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X-47B, The Stealth Future  
User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 9761 times:

Video:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...t-land-based-catapult-shot-379621/

IMHO, UCAVS have the potential to offer so much more performance at much cheaper price, than manned planes, that I can't imagine them not carrying the brunt of the air power in the future. It's also easier to make them stealthy since they can be shaped better and sized smaller.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...-aircraft-before-years-end-378562/

45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSeJoWa From United States of America, joined May 2006, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 9623 times:

What's especially important to remember is that the software paces this weapon's utility.

Meaning, It's not about one design, or a single aircraft's performance, and the package will evolve.

Obviously, it's a crucial effort regarding the future of our armed forces, and I'm slightly relieved to read on wiki that there are two prototypes ( that have done exceedingly well in flight testing ).

Noone in any responsible position has been forced to make real decisions over the course of the last ten years plus, and that is why so many programs have completely foundered. This is something that will need to be relearned, and that will take years. At least some seeds of future successes are being planted now, though. And typically, for a relative bargain, too.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 9515 times:

The article linked below is interesting in that it explains that many in the Pentagon thought the unmanned planes would be too good and the USAF at least killed the USAF version, to stomp out the "threat" to existing programs:

The two were ready to give a pitch for the X-45, covering all possible bases, from the technical to the political. Instead, they just listened as the Air Force explained its rationale for abandoning the killer drone. To hear the Boeing employees tell it, the Air Force killed off J-UCAS to protect its new, ultra-pricey manned fighters, the F-22 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or JSF.

The reason that was given was that we were expected to be too good in key areas and that we would have caused disruption to the efforts to keep F-22 but moreover JSF sold, the Boeing employee said. If we had flown and things like survivability had been assessed and Congress had gotten a hold of the data, JSF would have been in trouble.


Some parts of the article, especially Boeing VS. Northrop Grumman aspects - who did what and who is better, are hotly disputed in some corners. But the milestone facts are not disputed.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/06/killer-drone-secret-history/

The Europeans, Russians, Israelis and Chinese are all experimenting in this arena and are developing their own systems. Due to the performance, stealth and price, I think this concept will trump most manned attack planes in the future.

I think the F-35 supporter's fears is legitimate and would be partially realized, if the X-47B lands on a carrier before the F-35 does.



[Edited 2012-12-01 13:38:21]

User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 873 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 9481 times:

I think the issues are a bit more varied than that. I do think the USAF pushes back because of fear of a threat to manned programs...but I think those manned programs are essential. One will be able to look at numbers for UCAV's and draw conclusions about their performance and cost. But I still don't think they are quite ready to do a lot of the combat jobs that are out there.

An ideal force, to me, is something that increasingly has more and more UCAV's as they become more capable. But I think it gets phased in over something like 50 plus years, not the next 10-20. The problem one is going to have is when you explain to congress that yes, a UCAV can drop the same strike loads as an F-35 that is all they will hear. When you have to try to explain to them that yes it can but it can't do SEAD and it can't make proper CAS decisions without a man in the loop which we can't always guarantee they are not going to get it.

It reminds me of the SSN vs SSK debate the USN fights. They are so terrified of congress thinking that SSK's could be on the table to replace SSN's they just avoid the debate all together. Both could have a useful capacity for the USN, but as soon as you introduce the alternative you have some major issues getting the right mix funded.


User currently offlineSeJoWa From United States of America, joined May 2006, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 9443 times:

Just a brief remark pertaining to the manned / unmanned, somewhat artificial dichotomy:
I think that keeping a man in the loop where necessary would actually benefit both kinds of planes.

It's important to use assets appropriately. Learning about ucav ops and also heterogenous ucav swarms can all be done now. Better to implement realistic solutions dealing with comms degradation than trying to send a dream off to war later on.

There are some who are already trying to leap ahead by fixating on total automation. That's fine as a research project, but not when it displaces the sensible work that actually provides real feedback.

Something to think about too in this entire ucav discussion is the potential for mass production. If Boeing can build 42 737s a month, is it unrealistic to assume a possible surge to 100 ucavs per?


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 9337 times:

1. 50 years? We can go to the moon in 9 years using mostly slide rulers and you think it'll take 50 years to implement UCAVs? They're already operational and dropping bombs and firing missiles - today.

2. If the UCAVs prove superior to existing plans and planes, so be it. But artificially protecting programs by stifling the competition is dumb.

3. Why couldn't UCAVs do SEAD? Of course they could. They would actually excel at that, as they could take more risks than manned SEAD planes could on a regular basis by waiting till missiles are fired to distinguish the real SAM sites from the decoys sites and radars. Decoys and small self defense SAMS to protect the sites are more and more of a problem. Or to drop a swarm of SDB at once to overwhelm the self defense mechanisms and get the job done that only a few SDBs can't.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 873 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 9321 times:

1. Yes, 50 years. You can say go to the moon in 9 years but what is that? It is just an example of one engineering project that got done within a certain amount of time. To have effective UCAV's you are talking about programing a near artificial intelligence. I would say as an engineering problem it is more akin to the challenge that was faced by computers learning to play chess. Of course the problem is you can't just throw a bunch of game trees into the UCAV and expect it to figure it all out as there are no rules at all in combat really. I think the technology airframe and targeting wise is there for strike UAV's like the X-47B to be operating as soon as they complete testing. But I think we are a very long way away from expecting those platforms to make intelligent decisions on the battlefield. In the near term they will be huge force multipliers as long range JDAM, SDB and JSOW carriers for the fleet.

2. There is a difference between artificially protecting a program and knowing who you are presenting your case to. As I would argue what is needed is a mixed force of manned platforms and unmanned platforms I get why the forces would be hesitant to pitch full in on what is at this point an unproven technology, at least for going all in on.

3. Sure, UAV's could do any number of things. That was an example of the challenge of the argument one would have to make with congress that they won't understand. I have no doubt they could do SEAD if you have all the information before you launch. I am pretty skeptical of the ability of UCAV's to act in a dynamic environment soon. The programing of the software "brain" of UCAV's expected to do that is something that will basically have to be grown over time. The X-47B is the first step in that. There is a ton of maturing that will have to be done in this field. No one has even deployed a UCAV that makes its own decisions to drop bombs at this point.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 9286 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 6):
No one has even deployed a UCAV that makes its own decisions to drop bombs at this point.


UCAVS do not need full artificial intelligence to operate effectively, as today's UCAV operations already demonstrate. Sure automation and software can and will be continuously improved over time, just as automation has increased in all aspects of manned flight. What is available today is already doing an effective job and it will only get better.

Taking the human entirely out of the equation is not necessary nor even desirable, IMHO.

If the X-47B do trap landings on carriers and get approval to operate from carriers before the F-35, which looks very likely, more people will take this more seriously for Navy ops.

[Edited 2012-12-01 23:29:43]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 9266 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 7):
UCAVS do not need full artificial intelligence to operate effectively, as today's UCAV operations already demonstrate. Sure automation and software can and will be continuously improved over time, just as automation has increased in all aspects of manned flight. What is available today is already doing an effective job and it will only get better.

