oly720man
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X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 4:43 pm

Today marked another first in the world of UAVs with the catapult launch of the X-47B from an aircraft carrier.

No videos or photos yet, but I'm sure they'll be along in due course.

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=74120
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cjg225
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 6:25 pm

Looks like some photos are up now in the article.

Cool stuff.
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oly720man
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 7:57 pm

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 1):
Looks like some photos are up now in the article.

Interesting to see.
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canoecarrier
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 9:04 pm

What's the navy's plan with drones on carriers? They offer a significant space savings don't they? The AF has been studying them for years as well for bombers and/or fighters, I would suspect the navy is doing the same.
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oly720man
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 9:31 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 3):
What's the navy's plan with drones on carriers?

Part of the scheme to have a westward influence to counter the growth of the Navy in China and their high tech advances, from this link

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/op...between-the-us-and-china.html?_r=0
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daus
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 9:44 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 3):
They offer a significant space savings don't they?

With wings folded she is about 33% smaller than an F-18 from a length and width standpoint. And a little more than half the height. Stack them 2 high.  
 
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Tugger
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 10:09 pm

Here's a link with video:
http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capab...lities/X47BUCAS/Pages/default.aspx

While the guys on the deck were cheering, I wonder if the fighter pilots were doing the same....

Tugg
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daus
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 10:21 pm

Additional Video from a different vantage point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FMvNrkwmi0&feature=player_embedded
 
ThePointblank
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Tue May 14, 2013 11:39 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 3):
What's the navy's plan with drones on carriers? They offer a significant space savings don't they? The AF has been studying them for years as well for bombers and/or fighters, I would suspect the navy is doing the same.

See the Navy's UCLASS program. The Navy is looking for a persistent ISR with secondary strike capabilities. In other words, they want a intelligence gathering drone with the ability to drop a bomb on occasion.
 
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cjg225
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 12:33 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 6):
Quoting Daus (Reply 7):

Thanks for the video links!

One thing I've wondered... if this is supposed to be totally autonomous, are they *programmed* to do things like flap checks or is that still being commanded by a remote operator? Seems like when you have to have humans interfacing with the aircraft on the deck (or even if it's a ground-based aircraft) that there needs to be some way to communicate to the aircraft or to a remote operator that something doesn't look right.
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tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 12:46 am

The question for me is will the US Navy be able to talk it's way out of the F-35 or at least get away with ordering far fewer numbers, if UCLASS proves effective, which I am sure it will.

[Edited 2013-05-14 17:51:41]
 
ThePointblank
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 5:21 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 10):
The question for me is will the US Navy be able to talk it's way out of the F-35 or at least get away with ordering far fewer numbers, if UCLASS proves effective, which I am sure it will.

If anything, UCLASS will supplement and complement the F-35 in the carrier's air wing. The concept for UCLASS is for a drone specialized in ISR with a secondary strike capability. The F-35 will be the premier strike and air defence platform for the carrier air wing for decades to come.
 
connies4ever
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 11:07 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):
See the Navy's UCLASS program. The Navy is looking for a persistent ISR with secondary strike capabilities. In other words, they want a intelligence gathering drone with the ability to drop a bomb on occasion.

Overall I agree. Presence persistence for the X-47B or a derivative will permit the carrier group to stay further offshore and therefore at less risk from long range missile attacks, while at the same time gathering useful realtime intelligence.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 11):
The F-35 will be the premier strike and air defence platform for the carrier air wing for decades to come.

Like a rash, the F-35 will be around for quite a while, slowly destroying budget allocations intended for other applications. Premier ? A matter of opinion. Apparently a number of USAF pilots already have some strong opinions about it. This makes for some interesting reading:

http://pogoarchives.org/straus/ote-info-memo-20130215.pdf

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/f-35-blind-spot/
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connies4ever
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 11:43 am

Anyone interested in looking at a real multi-role aircraft that was successful should check:

www.airspacemag.com/military-aviatio...Special-169358206.html?device=ipad

If you want to go for a ride:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGfQQWOsoB8

I'll cross-post to an F-35 thread just to make sure the weenies see it.
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tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 2:12 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 11):
with a secondary strike capability.

