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X-47B Carier Landings  
User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Posted (1 year 7 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 10438 times:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJ_qzt6pEk

Touch and go for now. Full on trap landings in a few weeks. From what I was reading before, the software used to land the X-47B on carriers has been extensively tested and developed using manned F-18s. F-18s have made many autonomous carrier trap landings with the pilot observing.

This drone is mostly autonomous, in that there is no pilot hand flying the plane, as many current drones are. The Navy drone is more advanced in that it autonomously performs the tasks it is ordered to perform, similar to a manned plane.

40 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 319 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 23 hours ago) and read 10381 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Thread starter):
Touch and go for now. Full on trap landings in a few weeks. From what I was reading before, the software used to land the X-47B on carriers has been extensively tested and developed using manned F-18s. F-18s have made many autonomous carrier trap landings with the pilot observing.

This drone is mostly autonomous, in that there is no pilot hand flying the plane, as many current drones are. The Navy drone is more advanced in that it autonomously performs the tasks it is ordered to perform, similar to a manned plane.

Yep, Boeing had done/is doing a lot of work in increasing the autonomy of drones as part of its drone strategy and as part of the original government contracts that spawned the X-45/47, NG got access to all of this development for the X-47. It contributed a lot to the disagreements between Boeing and the US Navy since from Boeing perspective they were basically helping out one of their primary competitors but getting nothing in return.

A while back there was a documentary on the Boeing software infrastructure that is being used by X45/Phantom Ray and it was pretty impressive. You could setup whole missions in it, tell it to taxi to runway and hold for auth, give it auth and it would just go. No pilot control required. Give it landing auth on return and taxiways and it would just do it. The software also has plane to plane capacity so that multiple X-45s can flaw in tight formation and communicate movements with each other.


User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5770 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 11 hours ago) and read 10190 times:

Quoting spink (Reply 1):
Yep, Boeing had done/is doing a lot of work in increasing the autonomy of drones as part of its drone strategy and as part of the original government contracts that spawned the X-45/47, NG got access to all of this development for the X-47. It contributed a lot to the disagreements between Boeing and the US Navy since from Boeing perspective they were basically helping out one of their primary competitors but getting nothing in return

Well that is the nature of government contracting, if the government pays you to develop a technology they own the tech and everything else. And this ownership goes very deep into current military technology as they have been funding things for many many years and development cycles. It's not NG's not is it Boeing's, it belongs to and in owned by the USG.

The contractors go into these bids and contracts knowing this but understand that normally the incumbent has the inside track because they did develop it and have the manufacturing expertise and know the quirks etc., but quite often it just goes out to bid all over again. NG is no slouch when it comes to UAVS so there is little to no loss of skill or expertise awarding it to them and they apparently presented the better/cheaper/more capable system.

Tugg



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User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8668 times:

The X-47B successfully landed today:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.as..._source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

The project is now officially concluded.



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User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 8577 times:

That's good news. On to the UCLASS phase.

The Navy plans to deploy an initial Uclass capability at the end of the TD phase—a single squadron of 4-6 aircraft on a carrier. “It's a hybrid program, which is a challenge. There will be additional development after initial deployment,” he says. Deployment is expected 3-6 years after contract award—but before 2020—a wide date range “the Navy has not explained precisely,” Ruszkowski notes.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....l/AW_06_24_2013_p44-588836.xml&p=2


User currently offlineseachaz From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 221 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 8508 times:

Navy has a several videos up now:

Trap 1 view 1
Trap 1 view 2
Trap 2
Trap 1 and 2 helicopter view

[Edited 2013-07-10 16:44:26]

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 8493 times:

Quoting seachaz (Reply 5):
Navy has a several videos up now:

Trap 1 view 1
Trap 1 view 2
Trap 2
Trap 1 and 2 helicopter view

Great videos. I'm looking forward to the next step.


