Quokkas
Topic Author
Posts: 1327
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:51 pm

US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:09 am

ABC News is reporting

Quote:
The United States flew highly classified Global Hawk spy drone missions from the Royal Australian Air Force base at Edinburgh in South Australia from late 2001 until at least 2006.

Apparently they were detected by a group of Adelaide aviation historians who had a member monitoring aircraft radio frequencies 20 hours a day. The group claims that they were visited by Security officials and asked not to publish anything. It seems that foreign media did not have restrictions on reporting while Australians and the Government of South Australia were kept in the dark.

The linked report includes information and photos of the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Tomorrow, the ABC will be publishing a second report on how the Australian Defence Force is quietly planning to buy seven huge surveillance drones that could cost up to $3 billion.
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
Stealthz
Posts: 5546
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:43 am

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:03 am

Quoting Quokkas (Thread starter):
quietly planning to buy seven huge surveillance drones that could cost up to $3 billion.

And if not Global Hawk whar would they be?

From the article

Quote:
WBAG group members say they take national security seriously, but argue there are no restrictions on photographing or monitoring US aircraft in Australian skies.

There may not be but the photo in the articlae claimed by the WBAG as their own shows a Global HAwk on the ground at RAAF Edinburgh, there are laws against photographing, indeed even sketching what goes on inside an ADF base.
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
 
Legs
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:37 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:41 am

Quoting Quokkas (Thread starter):
quietly planning to buy seven huge surveillance drones that could cost up to $3 billion.

Is it really that 'quiet' of a program? AIR 7000 is a fully released project, listed on the DMO projects page, which explicitly states that Phase 1B is 'is intended to acquire High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Systems for maritime patrol and other surveillance.'

Phase 2B of Air 7000 is probably the higher profile part, which aims to procure eight P-8 Poseidon aircraft.

Link: DMO AIR 7000
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:49 am

Quoting stealthz (Reply 1):
Quoting Quokkas (Thread starter):
quietly planning to buy seven huge surveillance drones that could cost up to $3 billion.

And if not Global Hawk whar would they be?

Canada is also looking at Block 30 Global Hawks for Arctic patrol missions, likely 3-4 vehicles:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...al-hawk-variant-for-canada-372485/

If that went forward, likely undercuts much of the perceived need for F-35 Arctic patrols.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2480
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:46 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 3):
If that went forward, likely undercuts much of the perceived need for F-35 Arctic patrols.

Globe Hawk's can't do air intercepts...

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 3):

Canada is also looking at Block 30 Global Hawks for Arctic patrol missions, likely 3-4 vehicles:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...2485/

Problem is a lack of satellite coverage up there; the majority of it is American and it is limited in terms of available bandwidth and coverage. A whole new satellite constellation needs to be launched to provide the necessary coverage, and that's very expensive. More than likely, the Globe Hawk's will patrol the West and East coasts.

More practical for the air to surface search would be P-8's up in the north...
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:40 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
Quoting connies4ever (Reply 3):
If that went forward, likely undercuts much of the perceived need for F-35 Arctic patrols.

Globe Hawk's can't do air intercepts...


You just can't stop thinking about the Russians coming over the Pole.

{forgot to include this link in initial post}
http://www.casr.ca/mp-northern-growler-daly.htm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
Problem is a lack of satellite coverage up there; the majority of it is American and it is limited in terms of available bandwidth and coverage. A whole new satellite constellation needs to be launched to provide the necessary coverage, and that's very expensive. More than likely, the Globe Hawk's will patrol the West and East coasts.

More practical for the air to surface search would be P-8's up in the north...

Lack of satellite coverage isn't an issue until you go deep into the "Canadian Archipelago", and the Polar Hawk probably wouldn't be flying that far north. And, it would pose the same problem for the F-35 if that was the mission profile. Likeliest routing for a PH would be ex-Goose, NW then W across the southern region of the Archipelago (McClure Strait etc) towards Resolute, then SW then S to Cold Lake. Land, line mx, refuel, then back to Goose.

En route alternates if problems occur could be Nanisivik and Resolute.

P-8s are likely going to be much costlier than PHs (which would be used, declared surplus to USAF requirements). And they wouldn't be able to do intercepts either. But it would create more spots for the Flying Club, I suppose.

[Edited 2012-09-04 03:48:35]
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2480
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:45 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 5):

You just can't stop thinking about the Russians coming over the Pole.

{forgot to include this link in initial post}
http://www.casr.ca/mp-northern-growler-daly.htm

CASR is run by those academics up on the Ivory Tower in SFU. Not much going up there because of all of the weed smoke they inhale up on Burnaby Mountain, if you catch my drift.