What gives you this impression? Just because it will be capable of ISR, like most other aircraft, does not automatically mean that will be the primary role or purpose.
 
bthebest
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 3:42 pm

Quick question about the X-47B as different terms are being thrown about left, right and centre online.

Is it an Unmanned or Semi-autonomous vehicle?

In terms of:

Unmanned - controlled by pilot who is not carried by aircraft

Semi-autonomous - given all necessary instructions prior to flight, with actual flying operated independent of human interaction. Obviously various definitions exist as there is no pre-defined half-way point for autonomy.

Some sources are even calling it Autonomous - aircraft is operated without any form of human control. I think this is a bit of a way off yet.
 
connies4ever
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 4:01 pm

Quoting Bthebest (Reply 15):
Is it an Unmanned or Semi-autonomous vehicle?

In terms of:

Unmanned - controlled by pilot who is not carried by aircraft

Semi-autonomous - given all necessary instructions prior to flight, with actual flying operated independent of human interaction. Obviously various definitions exist as there is no pre-defined half-way point for autonomy.

Some sources are even calling it Autonomous - aircraft is operated without any form of human control. I think this is a bit of a way off yet.

Good point to raise. I looked at the NYT article myself and noted two basic errors:
- referred to X-47B as 'autonomous'. It is not, in fact photos provided show deck hands using a keypad to guide vehicle to cat. If it was autonomous, it would do that itself. I think semi would be a better term. I am quite sure it can fly a preprogrammed course, and as for landing, assuming it acquires the MLS, ultimately will figure out how to land. But it doesn't think for itself. If it is semi-autonomous, likely the preprogrammed routine can be overridden.
- article also mentioned X-47B landed on the carrier. It did not. Flew two approaches then departed for (I believe) Pax River.
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oly720man
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 4:05 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 16):
I am quite sure it can fly a preprogrammed course

You can do that with radio controlled/hobby aircraft these days with off-the shelf-autopilots and flight control systems with a gps. Certainly this aircraft will have that capability as a minimum.
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bthebest
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 4:34 pm

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 16):
- referred to X-47B as 'autonomous'.

That's what I was noticing, and I think they mean 'automated' - such that it can indepently perform all the functions of a controlled aircraft, as long as its been programmed/commanded to do so. In this case I think it has the capability although it hasn't yet been used, at least at sea.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 7:04 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 14):
What gives you this impression? Just because it will be capable of ISR, like most other aircraft, does not automatically mean that will be the primary role or purpose.

The Navy is emphasizing ISR in the UCLASS planning documentation and briefings, and are mentioning strike capabilities as a secondary feature.

Also, a comparison between all UCLASS contenders and their known specifications reveals that all contenders have a very small payload capability; at most maybe one bomb or two. A lot of emphasis is instead placed on the onboard sensors instead.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 12):
Apparently a number of USAF pilots already have some strong opinions about it. This makes for some interesting reading:

Different topic for a different thread, so let's avoid a hijack here and if you want to discuss this, open a new thread.
 
connies4ever
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 7:30 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 19):
Quoting connies4ever (Reply 12):
Apparently a number of USAF pilots already have some strong opinions about it. This makes for some interesting reading:

Different topic for a different thread, so let's avoid a hijack here and if you want to discuss this, open a new thread.

Blah blah blah...

Your reply 11 let the F-35 cow into the discussion. IMHO, of course.
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canoecarrier
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 8:55 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):
See the Navy's UCLASS program. The Navy is looking for a persistent ISR with secondary strike capabilities. In other words, they want a intelligence gathering drone with the ability to drop a bomb on occasion.
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 19):
Also, a comparison between all UCLASS contenders and their known specifications reveals that all contenders have a very small payload capability; at most maybe one bomb or two. A lot of emphasis is instead placed on the onboard sensors instead.