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2124 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 8493 times:

Very cool. Hopefully pilots will always have a role to play flying manned aircraft off of carriers and land bases, but the mix of drones in there is inevitable.

On a side note, it just struck me as odd seeing 4 C-2 Greyhounds topside, or at all on 1 carrier. Do they normally have 4 COD planes on a CVN? Maybe the extras are there supporting the UAV with equipment/techs/etc.?

Btw thanks for sharing the videos seachaz, very nice!



Quoting seachaz (Reply 5):
Navy has a several videos up now:

Trap 1 view 1
Trap 1 view 2
Trap 2
Trap 1 and 2 helicopter view



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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 8470 times:
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Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 7):
On a side note, it just struck me as odd seeing 4 C-2 Greyhounds topside, or at all on 1 carrier. Do they normally have 4 COD planes on a CVN? Maybe the extras are there supporting the UAV with equipment/techs/etc.?

Probably no air wing aboard & are doing carrier qualifications when they're not launching and recovering drones.



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User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 8469 times:

Landing speed looks high to me. Maybe future versions will have more high lift devices?? They did two landings and I assume 2 launches.

If the UCLASS will have a minimum of 12 hours loiter time, large operating radius and 4,000lbs+ weapons payload - they'll soon become indispensable.


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 8428 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 9):
If the UCLASS will have a minimum of 12 hours loiter time, large operating radius and 4,000lbs+ weapons payload - they'll soon become indispensable.

A limited release of the KPPs for UCLASS is available. http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/navy...s-minimum-ranges-and-maximum-costs

The interesting things to note are the primary requirement for ISR, limited secondary strike requirement in lightly contested environments and a small weapon payload. While the overall payload is 3,000lbs only 1,000lbs will be weapons.

The Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) so-called key performance perimeters (KPPs) outline an aircraft that will primarily fill information, reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting (ISRT) roles for the service’s carrier strike group with a limited ability to strike targets at a range of 2,000 nautical miles from the strike group in lightly contested environments, according to the documents.

Our primary use for this asset is organic persistent ISR which the strike group doesn’t possess right now — especially at the range and speed that this thing will be able to execute,” Cmdr. Pete Yelle with OPNAV told USNI News on Monday.

The KPPs call for an aircraft that can field a 3,000 pounds worth of payload, including a 1,000 pounds of air-to-surface weapons — including the 500 pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bomb II.


The cost is the big kicker, with a max unit price of US$150 million per copy.

The unit cost for the aircrafts, less research and development and operations and maintenance cost (known as recurring flyaway cost), “required to conduct a 600 nautical mile persistent orbit shall not exceed $150 million,” read the UCLASS KPP.

[Edited 2013-07-10 19:10:47]

User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 8403 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 6):
Great videos. I'm looking forward to the next step.

Next step for the X-47B is museums.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 10):
The cost is the big kicker, with a max unit price of US$150 million per copy.

I cant see a UCAV being more than $100m a copy, unless you roll development costs into airframe cost. Jets are not new, naval aviation is not new, stealth is not new... really it comes down to developing operating procedure and software.

Say Lockheed develops a modified F-35 design with no pilot, full UCAV, maybe tailless (same idea as the X-44 manta). Common hardware to the F-35, same stealth tech. I would bet the only thing keeping the F-35 from being a UCAV is software. If you remove the provisions for a pilot, and maybe refine the airframe shape with the lack of need for a STOVL model... it would be a potent system. Just use as many off the shelf F-35 parts as possible.

[Edited 2013-07-10 20:09:12]

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 8388 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
I cant see a UCAV being more than $100m a copy, unless you roll development costs into airframe cost. Jets are not new, naval aviation is not new, stealth is not new... really it comes down to developing operating procedure and software.

Pretty sure the $150 mill would include the ground station components, which are hidden costs associated with these types of UAVs.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
Just use as many off the shelf F-35 parts as possible.