And an interim purchase actually costs more because of increased costs in terms of maintenance, and training. And you still have to replace it sooner down the line. Then you have to dispose of the interim type. These types of purchases rarely make sense unless your equipment is really starting to fall apart and you need something yesterday.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 5):
Lack of satellite coverage isn't an issue until you go deep into the "Canadian Archipelago", and the Polar Hawk probably wouldn't be flying that far north.

Actually, anywhere north of the Polar Circle is problematic for satellite communication for UAV's. There isn't a geosynchronous satellite that far north that can provide the comm support for a UAV.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 5):
And, it would pose the same problem for the F-35 if that was the mission profile.

A F-35 still has a person sitting in it piloting it while a UAV operator won't be able to operate the UAV until it returns from a preset course. That means if the pilot sees something of interest, he can deviate from his course and take a closer look.

In addition, a surveillance capability is no good unless you can back it up with force, or at least some form of force.
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:41 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 6):
CASR is run by those academics up on the Ivory Tower in SFU. Not much going up there because of all of the weed smoke they inhale up on Burnaby Mountain, if you catch my drift.

No political bias there, obviously. And of course, no weed or white powder has EVER been used within CF.  
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 6):
Actually, anywhere north of the Polar Circle is problematic for satellite communication for UAV's. There isn't a geosynchronous satellite that far north that can provide the comm support for a UAV.

Doesn't seem to affect people in Resolute watching Newsworld. And a Polar Hawk (or F-35) likely wouldn't venture much further than that. Particularly the F-35, which is much more range-limited than the Hawk.

DND DOES actually have a template proposal to put a pair of satellites into elliptical orbits to cover the High Arctic. Given how DND actually does things, project completion will be about 3x baseline proposal time-wise and 5x cost-wise.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 6):
In addition, a surveillance capability is no good unless you can back it up with force, or at least some form of force.

Force to use against what, exactly ? The "Russians over the Pole" argument has only ever existed to drive public paranoia so that support for military programs (some of them crackpot) continues. Fortunately I don't suffer from paranoia.

The existing F-18/CP-140 Arctic flights have never been intended as anything more than a "show the flag" exercise. And one of the drivers for showing the flag is that a LOT of countries around the world, including our dear allies to the south, do not recognize our claim to the far north.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 2164
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:22 pm

Quoting Quokkas (Thread starter):
Tomorrow, the ABC will be publishing a second report on how the Australian Defence Force is quietly planning to buy seven huge surveillance drones that could cost up to $3 billion.

Wait till they see the bill for the P-8's the Australians are going to buy  

Both the P-8's and the Global Hawk are part of Austraila's expansion plans for surveillance in the western Pacific to counter growing Chinese threats.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 4):
More practical for the air to surface search would be P-8's up in the north...

And if it's bombers you want to defend against, I bet you can put long range AA missiles installed on the P-8 hard points or bomb bay. You are unlikely to see many fighters up in that part of the world.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:27 pm

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 8):
Wait till they see the bill for the P-8's the Australians are going to buy

Indeed, the Poseidon is going to be the F-35 of ASW/Surveillance.

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 8):
And if it's bombers you want to defend against, I bet you can put long range AA missiles installed on the P-8 hard points or bomb bay. You are unlikely to see many fighters up in that part of the world.

Only our F-35s.  
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
TheCol
Posts: 1857
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:30 am

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:33 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 5):
P-8s are likely going to be much costlier than PHs (which would be used, declared surplus to USAF requirements). And they wouldn't be able to do intercepts either. But it would create more spots for the Flying Club, I suppose.

One or Two P-8s can do the work of an entire UAV fleet. UAV's are expensive in both acquisition and maintenance. The delicate hardware would be prone to failure as well. Then there is the air traffic issue that DND has to sort out before running UAV's in airspace without sufficient radar coverage, which seems to be the biggest stumbling block right now.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 5):
You just can't stop thinking about the Russians coming over the Pole.
Quoting connies4ever (Reply 7):
The "Russians over the Pole" argument has only ever existed to drive public paranoia

The ADIZ is there for a reason. If we can't enforce it, then we aren't meeting our NORAD commitments.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 7):
Doesn't seem to affect people in Resolute watching Newsworld.

Ever been to Resolute Bay? Trust me, they're lucky if they can get the CBC half the time. The phones are even less reliable. It's like talking to someone over HF. Finding a decent internet uplink means doing the rain dance around town all night. The further you go north (ie. Alert), the worse it gets. In general, communication within the arctic circle is a joke at the best of times.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 7):
And one of the drivers for showing the flag is that a LOT of countries around the world, including our dear allies to the south, do not recognize our claim to the far north.

I rest my case.
No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2480
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:38 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 7):
No political bias there, obviously. And of course, no weed or white powder has EVER been used within CF.

If you know anything about SFU, you should note that it is known for being highly left of centre.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 7):

Doesn't seem to affect people in Resolute watching Newsworld. And a Polar Hawk (or F-35) likely wouldn't venture much further than that. Particularly the F-35, which is much more range-limited than the Hawk.

