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Project Noctua & the Heron UAV - Interim capability to support Afghanistan Ops

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aesop081

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The Heron is a MALE UAV operating at up to 30 000 feet......you wont hear it. If you do it certainly wont be like the skidoo we have now.
 

Nfld Sapper

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UAV_bluesky.jpg


FEATURES
Multiple operational configurations
Adverse weather capability
Safe, reliable and easy operation
Simultaneous use of four mission sensors
Satellite communication for extended range (SATCOM)
Redundant Automatic Takeoff and Landing (ATOL) systems for maximal safety
Fully redundant, state-of-the-art avionics
Retractable landing gear for greater sensor visibility

SPECIFICATIONS

Endurance  > 24 hours
Range  > 200 Km
Altitude  30,000 ft
Maximum Take-off Weight  1,150 Kg
Maximum Payload Weight  250 Kg
Wing Span  16.60 m
Overall Length  8.50 m
Power plant  Rotax 914 (115 hp)
Speed  60-120 ktas
   
Payloads
Electro Optical (EO), Infrared (IR), Laser Pointer (LP)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)
Maritime Patrol Radar (MPR)
COMINT and ESM capability
Customer furnished sensor suites
Communication relay package
Integrated ATC Radio

   
Datalinks
Direct Line-of-Sight (LOS) datalink
UAV airborne data relay for beyond LOS missions
Ground-based data relay for beyond LOS missions
Satellite communication for beyond LOS missions

 

Bearpaw

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Does the Heron have some payload capacity to carry 1 or 2 Fireball mortar rounds that could be dropped as guided bombs?  I think that would go a long way to satisfying MG34's and I-6's complaints.  Just an idea!

Bearpaw
 

geo

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SPECIFICATIONS
Power plant  Rotax 914 (115 hp)


Heh... ROTAX... by Bombardier
 

Nfld Sapper

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geo said:
SPECIFICATIONS
Power plant   Rotax 914 (115 hp)


Heh... ROTAX... by Bombardier

Yeah but made in Austria,

Bombardier-Rotax GmbH and Company KG
International subsidiary
Postfach 5, Welserstr 32, Gunskirchen, , Austria
()43 07246 601 0, 43 07246 63 70 fax, http://www.rotax.bombardier.com
Primary SIC: Internal Combustion Engines, Not Elsewhere Classified, Primary NAICS: Other Engine Equipment Manufacturing
Description: Manufacturing: Manufacture of two stroke and four stroke petrol engines
 

KevinB

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AGM-114 hellfire only wieghs in at 108lbs for the LongBow Apache variant - a little less for others.

In theory you could get a few and a targeting pod  ;)
 

Wilfred828

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The Heron UAV deal was made because it was available to us in the timeframe we needed IOT replace the Sperwer.

True and not true. The move to replace Sperwer began in earnest in 2005 during the first lease deal, which if it had gone through, probably would have been for the Heron as well. Going with another lease two years later that [perhaps not so] coincidentally reached the same conclusion was the end result of indecision and frequent redirection. In other words, a failure of both vision and leadership.
 

daftandbarmy

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MG34 said:
Also brings up the question how does an unarmed vehicle fix an enemy in position to allow other assets to spool up?

Just about every foot patrol we ran in downtown Belfast had an AAC Gazelle, with 2 x crewmembers in it, hovering overhead providing top cover. They didn't have weapons, just good observation skills. They were able to help deter dozens (according to the int weenies) of attacks on our patrols, and provided excellent coordination for any follow up/ hot pursuit required by ground units. I think many police forces use the same techniques with their helicopter assets.

IMO, UAVs would be even better in many ways because you can run them much longer, and for less $, than an observation helicopter. Unfortunately you can't take 'joy rides' in a UAV though...  :(





 
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MG34

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I would bet even money that attackers would have been destroyed had the Gazelles been armed, and in a standby position waiting to be called in ,deterrence is no way to win a war.
 

daftandbarmy

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MG34 said:
I would bet even money that attackers would have been destroyed had the Gazelles been armed, and in a standby position waiting to be called in ,deterrence is no way to win a war.

Well, one purpose behind deterrence was to force the terrorists into patterns which could then be exploited by covert agencies. Of course, this also allowed us the opportunity to reintroduce the police to the population without fear of them getting zapped. Being good 'bad guys' the IRA targetted the police, wanting to make sure that the 'military occupation' continued for as long as possible, which in turn gave them more leverage for funding in the US, as well as garnering support from local populations (who they basically intimidated into compliance anyways). And of course the Protestant paramilitaries had similar goals.

Bottom line: more deterrance = less shooting = faster return to normalcy and what is paradoxically known as an 'acceptable level of violence'.

And a chopper hovering 1000ft overhead with a big honking flashlight when you're going down dark alleyways in sniper-land saved me a few changes of shreddies too.





 

McG

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MG34 said:
… deterrence is no way to win a war.
Of course, our doctrine (which bares remarkable resemblance to that of the Marines in a nation who’s military many would like to emulate) points out that counter-insurgency is not won through military means.  Rather, military means provide the stability/security that enable all the other government agencies the freedom to win.  To this end, if deterrence can contribute to stability (and save lives) then it does contribute to winning the counter insurgency war.    …. But that’s a tangent.  The Heron UAV was not bought to deter but to see.

Your previous argument in this thread (that a UAV with no ability to strike was of no value) was based on assumptions that were completely untrue (the Heron is not a noisy skidoo like the Sperwer).  When challenged on this you huffed & puffed and launched into the personal attacks while claiming to be done here (popped smoke & withdrew).  Despite that, you are back and still seem interested.  So, I will try again.  It seems you have either missed or ignored a rather important message that has been repeated in this thread:
SeaKingTacco said:
There is another UAV project still on the books for the "permanent" UAV solution for the CF- one that will give service both overseas and in Canada.  This particular UAV is meant only to get us through Afghanistan.  Hopefully, by 2012-2014 we will have the final product on the ramp.
CDN Aviator said:
Canada couldnt have gotten the Pred-B even if it wanted to. Complete production is spoken for.
CDN Aviator said:
Our mandate in Afghanistan will be long over before we would get our turn for the MQ-9 reaper.
SeaKingTacco said:
... there are two UAV projects in the Air Force- NOCTUA and JUSTAS.

NOCTUA was just awarded and is only meant to really get us through the rest of Afghanistan.

JUSTAS will be the permanent addition of UAVs to the CF inventory.
CDN Aviator said:
The Heron UAV deal was made because it was available to us in the timeframe we needed IOT replace the Sperwer. This is NOT the final UAV for the Canadian Forces. For all of you in the "well theres much better out there " crowd....well....yeah we know. But we needed something that was deliverable now...not 2 years from now.
It has also been pointed out (even in this thread) that Sperwer will not remain sustainable.  Neither Predator nor Reapor can be delivered now (and we have a need now), but they can (and still might be) delivered in a handful of years.  Heron (while it may only be the 70% solution) is available now.

So go ahead and insist that the final CF UAV should have the ability to strike (because it should have that ability).  However, don’t attack the current buy through pretending it was an option between Heron & something armed.  The troops in Afghanistan need something and the choice was to give them something that can see but not strike, or to give them nothing.


 
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MG34

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Gone to PM as you obviously don't understand what I am saying
 

Wilfred828

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Canada couldn't have gotten the Pred-B even if it wanted to. Complete production is spoken for.

Wow! I'm tired of seeing this. This statement is simply not true. Every year since 2006, the Americans have offered to make available a Predator or Reaper system, training, and in-theatre maintenance support alongside their operations at KAF. That includes yet another offer for Reaper earlier this year that would have had CF-flagged Reapers in KAF by the end of 2008, even before Noctua!  Senior DND leadership folded, thinking that the government wouldn't support the effort. That Predator/Reaper "weren't available" is used by some as an excuse to hide the fact that the Air Force was forced to compete the requirement instead of going for the sure thing through a Foreign Military Sales case.  -W
 

geo

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I believe our politicos do not want an Offensive capable UAV...
 

