Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by TeddyT, Sep 4, 2008.

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  1. is it likely that we will see UAVs based from CVS before the end of the next decade? The USN are scheduled to be testing UAV in the AEW role by 2013, will the RN have the inclination and resources to join suit? Or even on the CVF?
    There was talk some years ago about a fully strike capable aircraft based from a CV task group - anybody heard any more on this?
  2. Yes…
  3. It's funny, because I was sitting on the bus the other day and two elederly ladies with a small child were having a conversation on exactly this topic...
  4. Can we put them on submarines?

    Like the Focke Achgelis Fa-330, which was towed behind U-Boat submarines during the Second World War as an ariel observation platform.

    Lot's of fun for sludgemariner pilots. :thumright:

  5. I think that you’ll see some limited use of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS – as UAVs are now designated) from CVF during the next decade, but not much more.

    The USN is not developing an AEW UAS; this task will fall to the E-2D upgrade of the venerable Hawkeye. However, they are developing the Unmanned Combat Air System – D (UCAS-D) from the now defunct Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) USAF/USN Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (JUCAS) Project. UCAS-D technology is already flying on the X-47B UAS which has already dropped J-series weapons.


    It is envisaged that an operational UCAS-D will be capable of strike, Electronic Attack and recce ops. However, most missions will see them flying alongside manned assets such as the FA-18F and F-35C. It is likely that ‘swarms’ of the catapult launched/trap recovered UAS will be controlled partially or wholly from such aircraft, or assets like the E-2D or E-3.

    The current generation of UAS such as the Predator and Reaper are unsuited to carrier ops for a variety of reasons. However, there is no reason why a more robust conventional or VTOL UAS could not operate from the CVF deck. I suspect that funding issues will force the delay of the MASC Project and extension of the Sea King ASaC7 to 2020 at the earliest. That may enable the MASC specification to be filled by a UAS of some sort and open the door to routine unmanned ops from CVF by around 2025.

    However, many people are too easily seduced by UAS. They are excellent assets in many ways. However, they are not a panacea and entail significant bandwidth, spectrum management issues. Ironically, the current variants also require an increased manpower overhead! Theses factors may diminish as their technology matures but the challenges of operating UAS from CVF should not be underestimated. I think that you can expect F-35 and manned helos to form the majority of a CVF’s TAG for some time yet.

    The good news is that the RAF and RN have a fairly coherent approach to UAS.

    As far as submarine launched UAS goes, the US have looked at a concept study to launch 'morphing' UAS from SSBN tubes. The UAS would dive back into the water before being recovered underwater to the mother ship!! The drawing below was released on open source with a patent application and shows the configuration of the UAS immediately upon launch and then after 'morphing'.


  6. I don't think skipping the F35 is a valid option for us any way unless some one can resurect the Sea Harrier which I think is unlikely.

    A suitable UCAV is still a bit away but is the way they are thinking at the moment as far as one can see. Mind you they have been announcing the demise of manned warplanes sines Noah was an OD, so I think it isvery much watch this space.

    Clearly it is easier to deal with surveillance assets first as they tend to operat under a more benign flight profile than fighters and the like. I suspect the US AEW will be joined by a similar ASW craft first before the 'real' combat aircraft come along hopefully before the F35 has popped it's clogs.
  7. Varsity,

    That article appears to have been written by a 14 year old. :bs:

    Their knowledge of air power is illustrated by their belief that the F-111 was a 'tri-service' fighter! Other ramblings regarding the F-35's speed preventing it from visually acquiring targets are also naive in the extreme, as are comparisons between F-35 internal bomb loads with Vietnam era types.

    F-35 should be seen for what it is: an extremely complex, multi-national, Tri-service design. Given such constraints, I would suggest it is progressing remarkably smoothly. When it enters service, it should quickly mature into an excellent air-ground and ISTAR asset with a relatively decent air-air capability.

    In the UK context, it should compliment Typhoon very well and provide the RN with a very credible CVF air wing capable of rapid augmentation (assuming we purchase the F-35B) by RAF sqns and aircrew. If we didn’t get F-35, the only realistic options are FA-18E/F or Rafale M, not a UCAS.


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