DND DOES actually have a template proposal to put a pair of satellites into elliptical orbits to cover the High Arctic. Given how DND actually does things, project completion will be about 3x baseline proposal time-wise and 5x cost-wise.

TV broadcasts are a totally different matter compared to sat comms for UAV's. Even the US doesn't have enough bandwidth with their current constellation of satellites for the number of UAV's they want to operate.

And satellites and their launches are expensive. Couple billion dollars per satellite and launch. Not to mention that UAV's aren't cheap to operate; for example, the old Sagem Spewer UAV's that we had on a per flight hour basis was the most expensive aircraft that the CF operated for a variety of reasons, one of which was the number of people required to operate, maintain, and support it.

I have noticed throughout this thread that various posters chuck around satellite comms and control of UAVs like it is nothing. It is just about the biggest challenge out there for UAV's. Leaving aside the not inconsiderable aspects of bandwidth availability, security (both in terms of signal cryptography and the physical security and hardening against attack the ground control components like uplink sites), and cost of nationally owned satellites, there is the simple issue of physics which has only been hinted at. If you want to reliably control a UAV above 70N, you cannot use a geosynchronous satellite - it will simply be below the horizon. So what then? You could go with fixed UHF antenna sites every 200kms (with generators and fixed dedicated fibre optic cabling back south), but just consider the logistics of that endeavour - we would be talking about between 50-100 dedicated comms sites, each with a harbour or airfield, scattered throughout the arctic - all requiring regular servicing. Good luck.
The next option would be to launch our own DND satellites in a polar orbit. IIRC my Space Apps course, you would need 3 satellites in orbit to guarantee 24/7 coverage. You should also keep a 4th spare satellite on the ground to launch if required. Consider that a satellite launch costs about $300 million... you are talking some serious buck here. And then there is the question of launch facilities and capability...do we develop our own or hire rockets from the Indians... or Russians.... or Chinese... or French... or the Americans... you see where this is going.

Not to mention most satellite launches are done as close to the equator as possible. It's cheapest to launch from there because of the oblate shape of the planet and the greatest tangential velocity kick, meaning less fuel is required to reach orbit. Considerably less actually. Sadly, that option is not available for circumpolar regions if you want to stay in there, so start breaking out your wallets. Also, there's no such thing as active geostationary satellites over poles. Physically impossible. Your fuel tank would be orders of magnitude larger than the satellite.

And let us not even get started on IFR certification of UAVs (which doesn't exist). No problem you say - minor paperwork detail...yeah, until your UAV goes nose to nose with an 747 load of taxpayers on their way to Hamburg over Ellesmere Island.

And then there is the launch and recovery aspects of UAV - maybe from ice covered runways. Which no one to my knowledge has ever tried to do.

And no one to my knowledge has ever tried to fly a UAV into the type of winter weather we get up North. They (currently) do not have deicing systems, amongst other things. So we have to Canadianize the UAV, which will drive up costs...

Patrolling the North is a royal pain in the rear... mostly due to technical reasons.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 7):
Force to use against what, exactly ? The "Russians over the Pole" argument has only ever existed to drive public paranoia so that support for military programs (some of them crackpot) continues. Fortunately I don't suffer from paranoia.

We, under NORAD, have responsibility of the entire Canadian Arctic for air security. The Canadian NORAD Region is from Alaska all the way to the North Pole, and to Newfoundland. We have an obligation to patrol and secure that airspace. It is either we patrol it ourselves, or the Americans will do it, but we won't have any input as to what they do up there and how they do up there.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 7):
And one of the drivers for showing the flag is that a LOT of countries around the world, including our dear allies to the south, do not recognize our claim to the far north.

The Americans have us securing and patrolling the far North under NORAD. What has been in dispute is not in the air or the surface, but what's underwater.
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 2164
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:14 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 9):

Indeed, the Poseidon is going to be the F-35 of ASW/Surveillance.

Except the P-8 would not be massively over budget 
Quoting connies4ever (Reply 9):
Only our F-35s.

8 hrs loiter time anyone? The P-8 have on board toilets. 
Quoting TheCol (Reply 10):
UAV's are expensive in both acquisition and maintenance.

But the crew is cheaper to train . . .

UAV and P-8's will complement each other; whether it's in the vast expanse of the Pacific ocean or over the North Poles.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
TheCol
Posts: 1857
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:30 am

RE: US Flew Spy Drone Missions From Australia

Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:00 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 11):
And let us not even get started on IFR certification of UAVs (which doesn't exist).

From what I've seen during the current evaluation process, IFR certification is the biggest stumbling block. At this point there isn't anyway they can operate UAV's discretely, outside of radar coverage, without having to issue public NOTAMs.
No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests