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RCAF Authorities / Future Unmanned Aircraft for RCAF

Kirkhill

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The good news is that the Air Force already has 3,700 officers so we really don't need any more than we're paying now. We just need to winkle them out of the cubicles that they are hiding in.

🙂
If they already have a cubicle with a screen then don't they just need joysticks? Or do they have those already as well?
 

SupersonicMax

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The good news is that the Air Force already has 3,700 officers so we really don't need any more than we're paying now. We just need to winkle them out of the cubicles that they are hiding in.

🙂
Not sure where all those people are hiding but we were unable to fill all our hard fighter pilot staff billets this year...
 

FJAG

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Not sure where all those people are hiding but we were unable to fill all our hard fighter pilot staff billets this year...
Scour the halls of Ottawa and Winnipeg. I'm sure you'll find a few.

There are some 676 majors and 2,030 captains//captain/lieutenants on your establishment. (which by the way is more than the 671 majors and 1,898 captains//captains/lieutenants the Army has) (Full disclosure, my data is two years old but probably hasn't changed much)

🙂
 

dimsum

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But all things being equal, you should be able to train several UAV operators for the cost of training one afterburner jockey. The airframes should be less costly and if you loose one you don't loose an afterburner jockey with it. In fact many of your drones could very well be one-trip-munition vehicles designed to suicide on the target or alternatively just release a precision guided weapon near the target. To get back to another thread, you could probably train NCOs to pilot remote munitions and no longer need to worry about the pilot attrition rate 🙂

There are endless possibilities here limited only by our imagination. And yes, in mine there are still roles for fighter jocks.

🍻
That's the thing, UAVs (RPAs, whatever) are not one thing. There are multiple categories that range from your Quadcopter drone to a Global Hawk, which has a larger wingspan than a 737. We don't just say "airplane" - licensing defines recreational, ultralight, light single engine, twin engine, jet, etc etc.

So, the requirements for UAV operators really varies if you're flying something that's 25kg, or a Global Hawk. Why wouldn't someone who flies a Global Hawk or Reaper (which is not a small aircraft) need something equivalent to a Pilot's license? Those things are as big, or bigger, than many light civilian aircraft whose operators need a Pilot's license.
 

FJAG

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That's the thing, UAVs (RPAs, whatever) are not one thing. There are multiple categories that range from your Quadcopter drone to a Global Hawk, which has a larger wingspan than a 737. We don't just say "airplane" - licensing defines recreational, ultralight, light single engine, twin engine, jet, etc etc.

So, the requirements for UAV operators really varies if you're flying something that's 25kg, or a Global Hawk. Why wouldn't someone who flies a Global Hawk or Reaper (which is not a small aircraft) need something equivalent to a Pilot's license? Those things are as big, or bigger, than many light civilian aircraft whose operators need a Pilot's license.
Understood Dimsum. And let me start off by saying that your knowledge and experience on the subject far exceeds mine. I've been delving deep into the history of the formation of a UAV troop for Op Athena 1 ROTO 0 recently so I've got some opinionated views at least on the tactical UAV level.

I thought the thread's discussion related to RCAF level UAVs, RPAs etc etc and not the tactical level ones so my comments were in respect to those and I never contemplated not having a "pilot". I'm just saying you don't need one qualified and trained to the level of your typical jet jockey or even a transport pilot. There are dozens of things that those guys need to deal with "on the fly" so to speak that requires both training, talent and endurance. While flying UAVs and RPVs also require some piloting skills its not on the same level.

It may interest you to know that the bombardiers and master bombardiers who flew the Sperwers on ROTO 0 also went through a certified three month flight school program before being trained for another three months on the UAV itself. The RCAF imposed a pilot or navigator to sit in the control module with the crew to oversee "air worthiness" but in effect the gunners, under the supervision of their sergeant mission commander launched, flew and recovered the aircraft which weighs in at some 700 pounds, had a twelve foot wingspan and cruised up to 16,000 feet. It was the size, ceiling and nearby airport that made the RCAF nervous (or maybe it was the fact that the Army got a bunch of cash to buy Sperwers on a UAV in a matter of three months)

There's no doubt in my mind that the guy who flies a Raven B doesn't need anywhere near as much training as those Sperwer operators did and that anyone who flies a Reaper should have more. But none of them need the same degree of training as someone who flies an F-18 or F-35 or C-17. Neither do they need the same rank nor compensation package. That was my point: the RCAF is locked into the mentality that unless you are a pilot trained captain receiving flight pay you have no business operating an airframe. The fact of the matter is that there are pilots and then there are pilots. We need to keep the training and rank and compensation commensurate to the task at hand. Guys who fly suicide drones, do not need to be RCAF fully qualified pilots (they don't need to be RCAF at all) neither do most tactical UAVs and quite probably some of the more esoteric aerial guided weapon systems (hell we launch precision munitions by cannon, why not guided/piloted winged ones from a HIMARS?) The technology is getting spectacular and its time to set some paradigms aside and think differently about who does what and whether they get to collect flight pay and sleep in hotels.