In a similar vein to the LRSB, which will reportedly use the F-135, the EODAS, Stealth coatings etc. Good idea and certainly save on development and must be cheaper to produce given existing F-35 production but I am not convinced.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
Say Lockheed develops a modified F-35 design with no pilot, full UCAV, maybe tailless (same idea as the X-44 manta). Common hardware to the F-35, same stealth tech. I would bet the only thing keeping the F-35 from being a UCAV is software. If you remove the provisions for a pilot, and maybe refine the airframe shape with the lack of need for a STOVL model

Probably not ideal for long loiter time. UCLASS won't ever go supersonic and probably needs larger and higher aspect wings to give the loiter time and greater fuel storage. You wouldn't need as expansive a bomb bay given the low munitions requirement and I would also expect a similar satcom antenna to Global hawk.

Could certainly reuse the stealth tech although the stealth requirement apparently isn't as low as the F-35, http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/uclass-by-the-numbers

While not stealthy at the same level of the B-2 Spirit bomber or the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy wants UCLASS to have some low observable characteristics — enough to allow it to perform strike missions in lightly contested areas. In high-end conflicts, UCLASS will provide sensor and targeting data to neighboring aircraft and ships

Even the F-135 is probably overkill, too much power for such a small airframe. Perhaps a higher bypass F414?


User currently offlinechecksixx From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 8355 times:

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 7):
On a side note, it just struck me as odd seeing 4 C-2 Greyhounds topside, or at all on 1 carrier. Do they normally have 4 COD planes on a CVN? Maybe the extras are there supporting the UAV with equipment/techs/etc.?

If you look closely the island is loaded with people...


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 8115 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 12):
Pretty sure the $150 mill would include the ground station components, which are hidden costs associated with these types of UAVs.

Perhaps, but that is pretty much the same as the F-35 haters rolling facility upgrades from the next 30 years into unit costs. It is needed, but considering the level of autonomy of these units... it will not be like a Global hawk or Reaper with hands on piloting, it will be satellite communications, uploaded missions, and a guy with a remote control steering it around the flight deck. Sure there will be associated system costs, but not as big as the UAVs.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 12):
In a similar vein to the LRSB, which will reportedly use the F-135, the EODAS, Stealth coatings etc.

Concepts seem familure...



Quoting Ozair (Reply 12):
UCLASS won't ever go supersonic and probably needs larger and higher aspect wings to give the loiter time and greater fuel storage.

Maybe something based on the F-35Cs larger wingspan. Slimmed body... some shapes and systems in common, maybe same landing gear... etc. Pretty much the F-117 mentality, use as much off the shelf as possible. Development is killing the F-35. Every piece of gear they dont have to design from scratch is money saved.

When I say based... I use the term loosely.

A high bypass F414 would be great, just from a commonality standpoint.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 7967 times:

$150 Mill is the MAX price mentioned in the KPP, not necessarily THE price the contractors will be able to offer.

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7946 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 14):
it will not be like a Global hawk or Reaper with hands on piloting, it will be satellite communications, uploaded missions,

Its still going to have to feed all that info to the ship, the ISR payload steered by aircrew sitting in the carrier, the ISR feed interpreted by the analysts on the ship and then given commands for subsequent tasks. On strike missions there will be total control of the vehicle before, during and after weapon release.

Alternatively, the US Navy set up a facility similar to the Reaper facilities in Las Vegas, but I don't think this would be the optimum solution.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 14):
Concepts seem familure...

Nice image, I hadn't seen that one before.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 14):
When I say based... I use the term loosely.

Sure, I understand. My standpoint is to reuse as much tech as possible from F-35 but optimize the airframe to the mission, which probably means a new design, with hopefully, most of the development costs spent on the airframe.

But you may be right. If the Navy wants the UCLASS capability on a carrier deck and in service by 2020 they are going to have to accept some compromises including a very short development time.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 15):
$150 Mill is the MAX price mentioned in the KPP, not necessarily THE price the contractors will be able to offer.

