UAVs




 
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January 22nd, 2005  
A Can of Man
 
 

Topic: UAVs


There were polls made on the UAV but not a proper thread. So here it is, our UAV thread.

I believe that UAV is closer to being used as the backbone of combat aircraft than most people like to think. One reason why this development isn't going as fast as it can is because the manned aircraft are being protected by the Pilot class generals. Basically an air force without pilots is unthinkable.

But when was the last time an American combat aircraft actually engaged in extensive air to air dogfight? I believe the last time an actual dogfight took place was Vietnam. After Vietnam, the kills seem to have all come from Phoenix or AMRAAMs with beyond visual range kills. Current UAVs have proven that they can take out ground targets as they have for the CIA in the War against Terror.

In the question of air superiority, again, dogfighting never did it. Nowadays a precise strike of cruise missiles, stealth fighter raids (which can also be unmanned) can win you total air dominance. If an enemy does reach the air, you can engage with long range air to air missiles and win here. If the enemy does shoot down one of your UAVs, you don't have to worry about losing pilots, having hostages that will give the enemy leverage in negotiations and also a UAV tends to be cheaper than a manned combat aircraft.

Unmanned vehicles are underrated at this point. After all, if a satellite mission all the way to the ends of the solar system can be done by a robot, collecting all kinds of information and finding its way around the vast emptiness, I have full confidence that it could do something as elementry as take off, fly a pre-determined route or take commands from a remote station, drop a bomb on a target and then fly back and land on its own.

Think of the potential. An aircraft that can fit in your bedroom that can have a "crew" of 6. Imagine the incredible ability that would have. Situational awareness issues could be solved just like that. Need more people helping out on that mission? No problem. Just link another control station. No "B" model of the aircraft neccessary.

Point is, the advantages of the UAV are so staggeringly clear, that we will see the end of manned aircraft after the next generation of fighter aircraft are ruled obsolete.
February 22nd, 2005  
Darcia
 
I have heard one Fighter Pilot refer to himself and his other pilots as ' the last actual pilot generation.' He was referring to the fact that UAV's are getting bigger and better and do not put human lives on the line.
February 22nd, 2005  
Pyro
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darcia
I have heard one Fighter Pilot refer to himself and his other pilots as ' the last actual pilot generation.' He was referring to the fact that UAV's are getting bigger and better and do not put human lives on the line.
also have you seen all the UAV's that are now being used? they may be the last pilot generation for countries such as France,UK,US etc... but for countries like Tanzania the last real pilot generation for them may be at least 30-40 years away
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February 22nd, 2005  
Darcia
 
The one thing about UAV's is also that they cannot get them big enough yet to do the Damage of things like the B-1 and B-2 bombers.So even when fighter pilots are out the Bomber pilots will probably remain for some time.
February 22nd, 2005  
Pyro
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darcia
The one thing about UAV's is also that they cannot get them big enough yet to do the Damage of things like the B-1 and B-2 bombers.So even when fighter pilots are out the Bomber pilots will probably remain for some time.
Bomber pilots may remain for about 10 years to 20 years after the UCAV's are fully introduced and piloted fighters are gone.
February 22nd, 2005  
Darcia
 
Unless bombers are completly outdated, already the B-1 fleet is planning to be downsized.
February 23rd, 2005  
EagleZtrike
 
 
UAV's I completely disapprove of them. Men will always fly better than machine and will function better. Also where will all the air force pilots work!
Also you won't ever get the stories of heros in combat again and many people who wanted the thrill of gettin in g forces will not experience it!
February 23rd, 2005  
lemontree
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleStrike
UAV's I completely disapprove of them. Men will always fly better than machine and will function better. Also where will all the air force pilots work!
Exactly.
If I need close air support, I want a real pilot in the plane and not a drone.
February 23rd, 2005  
A Can of Man
 
 
A manned aircraft may perform better.
But consider this.
At the price of a manned airplane, you could build and maintain ten. And when you lose three, no one really cares. There'll be a review board on how the planes were lost and disciplinary action carried out on the guys who controlled it. There will be no issue of rotting for years in a rat infested gulag.
Close air support? You could just talk to the guy controlling that aircraft as you would talk to the pilot. In fact, because of cameras that can be mounted looking down from the aircraft he could have a MUCH better view of how the situation is unfolding. Then the controller of the aircraft, in a safe location, has an image of the battle area on a large multi function display now dotted iwth blue dots and red dots for friends and foes determined by IFF devices on the ground now used like popping smoke... except completely invisible to the enemy. The IR Sinature formations that do not share the IFF ID anywhere are determined as foe (in a platoon of friendies, at least FIVE of those IFF thigns have to be working, right?) Information processing will be very quick as there will be a whole staff of people organizing incoming information into meaningful ways for the controllers of the aircraft to use.
The best approach will be determined within minutes and a well coordinated close air support is delivered.

Think about that. A flight of four UAVs... each controlled by one person but supported by a staff of maybe even up to 12 people. You got the organization of a small AWACs plane with the firepower of 4 strike jets.
February 23rd, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
I think that is is possible that we will have all UAVs maybe by the time I'm on my death bed.

But think about it, how long has the U.S. army been working on something as comparitively simple as the Land Warrior System or the OICW?

I think the next generation of bombers will feature unmanned stealth bombers capable of flying a GPS route and dropping all their bombs right where you want them.

But for Close Air Support you want to trust a UAV dropping napalm 500ft away from your position? Like hell! I want real eyes and ears in that A-10. And we are a long long way from removing the pilot from the fighter aircraft.

For precision bombing I think we are almost there. But as for Air-to-Air and Close Air Support, AI is way too far off and think about communications. What happens to your 50 million dollar jet when its remote control communications get jammed... that's not going to be a pretty sight when congress reviews the AF budget.