The current UAV's require massive amounts of satellite bandwidth to control and operate. The US military does not have the satellite bandwidth right now to support large fleets of UAV's right now. So, you don't have to just factor in the costs of UAV's, but you also have to factor in the costs for building and launching dozens of communications satellites into space.

Also UAV's currently cannot operate effectively in contested air spaces; the current war zones where UAV's have played a part are areas where we have complete air dominance; nobody else can contest our control of the skies. We will continue to need manned fighters to do the dirty work to achieve air dominance.


User currently offlineSeJoWa From United States of America, joined May 2006, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 9211 times:

Everybody seems to agree that total autonomy is a red herring that hinders evolution of the software.

On the other hand, we haven't even begun to explore the potential for augmenting conventional strike aircraft by teaming them with one ore more UCAVs - which might also solve part of the bandwith problem. Throw UAV tankers into the mix.
[ The first small step, pairing attack helicopters with Predators is only getting underway now. ]

About bandwidth, this is definitely one of the areas ripe for big leaps ahead -seems to me that intelligently choosing what data to relay (and training controllers to understand the process) is much more promising a field than trying to mimic a combat pilot's neurons.

I think the establishment of coder teams with
-an understanding of the missions,
-the know how to aid the man in the loop best utilize his assets,
-who can smartly react to an adversaries countermeasures,
is even more important than any software milestone.

Actually, pushing the decision making further into the pilot's hands might work by creating lego-block style apps that operators would combine and refine themselves. That would be a sensible way to manage UCAV control and quicken the feedback loop.

[Edited 2012-12-02 03:59:59]

User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 900 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 9114 times:

Quoting SeJoWa (Reply 9):
On the other hand, we haven't even begun to explore the potential for augmenting conventional strike aircraft by teaming them with one ore more UCAVs

Most likely the 6th generation replacement for the F-22 will be optionally manned, or perhaps a variant with no cockpit. You will see 1 or 2 manned fighters in command of 5 or 6 UCAV. The manned fighters could even hang back and let the drones do the dirty work. Perhaps the manned fighter will be a 2 seater, the back seat controls the drones.

Then there could be a scenario of a flight of drones controlled by a command jet a few hundred miles back, say a B-1R or something. The B-1R is a missile truck dumping a dozen or so long range missiles while the drones clean up what is left.


User currently offlineSavannahMark From United States of America, joined Dec 2012, 45 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 9090 times:

Looking at these next generation drones sends something of a shiver down my spine. I know it's a ridiculous thought, but I have flashbacks to the Terminator movies when I see the front end of the X-47.

User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 9008 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):
Also UAV's currently cannot operate effectively in contested air spaces;

I agree, that is what the new designs are going to make possible.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):
The US military does not have the satellite bandwidth right now to support large fleets of UAV's right no

Do you have a source on this? A link?

Do you think it's possible to have the human controller in another plane a few hundred miles away or less? Perhaps in a manned fighter, AWACS type controler aircraft, etc.? No satellites would be needed if it is done this way.

A little about the data links of the nEUROn:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...connaissance-pod-programme-213659/

First Flight today of the nEUROn:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.as...99b719-b8bc-4d9a-8e1e-169976ef179d

[Edited 2012-12-02 13:33:00]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 8893 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 12):
Do you have a source on this? A link?

Do you think it's possible to have the human controller in another plane a few hundred miles away or less? Perhaps in a manned fighter, AWACS type controler aircraft, etc.? No satellites would be needed if it is done this way.
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.o...lsDemandforSatelliteBandwidth.aspx
http://www.milsatmagazine.com/cgi-bi...splay_article.cgi?number=855426811

The problem with having human controllers closer by is that you are essentially looking at line of sight systems; not the most convenient thing ever. There may be areas where the controlling aircraft can't go because it is too risky to send them. You need the satellite bandwidth, and that's just isn't there without more satellites.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 900 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 8841 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
You need the satellite bandwidth, and that's just isn't there without more satellites.

Or a new generation of extremely high bandwidth satellites, or even a new concept of communications platform with upgrade-able communication modules.

How about a few X-37B with a communications payload placed in orbit to supplement bandwidth needs in the area.


Just because it doesn't exist now, does not mean it will not exist in the future. Large UCAV fleets are decades away... you can bet military communications satellites will get upgraded in the mean time.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 873 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 8712 times:

Quoting SeJoWa (Reply 9):
Everybody seems to agree that total autonomy is a red herring that hinders evolution of the software.

Again that really depends on the mission. Latency for a man in the loop is not a huge deal for delivering a LGB strike on a bridge or dropping a hellfire on a jeep in Afghanistan. It is a much bigger issue in something like air combat or SEAD. There are a lot of issues to address before UAV's can become the predominant system for the USAF really. Right now they are supporting systems. If they are handling the majority of combat duties you would have to address a whole lot of issues you don't now to ensure the system had no singular point of failure.


User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 8584 times:

OTOH, there is a body of those in the US military, largely in the Navy, who think stealth isn't worth the cost and effort and will (fairly) soon be defeated by much improved computing power and algorithms. One I believe is an Admiral..


Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 8549 times:

Connies4ever:

Stealth will certainly be beat sooner or later, by L band radars, better optical and infrared IRIST sensors, multiple radar beams from various angles fed into one processor, or a combination of these and more.

The best solution to all these defenses IMHO are salvos of stand off cruise missiles. Perhaps not all will make it, but most certainly will. Comaperd to aircraft, they're cheap (especially to operate), fast and very effective and should have a survival rate at least equal to any plane, manned or not.

For surveillance and patrols for targets of opportunity, the UCAVS would be perfect with loiter times, well beyond what a human airborne pilot could endure.

I only see transport aircraft continued to being manned for various reasons not related to combat.

IMHO, Future military aviation will look very very different from what we've seen up till now. We will not replace a fighter with another fighter or a bomber with another bomber - anymore than horses and covered wagons were eventually not replaced with more horses and wagons. At some point we move on to better things. The writing is on the wall.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 8450 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 15):
Again that really depends on the mission. Latency for a man in the loop is not a huge deal for delivering a LGB strike on a bridge or dropping a hellfire on a jeep in Afghanistan. It is a much bigger issue in something like air combat or SEAD. There are a lot of issues to address before UAV's can become the predominant system for the USAF really. Right now they are supporting systems. If they are handling the majority of combat duties you would have to address a whole lot of issues you don't now to ensure the system had no singular point of failure.

That will be the big issue. Not to mention there is always the threat of hacking the controls of the fighter. At least with pilots, the only thing you have to worry about is whether or not that your pilot is loyal, usually that is not a problem.

There is a tremendous amount of data transfer that would be required to make UCAV's viable in a battlefield in real time conditions. That ability simply does not exist today without saturating the US DoD satellite system.