🍻
 

rnkelly

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I always thought that the rcaf got called in for the Sperwer to fix issues. Ie; crashes, airspace violations etc.
Is this revisionist history or is there some truth to that?
 

PuckChaser

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I think any aircraft (manned or unmanned) falls under RCAF Flight Safety, so they would handle those investigations.
 

SupersonicMax

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I think any aircraft (manned or unmanned) falls under RCAF Flight Safety, so they would handle those investigations.
There are many residual authorities that fall under the RCAF regardless of who operates an aircraft. They are:

Doctrine
Aircrew training and standards
Flight Safety
Operational Airworthiness
Technical Airworthiness
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I am not completely convinced, SSM.

I full agree with your last three: They should remain under the RCAF.

But I seriously doubt the first one. As indicated before, there are multiples RPA's with huge differences in scope, sizes and capabilities that don't make for one size fits all solutions.

For instance, why should the RCAF have any doctrinal input into a small field deployed quadcopter used by infantry to get a look over the next ridge? Similarly, why should the RCAF have any doctrinal input into the naval employment of smaller shipboard RPA's whose main purpose is to extend the sensor horizon, or carry out ship's identification, or would the RCAF know how to use such RPA for, say, a hot pursuit of vessels of interest? This seem to me to fall under doctrine that should come from the Army or the RCN.

As for Aircrew training and standards, again I believe it depends on what you consider to be an Aircrew. On the civilian side of things, Transport Canada issues licenses for "drone" operators - but they don't call those pilot's licenses. If you consider certain RPA's, such as the ones in my doctrine examples, to be closer to "civilian drones" than actual "airplanes", I don't see what the need would be for the RCAF to be involved in crew training and standards. The RCN or Army, as the case may be, are perfectly capable of training the operators and overseeing the standards to be met and maintained.

Of course, in the RCN, we have the advantage of deploying with Airdets that are already RCAF, so it is a much more theoretical discussion since they would most likely operate both the shipboard airframes and RPA's.
 

dapaterson

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Of course, in the RCN, we have the advantage of deploying with Airdets that are already RCAF, so it is a much more theoretical discussion since they would most likely operate both the shipboard airframes and RPA's.

And be given fewer bedspaces because "they don't need pilots" and try to be tagged with extra duties because "since they're not pilots they don't need crew rest" and many other types of NWO genius...
 

Kirkhill

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Further to the OGBD - SSM Doctrine discussion

1615049650549.png

Where in the RCAF spectrum would the Black Hornet fit?
Used by a ABCANZUS troops.
When the kit was issued (after less than a day's instruction) the troops immediately started experimenting and developed their own TTPs.

The battery was only used to power the blades to hop from one perch to another. The 30 min life of the NUAV was extended by going quiet and just letting the EO package operate while acting as an OP.

And how about this one


67da7df96b9f4bf80ca79ae9b5927f32

Scientists attached an electronic backpack to a genetically modified dragonfly and turned it into a drone​

 

YZT580

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Transport Canada only gets involved when certain weight, altitude or distance flown limits are exceeded. Most of the navy or army applications such as over the horizon scouting described previously are below the limits. If Transport doesn't need to be involved I don't see any need for Air Force input. RC aircraft have been around for decades with no requirements for licensing or training for that matter. Drones are really not much different until they get up to altitudes where gen. av. could be adversely affected or where there is a risk of third party injury/property damage. Since battlefield applications would preclude the presence of civ.av. again why require the skills and costs of a qualified pilot?
 

Kirkhill

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In 2016 Nammo reached a significant milestone in the development program when the 155 mm IM HE-ER completed its qualification trials. This followed an extensive test program that included environmental, transportation and firing tests.

Such testing is a complex and rigorous process, and requires access to highly specialized test areas. During the maximum range test, when fired over the important benchmark range of 40 km at sea level, parts of the airspace over southern Sweden had to be closed off as the shells reached over 16 000 meters (more than 50 000 feet) into the air in less than a minute. By comparison, most airliners fly at altitudes between 30 and 40 000 feet.


And what is the ceiling for an M31 GMLRS unitary warhead missile? Or as I like to think of it - a single use UAV. Is it a large, medium or small UAV?

Is the RCA flying in RCAF airspace? Or is the RCAF flying in RCA airspace?

Is Excalibur a cannon-launched UAV?
 

FJAG

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And what is the ceiling for an M31 GMLRS unitary warhead missile? Or as I like to think of it - a single use UAV. Is it a large, medium or small UAV?

Is the RCA flying in RCAF airspace? Or is the RCAF flying in RCA airspace?

Is Excalibur a cannon-launched UAV?
Finding unclassified data as to the maximum ordinate of the MLRS or HIMARS is very hard. Add to that even guided or GPS based artillery projectiles are fired at higher angles to result in plunging and more accurate fire through lower probable errors and that everyone is striving for longer ranges for depth fires and hence higher maximum ordinates and one can easily see that the problem is compounding itself rather than lessening.

Back in the 1960s and 70s when helicopters in large numbers and tactical air was first introduced in Vietnam at an industrial scale, we practiced all types of coordination measures to minimize accidental air space conflicts. In Canada, as Vietnam faded in the rear view mirror we gave much of that up in practice for a concept called "big sky; little bullet" which in essence was a risk acceptance theory that basically said "let's face it folks, the chance of an aircraft and a projectile converging on the same spot is really, really small and limited to very, very narrow circumstances".

In our more modern risk averse world we're back to much greater management of that air space which is evidenced by the fact that the only element of Canada's air defence artillery which still exists is the Air Space Control Centre (ASCC) which now performs a much broader function then it did in its pure air defence role.

Honestly, as far as tactical air is concerned, the RCAF is operating in the Army's air space (especially if we do field GBAD at some point in the future). The vast number of non-transport missions performed by the RCAF are in support of the Army within the Army's AO. The RCAF has no role within that air space without the Army's specific request (whether by specific mission or as general support).

One of the big problems we have in this discussion is that considering that it's peacetime everyone is mightily concerned about an accidental incident between a friendly round and a friendly aircraft. There is a massive paradigm shift at the point that the enemy starts shooting back at the Army with various airframes and at the air force with numerous antiaircraft systems. We will no longer be operating in the permissive air environment that we've been assuming and operating in for the last half century. At that point air space management takes on a whole new meaning that we seem to be mostly ignoring at the moment. Maybe a form of "Big sky; little bullet" will be making a comeback for everyone except the air defenders (if we ever get any again)

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Colin Parkinson

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With the high end recreational drones like the Phantom 4, you don`t fly it, you direct it where to go, they already come with geographic fencing to keep them away from restricted airspace. The technology continues to improve and at some point I can see where civil aviation is restricted from flying below a certain altitude as drone operations (that is the civy lingo) become to economically important to allow manned flight to interfere with it. Transport Canada Civil Aviation is slow on the uptake as they are all pilots and are uncomfortable with the fact that in the future, most civil commercial drone operations will have little to no human control. (imagine a cargo drone air route between two courier depots or hospitals moving packages/samples)
I quite like the separation of responsibility, based on size/range/altitude. Each Reserve Artillery unit can have a UAV troop and it likely would be popular with the young troops who will likely adapt and trial methods far faster than the military is accustomed to. You can also tag Service Battalions with larger cargo drones to resupply units and a pickup truck with a shelter on the back and a couple of techs to repair and support small UAV.
 

SupersonicMax

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I am not completely convinced, SSM.

I full agree with your last three: They should remain under the RCAF.

But I seriously doubt the first one. As indicated before, there are multiples RPA's with huge differences in scope, sizes and capabilities that don't make for one size fits all solutions.

For instance, why should the RCAF have any doctrinal input into a small field deployed quadcopter used by infantry to get a look over the next ridge? Similarly, why should the RCAF have any doctrinal input into the naval employment of smaller shipboard RPA's whose main purpose is to extend the sensor horizon, or carry out ship's identification, or would the RCAF know how to use such RPA for, say, a hot pursuit of vessels of interest? This seem to me to fall under doctrine that should come from the Army or the RCN.

As for Aircrew training and standards, again I believe it depends on what you consider to be an Aircrew. On the civilian side of things, Transport Canada issues licenses for "drone" operators - but they don't call those pilot's licenses. If you consider certain RPA's, such as the ones in my doctrine examples, to be closer to "civilian drones" than actual "airplanes", I don't see what the need would be for the RCAF to be involved in crew training and standards. The RCN or Army, as the case may be, are perfectly capable of training the operators and overseeing the standards to be met and maintained.

Of course, in the RCN, we have the advantage of deploying with Airdets that are already RCAF, so it is a much more theoretical discussion since they would most likely operate both the shipboard airframes and RPA's.
It is in RCAF doctrine, available here: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2018/mdn-dnd/D2-393-1-2018-eng.pdf

See page 8
 

SupersonicMax

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Honestly, as far as tactical air is concerned, the RCAF is operating in the Army's air space (especially if we do field GBAD at some point in the future). The vast number of non-transport missions performed by the RCAF are in support of the Army within the Army's AO. The RCAF has no role within that air space without the Army's specific request (whether by specific mission or as general support)
Not true. We, more often than not, operate in airspace nowhere near land forces. Also, by doctrine (be it Canadian, NATO or US), airspace (and all air assets, in some cases less helos in direct support of a maneuver force) is controlled by airpower. They apportion aircraft and airspace to the Army. Not the other way around. This ensures that all assets are deconflicted and that all effects are coordinated. Airpower does a lot more than supporting the Army.
 
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