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MQ-9 Reaper UAV to replace F-16s?

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posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 08:52 AM
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And besides how is using an UCAV any different than using a cruise missile, from a moral/ethical point of view?




posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 09:08 AM
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Originally posted by gfad



I don't know exactly how the datalink system works but reading your post it seems that you think it is easier to fly a plane when you are not in the cockpit than when you are. Surely the people that you call "desk-jockeys" still have all the same controls as a pilot in the cockpit so what difference does it make? If you think that the AF could just recruit anyone who has used a flight simulator and give them a weeks training, why doesnt the same theory apply to cockpit pilots? Why not sign up anyone with a thousand hours in a Cessna, give them a weeks training and then put them in the cockpit of a F-22 and let them go?


UCAV/UAV operators are NOT pilots. This is why soldiers in the field can launch and operate one themselves.

Current UAV's, such as the Phoenix in service with the British Army, are launched and operated by a crew of three soldiers. One Officer, Mission Controller and two soldiers, Air Vehicle Controller and Image Analyst.

he controller does not have to concern himself with the in's and outs of the UAV, he just has to "point and fly". The controls are considerably simpler than that on a manned aircraft, as they have to operated by normal soldiers.

To say that flying a UCAV/UAV is as difficult as flying a jet is rediculous.

I guarantee, without fail, that you could operate a UAV with minimal training. It is entirely different to operating a fighter jet.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 09:34 AM
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Originally posted by Agit8dChop

We cant even make a computer operating system that works without crashing, causing errors or ruining hours of hardwork..
what maeks you think we can make a jet that can make life or death decisions appropriately?


Did you know, that every time you fly an aircraft there days, it's totally computerized. When it lifts, flies and yes, even the landing is mostly done by computers. The system seems to be working fine.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 09:40 AM
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Originally posted by northwolf
And besides how is using an UCAV any different than using a cruise missile, from a moral/ethical point of view?


A UCAV returns to its launcher.


Originally posted by stumason
UCAV/UAV operators are NOT pilots. This is why soldiers in the field can launch and operate one themselves.

Current UAV's, such as the Phoenix in service with the British Army, are launched and operated by a crew of three soldiers. One Officer, Mission Controller and two soldiers, Air Vehicle Controller and Image Analyst.

I guarantee, without fail, that you could operate a UAV with minimal training. It is entirely different to operating a fighter jet.


Im not talking about anything like the Phoenix, we're talking about a UCAV as complex as the F-16! Not recon. Attack.

Ok lets compare two pilots. One is in the cockpit of the F-16 and and the other is in a virtual cockpit flying the MQ-9. If the latter is sooooo much easier than flying the F-16 exactly which tasks does the F-16 pilot have to do that the MQ-9 pilot doesnt? There must be some or the task is just as difficult.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 09:58 AM
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Ok lets compare two pilots. One is in the cockpit of the F-16 and and the other is in a virtual cockpit flying the MQ-9. If the latter is sooooo much easier than flying the F-16 exactly which tasks does the F-16 pilot have to do that the MQ-9 pilot doesnt? There must be some or the task is just as difficult.


Well, for starters the Reaper is not comparable in performance to the F-16. It does 1/10th the speed and is as agile as a whale in the desert.

But, if your going to get pedantic...

Real pilots have to undergo strenuos physical training to be able to fly the planes and that's just to begin with.

They have to learn about aerodynamics, emergency procedures, combat tactics etc... All things that a UCAV pilot, in the context of this Reaper, will not need to know.

I would argue that the actual controls for the F-16 could be learnt with relative speed.

What takes the time is learning how to use those controls whilst bombing along at several hundred MPH, pulling multi-G turns and getting shot at. A UCAV controller does not need to know this.

The most advanced flight simulators have every control that a modern aircraft does and flying a UCAV would be no different. I would even argue that could be simplified as there is simply no need for the controller to know the in's and out's of the UCAV. Most of the training a Combat Pilot recieves is how to survive whilst using the machine, rather than what each button does.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by stumason

Originally posted by Agit8dChop


I remmebr reports of pilots aborting bomb runs in the iraq campaign, because it was clearly a civilian area, will a UAV type machine be able to distinguish?


Indeed. RAF pilots are known for it. USAF not so much, but they do.

In fact, the USAF got uppity with the RAF due to high level of aborted missions due to potential collateral damage. So much so that they would often send in USAF jets to do the job anyway.

This may account for the higher percentage of complaints against USAF airstrikes than any other for civilian deaths.

Just different doctrines and rules of engagement, I suppose.

But, on point, it makes sense to have a human there for this reason, amongst others. Ensuring that control of the aircraft is maintained generally is another.

The only reason the DoD and others are pressing for UCAV's is cost. It's cheaper to have UCAV's and computer-game pilots, than real jets with real pilots. But, doesn't it always come down to cost?