And that's not evening getting to the very high loss and accident rates with UAV's... constantly crashing UAV's isn't good on the budget. To make this point very clear; the Canadian DND did a calculation on the costs of operating the now discarded fleet of Sagem Spewer UAV's. It turns out that the Spewer UAV's actually cost more to operate on a per aircraft basis than the CF-18. Reason? Very high crash rates of the Spewer UAV's (we practically crashed every single one we had at least once).

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 17):
Stealth will certainly be beat sooner or later, by L band radars, better optical and infrared IRIST sensors, multiple radar beams from various angles fed into one processor, or a combination of these and more.

The best solution to all these defenses IMHO are salvos of stand off cruise missiles. Perhaps not all will make it, but most certainly will. Comaperd to aircraft, they're cheap (especially to operate), fast and very effective and should have a survival rate at least equal to any plane, manned or not.

For surveillance and patrols for targets of opportunity, the UCAVS would be perfect with loiter times, well beyond what a human airborne pilot could endure.

I only see transport aircraft continued to being manned for various reasons not related to combat.

IMHO, Future military aviation will look very very different from what we've seen up till now. We will not replace a fighter with another fighter or a bomber with another bomber - anymore than horses and covered wagons were eventually not replaced with more horses and wagons. At some point we move on to better things. The writing is on the wall.

Their are physical limits to both optical sensors and what can be detected by radar at what range no matter how much computer power you throw it. Improved signal processing can make a big difference, but it can't overcome physics. We've already discussed ad nausuem the issues with L-band radars and their ability to point a weapon at something before, so we won't go there again.

No matter how capable a radar's back-end may be it is limited by what the front-end can deliver.

And cruise missiles are very expensive per unit especially for a 1 time use weapon. Not very cost effective, especially when a aircraft is a one time capital cost and it can do multiple things at the same time.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 8308 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 18):
Not very cost effective, especially when a aircraft is a one time capital cost and it can do multiple things at the same time.

I beg to differ. Cruise missiles are extremely cost effective on about every front. For the price of one F-35 or similar future manned aircraft, you could buy at least 100 AGM-109H/L Tomahawks, which carry 1,000lb warheads and fly between 800-1,350 nautical miles.

Neither the F-35 nor any other like price manned aircraft can even go anywhere near that far. Even if they could:

1. You would risk losing one very expensive frame and pilot over enemy territory
2. It would take 25 sorties to carry and drop the same bomb load as 100 cruise missiles, putting much more capital at risk to achieve the same thing.
3. Capital costs on airframes are ongoing, not a one time thing. They get upgraded all the time.
4. Operating costs of manned aircraft are almost infinitely higher compared to cruise missiles - which only operate once.
5. Training costs, salaries and retirement benefit expenses for pilots is non existent for cruise missiles
5. A Navy aircraft carrier battle group is much more expensive, involves more ships and sailors, compared to a lone submarine or Cruiser carrying a load of cruise missiles.

A lone submarine or cruiser with a load of missiles carries so much instantaneous and pin point accurate firepower, it's more than enough, much less several of them. Just one of those has is a ridiculous amount of power and ability, that an aircraft carrier would find hard to match. Much less the many of these we already have.

And Cruise missiles will only get better.

For patrol work, the new UCAVS will be much better and cheaper once properly improved, as in the X-47C and Predator C, which has already been deployed in Afghanistan and has a 20 hour loiter capability and can carry a 3,000lb bomb load in internal bays, with a service ceiling of 60,000 feet.

ThePointblank, you erroneously keep comparing current radar, satellite and UCAV technologies and ignore future developments there, while citing future manned aircraft technology as in F-35 around 2020.

If you cite, for instance, the state of F-35 technology around 2020 - which you have often done, then must compare that to all future technologies around 2020. To think everything else will stand still, is not a reality based comparison.

After all, this discussion is about the future.



[Edited 2012-12-04 12:01:25]

User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 8291 times:

Insightful article.

http://strategypage.com/htmw/htnavai/articles/20121204.aspx

What also comes to my mind regarding satellite bandwidth, is that perhaps the more autonomous these new UCAVs are, the less bandwidth they will need.

In any case, I do think the Pentagon needs to improve the satellite situation, as the writing is on the wall.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2011 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 8274 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 19):
I beg to differ. Cruise missiles are extremely cost effective on about every front.

Problem with cruise missile is in-ability to recall and limited capability to loiter and attack at opportune target.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 19):
And Cruise missiles will only get better.

If they ever developed the hypersonic missile, then the above limitations would not be as relevant.

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 8248 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 19):
I beg to differ. Cruise missiles are extremely cost effective on about every front.

Tommy, your logic is wrong. First, you continue to compare a strategic strike platform with a tactical strike platform. They are both required because they have very different roles in the battlefield.

Secondly, the following RAND study clearly demonstrates that a manned strike platform is more cost effective for almost all conflicts that go longer than about 10 days. http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand...nical_reports/2012/RAND_TR1230.pdf
The study also compares the use of a manned strike platform compared to cruise missiles for ONE conflict only, not the ability of the manned platform to support multiple conflicts over its service life (as this would skew the data so in favour of the manned platform to make the study worthless)

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 19):

1. You would risk losing one very expensive frame and pilot over enemy territory
2. It would take 25 sorties to carry and drop the same bomb load as 100 cruise missiles, putting much more capital at risk to achieve the same thing.
3. Capital costs on airframes are ongoing, not a one time thing. They get upgraded all the time.
4. Operating costs of manned aircraft are almost infinitely higher compared to cruise missiles - which only operate once.
5. Training costs, salaries and retirement benefit expenses for pilots is non existent for cruise missiles
5. A Navy aircraft carrier battle group is much more expensive, involves more ships and sailors, compared to a lone submarine or Cruiser carrying a load of cruise missiles.

1. The Tomahawk is less survivable than a manned aircraft in almost all circumstances yet you do not consider the ability for the Tomahawk to be shot down?
2. If you compare one F-35 to one 100 Tomahawks then yes. If you compare a squadron of F-35 to 100 Tomahawks the ratio is a bit different let alone the survivability of a manned platform over a simple way-point directed cruise missile with no self-protection, awareness or ability to alter its path dynamically.
3. Missiles also get upgraded and have life expectancy issues due to internal munitions and circuitry. The Tomahawk cannot last anywhere near the timeframe of a constantly maintained manned platform
4. The operating costs of a fighter squadron would be very similar to a DDG or SSN given they have a similar number of personnel. Even if you include aircraft carrier acquisition costs the fighter squadron would come out ahead as it can be used day after day after day for the entire service life of the fighter aircraft. In fact aircraft carriers have typically seen three generations of aircraft fly from the one deck. Aircraft carriers have also provided incredible support to conflicts in the last 20 years, without which support the conflict would have been significantly more difficult.
5. It may be initially more expensive but it is also significantly more survivable. I am not sure how you expect that lone cruiser to sail unopposed to the coastline of an adversary, fire its 100 cruise missiles (which have taken all its vertical launch tube space leaving little room for self-protection SAMs) and then sail away to outside the theatre of operations to re-arm and refuel.

