea never got beyond demonstration - "I could throw my umbrella further than that" was one comment.



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 12:48 PM
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lol, great comment


Were these purpose designed 'UCAV's like the Hoopla or just pilotless conversions?



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 02:14 PM
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Brilliant pic as usual Waynos. How big is file for unusual aircraft now?


I love the Vulcan, would love to see the pics of a passenger variant although I can't really see how it could work without a complete change to the airframe. *gfad awaits rabidly*



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 02:22 PM
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Waynos and friends

sorry for dissapointing it, because your finding is great, but please read this.

I am working right now on a chronology of the flight and three days ago i found a web page wich talks about something we can consider it the first UCAV of the History.

It was in 1849!!!!

I´m serious, the city of Venecia already liberated from the austrians was in state of war. The austrians frustrated for their expulsion, make plans to revenge from venetians. So they build about a 60 balloons no tripulated that will fly to Venecia and with a mechanism of time ( a kind of clockwork) ignites a spark attached with a copper wire that left the bombs.

The defenders saw how some balloons flew over the lagune and the city and begin to drop some things that explodes it. But the winds changed and many of the balloons were moved over the battlefield where the time gizmo sparks make them fall over their own troops.

Now I´m in he office , so late i´ll try to find again the web page where i found it.

saludos

Mapanare



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 02:29 PM
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No apology necessary at all, great info. Thanks
I think that there is a small difference due to a lack of control once launched, which all UCAV's have, but there is no denying that it is the same principle. I am also being unfair with the 'control' point too seeing as this was decades before the Wright Brothers perfected aircraft controls of any kind! Great stuff!



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 05:48 PM
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Not a true UCAV but an interesting precursor nonetheless, the "Kettering bug" flying bomb of WW1:

(It didn't work in case ou were wondering).

Next in that chain of thought was the Curtiss-Sperry flying bomb:



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 05:55 PM
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Then there were the "unmanned" bombers of WWII. B-25s or B-17s IIRC. A crew of two took off, set the controls and jumped out. A following bomber would control it to the target.



posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 06:03 PM
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These would come under 'flying bombs' though, in terms of a purpose built, controllable, recoverable unmanned delivery system it still looks like the Hoopla was first, so far.

Keep the suggestions coming though, they are all fascinating whether they strictly fit or not.

Looking at planemans upper photo, you know what I was thinking?


"stop the pigeon, stop the pigeon"
My fave cartoon as a plane mad nipper


[edit on 19-6-2006 by waynos]



posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 04:44 AM
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Waynos,

>>
This qualifies as a UCAV, I believe, by dint of the fact that it was not a 'flying bomb' like the V-1 but was intended to drop its load and return for re-use. A remarkably prescient concept, it obviously suffered from the lack of any accurate means of actually delivering the bomb in those days but I still think the fact that such a concept was seriously considered to the point of building a test vehicle was remarkable.
>>

First off, I would not typify this as being a UCAV because it's lack of apparent landing gear, insufficient size to make a long return trip and inability to both target and attack without an aircraft accompanying it over the target (at a minimum the drone needs to be at least twice as fast to allow it to build separation). Instead, I would put this in the class of a (staging) Wicmid or JDAM. In that 70% of bomb ballistic errors derive from 'windage' (cross or tail/head) that cannot really be calculated through multiple altitude bands, even today, remove the thermal layers as a function of altitude decreases and badabing. The other 30% being related to abnormalities in the (itself basically flawed) aeroshape due to crude casting and fill technologies of the time. Reduce the TOF and those variables don't have time to skew the basic inertia physics of it's parabolic arc.

If you can take the bomber down to 10-12,000ft with a decent sight, you can indeed get the 'pickle barrel' claims for the Norden. And you will take attrition to match.

OTOH, if you can take _a drone_ down to 500ft, assuming it will hold heading and altitude, you can almost drive it with a sighting flare. The big difference being that, unlike a guided bomb such as the GB/VB series or the German Fritz/Hs-293; the trajectory curve remains constant regardless of closure so that there is no tendency to crash short or curve away from the target due to optical precess and parallax effects as seen by the operator (as the Germans found out, long before 'jamming' was a factor).

Of course things get even better when you can put a TV onboard because, again, the FOV and brightness/scale levels can remain more or less constant for grazing angle and closure without blurring or stabilization issues as the seeker tries to track through the target arc or through the airframe motion one. In this case, you can more or less put marks on the vidicon lens that equate to a fixed fall line and alignment bar and get both range and azimuth accuracy increases.