I know that most times "pilots" are at the controls when the UCAV's TO and Land. I'm also pretty sure that the pilots are still involved though the course of the mission as well.

Next the mention of RAF aborting runs make me happy actually already there have been 2 major mistakes on the USAF part in attacking Canadian Soldiers. I couldn't and still do have trouble pinning the blame solely on the pilots. As mentioned before I do think that the mentality that these pilots are "brainwashed" (not the nice word but that is what happens in training) with makes them more prone to these mistakes.

Now if its a mentality or mind set that is the cause of these mistakes is the taking the pilot out of the cockpit going to change their mindset? Thats the question to me. My openion is that if the training changes due to less of what ch1466 calls "fighter mafia" mentality or ego being instilled in the pilots I think we could see positive changes.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 02:16 PM
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I think the intent of the MQ-9 is as more of a complement to the F-16 than as a replacement. Think of it this way - instead of having two fully loaded F-16's working as a team in the hunter-killer mission, you now have an F-16 working in conjunction with an MQ-9. This way you still have a man in the loop that has actual eyes on the ground, with some of the added benefits of a UAV/UCAV. It only makes sense to try and take advantage of the strengths of both systems working together. One is not replacing the other, but they are used in a fashion that is complementary to each other.

[edit on 4-1-2007 by crusader97]



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 04:11 PM
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FMF,

>>
UACV will take over fighters in the future, we know that. But replacing a great fighter with a Reaper doesn't sound smart.
>>

Which is exactly the reasoning the USAF is looking to exploit.

Tell me, when you hear 'bomb truck in the CAS mission' what airframe do you think of?

Is it the F-16 or the A-10?

Thus it doesn't take a grand leap of never-trust-a-manipulator to realize that when the USAF suggests they want to replace _Guard_ F-16s with this platform, what 'they really mean' is:

"We just retired half our LITENING capable shooters, we NEED the F-35 as a precision engagment platform NOW!"

Which is -exactly- (deliberate hysteria) the tactics that the USAF engenders in Congress /every/ time they 'feel a need' to justify one completely worthless program solution by forcing the inventory 'problem' to appear for it to fulfill.

MQ-9s will replace F-16s only when pigs fly. Because F-16s are /far/ from being 'bomb trucks'.

>>
As you said, it's not an F-16, and that's the problem. I don't have the trust at this point in a UCAV as I have in a man controlled fighter (even though I'am quite sure I will change my opinion in the future).
>>

Manned airframes fly 90% of the time on autopilot whether 'switched on or implicit' to the FLCS holding atittude/rate as an extant performance value.

This has the dual advantage of both-

A. Allowing the pilot to bury his head in a 5X5 or 6X8 inch TV monitor 'looking for things he cannot see outside' (because his own vision is too damn poor from upwards of 5-10 MILES with Gen-2 pods like LANTIRN and 10-15 MILES with Gen-3 pods like Sniper/LITENING) as a -systems manager-.

B. Doing things which he cannot match. Like holding a waypoint time or fuel flow margin for airspeed. Or orbit wheel for target FOV scan by optics. All things which an autopilot (through the DEEC as well as flight controls) can 'dial in' /vastly/ more efficiently than he can. Soon, this capability will even extend to (differential GPS + Autopilot) things like landing on a carrier 'always on the 3 wire' and hitting perfect precontact and contact positions behind a tanker. It has already been proven to be a superior gunnery and ballistic weapons delivery (IFFC/Firefly and AFTI) capability.

_AUTOMATION IS BETTER THAN MAN_ when it comes to basic aviate/navigate and soon communicate elements of flight. It has been so since WWII if not before. Just ask a B-17 aircraft commander who coupled his Sperry autopilot to the bombardiers sight controls.

>>
The Reaper doesn't have the aerodynamical qualities that the F-16 has, you mentioned speed, but manoverability is also a question.
>>

Blather. In Desert Storm an F-16 coming down the pipe with Six Mk.82 onboard was _effectively invisible_ to ground threats before he rounded out at about 12-15,000ft, flat plating his airframe on the way back to 20-25,000ft.

Why? Because there is a low altitude hazing factor (dust, pollution, water vapor) which automatically distorts look up and even when this is CAVU'd out of the picture in the open desert, the isoluminent factors of the hard blue sky literally 'glares out' (brightness, not color) the F-16's nose-on silhouette.

Now, that was visual divetoss bombing from right atop the target (say 3nm slant). Take the distance out to 10-15nm and KEEP the height at
18-25,000ft (just short of whereever the contrail zone begins). A small airframe dropping modern day PGM with the aid of targeting optics twice as good as those of 1991 will _NEVER BE SEEN BY ANYONE_. Not even those directly underneath it's ground track. Upwards of 10-20 miles from the 'observed' target area.

>>
When I hear F-16 I think of a plane that hits hard, and often.
>>

Snort. Both pylons today I tell'ya!

