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Costly Drone Is Poised to Replace U-2 Spy Plane

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posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 01:40 AM
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Costly Drone Is Poised to Replace U-2 Spy Plane


www.nytimes.com

The Air Force decided last month to stick with its $12 billion Global Hawk program, betting that the unmanned drone can replicate the aging U-2’s ability to sweep up a broad mix of intelligence from commanding heights, and do it more safely and for much longer stretches than the piloted U-2. The Navy is also onboard, with plans to spend $11 billion on a version that could patrol vast ocean areas.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 01:40 AM
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Is it a question of money? That is truly a concern, especially at this moment. Whatever we spend it should be well worth the price.


And in an era in which remotely piloted planes are seen as relatively cheap and easy solutions, the Global Hawk has become the Escalade of drones, the gold-plated one that nearly broke the bank.

“The Global Hawk is a very impressive product, but it is also a very expensive product,” said Richard L. Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at the Teal Group, a consultancy in Fairfax, Va. “Those U-2s were paid for a long time ago.”


We have to keep up with the times. Drones don't have the limitations manned flights require. They are safer and more efficient. Are they ready?


Pentagon tests also suggested last fall that the new Air Force model was not reliable enough to provide sustained surveillance. Parts failed frequently, and the equipment for intercepting telephone and radio conversations, a vital requirement for replacing the U-2, had trouble pinpointing the source of the calls.

Congress has said it will not approve any shift that would leave significant intelligence gaps. Mr. Aboulafia, the aviation analyst, said cuts in the military budget could also slow the transition. And critics of the military’s contracting practices say that instead of revamping the Global Hawk project, the Pentagon should have tabled it until all the technology was ready.


Why now then?

www.nytimes.com
(visit the link for the full news article)


edit on 3-8-2011 by Erongaricuaro because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 01:50 AM
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I don't know what to say to this other than "I dislike drones as a whole."

If you're willing to take a life, you should be willing to give on.

Not to mention, it's much easier to sway Americans if the news reports:
An unmanned drone was shot down over China on a reconnaissance mission.
vs
A USAF pilot was shot down over China on a spy mission and was killed.

I see no difference in the two except for the fact that the drone incident would be more likely to be brushed off without a care in the world.

In fact, this just happened in Iran with one of our drones. But anyway, I'm going off on a tangent...



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 04:11 AM
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Just a FYI, both the U-2 and GH are not armed.

So much of the GH is COTS, that I find it hard to believe the cost exceeds $200 million per copy. IIRC, the initial price was about $50 million.



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 04:15 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 


If that FYI was for me, I'm aware.

I just meant "as a whole"



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 05:54 AM
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If they don't fit those drones with TCAS I fear the worst in plane crashes and cover-ups in the future,

GM



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 08:48 AM
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reply to post by Grey Magic
 


I believe there will be some collision avoidance systems aboard, primarily due to the liklihood of a drone to "stray" off-course and violate airspace. I'm sure the designers thought of that.



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by Grey Magic
 


The GH flies high enough that there are no other planes with which to collide.



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by Grey Magic
 


Yeah it doesn't make sense at all that they wouldn't have TCAS or IFF or something of the sort.

Were you just stating that or is that the case with drones? That would be incredibly irresponsible.



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 06:49 PM
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reply to post by SpringHeeledJack
 


These drones have a full set of instrumentation. The real issue is with LOS (loss of signal). A Predator is very dumb without the pilot on the ground. With LOS, it just orbits. One orbited into the side of a mountain near Creech.

The GH is far smarter than your average UAV. It has flown from runway to runway between Edwards and Australia without human control. That is, it is capable of autonomous flight.

A RPV (remotely piloted vehicle) can be controlled from ground or satellite. The delay on the satellite makes control very difficult. I wouldn't bet on a predator or reaper getting in a dog fight and winning.



posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 10:04 PM
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I can not believe how pathetic the American weapons makers are.
They All ways mess up what they make.
All ways late. And Never does what it say’s on the box.
It seems like it is just to spend Lots of money.



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