Such is what this aircraft-

www.kitparade.com...
www.stagone.org...

Was capable of by the mid 40's after an early conversion of a biplane trainer back in 1938 proved the concept of a _stable flight_ approach to targeting weapons rather than relying on freefall ballistics.

>>
The one I am posting tonight about though is sometyhing I think must surely rank as the worlds first genuine UCAV project, although the acronym did not exist of course. It is not even a 'current' project in the 1955 issue which illustrates it and it merits barely a couple of lines under the photo shown.

It is called the Miles Hoopla and dates from 1941-43. was a remotely piloted, via radio control, light aircraft capable of carrying a semi-conformal 1,000lb bomb, which arrangement itself was years ahead of its time. It looked like an overscale model aircraft and was powered by a DH Gypsy Queen engine, like the Tiger Moth amongst many others.
>>

I can't find anything on it in any of my Janes stuff, most of which is 'old enough to know'. As such, I too am curious as to how far the concept went. It should be noted that remote control of aircraft was _far_ from unusual by the later 30's anti-aircraft target drones became a functional necessity. And guided bombs were used in considerable numbers in WWII in both theaters, only the time compression of their ballistic fall dynamics, compromised by the early electronics of the time, kept the concept of 'smart bombing' from being a historical fact 40 years before Vietnam.

Your major problems are obviously going to be:
1. Enemy TechInt exploitation of the wreckage. You need to dump these things in lakes or include major safing redundancies such that absolutely none of the RC gear is captured. Obviously, even this is not a guarantee against random damage, failure of flight controls resulting in CFIT or simple SIGINT monitoring based on educated engineering work.
.
2. Weather. While this may actually help justify the aircraft in Europes typical clag (no more climbout/let down issues with a 1,000 other airframes in the area), it will most certainly increase bandwidth vulnerability issues as a TV camera will become a necessity to target objects under a low ceiling where direct drone tracking is not feasible.


KPl.



posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 05:05 AM
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KPI, I think its controllability and the fact that it was recoverable and was meant to be used to drop regular munitions does qualify it as a UCAV of sorts, even thought the defincencies you rightly point out prevented it from being a particulary useful one.

That USN drone you posted from hyperscale is great, thanks for that. I have one question though, is it a genuine project or a 'what if'? I only ask because I have seen several extremely detailed and convincing backstories accompanying fictional models on a few sites, for example there is one giving a 'history' of how the USAF cancelled the F-111 and acquired license built 'Grumman A-9's' (TSR-2's) instead, all done to accompany a beautiful fictional model of a USAF TSR 2 in Vietnam in the early 70's in SEA camo.

Obviously something like this can clearly be seen to be someones fantasy but when it is something you have never heard of it is harder to judge



posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 07:18 AM
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Read the second LINK to the Stagone sight.

Particularly these-

www.stagone.org...
www.stagone.org...
www.stagone.org...

Show an awful lot of photoshopping if it's a lie.

With a hitrate of 46.5% at a time when the USAAF standard was in the tenths of percentile per _1,000 weapons dropped_, (i.e. 'mission' rather than 'sortie' statistics); the only excuse given for their withdrawal is typical: An admiral got his 'pride' insulted and declared a vendetta. Thus showing that UCAVs have been, since day 1, recognized as the Blacks of the airpower world.

'Give them equality and they will rule the world!'

The irony being that while I'm actually about as far from being Martin Luther King of robotic warfare as I am Nathan Bedford Forrest, I sure as hell don't like it when these systems have been crushed into non-existence as a function of not-acknowledging their functional utility.

Just to secure cowboy airpower at the cost of at least two lost wars.


KPl.

[edit on 20-6-2006 by ch1466]



posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 07:30 AM
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I wasn't trying to say it was a lie, I was just asking if it was genuine or another one of many 'what if's.

I can't open the links to stagone for some reason but I will treat your answer as a 'yes, it is real' anyway. Thanks



posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 08:40 AM
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Firstly I think people get needlessly pedantic in defining what is or isn't a UCAV. None of these definitions are in any way authoriative. In essence a UCAV is any unmanned air vehicle with a weapon of some sort. At one end of the scale loiter-capable missiles like Harpy, Tactic Rainbow and Taifun are widely accepted as "UCAVs" within the industry and they are throwaway items. The line between UCAV and missile is often blurred.