Eye In The Sky

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geo said:
I believe our politicos do not want an Offensive capable UAV...

Agreed, that is NOT the type of kit a nation of peacekeepers uses!  :tsktsk:

It would be too "american" or something.
 

McG

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Wilfred828 said:
Wow! I'm tired of seeing this. This statement is simply not true. Every year since 2006, the Americans have offered to make available a Predator or Reaper system, training, and in-theatre maintenance support alongside their operations at KAF. That includes yet another offer for Reaper earlier this year that would have had CF-flagged Reapers in KAF by the end of 2008, even before Noctua!
Surprising position as all publicly available information seems to contradict you.  In fact (as seen at the start of this thread and here: http://www.casr.ca/doc-loi-noctua-uav.htm), the manufacture identifies its primary reason for not bidding the Predator was that the required delivery was too quick and the late penalties too expensive.

Wilfred828 said:
Senior DND leadership folded, thinking that the government wouldn't support the effort.
Another bit that does not seem to fit the publicly available information.  In other threads (http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/60171.0/all.html) and over at CASR (http://www.casr.ca/doc-loi-noctua-uav.htm) all the information points to cabinet as the source of the decision to compete.  That’s a few levels above senior DND leadership.  In any case, if it is not possible for Predators to be made available on time through a competitive process, I cannot see how sole-sourcing would have made aircraft suddenly appear. 

I’m not familiar with you and you are relatively new to the site.  It makes it hard to judge credibility or assess what information sources you might be connected to.  If you’ve got a line on better information, than the people here connected to project staff, then maybe you’d like to share that source.  It could certainly change the direction of the discussion.

Infidel-6 said:
AGM-114 hellfire only wieghs in at 108lbs for the LongBow Apache variant - a little less for others.

In theory you could get a few and a targeting pod  ;)
It may be feasible, but delivery would be pushed off for another 1-2 years as engineers & bureaucrats went about looking into electromagnetic compatibility, platform power budgeting, systems integration engineering, air worthiness, ammunition safety & suitability, and a handful of other tests & certifications.  In the end, Noctua could end-up delivering the 80% solution at the same time that Justas starts bringing online the 90-95% solution.

MG34 said:
Gone to PM as you obviously don't understand what I am saying
After the PMs, I’m still not sure I understand and I don’t think that’s going to change.  You are not disputing that there may have been limited options and you in fact do not care which options were available at the time of the decision.  You feel we settled for the Heron, which you see as significantly below the capability required.  But, if Heron was the best option on the table to meet our needs now, what did we settle from?  Is the partial solution on time not better than the ideal solution after the fact?

I do not agree that an unarmed UAV is useless, but do agree it is less useful.  On that premise, I cannot understand objecting to an unarmed UAV as a temporary band-aid solution if that UAV is the best option available at the time it is needed.
 

STA Gunner

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MG34 said:
I agree 100% if the UAV is not capable of destroying the tgt it sees it is of no value to the ground forces, yes early warning is nice but a Hellfire or 2 is much better. Once again the CF drops the ball.

Say that to the troops on the ground being overwatched by ScanEagle.  Unarmed, yet indispensible.

 

Wilfred828

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Rule #1: never reveal sources who don't want to be quoted.

Only JUSTAS was killed by Cabinet in 2007.  There were high-level discussions (senior DND, even ministerial) about delivering a Reaper system to KAF by the end of 2008 through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case with the USAF. This would have been in addition to Noctua. The USAF said it was feasible for both kit and crew training, with the CF pitching up at Creech AFB (Nevada) to fly missions alongside the USAF and RAF. Collective training was out of the question, however. This effort was killed by senior DND leadership.  Competition was probably a factor in the decision as CH-47 and small UAV were both FMS or sole source, as was the total dollar figure of all the Manley Panel efforts, and God only knows what all else. In all fairness, though, we didn't (and don't) have the people to do both Noctua and a Reaper purchase for KAF. 

As for schedule, keep in mind FMS isn't a commercial contract. The USAF bent over backwards to help the RAF field Reaper in around 12 months and would have done the same for us, or better if they learned anything from their work with the Brits.
 
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