Indeed, hence why I said,

Quoting Ozair (Reply 10):
with a max unit price of US$150 million per copy.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1852 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 7770 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 10):
A limited release of the KPPs for UCLASS is available. http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/navy...costs

This seems like the internal USN battle over the capabilities have been decided:

THE HOOK Winter 2012 (page 6)
Washington Report: Unmanned Systems On Board Aircraft Carriers by Sandra I. Erwin

Quote:
The Navy told contractors to anticipate a draft request for proposals in 2013, although there is speculation that the project might be delayed due to budget cuts, and also because the Navy has yet to settle on what type of aircraft it wants. The Navy is internally divided over UCLASS, according to a senior official who spoke at a private industry meeting. One camp wants an X-47-like deep penetrating “son of A-12” high-end aircraft. The other favors a lower-end “son of S-3” long-endurance vehicle that would cost less and would not be as technologically complex. It is no secret that this is a battle that has gone on inside the Navy and across the Defense Department."
http://www.tailhook.net/PDF/Hook_Magazines/8.Winter2012.pdf

It would appear that the Navy is interested in a lower-end solution according to the payload requirements.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week ago) and read 7745 times:

I would think a low end option would work well with something manned and stealth hanging back calling the shots. Imagine a B-2 with 2 pilots and 2 UCLASS operators monitoring a unmanned strike package.

Perhaps a hi/lo mix with some units acting as bomb trucks, the rest as fighter support, all marshalled from the B-2. Imagine the fight of a group of UCLASS light bombers and air superiority fighters all working in perfect unison against a foe.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1852 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 5 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 7335 times:

Update on the testing: They did not manage to complete the requested 3 test landings. They only managed 2 out of 4 attempts:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...-fails-fourth-trap-attempt-388369/

Quote:
The US Navy confirms that a Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system-demonstrator (UCAS-D) aircraft aborted its final attempt at an arrested landing on the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush on 15 July, 2013. The aircraft had successfully recovered onboard the giant vessel twice before, but failed to do so on its third or fourth attempts.

"Aircraft 'Salty Dog 501' was launched to the ship on July 15 to collect additional shipboard landing data," the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says. "During the flight, the aircraft experienced a minor test instrumentation issue and returned to NAS Patuxent River [Maryland], where it safely landed."

The unsuccessful fourth attempt means that the UCAS-D programme will not be able to complete its stated goal of making a minimum of three successful "traps" onboard a carrier. The X-47B made two successful traps on the Bush on 10 July, but a third attempt that day failed when aircraft "Salty Dog 502" self-detected a navigation computer anomaly that forced it to divert to Wallops Island Air Field, Virginia.

"There were no additional opportunities for testing aboard CVN 77, which returned to port today," NAVAIR says. "This was the final at sea period for UCAS-D. The objective of the demonstration was to complete a carrier landing. The programme met their objective."

NAVAIR UCAS-D programme manager Capt Jaime Engdahl says, "We accomplished the vast majority of our carrier demonstration objectives during our 11 days at sea aboard CVN 77 in May."

With the UCAS-D carrier arrested recovery testing complete, the two X-47B demonstrators are expected to be retired to museums in Maryland and Florida in the near future. The next navy carrier-borne unmanned aircraft will come in the form of the service's Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike aircraft.

Oh well, but they came close and gathered very valuable data for the future. But it is demonstrable success, considering that the X-47B had the exact same tail hook issue as the F-35C did; the USN was at fault for providing both Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin incorrect wire dynamics models, with necessitated a number of tail hook redesigns for the X-47B.


User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (1 year 5 months 14 hours ago) and read 7186 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 19):
Update on the testing: They did not manage to complete the requested 3 test landings. They only managed 2 out of 4 attempts:

Also reported in current AIR International, which had a feature article on the X-47B. Notwithstanding the missed traps, this is an impressive technical achievement, both in terms of autonomy and the ability to link with carrier nav and approach aids. It's also evident that there are built-in 'safe' modes in the case of a missed approach.