Then we come off target, hit the A2A button in the desperate hope of a an air threat, hit a couple tankers and fly home 500nm to combat turn the airframe while switching pilots. If we're /real lucky/ we then get to repeat the 90% transit, 10% target area mission effect, 1 to 1.5 times more that day. Until all 'terrorist buildings have been eliminated!'

Where's the 'hard' in two JDAMs?

Where's the 'often' in 2-3 sorties (surged) per day?

What's more, the F-16 ONLY STAYS IN THE TARGET AREA about 20 minutes. Maybe 40 if there is a tanker orbit nearby.

What happens when there simply aren't any targets VISIBLE during that time?

_It Goes Home With Bombs Still Aboard_. Which is where you end up having massive bottlenecks of drivers all wanting their chance in the spotlight and half of them timing out in overhead CAS or killbox BAI because we simply cannot generate targeting for them all.

Wasting HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF POUNDS of jet fuel which will be increasingly hard to justify when the reason you are fighting to begin with is to ensure access to oil.

Compare this to an MQ-9 which loiters up to 42hrs in the target area AND is it's own gun cabinet.

Now it's the gun bunny's on the ground who are the 'hyeeeear kitty kitty' long-time-in-target-area fools. Because you will see them coming. For upwards of an hour before they are in a position to hit your people. And even if they preposition, they will -remain- a designated-morte victim for upwards of THREE hours trying to get away.

All with ONE sortie and 3,000lbs of internal fuel. Half that of a single F-16.

>>
When I think of the Reaper, I can only think of a small glider that will break during the very first minutes of combat.
>>

It's actually a fairly large 'glider' with a 49ft wingspan and 36ft length that is in roughly the same size category as a WWII P-47 (then one of the largest fighters in the world).

It is however very light.

Which means it is potentially vulnerable to heavy winds and icing issues as well as G restrictions.

But an MQ-9 'breaking' as a function of combat use should /never/ be a consideration in COIN ops where it is most useful. You simply never go below about 15-18,000ft which is where you get your best ballistics on your weapon even as all the trashfire (14.5mm and below + most MANPADS) simply falls out of the sky before reaching your level.

>>
UCAV will replace fighters, but that time isn't here yet, mentally.
>>

Pilots have been stepping on the necks of their superior Robotic replacements like whites bullying blacks for much the same fear-of-acknowledged-equality reasons for _decades_.

If that's what you mean by 'mentally' then you put your peace of mind over that of the lives of soldiers on the ground to sustain a false-romantic image of what it is to be a pilot.

UCAV will replace fighters the very instant we stop worshiping combat aircrew as 'the experience we vicariously fulfill through others' of a perfect knighted killer, priveleged beyond all others and untouchable by the consequences of their own actions.

Indeed, the first 'UCAV' outperformed manned fighters in 1944 after _then_ extant 'high command' had fought to have them relegated to the scrap heap for almost two years. In the process, ensuring the slaughter of thousands of Marines and Army troops 'during a real war' through the Solomons, Marianas and PI campaigns because airpower could not realistically get to distant targets and _hit them_ without taking unsustainable losses over the enemy point defenses.

www.designation-systems.net...
www.stagone.org...

CONCLUSION:
Your arguments hold no water. Even though they reflect, perfectly, the very base psychologies the manned uber alles USAF hopes to continue to exploit in maintaining their own 'most aristocratic' of service priveleges.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 04:56 PM
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Stumason,

>>
It all sounds rather great on paper, but am I the only one who thinks there should be a person at the controls who has the last say?
>>

Why? When, in order to make his 'say' have merit as a function of SEEING what he is talking about, he has to descend to a point where he is in fact MORE vulnerable to shoot down. Not less.

>>
I don't mean 500 miles away, but there "at the wheel". Having a human there just gives that extra layer of accountability and, in an emergency, the ability to change or adapt the mission accordingly.
>>

Why? An MTS set of optics sees better than LANTIRN does Lynx sees better than APG-68 does. All of which are being displayed as frozen images on 17-20" rather than 5 or 8 inch monitors.

If you SEE the 'total picture' twice as well as the guy on scene and you are NOT being shot at because _you are not seen at all_ by the engaged ground forces, how likely is it that you are making mistakes?

>>
Having such weapon systems being remotely controlled, or, God forbid, autonomous seems somewhat risky.
>>

Why? Give a reason more than your implicit paranoia.

What, too ignorant to try? Let me help.

PROBLEM:
The guy on the ground, using a ROVER or similar data terminal is captured or his transmitter overwhelmed as the ground threat tries to instigate a blue on blue incident.

SOLUTION:
Except, oops, there is a 'remote combat controller' monitoring all the particularly ordnance related calls being sent from the ground and matching them up to _sensor pics_ which ONLY the UAV can provide equivalent perspective on. If he doesn't 'sign off' with his own, _independent_, consent crypto database, bombs are not gonna fall.