Interesting, but as you say, it appears the X-47B has a small payload. Everything I read on the UCLASS program does indicate it's reconnaissance first, attack second. Maybe it is a candidate for carrying small diameter bombs for attacking radar sites?

edit: It looks like the new Ford-class carriers are planning on having a complement of X-47Bs. I wonder where they'll accommodate the equipment for remotely operating the aircraft?

[Edited 2013-05-15 14:21:47]
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tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 10:42 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 21):
Everything I read on the UCLASS program does indicate it's reconnaissance first, attack second.

Care to share those readings?

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 19):
The Navy is emphasizing ISR in the UCLASS planning documentation and briefings, and are mentioning strike capabilities as a secondary feature.

Share or it's made up on your part, like your made up stories about the X-47B supposedly not having folding wings and your grapevine telling you the difficulty in handling the X-47B on the carrier because of that - except.......the X-47B does have folding wings.

[Edited 2013-05-15 15:44:59]
 
tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Wed May 15, 2013 11:03 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 21):
Interesting, but as you say, it appears the X-47B has a small payload.

The X-47B's payload is irrelevant, as the X-47B was not designed nor intended as a combat capable UAV. However, it has a larger internal payload than any F-35 carries internally. Namely 4,500lbs compared to 2,000-4,000lbs max for the F-35. And before people jump up and down saying the F-35 can carry more externally, who is to say the UCLASS won't be able to carry external loads as well?

The Sea Avenger by General Atomics (builder of Reaper UAV), lists a proposed 3,000lb internal bomb payload for this carrier based UCLASS. They also list a 20HR endurance and 60,000 foot ceiling, which are way more than anything carrier based in the US Navy either now or in the near future, including the F-35.

This is clearly they way to go for the Navy. I think they'll order as few F-35s as they politically can. Look for Congress forcing them to take more than they want, like what happened with the C-17 and the USAF. All IMHO (not a phantom grapevine).



[Edited 2013-05-15 16:05:08]
 
ThePointblank
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Thu May 16, 2013 4:54 am

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 20):
Blah blah blah...

Your reply 11 let the F-35 cow into the discussion. IMHO, of course.

That's because someone asked if the F-35 program was going to be affected by UCLASS.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 21):
Interesting, but as you say, it appears the X-47B has a small payload. Everything I read on the UCLASS program does indicate it's reconnaissance first, attack second. Maybe it is a candidate for carrying small diameter bombs for attacking radar sites?

That's a possible role.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 21):
edit: It looks like the new Ford-class carriers are planning on having a complement of X-47Bs. I wonder where they'll accommodate the equipment for remotely operating the aircraft?

Somewhere probably deep in the hull, by reconfiguring the interior. There are a number of major design changes between the Ford's and the Nimitz, and some of these centre around aircraft handling, and crew size. The Ford's will have a smaller crew size compared to the Nimitz due to more extensive automation.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 23):
However, it has a larger internal payload than any F-35 carries internally. Namely 4,500lbs compared to 2,000-4,000lbs max for the F-35.

We have yet to see the internal weapons bay configuration of the X-47B. It could be that while it can handle 4,500lbs of weight internally, the actual number may be lower due to volume constraints.

And also of note the admiral in charge of the Navy’s drone development, Rear Adm. Matthias Winter, said that the demonstration model built for UCLASS, the X-47B, will “never carry a weapon.” So arguing about the payload of X-47B is a moot point.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 22):
Share or it's made up on your part, like your made up stories about the X-47B supposedly not having folding wings and your grapevine telling you the difficulty in handling the X-47B on the carrier because of that - except.......the X-47B does have folding wings.
http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm...DA3766-1A6D-4AEA-B462-F91FE43181AF
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...mation-on-uclass-programme-384589/
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6698b069b45f6a64c0d4de703027f8a1&tab=core&_cview=0
Even the name says it: Umanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System.