Then we get to the submarine issue. The same people who decry stealth as a failing technology seem unable to apply the same lessons to submarines, which are just as immune to advances in sensor technology and processing power as stealth aircraft.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 16):
OTOH, there is a body of those in the US military, largely in the Navy, who think stealth isn't worth the cost and effort and will (fairly) soon be defeated by much improved computing power and algorithms. One I believe is an Admiral..

Place that comment in context! That one Admiral you speak of is a Submariner, who as I indicated above fails to apply the same intellectual rigour or assumptions to his underwater platform as he does to stealth aircraft.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 19):
For patrol work, the new UCAVS will be much better and cheaper once properly improved, as in the X-47C and Predator C, which has already been deployed in Afghanistan and has a 20 hour loiter capability and can carry a 3,000lb bomb load in internal bays, with a service ceiling of 60,000 feet.

Afghanistan is a very different conflict to a dense modern IADS. Current UCAVs, or those planned for 2025, would not be able to survive a dense and modern IADS that included double digit SAMs, manned interceptors and dense multi-frequency coverage. After all, if your L-band radar assumptions are correct these stealth UCAVs are just as vulnerable as a manned stealth aircraft.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 20):
is that perhaps the more autonomous these new UCAVs are

You continue to operate under an assumption about UAVs and UCAVs that is wrong. No UCAV flying today is autonomous. The A in UAV and UCAV stands for air, not autonomous. The difference between what we have today, where UCAVs fly programmed way-point headings and are controlled by operators who use the sensors and employ the weapons, to a system that operates autonomously is simply extraordinary. If todays UCAVs are autonomous, then Boeing, Airbus and the German Luftwaffe from WW2 also have autonomous UAVs.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8202 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 19):
ThePointblank, you erroneously keep comparing current radar, satellite and UCAV technologies and ignore future developments there, while citing future manned aircraft technology as in F-35 around 2020.

If you cite, for instance, the state of F-35 technology around 2020 - which you have often done, then must compare that to all future technologies around 2020. To think everything else will stand still, is not a reality based comparison.

It drives me crazy how often people try to introduce "Moore's Law" into discussions where it just isn't relevant.

Improved signal processing can make a big difference, but it can't overcome physics. No matter how capable a radar's back-end may be it is limited by what the front-end can deliver. Until you can over come the laws of physics or find tricks around it, all the processing power in the world won't matter.

You could have all the processing power in the universe, but radar waves are essentially light and subject to well understood laws of physics.

I love how popular science writers act as if we are a couple CPU upgrades away from some kind of massive counter-stealth breakthrough.


Where are the articles saying things like :

Will Moore's law allow my backyard telescope to out-perform the Hubble?
Will Moore's law allow my cellphone camera to beat my long-lens camera for wildlife photography?
Will Moore's law make submarine stealth obsolete?
Will Moore's law make jammers obsolete?

Somehow it is always stealth, as if defeating stealth were primarily a problem of insufficient processing power.

And do note that military electronics tend to lag significantly behind commercial equipment because of the very high testing standard necessary to ensure that the electronics are durable.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8149 times:

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 21):
Problem with cruise missile is in-ability to recall and limited capability to loiter and attack at opportune target.

They can be recalled, rerouted and re targeted after launch. For loitering and patrol, the UCAVS are the best, as even the 1st generation Predators show to be true.

The Rand study does not include operating costs, pilot training expenses and pilot retirement expenses - all of which are substantial and would fall onto the Pentagon Buget. Never the less, the conclusion is:

Exclusive reliance on expendable weapons makes economic sense only if future conflicts can be resolved in about ten days or less.

If the United States wishes to maintain the capability to wage air war efficiently for more than a few days, reusable platforms are an important part of an efficient force mix.


The report did not examine UCAVS in the mix, which is a huge omission - But I assume it's a dated Rand report. It also studies only current Tomahawks. The next generation missiles will be stealthy, carry a 2,000lb warhead and have greater range - so I've heard. Factor that in, including UCAVS, pilot salaries, pilot retirement costs, pilot training costs and operating costs of the manned planes - and the equation tilts very fast one way. It's math.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 22):
1. The Tomahawk is less survivable than a manned aircraft in almost all circumstances yet you do not consider the ability for the Tomahawk to be shot down?

Yes I did. You did not read my post carefully enough.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 22):
After all, if your L-band radar assumptions are correct these stealth UCAVs are just as vulnerable as a manned stealth aircraft.

That is correct. Only that no pilots would be lost and they are far cheaper and therefore more affordable in more numbers. That's why they're talking about a swarm UCAV attack. I think it is also safe to assume that unmanned aircraft are easier to shape stealthy than manned vehicles.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 22):
No UCAV flying today is autonomous.
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FUTURE TECHNOLOGY, REMEMBER?

Besides, Global Hawk does fly for very long periods of time fully autonomous. The staus quo is that the F-35 can't do squat right now either and the F-22 can be brought down by a pistol shot if hit in the right spot, as it's not designed for ground, unlike other ground attack aircraft. We are talking about the future! I don't know how many times I need to repeat that.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 23):
It drives me crazy how often people try to introduce "Moore's Law" into discussions where it just isn't relevant.

Who is introducing Moore's law on CPU power? Certainly nothing I said and certainly not the passage you quoted. I am confused why you claim some is introducing that here. Nobody has.

The article linked here demonstrates more what I mean. It's not about a lack of processing power at all. It's about combining signals from various sources and creating a picture from all of them, rather than a conventional single beam radar echo from one source from one location. With straight off the shelf hardware - today. I bet somewhere in the Pentagon and foreign equivalents, these things are being developed. To think nothing will ever improve in stealth detection is magic beans and fairy dust, IMHO.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...AFQjCNGSe4VeWUs91hFBEsKPeNlNYZuvYA

[Edited 2012-12-04 23:17:16]

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 25, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8152 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):

The Rand study does not include operating costs, pilot training expenses and pilot retirement expenses - all of which are substantial and would fall onto the Pentagon Buget

The study factored operating costs including infrastructure, weapon and fuel costs. Your reaching if you think that the training costs for a manned bomber pilot would significantly alter the costs for the study.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):

The report did not examine UCAVS in the mix, which is a huge omission - But I assume it's a dated Rand report

While the premise of the report is about a manned bomber replacement it is certainly not dated. The report was released a couple of months ago and as you can see includes operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
It also studies only current Tomahawks.

It looks at a nominal 3,000 cruise missile force. What comprises that force does not matter, what matters is that the intensity and duration of conflicts go for longer than a stockpile of expendable weapons can handle, therefore the cost of reusable platforms becomes significantly lower than using cruise missiles.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
The report did not examine UCAVS in the mix

The contrast is between expendable munitions and reusable platforms. A UCAV is a reusable platform.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
The next generation missiles will be stealthy, carry a 2,000lb warhead and have greater range - so I've heard. Factor that in, including UCAVS, pilot salaries, pilot retirement costs, pilot training costs and operating costs of the manned planes - and the equation tilts very fast one way. It's math.