PROBLEM:
Having decided that he cannot bomb the infidels to his front, Islam's Holier Than Thou Son decides he's gonna /ram/.

SOLUTION:
Ooops! The UCAV autopilot will not accept 'descend below X' commands in the given threat area and indeed all FLIGHT commands (which are really just simplistic 'fly to X' coordinate routings) must come from the combat controller and the threat is not high enough above the horizon for the UCAVs polarized antenna suite to accept his spoof.

PROBLEM:
Having realized those crafty American Satans have prevented him from using the UCAV against them, he decides to simply set up an 'exclusion zone' around which jam-center nobody can do /anything/. Except, that the combat controller can shift the UCAV into 'free hunt on the emitter' mode and using an ALR-11 ESM suite, drop a GBU-39 ontop of the jammer.

>>
Not only do you have the problem of losing the linkup, for whatever reasons, but what if you lose control of the craft due to enemy interference and they somehow "steal" it.
>>

See above. To which I would add that you have no comprehension of securing data networks.

A*SD*(SDKSHPP#UJF()**#$(*F(@@KJSFWWROWIROUVMXVIIOLLUWE

That's pseudorandom noise. The data equivalent of junk mail and it may show up (in bits and bytes pieces) on multiple channels worth of RF band use.

SOMEWHERE IN THERE is a code word that equates to a certain activity.

Let's say it's 'APPLE'.

Now, through espionage as much as monitoring, you MAY figure out the spreading patterns and the synch overlaps and even the specific spacing equivalents that place APPLE where it is.

But the problem is that 'Apple' means NOTHING unless you can _directly observe_ the action which it causes.

And what's worse. 'Apple' will NEVER AGAIN mean /release bombs/ for that airframe or any other. For a million repetitions.

Because you don't need to 'tell each other' (handshake) on the given command relevance. That being stored _internally_ in massive singleuse key list databases on both the sender and receiver airframes or ground systems. Never to be sent over-air and simply advancing-by-one for each use so that /next time/ 'release bombs' is 'Chevy'. Then 'Taco'. Then 'Turncoat'. Then 'Violin'.

Not just for this UCAV. But for ALL UCAVs. And what's more. _Even If_ you shoot down the UCAV and /none/ of the electronic or pyro safing elements function so that the enemy gets the whole damn database list.

IT IS WORTHLESS.

Because not only is every other UCAV's list -different- for this mission. But it will be _different again_ for the next mission as soon as a DTM tape upload replaces it.

There is no pattern match. No sampleable trace. The same command word never repeats for a million times or more.

The only way to beat the system is to look at the crypt generating computer's output until you match it's 'random' alphanumeric 'word generator' and that is impossible unless you shoot down enough UCAVs to get a statistically valid sample.

/Even then/ you have no way to tell which list segment is on which airframe because the code generation computer itself doesn't know which airframe the current list segment was uploaded to. Nor will the threat. Because the threat can't see a UCAV bombing from upwards of 20nm away. It probably doesn't even know it is there.

>>
People might like to think their data links are secure, but they wont be for the determined. After all, the Pentagon cannot even keep out Chinese hackers from their systems, what hope have they of being 100% secure on a weapons platform?
>>

Beat my system. As described.

Knowing that a portable jammer will never beat back a microwave CDL signal from a satellite or a fighter radar on watts to watts basis of 'bigger speakers'.

Knowing that the louder it yells, the more predators it will bring to feast on it.

Knowing that the drone will never LISTEN to a ground emitter that is not -specifically- associated with 'expect designated netuser commo traffic from this specific location' because it's antenna suite can geolocate all others outside it.

Knowing that /Worst Case/, the drone will never fly outside a given ops area or 'land' anywhere but a designated main or emergence recovery base.

Knowing that it will moat it's weapons system outside a given target area/time window as related to 'crossing the fence' back into Allied Airspace.

Knowing that it is _fully capable_ of dropping bombs on fixed targets with 'hear no evil' isolation of ALL outside emissions from it's cruise-missile like flyout, drop, return profile. Which means that manned jets don't have to fly the same 'never gonna move' BUILDING targets.

Finally, know that, IF ALL LINK IS LOST, due to damage or jamming, it will fly to a given safe zone (unchangeable in an isolated memory area of it's autopilot software) and 'await range safe or manual releashing'. As a function of final failsafe recovery or self destruct by coded laser pulse through it's DAS apertures.

You can't beat it. Because you can't /interact/ with that. Long enough to break into it.

Chinese Hackers (supply me the LINK) can attack 'the Pentagon' because the existing networks _HAVE TO BE THERE_ as an open window for authorized users. The fixed nature and location of which drives the security risk up on the basis of 'try try again...' interrogateable firewall and _steal/buy/blackmail_ 'humint' level espionage of codewords.

A UCAV operates in a manner that is in no way the same.