Question I have is that it appears as though the launches and traps were in a calm sea. I am wondering how it would perform in SS2 or 3, for example.

I realise this is a proof of concept program, but it would seem that some type of UCLASS-type vehicle will be part of the CAW going forward.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3855 posts, RR: 27
Reply 21, posted (1 year 5 months 10 hours ago) and read 7147 times:
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Quoting connies4ever (Reply 20):
Question I have is that it appears as though the launches and traps were in a calm sea. I am wondering how it would perform in SS2 or 3, for example.

A production vehicle would advance step by step.. how many land based traps did this plane attempt before using an actual carrier.. I would guess quite a few from the number of lookie loos on the deck in close proximity to the test.


User currently offlinechecksixx From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 6925 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 18):
Imagine a B-2 with 2 pilots and 2 UCLASS operators monitoring a unmanned strike package.

Where exactly would you put 2 more people in the B-2??


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 938 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6883 times:

Quoting checksixx (Reply 22):
Where exactly would you put 2 more people in the B-2??

In the bomb bay?


User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 24, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 6815 times:

Quoting checksixx (Reply 22):
Quoting Oroka (Reply 18):
Imagine a B-2 with 2 pilots and 2 UCLASS operators monitoring a unmanned strike package.

Where exactly would you put 2 more people in the B-2??

Strap them in by the port-a-potty.  



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3855 posts, RR: 27
Reply 25, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6871 times:
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looking at http://wallpoper.com/wallpaper/stealth-bomber-262100 there appears to be space behind the flight deck and below the refueling receptacle.. granted there would need to be substantial changes made and an emergency exit

User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 26, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6764 times:

Quoting checksixx (Reply 22):
Where exactly would you put 2 more people in the B-2??

I figure if you get some 4'12" pilots and UCLASS operators, you can miniaturize everything and fit them all in the same space, 2 stacked decks even! My long time friend Noshir Gowadia said it is totally doable, and his Chinese associates agree.




But really, no, a unmodified B-2 couldn't handle 4 crew as is. As Kanban stated, there is room behind the cockpit... subtract the bomb bay, there is plenty of space, add 4 or 6 operators. Keeping structure intact as is... some small hatches would connect compartments just fine. 2 (4 or 6) ejection seats facing outwards, back to back for escape. No over engineering, leave the bomb bay doors, just remove the no longer needed bomb racks and door systems, weld them shut and seal them... follow the KISS mentality. Surface mount any needed comm gear in flush blisters, no need to redesign the airframe... simple yet effective.


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2410 posts, RR: 2
Reply 27, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6871 times:
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Quoting Oroka (Reply 26):
But really, no, a unmodified B-2 couldn't handle 4 crew as is. As Kanban stated, there is room behind the cockpit... subtract the bomb bay, there is plenty of space, add 4 or 6 operators. Keeping structure intact as is... some small hatches would connect compartments just fine. 2 (4 or 6) ejection seats facing outwards, back to back for escape. No over engineering, leave the bomb bay doors, just remove the no longer needed bomb racks and door systems, weld them shut and seal them... follow the KISS mentality. Surface mount any needed comm gear in flush blisters, no need to redesign the airframe... simple yet effective.

While I don't know the dimension of the B-2's bomb bay, the reconnaissance versions of the B-52 had a pod that got mounted in one of the bomb bays. IIRC, they removed the normal B-52 bay doors, and the bottom of the recon pod became the outer surface of the aircraft in that area, although in this application you're not needing downward looking optics, so you could close the normal bay doors under the pod. The RB-52 pod had downward firing ejection seats for the crew in them, which could still work (open the bay doors first!), but would have the same issues at low level (the lower deck crew on the B-52 still has to eject downwards).


