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RCAF Authorities / Future Unmanned Aircraft for RCAF

Meanwhile in US:

Pentagon Unveils Details On Effort To Equip Its Services With Massive Swarms Of Deadly Drones​

The Pentagon has quietly laid critical groundwork for fielding weaponized swarms of drones across all of the services.​

The Pentagon has announced that one of its offices has completed planned research and development work on a number of unmanned swarming technologies and has now turned them over to the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps to support various follow-on programs. The systems in question are the Block 3 version of Raytheon's Coyote unmanned aircraft and an associated launcher, a jam-resistant datalink, and a software package to enable the aforementioned drones to operate as an autonomous swarm. These developments give us a glimpse into what has been a fairly opaque, integrated development effort to field lower-end swarming drones across the services that leverages common components.

All of these technologies were developed under the auspices of the Low-Cost Cruise Missile (LCCM) effort, led by the Pentagon's Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program office. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) were also directly involved in the project, which dates back at least to 2017. While Raytheon led the development of the Coyote and its launcher, L3Harris was the prime contractor for the datalink, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology headed up work on the "autonomy software module."..

Readily available details about the LCCM project are limited. It "provides a decentralized autonomy capability for low-cost, conventional air-launched cruise missiles that will enable joint access and maneuver in the global commons," according to the Pentagon's 2019 Fiscal Year budget request "It will be capable of conducting networked integrated attacks, in-flight dynamic retargeting/reallocation and synchronized cooperative/saturation attacks."

"Flight demonstrations will be conducted using surrogate weapon platforms and will provide residual leave-behind payloads for transition to a full weapon system development program," it continued. "FY 2017 funds were used to begin production of LCCM air vehicles."..

Thanks Mark

Related -


Joe Cione of NOAA with a Coyote
Aero-stub img.svgThis aircraft article is missing some (or all) of its specifications. If you have a source, you can help Wikipedia by adding them.
  • Airspeed: 55 knots (102 km/h) cruise, 70 knots (130 km/h) kts dash[18]
  • Deployment altitude: up to 30,000 feet (9,100 m) MSL (in non-icing conditions)
  • Comms range: 50 nautical miles (93 km) (May 2016); 70 nautical miles (130 km) (ground test October 2016)
  • Endurance: 1 hr+ @ cruise (May 2016); 2h (2017)
  • Weight: 13 pounds (5.9 kg)
  • Length: 36 inches (0.91 m) [19]
  • Wingspan: 58 inches (1.5 m)
  • Cost: $20,000 per drone [20]
On 28 February 2021, Raytheon received a contract from the U.S. Navy for the Coyote Block 3 to provide an ISR and strike capability when launched from unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs)

And once again.... we are talking Raytheon.

How do these things fit into RCA/RCN/RCAF plans?
Do you use a missile to shoot down a loitering munition that doesn't cost much more than the missile you're shooting?
It's not the cost of the loitering munition that counts, but the amount and cost of damage that it could cause.
It's not the cost of the loitering munition that counts, but the amount and cost of damage that it could cause.
Absolutely true. In the case of the Coyote mentioned by Kirkhill above, the cost of the unit is only $20,000 but you may be willing to spend quite a bit more than that to protect a vehicle worth millions of dollars (not to mention the troops inside).

However, if you're shooting down these $20k munitions with a $40k missile (Wikipedia cost for a Stinger missile) do you not risk running out of money for Stingers before your enemy runs out of money for UAVs?

The disparity of cost between arrow and shield I think does need to be a factor in determining how you deal with these new types of weapons.
It's not the cost of the loitering munition that counts, but the amount and cost of damage that it could cause.
Well, kind of, but initially the cost of the munition creates a trade off of how many of those you can purchase and may effect the cost of what has to be left out of the inventory. We've been casting off capabilities for decades now because we cannot afford to maintain them in light of the cost of new weapon systems. For example my understanding is that we lost the ADATS in large part because we could not afford the upgraded missiles required.

On top of that there is little to be gained my taking out an $1,000 82mm mortar with a $100,000 Excalibur round. That equation gets modified of course if that mortar was about to take out one of your rifle sections.