The Navy is remarkably consistent with the phraseology being used in emphasizing ISR first then strike.

Also, Congressman J. Randy Forbes, Congressman from Virginia's fourth district, Member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, has also emphasized in an article last year has also emphasized ISR over strike in an article last year:
http://www.informationdissemination....hat-is-potential-and-what-are.html
 
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kanban
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Thu May 16, 2013 5:52 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
So arguing about the payload of X-47B is a moot point.

I've seen quite a few quotes from military brass that were designed to direct attention elsewhere.. this may be one of those.. and while the X-47B may not carry munitions, the product design very well could.. and the quote does not rule that out.
 
tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Thu May 16, 2013 6:10 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 24):
http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm...DA3766-1A6D-4AEA-B462-F91FE43181AF
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...mation-on-uclass-programme-384589/
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6698b069b45f6a64c0d4de703027f8a1&tab=core&_cview=0
Even the name says it: Umanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System.

1. Your links do not say what you claim they say, I assume that's why you didn't quote any passages
2. The name "Surveillance and Strike" does not show the NAVY considers strike as a secondary role, it means both - a multirole aircraft.

It's clear you are just speculating and there is no Navy plan to use UCLASS secondarily as strike that you can point to. I suggest you stop claiming there is, unless you can clearly show there is one.

This all falls into the same category of your made up stories about the X-47B not having folding wings and the following on stories of what problems that has caused the NAVY. Of course, the X-47B does have folding wings. I ask you stop telling stories based on speculation and passing them off as fact. Thank you.

Big version: Width: 640 Height: 360 File size: 59kb
X-47B Folding Wings


[Edited 2013-05-15 23:13:23]
 
ThePointblank
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Thu May 16, 2013 9:53 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 26):
1. Your links do not say what you claim they say, I assume that's why you didn't quote any passages
2. The name "Surveillance and Strike" does not show the NAVY considers strike as a secondary role, it means both - a multirole aircraft.

I recommend you read the last one. Congressman J. Randy Forbes placed a lot of emphasis in the article on ISR capabilities.

Another article, an article, entitled "Navy Catches the Drone Bug" by the Wall Street Journal also notes ISR capabilities as being the primary role of UCLASS. Can't link to that one as it breaks the rest of the post, but Google it.


Also, the Navy 2013 Program document is also indicative of the USN's intent.

If you look at page 138, you will see a lot of emphasis is placed on persistent ISR capabilities. If the Navy was worried about strike capabilities, they would have emphasized strike capabilities over ISR capabilities. Instead, the background states that the Navy was most particularly interested in a persistent ISR capability with precision strike.

Also, the program document indicates what the Navy sees as being the typical deployment of UCLASS onboard a carrier: 4-8 UCAV's per carrier air wing. It doesn't sound like they intend on replacing strike fighter squadrons en masse with UCLASS.

If you consider that a typical carrier air wing has a total of over 60 aircraft, 4-8 UCLASS UCAV's isn't a significant number of UCAV's to even consider that F-35 numbers will be cut, as the Navy's air wing size is already significantly cut back compared to what a carrier can actually handle (the Nimitz and Ford carriers can handle up to 90 aircraft). As such, for you to declare that the Navy would want to cut F-35 numbers would fly in the face of carrier wing planning as the Navy isn't planning according to their documents on any significant purchases of Super Hornets, and the legacy Hornet's won't last forever. They will want and need the two squadron's of F-35's to be assigned to each carrier as part of their force structure, and they anticipate based upon the available planning documents, that UCLASS will fulfill a particular niche role in the carrier air wing; that of persistent ISR with a secondary strike capability.