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 938 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 6649 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 26):

But really, no, a unmodified B-2 couldn't handle 4 crew as is. As Kanban stated, there is room behind the cockpit... subtract the bomb bay, there is plenty of space, add 4 or 6 operators. Keeping structure intact as is... some small hatches would connect compartments just fine. 2 (4 or 6) ejection seats facing outwards, back to back for escape. No over engineering, leave the bomb bay doors, just remove the no longer needed bomb racks and door systems, weld them shut and seal them... follow the KISS mentality. Surface mount any needed comm gear in flush blisters, no need to redesign the airframe... simple yet effective.

I agree it is doable, but I think you massively underestimate the structural reworking that would be necessary to put one or more operational ejector seats in the space currently assigned to be the bomb bay. Each seat needs a path up unobstructed by major structure, or for the structure that is there to be reliably rapidly jettisonable.


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 29, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 6652 times:

Quoting GST (Reply 28):
I agree it is doable,

The tactical mindset of operating a near billion dollar stealth bomber, which is vital to the US nuclear triad, in a role that requires it to lose its stealthy capabilities by communicating directly or indirectly with one or multiple UCAVs, would preclude any serious discussion about modifying the aircraft to fulfil this type of role.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2191 posts, RR: 4
Reply 30, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6543 times:

So what is the premise for having to have the operator of the UAV to be in close proximity to the UAV? Anti-jamming? Real time link?

I mean, if you don't want the operator to be 10,000 k away, then is 400 K good enough? If 400 K is good enough, then a converted 737 with mission console and communication link would be sufficient right? Wedgetail or P-8 anyone?

bt



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3855 posts, RR: 27
Reply 31, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6501 times:
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Quoting bikerthai (Reply 30):
If 400 K is good enough, then a converted 737 with mission console and communication link would be sufficient right? Wedgetail or P-8 anyone?

would provide a lot more crew space economically than a B-2. how about a new P-8 MAX?


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 881 posts, RR: 2
Reply 32, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6441 times:

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 30):
So what is the premise for having to have the operator of the UAV to be in close proximity to the UAV?

It is about delay and bandwidth. If you are happy with the half a second delay in the sat link then proximity doesn't matter, you also need the satcom bandwidth to transmit the streaming video from the optic sensors. The more capable the UCAV becomes, the closer to real time the comms link needs to be. Being within line of sight also improves the bandwidth.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 30):
Anti-jamming?

Jamming would certainly be an issue but again its about line of sight, so smart placement of antennas would go a long way to reducing the threat.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 30):
I mean, if you don't want the operator to be 10,000 k away, then is 400 K good enough?

For a system like UCLASS where the requirement is for operations in a lightly contested areas, a companion aircraft based on a 737 is probably good enough. But UCLASS is a carrier aircraft, can you expect a 737 to always be within reach of where you want to operate, for the time you want to operate over?

More likely would be 1 or more UCLASS conducting strikes with another UCLASS, or perhaps an E-2, acting as a comms node between the strikers and the ships.


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2191 posts, RR: 4
Reply 33, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6099 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 32):

More likely would be 1 or more UCLASS conducting strikes with another UCLASS, or perhaps an E-2, acting as a comms node between the strikers and the ships.

   Either an E-2 or a P-8A would be reasonable as opposed to trying to add an operator console to a B-2. After all, if you are going stealth you want to be in listening mode and not have to chirp away, trying direct another aircraft.

bt



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User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 34, posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 6093 times:

If I was an advanced country engaging the US in a massive conflict, first shots would be GPS and communication satellites. Space debris be damned, my countries valuable assets becoming smoldering piles is a higher priority. Yes, they can operate most things without satellites... but not as easily, not as accurate.

Second thing I would do with a non satellite commanded UAV attack force is ignore the UAVs and pick off the C&C jet in the back.