The question is not so much whether that missile cost more than the loitering munition, but once having used that missile will you be short of missiles to deal with the more destructive fighter jet following it up. Let's not forget that Canadian artillery used far fewer Excaliburs per mission in Afghanistan than the US Marines primarily because we simply didn't have as many to use. And that was a relatively leisurely war where the logistics system ought to be able to easily keep up with expenditures. Conflicts on a higher scale would have us very quickly run out of the more esoteric munitions which would not be easily resupplied.

One needs to balance the weapon system's capabilities with the target set they may encounter so a GBAD system, for example, should have a suite of weapons to select from so as to engage varying targets with the most appropriate munition. A simple example is the aging Avengers which can engage a target with either a Stinger or a .50 cal. The .50 cal is probably quite adequate for both UAVs or many loitering munitions. Over and above that it ought to be fairly simple to design and build very small and inexpensive missiles and gun systems which could operate quite well against some of the new loitering munitions threat if coupled with a good target acquisition and engagement system. There are already many out there that could be adapted and developed for these new threats.

Or do you disregard the enemy's drones and focus on building lots of cheap new drones to kill the enemy's legacy ground forces and force them into a different model of warfare. Swap massed charges with lances for artillery supported Tercios.
While it's easy to focus on hard-kill options, one should not overlook the importance of defensive soft-kill measures.
How much more difficult will the counter-UAV task become when you have swarms of small air vehicles from both sides flying over the battlefield? Will all these UAVs require a form of IFF...and all ground units with counter-UAV capabilities the ability to interrogate potential targets?

Will these UAVs need to be included in airspace deconfliction plans? How does that impact plans of distributing these weapons down to sub-unit levels?

The Air Force plans to develop a family of highly-survivable drones for multiple missions to replace the MQ-9 — but rather than the Reaper’s traditional ground-attack role, the service’s top priority seems to be counter-air capabilities.

Congress blocked Air Force plans to stop production of the MQ-9 by prime contractor General Atomics in 2021, adding 16 aircraft to its budget plans. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown admitted last month that the service “can’t just walk away” from the MQ-9 because of its popularity with commanders.

Air Force trying to pull an A-10 on the MQ-9?

Soothing noises about - “Reapers will be in the force for a long time.”

While - “the family of UAVs the Air Force apparently wants to procure will expand — not contract — the mission capabilities of its UAV force and threat environments it will operate in.” And finally, “I believe the Air Force intends to grow its overall UAV capacity over time, not reduce it. UAVs—including attritable systems—are force multipliers in many regards.”

the shift makes sense particularly when looking at the Pacific theater and competition with China.

“The peer battle in the Pacific is so stressing that ACC [Air Combat Command] wants every missile carrier and comm relay node it can put in the air. They might deploy P-51 Mustangs if the museums would give them up,” she said. “Then there is targeting for those Army long-range fires set to dot the
Pacific – that will take lots of combat air patrols.”

So? Boneyard drones in the short term? Lots of them. Going cheap. Conversion knowledge exists.
Kratos type drones in the mid term? Knowledge of how to build them, carry them and launch them exists. Relatively cheap.
Loyal Wingman type drones in the longer term? Within 5 years?

And a new class of orbiting MQ-9s providing 24/7 comms, situational awareness and a ready mixed arsenal of BVRAAMs and ASMs?

What is the relative positioning of the F35 and JUSTAS? How many of each?
F16 Software updated in flight with existing comms and hardware.

“The ingenuity and skills of the Flight Test and Program Teams enabled a Viper to land with better capabilities than it took off with,” explained an F-16 System program manager about the recent inflight test. “This techno-marvel was done with existing systems in much of the Viper fleet, with no hardware mod[ifications] required. This is a significant first step!”

Upgradeable swarms of drones from the boneyard?

Autonomy With Limits Essential For Future Drones Air Force Generals Say​

Advanced autonomy is key to the Air Force’s future drone plans, but humans will still make key decisions like about when to fire weapons.