>>
Having a human there to overide or change mission parameters, up too the last second, is vitally important, in my book.
>>

Uninhabited does not mean unsupervised. What you have utterly failed to argue effectively is the notion that some guerilla warrior or chinese supergenious is going to get access to the databases which allows him to exploit the system.

Secure systems are idiot-as-traitor proofed because they _DO NOT ALLOW_ the user to see the operational code by which they work. All's he/she gets is an opaque 'you tell me what you want to do, and I will tell the platform what you mean in a language only it and I understand'.

Once you get this, all the rest is _easy_.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 05:26 PM
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The real question should be is how the MQ-9 Reaper weapons platform going to be integrated within the total force picture? How will this affect Close Air Support platforms like the A-10 and AH-64? Where's the Forward Air Controller and ground forces liaison going to fit into the overall control picture? Are the rear echelon mofo's going to screw the grunts on the front line as usual by going after sexier targets rather than eliminating threats that are an imminent danger to the troops?

IMHO the Predator B Reaper is just another bad weapons investment that lets the politicians off the hook when deciding to start a war. Look Ma, no pilots, No troops. Armed conflict should be the last option. The whole UCAV concept sounds an awful lot like a first or preemptive strike platform rather than CAS or force mulitiplier. There's no questioning the UCAV's potential but shouldn't the ethics of how it will be employed be the real debate?



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 05:58 PM
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Originally posted by crgintx
The real question should be is how the MQ-9 Reaper weapons platform going to be integrated within the total force picture? How will this affect Close Air Support platforms like the A-10 and AH-64? Where's the Forward Air Controller and ground forces liaison going to fit into the overall control picture?


It's integration will be to augment hunter killer ops - it is augmenting (not replacing). FAC's will still have comms with a pilot in the air, but now that pilot will be able to augment the firepower on his aircraft with whatever else the MQ-9 can provide. This method will help INCREASE the amount of firepower able to be delivered per MANNED support aircraft, and DECREASE overall support requirements for a given area of operations.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 01:45 AM
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Crgintx,

>>
The real question should be is how the MQ-9 Reaper weapons platform going to be integrated within the total force picture?
>>

It can't accompany an F-16 for speed. An F-16 can't accompany it for depth or endurance of operations. The F-35 will be no better because while the internal gas is there, the F135 sucks more of it and the pilot fatigue limiter is always the absolute and last word on how long you stay, even if you dedicate an entire tanker to keeping the fighter forward to hold hands with the drone.

Which is why I stated that a _continuing investment_ in NCW architecture must be maintained. So that you can develop Pseudolite relays where satellites are not present and long-word crypto suitable for the exceptionally high data rates that X and Ka band CDL technologies will support.

>>
How will this affect Close Air Support platforms like the A-10 and AH-64?
>>

The A-10 is a weather-blind single seater whose only chance to integrate believable bent-pipe architecture within the SADL system (EPLRS or whatever the Army finally chooses as followon up to L16 or TTNT or whatever the USAF finally selects as followon). It is slow to transit to the target area. It has limited endurance and specifically no combat tank. It is incapable of decent high altitude performance. It is _Non-LO_. It is the /last/ platform you want to have acting as an NCW combat controller for various 'other assets'.

The AH-64 will _never leave_ the threat envelope. It takes forever to deploy (Kosovo) and is incredibly vulnerable /as a platform/ to even basic mechanical and brownout related issues. It is even slower than the A-10 and it's endurace is worse.

>>
Where's the Forward Air Controller
>>

The GFAC is with the ground forces as an ETAC or TACP or SOF integrator. We don't have enough of them but in the current operating conditions it is questionable whether his presence is wise or useful anyway. In AfG, you have to hump the set, the antenna and the damn batteries with _very few_ ROVER class terminals or platforms that can recieve from it. In Iraq, the reaction-before-fade time is _zero_ so unless you have an operator LOOKING THROUGH THE OPTICS AT THE MOMENT A CAR SNIPER 'HAPPENS', you are looking at a typical "So there I was, standing there looking like a stupid tourist..." IEDs are even worse in that if you don't have the patrol route locked down for hours if not days beforehand, it doesn't /matter/ where the UCAV is. Excepting perhaps the ability to ELS COMINT a throwaway cellphone so that a Mike Force can drop around the sender and bag his behind for 'interrogation, hanging and burning'. On the spot.

In either case, the OA-10 mission is questionable because most strikes are coming in with laser and most ground forces have markers 'when the mortars let them'. While again, the ability to BE THERE BEFOREHAND is 90+% of hitting a monkey force in the approach to contact phase. The AH-64 is worse. What you need is an admission that the 'heroic response' of the single-warrior pilot _does not work_ against a continuing threat and the cheapest possible endurance asset (a BBJ or Gulstream or G-Challenger with seated operators, big screens and a kitchen. Or a CAOC close enough for realtime relays) into which you can pump secure pipe is the best choice because it and the UCAVs /together/ don't consume half the gas and dollars per flight hour of manned assets.