For me that says that the Navy sees UCLASS as primarily a surveillance drone, however, with the ability to strike targets of opportunity while doing so. Or, in conditions where we enjoy air dominance to supply an over watch/ground support or special strike missions like the Reapers do now. This will give the Naval Air Arm some extra flexibility for patrols, recon, and low level sea control.

It is also of note that the USN, when they wrote the program guide, chose to put UCLASS in Section 5, which they titled "Information Dominance" rather than placing UCLASS in Section 1, which is about Naval Aviation.

In addition, if you look at NAVAIR's announcement of the UCLASS project, ISR is emphasized:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ed61c5606eecee99d5db4c9816af58d6&tab=core&_cview=1
The solicitation documents also place a lot of emphasis on ISR capabilities.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 26):
This all falls into the same category of your made up stories about the X-47B not having folding wings and the following on stories of what problems that has caused the NAVY. Of course, the X-47B does have folding wings. I ask you stop telling stories based on speculation and passing them off as fact. Thank you.

I was in particular talking about the previous deployment of the X-47B on CVN 75 back in 2012. I am not sure which Air Vehicle was launched from Bush or which one was on Truman, but there were comments made that when X-47B was on Truman, it was difficult to handle due to the wings not folding. Mind you, this information came from someone that was posted on Truman during the deck handling trials back in 2012 on another forum.

[Edited 2013-05-16 03:11:29]

[Edited 2013-05-16 03:13:01]

[Edited 2013-05-16 03:14:13]
 
tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Thu May 16, 2013 7:35 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
Congressman J. Randy Forbes placed a lot of emphasis in the article on ISR capabilities.

- Neither one US Congressman nor a newspaper decide US NAVY policy and planning and I don't think strike was mentioned as a secondary role for UCLASS, if I am not mistaken.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
Also, the Navy 2013 Program document is also indicative of the USN's intent.

- I quote the passage from the page you suggested in that document: It identified gaps in persistent sea-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) with precision strike...

There is nothing there that says strike is secondary or ISR primary. And does not say UCLASS will secondarily be strike.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
Also, the program document indicates what the Navy sees as being the typical deployment of UCLASS onboard a carrier: 4-8 UCAV's per carrier air wing.

- That does not speak to strike as a secondary role for UCLASS.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):

In addition, if you look at NAVAIR's announcement of the UCLASS project, ISR is emphasized:

- Strike is equally emphasized.

Here is a quote at the top: This CBA became the basis for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) System Initial Capabilities Document (ICD).

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 27):
For me that says that the Navy sees UCLASS as primarily a surveillance drone,

- For you, that is how you personally interpret things. That's fine. But nowhere have you pointed to anything official that says strike is a secondary role for UCLASS. Maybe you should quote passages from sources rather than "interpreting" sources, then offering these personal "interpretations" as fact in your posts, like the "fact" that the X-47B had no folding wings and the "problems" due to that "fact".

In all the documents, ISR and strike go hand in hand.

Nothing wrong with your personal opinions.

[Edited 2013-05-16 12:37:36]

[Edited 2013-05-16 13:09:00]
 
ThePointblank
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Thu May 16, 2013 10:04 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
- Neither one US Congressman nor a newspaper decide US NAVY policy and planning and I don't think strike was mentioned as a secondary role for UCLASS, if I am not mistaken.

However, he does sit on the House Armed Services Committee, and also is the chairman of the United States House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, and thus would have access to USN briefs and plans, and also have control over USN appropriations in the House. That is something for you to consider.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
- I quote the passage from the page you suggested in that document: It identified gaps in persistent sea-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) with precision strike...

There is nothing there that says strike is secondary or ISR primary. And does not say UCLASS will secondarily be strike.

However, if you look at the general outlay of the program document, the USN has classed UCLASS as being a ISR system. If the USN intended UCLASS to be a predominantly a strike platform, they would have placed UCLASS in another section.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 28):
- That does not speak to strike as a secondary role for UCLASS.