All these distinctions between "weaponised UAVs" and "UCAVs" are pointless. UCAV is just a catchy term someone coined and it caught on. It's a pretty broad description. So I say Waynos' Mile design can fairly be considered a UCAV. I'm sure if you asked the infamous guide to plausibility, the man on the Clapham Omnibus the conversation would go something like this:
You: See that plane up there?
Him: Oh aye. Is that one of them red arrows?
You: No it's not got a pilot in it.
Him: Well how come its flying then - it must be one of those new-fangled pilotless drones.
You: Yeah, and I think it's got a bomb under the fuselage.
Him: It's an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle.



posted on Jun, 20 2006 @ 09:24 AM
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Waynos,

Synopsis:
The linked pages include shots of the TDR now hanging in the Museum of Naval Aviation. As well as ones of 'Edna III' being loaded up with a 1,000lb bomb and shots of the TBM Avengers used as control aircraft. The key personalities are also all represented in period B&W with appropriate dress uniforms.

Included as well are still captures from 16mm cameras showing both the linked TV video presentation from the 'block' guidance camera. And COLOR shots of TDRs being expended in proof of concept attacks on a beached Japanese freighter at a time when the 'Special Air Task Force' (remind you of anything?) were going through hoops to prove they deserved a chance to participate.

It being typical of the Manned Uber Alles community that, when told of a secret 'Project Option' (shortly after Pearl), one Admiral John Towers, CMIC at BurAer, got his knickers all in a twist over turf intrusion by a member of the 'Gun Club' and did everything he could to delay the project for YEARS until /after Leyte/.

Such that you have aircraft with early generation optics optimized for high contrast (skylined naval silouhettes) being first ignored, then persecuted unto near cancellation _without trial_ and finally allowed to play but ONLY in a backwater of the Solomons (zero naval targets) wherein they were primarily fragged against AAA and Bridge targets which were buried in 'black on black' jungle backgrounds that the camera could hardly resolve until the last moment.

And still they got 46.5% (21 out of 45 to be exact) hit rates WITH PROOF OF BIA inherent to the video stills.

Added to which, not a single man was lost to enemy anything in any of the control aircraft.

How many men on the Destroyers and Escort Carriers of Taffy-3 might have LIVED had Admiral Towers not used his boys club contacts up the chain of command (all the way to 'personal friend' Chester Nimitz) to keep the SATFOR off of even the Escort carriers whose equivalent flight deck they had _trained to operate from_ in Michigan Bay?

So that when the IJN brought 230,000 ton SAG centered around a 60,000 ton super dreadnaught up against jeep 3 carriers at 12 mile ranges, we might not have lost 1,000 men plus 2 CVEs and 3 DD/DEs off Samar for want of _real airpower_.

The supreme irony being that 'so superior men' were reduced to mere target drones (aka suicide robots) making making fake passes to keep the enemy thinking long after running out of ammo. When the Japanese did this with the 'Special Attack Force', we called them Kamikazes and were disgusted by their soulless behavior.

Furthermore, we all KNOW that if Kurita hadn't cut off his own balls in a fit pettycoat stupidity, it would have been a complete wipeout of everyman in the landing force /as well as/ the the ships.

Last but not least, I have absolutely nothing but contempt for the atomic attacks that ended the war. My principal reason for this being that we could have exacted the _exact_ same casualty count (or threat thereof) using chemical sprayers to kill the Japanese rice crops while waiting 6-10 months. Without irradiating another 3 generations of unborn _civillians_ whose lives we were equally responsible for, under the Hague conventions.

Now, guess what the TDR was 'also rigged to do'? Yup. Lay smoke precision smoke screen corridors along and leading up to hostile beachheads prior to amphibious attacks.

CONCLUSION:
These people we whoreship as Sky Knights are spoiled utterly by their status as public heroes. Given their career commitment, they don't care that they are utterly incompetent for 90+% of the missions they _task themselves_ (fox smiles at the chickens) to do. And now you know that there is a history of this gross dereliction of duty and 'professional bias' amounting to blatant disregard of both own force and enemy civillian casualties in what can only be called deliberate negligence by a fiduciary party. A _felony_ which we would put a /civillian/ away for up to 15 years on.

Said history going back almost SEVENTY YEARS now, there is absolutely no excuse.

And the only real explanation for such behavior is that the system is so entirely corrupted by it's individual component officers and men whose sole desire is to retain their power as a Knightly Class in a society whose origins _explicitly_ forbid such an MIC conspiracy bred aristocracy.

No, I do NOT 'feel better'.


KPl.



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