>>
...and ground forces liaison going to fit into the overall control picture? Are the rear echelon mofo's going to screw the grunts on the front line as usual by going after sexier targets rather than eliminating threats that are an imminent danger to the troops?
>>

The REMFs _ARE_ the piloted airframe community. Your failure to understand that is all that is necessary as response to this idiotic accusation.

>>
IMHO the Predator B Reaper is just another bad weapons investment that lets the politicians off the hook when deciding to start a war. Look Ma, no pilots, No troops.
>>

And Manned Aviation has completely let down the ground forces in THIS WAR. Because they are the only ones whose continuous overhead presence with small precision munitions and even 'historical' camera footage might track the wolves back to a common den.

And instead the mission that should _properly_ be done by uninhabiteds is being jumped on as 'NTISR' by 5-15,000 dollar per flight hour machines that are NOT AVAILABLE IN THE NUMBERS to even /begin/ to sustain a 200 orbit day. Indeed, on a 6hr coverage basis because junior has to get his beauty rest or he's cranky all the next day, 200 -sorties- gets you 33 orbits. Whereas on a 15-17hr UCAV coverage you get 125 COP orbits.

You have to BE THERE to get a chance to fight. That's basic. You have to SUSTAIN THERE to get a chance to /win/. That's implied.

Were you _not awake_ when they covered the 'fustest with the mostest fo duh longust' portion of war as an exercise in logistics?

>>
Armed conflict should be the last option. The whole UCAV concept sounds an awful lot like a first or preemptive strike platform rather than CAS or force mulitiplier. There's no questioning the UCAV's potential but shouldn't the ethics of how it will be employed be the real debate?
>>

Such Crap.

You lose the war with a manned force infrastructure that were commited 'all in a rush' to find fortune and glory on the excuse of 9/11.

'Once There', you lose us 20 billion barrels of Iraqi oil reserves as China and the developing world gain 10% a year in consumption as the real manufacturing powerhouses that drive the global economy.

You /don't even try/ to go into Pakistan or China or the Russian Republics to bag Osama, costing us much of our too-mean-to-be-bleeped-with 'war face' reputation.

And between the two you risk U.S. losing the USD as a fiat currency by which we prop up our own 'consumerist/service' hollow shell of an economic model.

And now you want to talk the morals of robotics as 'too dangerous'. Tell 'ya what mister. Next time you WIN a war, maybe we will cuss and discuss morality.

Right now, I'm looking at a defense budget and probable force structure that is cut in half as the debt-rug is pulled out from our economy 'just as planned' by Osama and his likely international Cronies.

And desperately trying to maintain a go-to force that can fight either the high intensity or the prolonged presence campaign with rather more than the pathetic performance the U.S. Military has shown thus far.

Manned Airpower is NOT the solution to this. Not with DEWS and Hunting Weapons less than 10 years out. Not with microtarget sets that popup and disappear in under two minutes. Certainly not with the ten mile tail for the 2 inch teeth ratio of todays military in both training and ops account costings.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 02:10 AM
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SKYNEt that was fun . . .wouh .. the possibilities . . i am amazed at the choices the UAV has . . . and the F-16 is like soo limited



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 02:22 AM
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Crusader97,

>>>
The real question should be is how the MQ-9 Reaper weapons platform going to be integrated within the total force picture? How will this affect Close Air Support platforms like the A-10 and AH-64? Where's the Forward Air Controller and ground forces liaison going to fit into the overall control picture?
>>>

>>
It's integration will be to augment hunter killer ops - it is augmenting (not replacing).
>>

I guess it depends on how you define 'hunter killer'. The original pairing concept was for the Predator to fly the Low-FAC and the Reaper to do the gun cabinet mission. Since both of those airframes are unmanned and since both vastly out-endure the manned assets, the question becomes who is gonna 'augment' them?

In early February/March of 2003, the last time we had hard intel on UBL, it was when we were told that his entourage would be coming down one of three trails. We only had ONE drone available and so we took our best guess. And we missed by a mile.

ON THIS VERY FORUM, there was a thread about a convoy that set out from Kandahar for 'places west' and on a 6hr journey got trapped in a valley and had to be rescued from a _batallion sized_ threat force by a pair of A-10s that launched late and took 45 minutes to arrive.

Aside from the sheer _Insanity_ of allowing a batallion sized /anything/ have free mobility to mass and maneuver without UGS or overhead tracking in a desert pisshole like AfG, the A-10s arrived without decent radio or positioning support and so given there were less than a platoon of U.S. + Indig (guaranteed blown opsec right there) personnel, what did they do? They let the damn Taliban /go/. On the word of those self same Indig personell who were 'miraculously' captured and released to trade the A-10s pull off for the safe exit from the battlefield of the Afghan rebels.

