Oh Please /PEOPLE!/
How many feature junctions are there on that so called 'stealthy UCAV' configuration?
Where does the landing gear go?
WHY would you put a gimbaled EO package behind a HUGE curving sensor window and let the whole bloody world look at the frontend of a standard
'thimble' optics head by POINTING IT at the most likely reciprocal lookup angle for a ground radar?
Optically, why would you put twice the 'dark mass' on the front end of the airframe where it is MOST likely to be detected as both inlet and FLIR
Look at that GBU-39. That's a a six foot long weapon with a 7" diameter. What does that make the scale of the weapons bay door. The front window
or the inlet or even the wings?
Jets suck gas like a drunk locked in a brewery. Where's the fuel? That wing is too narrow in both chord and section to feed any thing with
realistic (i.e. better than a manned vehicle) loiter at radius. YOU NEED A DELTA to give decent root:tip taper with reasonable space for spar voids
and fuel cells.
This is nothing but a cheap 'artistic' knockoff of a long retired drone-
Which itself was a 'sealed volume' recce airframe, _air launched_, from a DC-130E and fitted with a SINGLE camera (only 300lbs total payload) which
didn't require compromising structural design with multiple furhter internal voids like a weapons bay.
A drone which FAILED to meet even period 1970 RCS needs.
Add to this a minimalist performance capability of some 4.5hrs and 1,700-2,000nm worth of range, along with ZERO evidence of a satcomms link able to
support the bandwidth requirements of BLOS UAV (what the Geigeresque head hump of the RQ-1 and 4 are all about) and the question becomes: "Why?"
Compass Arrow was 34ft long with a 48ft wingspan. It weight 5,500lbs or so. To get up towards a USEFUL capability (loiter on the order of 24hrs at
1,500nm range with _landing gear_) they had to go to the Compass Cope with a _90FT_ span in a 15,000lb airframe.
Bam, you're right back at the GHawk.
This, this is a toy dressed up as concept artwork. You've already seen the basically simple designs (X-45 and X-47) which will provide an
_intermediate_ 10hrs at 500nm capability. And nobody wants them because they make the worthless flyboys look bad even as they likely make the Raptor
look like a flaming neon sign in terms of LO features.
Some things to consider:
The classified USAF PHAE followup to J-UCAS is in it's earliest developmental phases.
They have /supposedly/ harvested the J97-GE-100 engines from Compass Arrow and these are being used in pairs for the new system. Given that the J97
produces on the order of 4,000lbst at sea level and only 184lbf at altitude, while the YQM-96 (C-Cope) was three times the weight of the AQM-91 yet
used the same engine, they must be sucking a LOT of power for the airframe systems to justify twice the fuel burn.
It's a complete Schultz at 80Kft. Even at 55Kft which is 'round about' where the GHawk commonly flies, the sky is black as night above the horizon
and a veritable white mirror below. Optical LO is thus highly unlikely given the _weight_ penalties involved.
Penetration without endurance is worthless. Penetration without responsive bombs on target is worthless. Penetration without covert radar to look
through clouds is worthless.
Covert Penetration without deep RAS on a straight wing is impossible.
The Blue Suited RICO Indictment Committee are just toying around again. Throwing whatever they can at the baseline capability sketch in the hopes of
_deliberately_ creating something which is so lopsided for capabilities and so /incompatible/ with conventional tacair for D1R1 penetration speeds and
profiles that they can 'pretend they tried'. Without ever developing the airframe whose production economics could be justified as a followon to
the F-16 in a price category that makes sense.
No 500-1,000 airframe buy = 'too expensive to be continued with' as just a development program. And another cancellation in favor of the manned
systems approach which is _failing_ 'so well' now.
P.S. Have any of you Aurora fanboys ever considered that, with the end of the NATO Mission, Mach 5 to 3,500nm is simply _not good enough_? That
staging forward a Methane or Hydrogen tanker without a dedicated Detachment and cryo or catalytic tank farm storage system every few thousand miles
(as with the SR-71) is going to slow down your 'global power' responsiveness more than the jet itself can make up for in comparison with simply
basing in, closer?