Last I saw math requires numbers, letters and equations, which you have provided none of. Instead you choose to disregard a study by a reputable organization, throw out some suppositions, assumptions with no fact and claim you are correct.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
Yes I did. You did not read my post carefully enough.

You said in reply 17 that some may be shot down but most will get through but then in reply 19 you claim 25 F-35 sorties are required to equal 100 missiles. Given your comparison, I could only assume you were suggesting that all 100 would reach the target.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
That is correct. Only that no pilots would be lost and they are far cheaper and therefore more affordable in more numbers. That's why they're talking about a swarm UCAV attack. I think it is also safe to assume that unmanned aircraft are easier to shape stealthy than manned vehicles.

So you think a UCAV that could operate autonomously with the same capabilities as a manned aircraft would be far cheaper to purchase and operate? I am sorry but you are wrong. At best a UCAV that could emulate the capabilities of an F-35 would be 10-15% cheaper to procure and just as much to develop. Look at all the UCAVs in operation now, they all use systems, engines, avionics and airframes developed from manned platforms, lowering the development and acquisition costs. Once you start developing the respective components from scratch you will get the same costs, issues and time frames as you see with any manned program from the last twenty years. Add in all the computer processing hardware, cooling and increased power requirements you would require for autonomous operation and the airframe would probably end up being bigger than a manned platform.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FUTURE TECHNOLOGY, REMEMBER?

??? And have you time traveled recently so you know what this mythical future technology can do. Seems like a easy out to say it is in the future so it must be true.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
Besides, Global Hawk does fly for very long periods of time fully autonomous.

C'mon, flying between way-points is not autonomous. No-one in their right mind says the 777 or the A330 are flying autonomously when on autopilot and flying a programmed route.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2011 posts, RR: 4
Reply 26, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 8127 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):

They can be recalled, rerouted and re targeted after launch.

Re-target yes . . . then you face the bandwidth issue or potential jamming if the missile has entered enemy air space.
Recalling a cruise missile? Safer to let it go on to secondary target than having it fly back to your own airspace 
Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 24):
Quoting Ozair (Reply 22):
No UCAV flying today is autonomous.
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FUTURE TECHNOLOGY, REMEMBER?

Yeah, yeah, we are all talking either one or the other . . . why can't there be both?

Consider the band width problem. I can envision the future strike flight be two manned stealth in a wing of half a dozen or more UAV. The manned stealth would be the on-site control center/network hub (to eliminate the satellite band width issue). And they can rotate the manned fighter in and out as needed and keep the longer staying UAV over target as needed.

The UAV can be autonomous or semi-autonomous. Remember most military UAV now already fly themselves so to speak. They are usually only controlled by way points. It's just a matter of programing to "teach" them to dog fight or plot it's own approach for attack. I'm pretty sure that software already exists.

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 27, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 8060 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 25):
So you think a UCAV that could operate autonomously with the same capabilities as a manned aircraft would be far cheaper to purchase and operate? I am sorry but you are wrong.

You are free to believe whatever you wish.

The facts are the Predator C costs about $15 Million. And it flies farther, carries 50% more payload internally than the F-35B does - right now, today. That's waaaaaaaaaay cheaper. than any manned aircraft. And that's today. Tomorrow's UCAVs will be even more capable, like the X-47C. Perhaps a bit more expensive, but as the Predaror C demonstrates, on a different scale from manned vehicles.

Development costs for the X-47B has only been $813 million, and it'll beat the F-35 to landing on a carrier and probably service entry date. Boeing developed the X-45A/B through C for a similar amount. Most of it is software, not airframe related. That has now been developed. Northrop proved this by landing an F-18 onto a carrier with their C-47B software last year.

These costs from General Atomics, Northrop and Boeing for the UCAVS are a fraction of F-22 or F-35 costs - development and acquisition. Even if all F-35 development would be completed today, just the acquisition costs are many times more than a single UCAV that is proposed, like X-47C or existing ones like Predator C.

As to the Rand study, I guess you ignored the highlights I quoted, which clearly says that conflicts no longer than 10 days are cheaper using only Tomahawks and longer than 10 days cheaper using large bombers with 40 weapons - not F-35 with 4.The study also does not include UCAVs. It's a hypothetical black and white question to examine a certain cost point between manned large bombers and cruise missiles. It really doesn't speak to F-35 sized planes, nor UCAVs, nor the sunk costs in the 3,500 Tomahawks we already have, etc...

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2010/may/04/more-drones-smaller-navy/

Quoting Ozair (Reply 25):
C'mon, flying between way-points is not autonomous. No-one in their right mind says the 777 or the A330 are flying autonomously when on autopilot and flying a programmed route.

You can play word and definition games all you want. It doesn't change the fact that the Global Hawk does not need any signals for a very long periods of time. You can call that whatever you wish. And nobody is saying that airliners ever fly autonomously, why do you bring stuff up nobody has claimed? There are human pilots in the cockpit of those at all times, after all.


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 28, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7929 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 27):
As to the Rand study, I guess you ignored the highlights I quoted

I didn't need to ignore them, I had already mentioned them in reply 22 when I quoted the study.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 22):

Secondly, the following RAND study clearly demonstrates that a manned strike platform is more cost effective for almost all conflicts that go longer than about 10 days.

What you are choosing the ignore is the fact that in all the conflicts studied the duration was longer than 10 days. The amusing thing is one of us actually read the study while the other one simply skim read it to find any possible points that could support his point of view. What the study does prove, beyond doubt.....is that your continued premise that the US could fight a war with cruise missiles in place of manned aircraft, be they bombers or fighters, is wrong.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 27):
It's a hypothetical black and white question to examine a certain cost point between manned large bombers and cruise missiles. It really doesn't speak to F-35 sized planes,

Frankly, because RAND has more sense than to suggest that cruise missiles can replace a tactical fighter.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 27):

These costs from General Atomics, Northrop and Boeing for the UCAVS are a fraction of F-22 or F-35 costs

For a fraction of the capability. Can you identify any UCAV, even those planned, on the drawing board or a concept, that have the aerodynamic ability, total weapons load or suite of sensors and counter-measures that the F-35 or F-22 do?

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 27):
That's waaaaaaaaaay cheaper. than any manned aircraft.

Because they are designed for low-intensity COIN conflicts. They have no MWS, RWS, countermeasures or air to air defence ability and could not survive in a conflict where an adversary had even a remotely competent IADS.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 27):
You can play word and definition games all you want.

If you think using correct definitions is word games then you are missing the point. Having definitions allows all the different people on this board from around the world to understand what we mean when we say something.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 27):
And nobody is saying that airliners ever fly autonomously, why do you bring stuff up nobody has claimed? There are human pilots in the cockpit of those at all times, after all.

Exactly, the difference between an UAV/UCAV and a 777 is the presence of the pilot, not the method of how it navigates, flies way-points or lands. Hence they are called unmanned.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 29, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7821 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 28):
What the study does prove, beyond doubt.....is that your continued premise that the US could fight a war with cruise missiles in place of manned aircraft, be they bombers or fighters, is wrong.