Mind you, there was only a single town within 50 miles. So you KNOW where they were staging from. But because there was only a single gun truck and a two other damaged Humvees, they failed not only to prevent the ambush. But to teach a hard lesson about what happens when you play with the Americans. Indeed, though the A-10s were _no where near_ the threatened unit. They flew six hours /back/ to Kandahar as 'top cover'.
So that, 'sometime later' you just knew that the same damn road would have be driven down _ALL OVER AGAIN_. Just to prove we were not Dien Bien Phu'd in yet another country we had nominally conquered 'for their own good' rather than ours.

Where's your hunter killer screen then eh?

Only an IDIOT thinks of 'Cavalry' as the Hollywood stereotype of riding over the hill to a last second rescue. REAL cavalry is a man on every ridgeline so the damn indians can't muster a a Custer on you. And where a man is 'too valuable'. You send in a drone.

Once you see this the logic becomes clear: Airpower doesn't support ground forces. Ground forces attract targets for airpower to kill from a distance.

Something we had jolly well better learn because after they kick our sorry butts out of Iraq like yapping broke tail dogs, they WILL turn their sights on AfG and Lebanon/PFTs next.

>>
FAC's will still have comms with a pilot in the air, but now that pilot will be able to augment the firepower on his aircraft with whatever else the MQ-9 can provide.
>>

Fine if you think that the UCAV-as-AUAV is going to act as a relay platform. Otherwise the manned asset has to be there just as long as the drone is and the drones ISR -as well as- strike value goes to ZERO because there isn't any ability to exploit the UAVs intel. Or why would the manned asset be there?

Of course this is ridiculous because we all know that the UAVs MCS is in a palletized shelter system back at base and THEY are receiving streaming video equivalent imagery data _all the time_. For far longer than a man can stay on station. And certainly far cheaper than even a 3,500 dollar per flight hour A-10 can manage.

>>
This method will help INCREASE the amount of firepower able to be delivered per MANNED support aircraft, and DECREASE overall support requirements for a given area of operations.
>>

First off, no manned fixed wing asset can deliver two, let alone six, AGM-114 Hellfires as 'just enough but not too close' munitions to make a difference. Your typical F-16 will have two GBU-12 or 38 opposite 14 70mm rockets. Your typical A-10 will augment this with a single Maverick and about 750rds in the GAU.

NONE of which are elegant weapons in terms of controlled flyout (at altitude, away from the threatfloor) or collaterals/unintended specific targeting. Indeed, the majority of 101st fragment damage was from Mk.82 and 2.75 inch _FRIENDLY FIRE_ during their entire stay in the benighted country.

Second, if the threat appears and vanishes in moments (or at least within 20-25 minutes which is the average CAS response time, even today) if the high and mighty canopy warriors don't get there to put ordnance on-target IN TIMELY MANNER, it doesn't matter how much additional weaponry they bring, now does it?

Third, it will be a long time before the muzzle mutt brigade are ever given 'charge of a war' in which entire political /parties/ have their standing at home broken. What happens then to your cheapass Terminator 'HK' concept of a slow, fat, Aerial, hmmm? That's right, it's about as useless a teeth on a chicken.

Which is why, when fighting real wars, you had damn well better come to the party with a system that can do BOTH the kick-over-the-existing-regime mission. And the 'make sure the locals don't think that makes them free to snipe and bushwack in gratitude' for your coming to kick their asses.

What that in turn means is a low SFC numbered, low T/Wr, clean-as-LO, TURBINE asset that can do the 500 knot FDOW sortie with 2 building-killer IAM or a bellyfull of SEAD weapons.

OR the Day-1,001 COPCAS mission with 8X GBU-39 over one of a hundred road patrols you have out 'showing the flag' that day.

Manned airpower can't do this alone, on the numbers of F-35 being bought. The MQ-9 cannot do the high intensity portion of this, /ever/. Manned ground forces are just so many gun bunny bullseyes without the continuous overhead presence to make the locals think twice about dying for Allah.

CONCLUSION:
Don't advocate supplementary airpower modes when in point of fact, neither one synergizes the other in each disparate role performance arena to be worth the SUM investment in two different approaches whose total is unaffordable in a defense-budget-busted, post-Gulf drawdown, scenario that you KNOW is likely to happen when we come a-runnin' out of Iraq in 2008.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 06:01 AM
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i still think...... keep pilots in planes.
reaper great for time sensitive targets as it can stay in area for longer
periods than manned fighters.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 02:15 PM
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Originally posted by ch1466
Crusader97,...

CONCLUSION:
Don't advocate supplementary airpower modes when in point of fact, neither one synergizes the other in each disparate role performance arena to be worth the SUM investment in two different approaches whose total is unaffordable in a defense-budget-busted, post-Gulf drawdown, scenario that you KNOW is likely to happen when we come a-runnin' out of Iraq in 2008.