If the USN intended strike to be a primary role for UCLASS, they would have planned for UCLASS to replace one of the VFA squadrons onboard the carriers, and planned for more UCLASS UCAV's onboard the carrier. Instead, they plan on adding UCLASS in very limited numbers onboard the carrier.

Also, per the WSJ article, the Navy has indicated that they would like to see a lot of ISR capabilities built in or capable of being added on UCLASS, such as advanced sensors and SIGINT systems. In fact, the USN intends on getting the ISR capabilities first to the carrier, followed by adding strike capabilities second. If the USN wanted to emphasize strike as a primary role, they would have done the reverse; get strike capabilities operational first, followed by ISR.
 
tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Thu May 16, 2013 11:56 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
If the USN intended strike to be a primary role for UCLASS

Who ever said strike as a primary role for UCLASS. Both ISR and strike go hand in hand in every single description of UCLASS including in the name. It is not stated anywhere explicitly, as you claimed, that strike is secondary for UCLASS.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 29):
However, if you look at the general outlay of the program document, the USN has classed UCLASS as being a ISR system.

- No. UCLASS is classified as an ISR and strike - both. It's in the name, clear as a bell. Couldn't be clearer.

U = Unmanned
C = Carrier
L = Launched
A = Airborne
S = Surveillance
S = Strike
 
ThePointblank
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Fri May 17, 2013 12:08 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 30):
Who ever said strike as a primary role for UCLASS. Both ISR and strike go hand in hand in every single description of UCLASS including in the name. It is not stated anywhere explicitly, as you claimed, that strike is secondary for UCLASS.

No. UCLASS is classified as an ISR and strike - both. It's in the name, clear as a bell. Couldn't be clearer.

U = Unmanned
C = Carrier
L = Launched
A = Airborne
S = Surveillance
S = Strike

However, F-35, which has ISR capabilities, is classified as a strike aircraft in the very same document, while having secondary ISR capabilities. That gives an idea of what the Navy is thinking about their platforms.
 
tommytoyz
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RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Fri May 17, 2013 1:55 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 31):
That gives an idea of what the Navy is thinking about their platforms.

If you think it does, then good for you. I don't think that document means what you think it means. If the NAVY was thinking about the UCALSS in that way, they would just say so, rather than communicating in hieroglyphics. For someone who is as obsessed with the F-35 as you are, it's logical that you try to minimize the strike role of UCLASS.

I think even you see it is a real threat to the F-35. Not fatal, bit it is a threat and UCLASS could lead to a smaller number of F-35Cs.
 
Spacepope
Posts: 3242
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Quoting kanban (Reply 25):
I've seen quite a few quotes from military brass that were designed to direct attention elsewhere.. this may be one of those.. and while the X-47B may not carry munitions, the product design very well could.. and the quote does not rule that out.

I think a cursory look at the beefy landing gear would confirm that. They're from an A-6. There's no reason to have that sized gear on that drone unless you're planning a hefty payload.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
canoecarrier
Posts: 2569
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:20 pm

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Fri May 17, 2013 6:20 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 22):
Care to share those readings?

Sure, "The future UCLASS drones will be primarily reconnaissance aircraft, scouting stealthily ahead of the main force to find targets for manned aircraft and cruise missiles, but they’ll be able to carry smart bombs as well.

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/05/1...ic-launch-a-warning-to-china-iran/

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 23):
And before people jump up and down saying the F-35 can carry more externally, who is to say the UCLASS won't be able to carry external loads as well?

I'm sure they could design one to carry external loads, but then again how would would you go scouting stealthily ahead in a recon roll if you had an increased radar signature due to external weapons?
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
tommytoyz
Posts: 1195
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:08 am

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Fri May 17, 2013 9:01 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 34):
Sure, "The future UCLASS drones will be primarily reconnaissance aircraft, scouting stealthily ahead of the main force to find targets for manned aircraft and cruise missiles, but they’ll be able to carry smart bombs as well.