Firstly, that is not my premise at all. My premise is to fight wars IN THE FUTURE with a mix of UCAVs, cruise missiles and some manned planes, in that order - not cruise missiles 100%. I never said that. Either you don't understand my posts or you are deliberately misrepresenting what I say.

Moore's law, autonomous flying airliners and now a premise I never had nor mentioned. I find it interesting you and some fellow posters see ghosts, as in things that are not there, things that nobody has said.

To be clear, the Rand study mentions only the costs of doing one or the other. It does not say one or the other is not feasible, as you claim it says. In case you missed it, from the conclusion, here is what it actually says:

The purpose of this report is to evaluate the economic wisdom of the United States adopting
policies that rely primarily on expendable weapons, such as cruise missiles, to conduct airto-
ground strike missions.

The blue line is the cost indifference curve between conducting the campaign with long-range cruise missiles
and conducting it with a new, 20,000-lb-payload reusable aircraft.


Again, this Rand report is only a cost analysis. As such it does not include future UCAVS and much more capable newer cruise missiles, nor much cheaper, shorter range and smaller cruise missiles such as the AGM-158 JASSM because they were not used in past conflicts, perhaps because they are fairly new. But it does compare past older Cruise Missiles with a new future bomber that does not yet exist and far more capable (on paper) than the F-35 will ever be.



[Edited 2012-12-06 12:39:09]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 30, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 7706 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 22):
1. The Tomahawk is less survivable than a manned aircraft in almost all circumstances yet you do not consider the ability for the Tomahawk to be shot down?

This is important. Practically every single war where we have fired Tomahawk's at a enemy didn't have a very well organized and / or competent air defence system by the time we started shooting Tomahawk's at them. By the time Tomahawk's were in the air, stealth bombers, such as the B-2 or the F-117 have blown holes in the enemy air defence system.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 31, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7696 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 30):
By the time Tomahawk's were in the air, stealth bombers, such as the B-2 or the F-117 have blown holes in the enemy air defence system.

In both Iraq wars the first strikes were carried out by Cruise Missiles. They were the 1st bombs to land and take out installations.


As to mission success rates:

According to studies conducted by the Center for Naval Analyses and the
Defense Intelligence Agency and GAO’s analysis of Gulf War Air Power
Survey data, Tomahawk missiles and CALCMs hit their intended aim points
with success rates approaching those of manned precision strike aircraft,
such as the F-117A Stealth Fighter.

- April 20, 1995, GAO/NSIAD-95-116

I assume they're even better now than in the early 1990s and will continue to get better in the future.

When Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced in March 2003, USS Cheyenne became the first U.S. warship to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles into Baghdad. Intelligence reports seemed confident that Hussein, his influential sons Uday and Qusay, and other regime leaders were in the same bunker at the same time and that the coalition knew where it was. The allies seized upon this opportunity to decapitate Saddam's regime with a single blow. The first Tomahawk missile to be fired into Iraq in the second Gulf War roared off from the San Diego-based cruiser Bunker Hill at 5.25am, March 20. Simultaneously, thirty-six Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) hit the complex early in the morning on March 20. Unfortunately, later reports proved that the intelligence was faulty: Hussein and his sons were not in the bunker.

Operation Allied Force, in the spring of 1999, occurred when inventory levels of Tomahawk missiles were at critical levels due to previous combat expenditures of 811 missiles prior to 1999. Navy Tomahawk land attack missiles played a critical role in the 1999 Kosovo air campaign. Used selectively throughout, they were sent to destroy over 50 percent of key headquarters and electrical power station targets. Launched from the sea to shape the battle inland, Navy Tomahawks achieved a 90-percent success rate against these vital targets in all-weather conditions.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...ms/munitions/bgm-109-operation.htm

And in lowly Serbia the F-117 was shot down by old SAMS.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 32, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7698 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 31):
In both Iraq wars the first strikes were carried out by Cruise Missiles. They were the 1st bombs to land and take out installations.

Wrong. First strike in Gulf War I was by AH-64's supported by MH-53E's targeting Iraqi early warning radar sites, followed by F-117's and F-15E's.

Gulf War II started with F-117 strikes dropping GBU-27's targeting an Iraqi compound where Saddam was supposed to be staying.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 31):
And in lowly Serbia the F-117 was shot down by old SAMS.

We've discussed this before; the loss of the F-117 had much to do with crappy mission planning. The F-117 flew alone, without the expected SEAD support, on a predictable flight path at a predictable time. It doesn't matter if you had a stealth fighter or not; someone's going to take a good shot at you and hit you because you screwed up.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 33, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 7673 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 32):
Wrong.

If you could provide credible sources for all you opinions, that would be nice for once. Something at least as credible as the US GAO would be great. Can't wait.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 34, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7563 times:

http://articles.cnn.com/2003-03-19/w...attack-military-action?_s=PM:WORLD

U.S. and coalition forces launched missiles and bombs at targets in Iraq as Thursday morning dawned in Baghdad, including a "decapitation attack" aimed at Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and other top members of the country's leadership.

More than 40 satellite-guided Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from U.S. warships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, military officials said. F117 stealth fighters, which carry two 2,000-pound bombs apiece, also were involved in the strikes, though apparently on a target other than Saddam.


User currently offlinegarnetpalmetto From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5327 posts, RR: 53
Reply 35, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7546 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 33):
If you could provide credible sources for all you opinions

I'd call this a credible source, tommytoyz, wouldn't you?

http://www2.hurlburt.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123016067

by 2nd Lt. Amy Gonzales
Deputy Chief, Public Affairs

2/3/2006 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The “Through the Eyes of a Commando” living history lecture series continued Jan. 27 in the Airman Leadership School auditorium, where Col. Michael Kingsley retold the story of the first mission of Operation Desert Storm — Task Force Normandy.

Colonel Kingsley, currently the commander of the Aviation Tactics Evaluation Group at Fort Bragg, N.C., was part of the mission in which 20th Special Operations Squadron MH-53 PAVE LOWs escorted Army AH-64 Apaches into Iraq to destroy early-warning radars.


Now, unless you have a minute by minute timeline indicating when the first Tomahawk was fired, I'm inclined to agree, with ThePointBlank and with all that I heard before that the first strike of the Gulf War was Task Force Normandy's SEAD mission.

[Edited 2012-12-07 11:46:10]


South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 36, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 7519 times:

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 35):
Now, unless you have a minute by minute timeline indicating when the first Tomahawk was fired, I'm inclined to agree, with ThePointBlank and with all that I heard before that the first strike of the Gulf War was Task Force Normandy's SEAD mission.

A discussion as to who really fired the 1st shot in Desert Storm in 1991, is not relevant to the argument whether or not today and in the future, Cruise missiles and UCAVS can be effectively used in a 1st strike package or not. It is still true that even in 1991, cruise missiles were fired at the beginning of the campaign, as they were in 2003. To say otherwise is false.