Sorry, but I really didn't have time to read through the whole thing - I'll just assume you basically agreed with me. If you still think airpower alone wins wars - that's OK as you aren't the first, and you aren't the first to be wrong about it either. UAV's are cheap(ish), and when armed are (currently) best used in a role that augments attack pilots. We are still figuring out how to use them best as their capabilities develop. Don't throw one scenario out there and claim it destroys everything. When YOU (yes you) put boots on the ground out there and are in desperate need of CAS, let me know whether or not you really care where it comes from or how it gets there.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 04:55 PM
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C97,

>>
Sorry, but I really didn't have time to read through the whole thing - I'll just assume you basically agreed with me.
>>

Or maybe you did read it and realized everything you said was wrong because you couldn't find a single argument against it.

>>
If you still think airpower alone wins wars - that's OK as you aren't the first, and you aren't the first to be wrong about it either.
>>

I do not and never said I did. I think that the Congress will be never again allow 'boots on the ground' to put their own political position at risk when they can simply reduce to ashes the civillian infrastructure and blackmail the enemy as they did with Kosovo.

That said, I _do_ disagree with how tacair is employed. Ground Forces flush the enemy into movement or fix them to fixed point defenses so that airpower can finish them. NOT the other way around. Not leveraging this to always have assets in position to kill the threat _on approach_ to a 'threatened' ground unit is one of the implicit failures of modern doctrine.

>>
UAV's are cheap(ish), and when armed are (currently) best used in a role that augments attack pilots.
>>

Rubbish. If the TCT targets are gone by the time the lolligagging tacair gets there, nothing can be done. If the drone has X8 GBU-39 and the manned fighter has X8 GBU-39 ('both pylons today' as a multirack experience) nothing MORE can be done by waiting for the manned air to arrive than is achieved by bombing with what ya gots.

Especially in urban COIN, you have /seconds/ to make your decisions. At the same time, even if you put a UCAV out there looking 20-50 miles down the road in time to see the bad guys on-approach to their own small ambush, if it takes the jet an hour to get there you are PORKED. Because when the vehicles don't drive into the trap, on time, in low threat state, the dushmen will vanish like a fart in the wind.

>>
We are still figuring out how to use them best as their capabilities develop.
>>

Bull. Crap. You are crippling the design potential so as to make sure that manned airpower is not embarrassed by a lack of relevant capabilities to ANY war, let alone the one we are fighting now.

>>
Don't throw one scenario out there and claim it destroys everything.
>>

It wasn't 'one scenario'. It was a real fight in the war that we have been given to win. And manned airpower did not fight the battle as it should have because by the time they arrived any 'batallion level' threat would have overrun a real road convoy.

>>
When YOU (yes you) put boots on the ground out there and are in desperate need of CAS, let me know whether or not you really care where it comes from or how it gets there.
>>

Which just goes to show what a commitment to READING AND UNDERSTANDING what I said could do to make your own arguments cogent rather than pathetic.

A-UAV which is what the MQ-9 really represents, ARE THERE to win the COP CAS fight. But they cannot BE THERE to win the high intensity mission set. Why? Because they are too damn slow to hold the onset rate and way too easy to shoot down with radar directed weapons fire.

That is how the USAF, 'once they are through failing to support boots on the ground' in yet another lost COIN war will justify killing the MQ-9 as an 'F-16 Replacement'. Because they will be back to business as usual, preparing for phantom high intensity threats with major platform buys.

Whereas if they bought a **REAL UCAV**. One which had true naval/in weather basing mode options, functional LO and a 500 knot hard-target ingress capability and 15-17hr loiter at 250nm. So as to do -either- the COP CAS or the FDOW INT missions, you would 'suddenly' find that having an airforce of 1,000-1,500 airframes was possible. Whereas having a force of 750 F-35s (if we're lucky) will not cover all operational needs.

The sad part being that the tactical airpower elements of the USAF, USN and USMC _do not care_ about the defense of this nation. They care about perpetuating their own existence as a manned 'community' that is exclusive of all other, superior, solutions.

Some would call that the price of a warrior's loyalty. I call it treason for the amount of money it THROWS AWAY on a worthless square peg: round hole airpower solution.

And y'all know it's true or you wouldn't fight so hard against even /trying/ to see a program like J-UCAS through.


KPl.



posted on Jan, 5 2007 @ 05:07 PM
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ch1466, can you please, please, please learn to use the quote button! It would make reading your post's so much easier...



posted on Jan, 7 2007 @ 03:57 AM
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Maybe this video explains something link. It's an episode from Discovery channels show "future weapons". In the program they discuss stealth, first the M-107, then a german sub and last but not least the predator and what it brings to the table. Defenetly worth watching.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 01:09 PM
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I thisnk it is an amazing idea. Ya there arent that many planes that go down, but when they do get shot down one of our men may die. They are cheaper to make. And if a Reaper MQ-9 goes down we can make another one. If a manned airplane goes down, you cant replace or rebuild him/her.
So i give this idea a



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