A stealthy in theater operator would be more resistant to being picked off or even detected. The B-2 would not be blasting a massive wide field signal for everyone in a 600km range to pick up, but short narrow beam transmissions, maybe even to a UAV that is hanging back, and that UAV shares the commands with the rest of the flight which is closer to it with a low power broadcast.


Hell, they can burn a hole through missiles with the ABL... maybe laser communications. How about a U-2 based C&C jet at 700k feet.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 35, posted (1 year 1 month 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3501 times:

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...sumes-x-47b-flight-testing-393002/

Flight testing has resumed with carrier launches and trap landings on Nov 10. I thought this thing was retired....Perhaps they see is a too good to pass up?


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1852 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (1 year 1 month 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3496 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...sumes-x-47b-flight-testing-393002/

Flight testing has resumed with carrier launches and trap landings on Nov 10. I thought this thing was retired....Perhaps they see is a too good to pass up?

Probably back at sea because they didn't finish the testing from the last sea trials due to a couple of glitches with the landing system. They probably wanted to test the fixes and came up with other stuff to test.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 37, posted (1 year 1 month 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3287 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 36):
Probably back at sea because they didn't finish the testing from the last sea trials due to a couple of glitches with the landing system. They probably wanted to test the fixes and came up with other stuff to test.

No matter how you spin it, sounds to me like they want to refine this and spend the money to do it. Especially with the budget cuts and sequestration, there needs to a justification to spend money on this. The last announcement I heard was that these were now retired.

It's rare for the military to unretire a program. Maybe after going through all the data, they see it' very compelling. There has to be a good reason to unretire the thing. Especially with F-35 supporters trying to kill it.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 38, posted (1 year 1 month 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3176 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 37):
It's rare for the military to unretire a program. Maybe after going through all the data, they see it' very compelling. There has to be a good reason to unretire the thing. Especially with F-35 supporters trying to kill it.

There was a story on flightglobal a while back that said the USN wanted to keep testing the X-47B. Really, it is a cost saving measure, as they can continue UCAV development and mature experience operating and handling these jets without having to create a new program and build new UCAVs.

If they had retired these jets, it would have been a waste of money and opportunity.


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2410 posts, RR: 2
Reply 39, posted (1 year 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3099 times:
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Quoting Oroka (Reply 38):
There was a story on flightglobal a while back that said the USN wanted to keep testing the X-47B. Really, it is a cost saving measure, as they can continue UCAV development and mature experience operating and handling these jets without having to create a new program and build new UCAVs.

It appears Congress is involved too - they wanted aerial refueling tests done, and they didn't happen. Apparently Congress has given the USN an October 2014 deadline for completing those.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 5
Reply 40, posted (1 year 1 month 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3018 times:

The UCAV concept makes too much sense to keep down. I think that's why testing continues with the X-47B. It's a concept that over delivers and is more useful than originally imagined. The CIA found this out a long time ago about UCAVS. Who would have thought 10 years ago that the #1 killer of terrorists and the #1 weapon they fear most - are UCAVS?

The X-47B, while impressive, is just the very beginning for the Navy, IMHO. I think we will see carriers in the future with almost only UCAVS on board and only a handful of manned planes. Manned aircraft will always be better for SAR missions though. Human pilots will always be better for some other missions as well, like transporting Marines into combat zones and special ops are others. Most of these are Helo and V-22 Osprey type missions.

A ship like this would be cheaper with fewer jet planes and yet have similar firepower as today's mega carriers, since UCAVS can loiter many times longer than manned planes.

Because of this, UCAVS can have a much larger strike range and loiter time (that in some cases is measures in days), simply because UCAVS can be built with much larger combat radii than manned planes and in a pinch, UCAVS can even be sent on one way missions, striking well before any manned plane ever could. UCAVS are also easier and cheaper to make stealthy and much cheaper in general.

So let China and others develop yesterday's old fashioned mega carriers with very expensive manned planes. These will soak up large portions of their budgets for yesterday's technology.


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