• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

US UAV, esp. UCAV, progress

dimsum

Army.ca Legend
Mentor
Reaction score
4,113
Points
1,260
SeaKingTacco said:
It strikes me that a UAV tanker is a very sensible idea. It solves a lot of problems for a Carrier Air Wing.


Agreed, with a possible next step being AWACS.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
3,920
Points
1,160
At some point you might see UAV’s launched off of small escorts, frigates or merchants to act as ASW hunters, they may be semi-disposable, dropping pingers and basically forcing the subs to evade and broadening the ability of the escorts to search.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,593
Points
1,060
Colin P said:
At some point you might see UAV’s launched off of small escorts, frigates or merchants to act as ASW hunters, they may be semi-disposable, dropping pingers and basically forcing the subs to evade and broadening the ability of the escorts to search.

Maybe sooner rather than later?

Anti-Submarine ScanEagle

Boeing is working on modifying the Compresses Carriage ScanEagle UAV into an aerial sensor capable of tracking submarines. Working under a U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) contract, Boeing is converting the Scan Eagle's diesel engine to operate in 'magnetically silent' mode, enabling the drone to employ magnetic anomaly detection systems tracking submarines underwater. Boeing considers using the vehicle, configured as the MagEagle Compressed Carriage (MECC) – an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) designed and built to be magnetically quiet, deployed from the manned P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. When deployed, as part of the Poseidon combat system, MECC would provide additional validation of potential targets, enabling the P-8A to simultaneously conduct both low and high altitude anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and command-and-control intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Boeing will begin testing the MECC sensor system, vehicle integration and magnetic noise reduction in 2010.

https://defense-update.com/products/s/scaneagle_derivatives.htm
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,011
Points
1,060
Interesting to see how this will work out and what they will be able to do, and not do, with it.

MAD is a player but has its caps and lims.  I am not 100% sold on a platform doing only MAD, but...have to wait and see what comes out of this.
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
8,428
Points
1,360
In the Caribbean AO, it could also use EO/IR. ;)
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,011
Points
1,060
Wonder how small/lightweight they can make a FMV LOS or BLOS system.  Then it would be interesting.  And a lightweight LRCS RADAR.  :nod:

Make it 'modular', so you could tailor the load-out/systems for different needs. 
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,593
Points
1,060
I'm guessing with the small size that you will be able to tailor load outs to a mix of UAVs - some with MAD, some with EO/IR, some as pure comms relays, some with SAR.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,011
Points
1,060
Configurable, multi-use platforms are a 'must' for the CAF (IMO).  Change out stuff you need/don't need based on the mission.  Day, night, up north, down south, dry hot places...

;D Flexibility is the key to air power (ducks...).
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
3,920
Points
1,160
Eye In The Sky said:
Interesting to see how this will work out and what they will be able to do, and not do, with it.

MAD is a player but has its caps and lims.  I am not 100% sold on a platform doing only MAD, but...have to wait and see what comes out of this.

I can see UAV complimenting the helicopters, the UAV could fly off drop some buoys, transmit the data back, or go to suspected sub area and drop the buoys pinging away and force the sub to stay busy evading and not following the convoy. The UAV’s could fly off of some Merchant ships, freeing up the escorts and their flight decks. Plus the merchant ships might be more stable landing platforms.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,011
Points
1,060
No doubt, companies are figuring out to make smaller, lighter active buoys that kit like UAVs might actually be able to carry around (active are substantial heavier than passive).
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
3,920
Points
1,160
The biggest hold back for UAV's is power, if you want an one that can hover, carry loads, you need a good power source. At first they might only able to carry 1 or 2 pingers and still be able to stay on station for any length of time, the pingers might have to become smaller as well. You could have drones that "spoof" ASW heli's, dipping a pinger in the water to make noise, making the sub think there are more assets in the area than there are.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,011
Points
1,060
Whatever we do, I think we need to take a '10 years from now' look...and start planning on what we are going to spend money on. 
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,593
Points
1,060
Colin P said:
The biggest hold back for UAV's is power, if you want an one that can hover, carry loads, you need a good power source. At first they might only able to carry 1 or 2 pingers and still be able to stay on station for any length of time, the pingers might have to become smaller as well. You could have drones that "spoof" ASW heli's, dipping a pinger in the water to make noise, making the sub think there are more assets in the area than there are.

http://www.uasvision.com/2015/07/22/ultra-electronics-studies-uav-drop-options-for-sonobuoys/

It isn't the technology that is the limitation.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
3,920
Points
1,160
there may be tech limits to how many buoys they can listen to at one time and I suspect/hope that's OPSEC. The question becomes are we talking a disposable drone or recoverable one? Once it reaches a certain size/cost, the need to recover it comes in. I can see disposable drones catapulted off of merchants to provide coverage with limited or no recovery.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,593
Points
1,060
How about a bunch of buoys (deployed from an MQ8B Firescout?) in the water with a recoverable Scan Eagle loitering over head as a comms link?

And does the pinger need to be collocated with the sensor?  (I don't expect an answer on that).
 

Sub_Guy

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
0
Points
460
Eye In The Sky said:
Interesting to see how this will work out and what they will be able to do, and not do, with it.

MAD is a player but has its caps and lims.  I am not 100% sold on a platform doing only MAD, but...have to wait and see what comes out of this.

MAD alone is pretty much useless.  Yes there is metal under the water or is it a pipeline or is it a cable.  This would work well launched from the P8, which would use the MAD data to corroborate other sensor data. 