If helicopters fired the 1st shot in 1991 to suppress air defenses, so be it. Probably to clear the way for the manned planes, not cruise missiles.

As demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm and the two Iraqi raids,
cruise missiles have advantages over tactical aircraft systems and provide
military commanders additional options for precision strike operations.
Cruise missiles can strike many types of targets and can be used in many
conditions, such as at night, in a variety of weather conditions, or in heavy
air defenses. Cruise missiles can also be used without the additional
resources—electronic warfare aircraft, fighter escort, and refueling
aircraft—required for manned aircraft strikes. Additionally, as the raid on
Iraqi intelligence headquarters demonstrated, such strikes do not require
the presence of an aircraft carrier battle group. Employing cruise missiles
can also avoid possible political constraints, such as obtaining host nation
permission to use U.S. aircraft from forward deployed bases or fly through
a third nation’s airspace. Most importantly, cruise missiles provide the
ability to strike targets without risking the loss of aircraft and the death or
capture of U.S. aircrew members.

GAO/NSIAD-95-116


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 37, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 7477 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 32):

If you could provide credible sources for all you opinions, that would be nice for once. Something at least as credible as the US GAO would be great. Can't wait.

Gulf War I: http://books.google.ca/books?id=3YMx...&q=Task%20Force%20Normandy&f=false

Gulf War II: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2866969.stm


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 38, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 7470 times:

Not exactly GAO accurate, but I guess fine for these purposes, because they confirm what I said:
Gulf War I 1991:

The first night of operations over Iraq witnesses the longest bombing run in history. Seven B-52G bombers were launched in the early hours of January 16, from a base in Louisiana on the mainland of the United States and, 15 hours later, these aircraft dropped 15 AGM-86 ALCMs from their bomb bays before heading home. The accuracy of these missiles with their 1,000lb warheads was staggering: around 89 percent hit their targets.

They dropped cruise missiles. Those cruise missiles were extremely effective over 20 years ago at the very beginning of the conflict as a first strike weapon. And that is even more so with today's missile technology much less tomorrow's. IMHO.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-86_ALCM


From your BBC article on the opening salvo in 2003:
More than 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles were also fired from six US Navy vessels, including two submarines, stationed in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, officials said.

Clearly the cruise missiles are a main stay and are very effective - especially in the initial stages. That's why they were used in that fashion.

ThePointblank,I don't know why you keep trying to prove things like:
Practically every single war where we have fired Tomahawk's at a enemy didn't have a very well organized and / or competent air defence system by the time we started shooting Tomahawk's at them. By the time Tomahawk's were in the air, stealth bombers, such as the B-2 or the F-117 have blown holes in the enemy air defence system.
Even you own sources say otherwise.

[Edited 2012-12-07 17:35:57]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 39, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 7446 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 38):
Gulf War I 1991:

The first night of operations over Iraq witnesses the longest bombing run in history. Seven B-52G bombers were launched in the early hours of January 16, from a base in Louisiana on the mainland of the United States and, 15 hours later, these aircraft dropped 15 AGM-86 ALCMs from their bomb bays before heading home. The accuracy of these missiles with their 1,000lb warheads was staggering: around 89 percent hit their targets.

They dropped cruise missiles. Those cruise missiles were extremely effective over 20 years ago at the very beginning of the conflict as a first strike weapon. And that is even more so with today's missile technology much less tomorrow's. IMHO.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-86_ALCM

However, the first attack was not by cruise missile, but from aircraft. Big difference. You have stated:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 31):
In both Iraq wars the first strikes were carried out by Cruise Missiles. They were the 1st bombs to land and take out installations.

In both instances, first strikes that hit their targets was from aircraft, not cruise missiles. The first shots fired was from an aircraft. And in Gulf War I, the first shots were fired at Iraqi early warning air defence systems, which immediately degraded Iraqi air defence systems. In Gulf War II, the Iraqi's didn't have a air defence system to begin with anyways, so that barely even counts.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 40, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7423 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 39):
In both instances, first strikes that hit their targets was from aircraft, not cruise missiles.

In Desert Storm 35 cruise missiles were fired on the second night with an 89 percent hit rate. If you want to say it is because the SAM sites were taken out already, then you know more than the USAF and the GAO.

In no report that I have read, including another one by the GAO, titled - "Evaluation of the Air Campaign" - did I read that cruise missile effectiveness was affected or dependent on manned aircraft first clearing the way for them. That is a figment of your imagination.

In 2003, the 1st salvos were Tomahawks attacking the bunkers in the heart of Baghdad and F-117s other targets, both pretty much simultaneously and the cruise missiles got through and hit their targets. Your own sources support all this. You argue against your own sources.

It's more like that an air campaign's effectiveness is dependent on cruise missiles:

The Air Force further stated that “so
dangerous was downtown Baghdad that the air campaign planners
excluded all other attackers, except F-117s and cruise missiles, from
striking it.”
....

TLAM (Tomahawk) launches occurred overwhelmingly in the first 3 days of the war. Of
the 260 TLAM Cs and D-Is that transitioned to cruise phase, more than
39 percent were fired in the first 24 hours; 62 percent were launched
during the first 48 hours; just over 73 percent in the first 72 hours;

GAO 1997, GAO/NSIAD-97-134 Operation Desert Storm Air Campaign

[Edited 2012-12-07 22:46:25]

User currently onlinemham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3389 posts, RR: 2
Reply 41, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7314 times:

Apparently, the USAF has been cancelling drone programs right and left. At least the non-classified.

But when it comes to strictly military campaigns — assuming those even exist anymore — flying robots appear to be falling out of favor with the nation’s air combat branch. Earlier this year the Air Force announced controversial plans to scale back its known current and future drone fleets.

Gone would be the Block 30 model of the brand-new, high-flying Global Hawk recon UAV, axed in favor of upgrades to the decades-old U-2 spy plane. Production of the workhorse Reapers was slashed from 48 per year to just 24. Looking ahead, the Air Force cancelled a planned, unclassified effort to develop a jet-powered attack drone, the MQ-X. Indeed, the flying branch abandoned its entire 30-year “roadmap” for future UAV development, which had anticipated a host of new robot designs to ultimately replace most manned aircraft.


http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/secret-drones/


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 42, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 7007 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 38):
Not exactly GAO accurate, but I guess fine for these purposes, because they confirm what I said:
Gulf War I 1991:

The first night of operations over Iraq witnesses the longest bombing run in history. Seven B-52G bombers were launched in the early hours of January 16, from a base in Louisiana on the mainland of the United States and, 15 hours later, these aircraft dropped 15 AGM-86 ALCMs from their bomb bays before heading home. The accuracy of these missiles with their 1,000lb warheads was staggering: around 89 percent hit their targets.

They dropped cruise missiles. Those cruise missiles were extremely effective over 20 years ago at the very beginning of the conflict as a first strike weapon. And that is even more so with today's missile technology much less tomorrow's. IMHO.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-86_ALCM

However, the first opening shot occurred with the AH-64's of Task Force Normandy on Iraqi early warning defence grid on January 17th at 03:00. The first ALCM's didn't hit until much later.

