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AUVSI: USN to designate UCLASS before end of fiscal year

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posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 04:11 PM
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UCLASS to get its designation by the end of the year!

Well, here is the article.


The US Navy revealed at the show yesterday it expects to announce a name and designation for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft before the end of the fiscal year, in a move that appears aimed at putting the program onto a more secure footing.


www.flightglobal.com...

I'm surprised this hasn't been picked up by the boards yet.

edit on 9-11-2013 by Astr0 because: Clarity edit




posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 04:22 PM
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UCLASS has gone from a potentially game changing weapon system, to a joke. It's clear that the military higher ups have no clue what to do with UAVS.

The current requirements call for (and I really can't make this crap up) a Predator that doesn't require basing rights in friendly countries.

It's gone from a long range stealthy strike platform, capable of surviving in contested airspace, to a vehicle that can't even make it to contested airspace, let alone survive in it.



posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:03 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Perhaps something else is doing a better job?



posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:06 PM
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reply to post by Stealthbomber
 


Not for the Navy, that I've heard of. The Navy is on the late side of the UAV/UCAV program, and still has no idea what to do with them (even worse than everyone else).

They're even slightly behind on stealthy aircraft, due to the carrier requirement. It's not easy to convert something to carrier capable and keep it stealthy.
edit on 11/9/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 07:19 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Lockheed and Northrop Grumman gave the USN their full attention, but, as they are prone to, the Fighter Mafia I fear squashed what would of been a transformational system into a mere Reaper with a jet engine joke.

The USN now has the same 'reach' as it did in 1950s. Great progress.



posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 07:24 AM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


The problem isn't them, it's commanders that have no clue how to handle them. There were seven Predator crashes in Iraq, due to contaminated fuel. A commander ordered the fuel stored in drums sitting out in the sun.

Other times, even though the winds were too high to safely fly, and they informed commanders of this, they were ordered to take off, because as one operator put it, they "have great cameras the guys on the ground need". High winds or not, Safety of Flight issue or not, they were ordered to take off.

Commanders now, barely even realize that UAVs exist, let alone what they can and can't do. If this was a manned program, they'd be negligent not to learn about it, but because they are unmanned, no one cares.



posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 10:26 PM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


you mean eddie or tinman just kidding



posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 08:21 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Is this a problem that is recognized by any one in the military chain of command that can do something about it?
I realize that the ones giving the order to the drone operators view the UAV as an expendable asset but that's a lot of waste for the tax payer. In the end if the system fails to provide the support to boots on the ground and people get killed then the higher ups just see the UAV as a liability and not utilize them as they should, even when it was their ineptness that caused the failure in the first place.



posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 09:32 AM
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Zaphod58
Other times, even though the winds were too high to safely fly, and they informed commanders of this, they were ordered to take off, because as one operator put it, they "have great cameras the guys on the ground need". High winds or not, Safety of Flight issue or not, they were ordered to take off.


Depending on the situation with the boots on the ground, I wouldn't blame anyone for putting up a potentially game-breaking asset in dicey conditions. It's not like manned aircraft haven't sortied in extremely adverse conditions, and here you're only going to prang a shiny toy. And we'll always have occasional problems like the fuel contamination until they figure out how to vaccinate against stupid.


I'm going to rock the boat and say they made the right decision on UCLASS. The risks involved in the UCLASS program stood to make the F-35 program look conservative. They wanted the complexity/multirole abilities of the F-35 in a carrier capable UCAV. It was too ambitious. The program would have been delayed and over budget. Even the (relatively) simpler F-35 has taken twenty years to field, and we're not really that close to anything more than notional operational capability with it. They'd need to make a comparable UCAV and develop a completely autonomous carrier landing system for it... It's begging for trouble.

Instead they get their feet wet with something like the Sea Avenger. Let the technology mature, and let your people become familiar with operations and then double-down on the ambitious X-47C style UCAV.

The demand right now is for persistent ISR. Everyone, everywhere wants it, and they want it yesterday. There aren't enough airframes to go around. The big UCAV envisioned by the original requirements doesn't add anything to the fleet the F-35 won't, and the F-35 is much closer to operations. In the meantime, nothing is fulfilling the ISR role off a carrier deck bar the E-2, which is providing a different specific mission than something in the class of BAMS or Sea Avenger.

Get it out there, put it to sea, and let your people get in the swing of things with it. Get the valuable experience, work out the kinks with JPALS or whatever similar system is getting used, and fulfill a real operational need at the same time. THEN go after the deep-strike, big-money program to supplement the F-35.



posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 10:05 AM
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reply to post by _Del_
 


Some of the times I don't blame them either. But others I've read about are things that are just insane, and they aren't interested in learning about them.

UCLASS could have been so much more than just a Predator on a ship, without being the risky program you talk about though. There are UAVs in the pipeline that could have been adapted to the Navy, fairly low risk, that would give them more capabilities than the UCLASS calls for. To completely gut it like they did, and make it almost useless is almost something the Air Force would do.



posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 11:54 PM
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Zaphod58
UCLASS could have been so much more than just a Predator on a ship, without being the risky program you talk about though. There are UAVs in the pipeline that could have been adapted to the Navy, fairly low risk, that would give them more capabilities than the UCLASS calls for.


I don't see it. I see the choice as 25xSea Avenger (or whatever equivalent, I'm just using it because it seems to fit the new requirement so well) available within the next 2-3 years fulfilling an urgent need in every theatre OR 1 stealthy, unmanned A-6 replacement available 20 years from now. And that's probably conservative (unit cost alone is probably 10x1).

General Atomics could probably cut metal tomorrow. There will be teething problems and hiccups, but the hard work is done. And you could be flying operationally in the next 36 months. A new build, even some navalized bastard of a UAV still in development, is not going to be ready for another six or seven years minimum. And time is money -- all those engineers and programmers and managers on the project get paid by the hour. The more "revolutionary" the capability offered, the longer it will take the fleet to get them.

And the Avenger isn't "just a Predator" -- it's a pretty big upgrade from the Predator, despite the family history. It's like saying the P-47N was "just a P-35 or P-43".

This is definitely a punt, but it doesn't look like a difficult decision for a command involved in several low-intensity conflicts with a high demand for ISR. The Navy is in the business of sea control and support of combined arms operations. You cannot do either without ISR. JCS has half a dozen different and better ways to deliver ordinance into heavily defended airspace. It doesn't have enough ISR and has a urgent need for more. It's a no-brainer, especially if you're the sort that works in an office with no windows at the Puzzle Palace and you spend your day counting beans.





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