A launch and forget UAV from a sono tube is what I think they are going with here..

 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
8,428
Points
1,360
tomahawk6 said:
The next step is autonomous aerial platforms. :camo:

Oh, like this?  :nod:


4352027930_2a17c37603_o-660x467.jpg

The K-MAX helicopter can fly cargo delivery missions without a human at the controls. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The Marines’ Self-Flying Chopper Survives a Three-Year Tour
WIRED Magazine


BACK IN 2010, the Navy decided it could use a self-flying helicopter, to take over dangerous missions delivering cargo to Marine Corps stations in Afghanistan. The work is usually done by human-driven ground vehicles that are susceptible to improvised explosive devices and insurgent attacks. Lockheed Martin landed the $45.8 million contract to make it happen. Rather than design an aircraft from scratch, they found the Kaman K-1200 K-MAX, which it fit their needs perfectly.

The military-spec version of the helicopter is now back in the U.S. after a three-year tour, and Lockheed is finding new ways to use it in civilian and military affairs. That makes now a good time to look at the work the K-MAX has already done, and the story behind it.

Lockheed chose the helicopter and teamed up with Kaman for its reliability and lifting capacity, says Jon McMillen, manager of business development for the aircraft. Certified in 1994, the Kaman helicopter was designed for heavy duties like logging operations, power line construction, firefighting, and installing ski lifts. It can haul 6,000-pound loads at sea level and 4,000 pounds at 15,000 feet. That strength is partly thanks to Kaman’s use of two intermeshing rotors on top of the aircraft. The setup eliminates the need for a tail rotor, which is usually needed to keep the aircraft from spinning uncontrollably, but sucks up about 30 percent of the engine’s power. Dropping the blades in back preserves that juice for lifting power. It also keeps the bird’s center of gravity over its payload hook, so carrying heavy loads is easier.

Outfitting the uncomplicated K-MAX—one engine, one transmission, no high-pressure hydraulic system, no tail rotor—for autonomous flight wasn’t overly difficult. Compared to self-driving land vehicles (another military area of interest), which have to navigate on the ground, helicopters don’t come across many obstacles. There was “not a lot of hardware that we had to add,” McMillen says. Lockheed tossed in actuators to physically move the controls in response to electronic commands, mission computers to tell them what to do, and a 3D imaging system to look out for suitable landing spots.

The K-MAX can be flown by a human sitting in the cockpit (helpful in American airspace, where the FAA is still coming up with rules on unmanned aircraft), but it cannot be remotely piloted, with someone on the ground controlling everything the plane does (this is how some U.S. drones over Afghanistan are operated). Doing that would require line of sight communication, meaning the transmitting and receiving stations can’t have any major obstacles between them. In Afghanistan, the K-MAX was used at low altitudes and in mountainous regions, so maintaining a good connection wasn’t feasible. A ground controller can, however, use satellite communication and a laptop to change the mission at any point during flight.

Lockheed delivered two of the helicopters to the Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2011. The original plan was for a six-month stint lugging around 750-pound pallets full of food, water, generators, and other supplies. The K-MAX kept exceeding expectations, McMillen says (asked to move 6,000 pounds in a day, it handled 30,000). Its contract was extended indefinitely.
The two helicopters were surprisingly reliable, largely thanks to the simplicity of the original design. At least one of them was ready to fly 94 percent of the time. That’s even more impressive when you consider that one was taken out of service about a year ago, after being damaged in a hard landing. The aircraft required 1.4 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight, and cost $1,300 per hour, numbers that are “just unheard of for a developmental system,” McMillen says.

With the U.S. presence in Afghanistan winding down, the K-MAX has come home. In three years, it flew thousands of delivery missions, mostly at night, and lifted more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo. Lockheed is already working on a fresh project with the Army. The K-MAX will airlift the unmanned Squad Mission Support System into a mock hostile territory, to see if it’s possible to take human forces out of danger altogether.

There’s non-military future in store for the helicopter as well. “On the civilian side, a lot of the technologies we have here have direct applications,” McMillen says. The K-MAX could go back to its original duties hauling logs and fighting fires, but without the need to put a human pilot in the cockpit. Or maybe Jeff Bezos could buy a few for delivering packages if his drone plan doesn’t work out.
 

CougarKing

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
0
Points
360
The Fire Scout, Blackjack and other USN UAVs are now for export sales!

Defense News

US Navy Offers Unmanned Aircraft for International Sales
By Chrstopher P. Cavas, Defense News 10:09 p.m. EST February 16, 2016
Surplus Fire Scouts Available For Sale

SINGAPORE — Several of the US Navy's key unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are now available for international sale, including the diminutive Fire Scout helicopter able to operate from small surface ships.

"We have everything from Blackjack to Fire Scout to Triton, all US Navy programs," said Michael Sears, assistant program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, international weapons. "That covers a lot of ground."

Sears was referring to the RQ-21 Blackjack, a relatively new UAS in service with the US Marine Corps, built by Boeing Insitu; the MQ-8B Fire Scout made by Northrop Grumman, and the latter company's MQ-4C Triton large-scale maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, which the Navy announced on Tuesday had completed its operational assessment.

(...SNIPPED)
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
3,920
Points
1,160
Good2Golf said:
Oh, like this?  :nod:


The K-MAX helicopter can fly cargo delivery missions without a human at the controls. Photo: Lockheed Martin

the problem here is that you lose a slot for a manned helo with that. I was thinking more like a modern version of this

images


images
 
Top