You forgot about the wonderful time zone difference; January 17th at 03:00 was local time in the Persian Gulf. B-52's taking off from Louisiana in the early morning (say at 4:00AM) of the 16th would have been around 13:00 in Iraq on the 16th. If we assumed that the B-52's launched their missiles 15 hours after take off, it would have meant that the B-52's would have launched their missiles at 18:00 in Louisiana; converted to the time in Iraq, it would have meant that the B-52's launched their weapons just past 04:00 on January 17th. Add how long it would have taken for the ALCM's to actually fly, the first ALCM probably would have hit roughly 2 hours later after Task Force Normandy fired the first shots in the air war.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):

In 2003, the 1st salvos were Tomahawks attacking the bunkers in the heart of Baghdad and F-117s other targets, both pretty much simultaneously and the cruise missiles got through and hit their targets. Your own sources support all this. You argue against your own sources.

Global Security.org will also state that the F-117's lead the way:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraqi_freedom_d1.htm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
In Desert Storm 35 cruise missiles were fired on the second night with an 89 percent hit rate. If you want to say it is because the SAM sites were taken out already, then you know more than the USAF and the GAO.

35 cruise missiles verses the literally hundreds of thousands of air strikes performed by Coalition aircraft. To do another Desert Storm like war using primarily cruise missiles would require literally hundreds of thousands of cruise missiles, at a few million per pop.

To put things into perspective, the coalition air campaign in Desert Storm accumulated a total of 109,876 sorties over the 43-day war, an average of 2,555 sorties per day.

Couple of problems under your scenario; we don't have hundreds of thousands of cruise missiles to shoot first off, and we don't have the production facilities to produce that many to begin with. We also don't have that many launch platforms capable of carrying and sustaining a campaign with that many cruise missiles. Even if we replaced the bulk of the cruise missiles and kept them on first day operations, you are still looking on average, a couple thousand cruise missiles needed.

Cruise missiles have their use, but the targets need to be really justified to expend a multi-million dollar weapon against it. A reuseable combat aircraft dropping a couple thousand dollar JDAM's or SDB's is considerably more cost effective.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 43, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6984 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 42):
Global Security.org will also state that the F-117's lead the way:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...1.htm

From your own source:

At 9:34 PM EST on March 19, 2003 (5:34 AM local time in Baghdad on March 20), United States and United Kingdom forces consisting of 40 cruise missiles and strikes led by 2 F-117s from the 8th Fighter Squadron (supported by Navy EA-6B Prowlers) and other aircraft began conducting military operations against the state of Iraq designed to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and to remove the Iraqi Regime from power.

Do you even read you own sources you yourself link to? 2 F-117s and 40 cruise missiles were the 1st strikes in 2003, according to your own source.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 42):
A reuseable combat aircraft dropping a couple thousand dollar JDAM's or SDB's is considerably more cost effective.

Lose some stealth aircraft and you have hundreds of cruise missiles paid for. And as to the thousands of sorties flown,

you do know that

- Cruise missiles struck at the most heavily defended ones in 2003?
- In Gulf one, over 1/2 of bombs were dumb bombs?
- In Gulf II, over 1/3 were dumb bombs?
- A large percentage of all dumb bombs missed their targets?
- The F-117 bomb hit rate ranged between 41 and 60 percent (using only guided munitions)?
- In Gulf II, less than 25% of missions were fighters or bombers, for a total of about 9,300 bombs run sorties?

It seems you forgot these facts. For you, it seems only a perfect F-35 world exists, past, present and future.

The new generation of cruise missiles will have a range of well over 1,000 nautical miles, as some Tomahawks do now, and carry a 2,000lb warhead. That opens many options. Including the using UCAVS, B-52, B-,1 B-2, F-15s, F-18s, Submarines, Surface Ships, Trucks and many others to launch them from.

Factor in the expense of manned aircraft losses, the savings in unneeded support planes, such as for refueling and equipment transportation, SEAD suppression and air superiority cover, and the higher lower hit rate of manned missions compared to cruise missiles, even with guided munitions - and the equation starts looking quite different from what you are portraying, IMHO.

I am now done with this topic as it is repetitive and you refuse to admit even the most basic verifiable facts that even your own sources have and see only what you want to see. The facts I quote are from your own sources you linked. Matter of fact, it's in the 1st sentence of your source.

[Edited 2012-12-10 21:11:40]

User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 44, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6951 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 43):
Lose some stealth aircraft and you have hundreds of cruise missiles paid for. And as to the thousands of sorties flown,

How about your launch platforms? Willing to spend a few billion on a few Burke DD's to hold 96 Tomahawk's and maybe another couple billion on another couple of Burke's to escort the first Burke, and then pay for upkeep? How about if you are far enough in shore that a ship can't be used as a launch platform? There's barely enough bombers available to effectively fight a long term aerial campaign today, not to mention that such bombers would require escort closer to enemy air space.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 43):
- Cruise missiles struck at the most heavily defended ones in 2003?

You mean what was LEFT of the Iraqi air defence grid; remember, for over a decade, we imposed a No-Fly Zone over a number of areas of Iraq and shot at any Iraqi air defence units that dared to light up their radars? Not to mention the sanctions, which pretty much eliminated any source of spare parts to maintain various systems, and the constant bombing raids to disrupt Iraqi command and control capabilities?

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 43):
Trucks and many others to launch them from.

Can't do trucks or anything ground-based for that matter; you are looking at a violation of of the INF Treaty, which bans a whole category of weapons (e.g. GLCM and Pershing II).

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 43):
The new generation of cruise missiles will have a range of well over 1,000 nautical miles, as some Tomahawks do now, and carry a 2,000lb warhead.

At 3 million dollars a pop, excluding development. A regular Tactical Tomahawk is already $1.5 million dollars a missile.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 43):
Factor in the expense of manned aircraft losses, the savings in unneeded support planes, such as for refueling and equipment transportation, SEAD suppression and air superiority cover, and the higher lower hit rate of manned missions compared to cruise missiles, even with guided munitions - and the equation starts looking quite different from what you are portraying, IMHO.

You can't win a war with just shooting cruise missiles. Very often, you are also looking at sending ground forces or even naval forces in, which will require significant amounts of air support to protect land and naval based units from enemy aircraft, and to provide support. So you are back to square one, needing tactical aircraft to support a naval or ground force, and you will need a lot of them.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 45, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 6717 times:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....l/AW_12_10_2012_p35-524348.xml&p=1

Industry sources say the Navy is trying to protect the money needed to start the Uclass program.

.........

Northrop redesigned the X-47B tailhook because engineers had placed it too close to the landing gear. The distance didn't allow the landing cable to bounce and rest back on the ground so the tailhook could scoop under the cable and connect to it. The problem is similar to that experienced by Lockheed Martin with the F-35C tailhook. The redesign, executed in 45 days, has proven successful in three arrestment roll-in demonstrations, says Capt. Jamie Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager.


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