posted on Feb, 13 2003 @ 03:18 AM
look what I found concerning Snowbird.
Date Posted: October 04, 2002
JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY - OCTOBER 09, 2002
USAF reveals vision for SensorCraft
MICHAEL SIRAK JDW Staff Reporter
The US Air Force (USAF) wants its next- generation unmanned high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform, dubbed
notionally the SensorCraft, to carry a
multitude of sensors, have 60h endurance and play a critical role in supporting attacks against difficult targets like stealthy cruise missiles and
mobile missile launchers.
Envisioned to replace the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV), the SensorCraft would carry electro-optical and infra-red
sensors, signals intelligence
payloads, synthetic aperture radar with air and ground moving-target indication capabilities and electronic attack packages, including electronic
counter-countermeasures. It could also
carry hyperspectral imagery equipment for missions like chemical agent detection. The aircraft would provide "360† multi-phenomena collection",
according to the service, and be capable
of mono-, bi- or multi-static operations.
Laser communication links would provide connections to satellites, while multi-platform common data link and radio frequency links connect with
airborne and ground assets in theatre.
Floyd Paul Johnson, special technical adviser at the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), said the system would augment ISR satellites and
lower-altitude airborne assets "with the
kind of sensor ubiquity necessary to prosecute time-critical targets, providing not just surveillance and reconnaissance but also fire control". He
spoke at a conference of the International
Quality and Productivity Center in Washington DC in September.
The AFRL began the SensorCraft programme in 1999 to mature a portfolio of technologies by 2009-13 that would allow the service to field a system
around 2015-17 (Jane's Defence
Weekly 16 January).
SensorCraft is a 'sensor-centric' concept. The air vehicle is built around the optimal mix of sensors, unlike traditional ISR platforms, which
integrate sensors onto existing platforms. The
AFRL says it envisions a diamond configuration with the sensors and radar arrays integrated structurally into the wings.
The lab envisions a highly advanced airframe that incorporates lightweight composite structures, swept-wing laminar flow and active aeroelastic wings.
These should save about 25% in
gross take-off weight compared with current platforms, Johnson said.
Two SensorCraft flying circle patterns with a 4,000nm combat radius could provide continuous coverage over great swaths of territory, enabling a
limited number of air vehicles operating
out of a few bases worldwide to assure global vigilance. The 60h endurance would include 36h loiter time and 12h each way from base to station.
In the nearer term, SensorCraft activities could provide technology spin-offs for programmes including the Global Hawk and the USAF's nascent
Multi-mission Command and Control
Aircraft. Its technologies could also lay the groundwork for micro UAVs that provide persistent presence in urban environments.
A diamond configuration is envisioned for the air vehicle, with the sensors and radar arrays integrated structurally into the wings
© 2002 Jane's Information Group
There is also a picture of this spy plane. Looks very similar to the Snowbird "UFO" mentioned in "Aircrafts" on this HP.
I try to upload the picture as soon as possible.
"Lever duar ues Slaav"