Just to be clear, that quote is from the author, Sidney J Freedberg Jr., which is not any official source. An if small bombs is meant by 4,000lbs or more, then so be it. That matches and in the case of the F-35B exceeds the F-35s internal carrying capability.

I bet the Reaper drones were not meant to be attack aircraft either, but that is exactly what they excel at today. These unmanned vehicles can simply do things manned planes can not. Staying airborne for up to 50 hours is far beyond any manned Navy plane. Even beyond any USAF planes as routine missions. But that is what is being proposed.

Like the Reaper, most of the time UCLASS will probably spend stealthily loitering and observing. But then, with their weapons load being equivalent or exceeding an F-35, they'll be there when the opportunity arises and have plenty of power to pounce.

These are new ways to conduct missions, that were not possible before with manned planes. They are especially effective, because there is little time delay between the observed opportunity and the attack. If Navy planes first need to travel to a target, the opportunity may not be there anymore by the time they get there, if they can eve get there, since their range much less compared to a UCLASS.

UCLASS in those cases will be the only thing available to attack, besides maybe a cruise missile, which may not be in range or available either within the opportunity window.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 34):
I'm sure they could design one to carry external loads, but then again how would would you go scouting stealthily ahead in a recon roll if you had an increased radar signature due to external weapons?

You would be in full on attack mode, where stealth is not so important and not scouting. The main airborne radar is the E-2, not UCLASS. Secondly stealth can also be achieved the old fashioned way against non AWACS protected targets if needed, flying low over the horizon, which at sea level is only 12 miles.

I wouldn't be surprised to see UCLASS types carrying air to air missiles in a not too distant future, to stealthily sneak up close enough to any AWACS or tanker planes and take them out. With their high stealth, long range, high altitude capability, they're a natural for that. Especially if it's a high risk mission.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2534
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Sat May 18, 2013 1:51 am

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Just to be clear, that quote is from the author, Sidney J Freedberg Jr., which is not any official source.

He is a defence writer, and thus is highly knowledgeable and connected.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
An if small bombs is meant by 4,000lbs or more, then so be it. That matches and in the case of the F-35B exceeds the F-35s internal carrying capability.

The Navy has not defined the specifications of UCLASS yet. The Navy may in well feel that for them, they may only want no more than 2,000lbs of payload capacity. Even in the RFI, the Navy wasn't clear about their payload requirements, only stating that they wanted precision weapons capability, with no given examples of what type of weapons they wanted.

The specs aren't out yet for the full competition, but their intentions are clear.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
I bet the Reaper drones were not meant to be attack aircraft either, but that is exactly what they excel at today.

The Reaper drones are primarily ISR, with a secondary time critical precision strike role. Their primary role is to loiter a region, providing intelligence over an area, and when need be, strike at a target.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
You would be in full on attack mode, where stealth is not so important and not scouting. The main airborne radar is the E-2, not UCLASS.

Radar is not the only way ISR is conducted; EO/IR, SIGNIT and various other sensors are also used for scouting. The current UCLASS contenders all focus very heavily on the sensor aspect. In fact, the Navy has requested that the systems on UCLASS have some flexibility and modularity with the ability to add new sensors as required, and have specified as a minimum, EO/IR, multi-mode radar, and ESM systems must be integrated from the start according to the RFI.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
Secondly stealth can also be achieved the old fashioned way against non AWACS protected targets if needed, flying low over the horizon, which at sea level is only 12 miles.

You will be surprised that ships are equipped with radars that can see over the horizon very effectively, and you cut down on your range considerably at lower altitudes.
 
checksixx
Posts: 1148
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:39 pm

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Sat May 18, 2013 6:01 am

Quoting tugger (Reply 6):
While the guys on the deck were cheering, I wonder if the fighter pilots were doing the same....

Tugg

I'm sure they were if any were around. There are NO plans to remove pilots from the cockpits, as the norm, for the foreseeable future.
 
checksixx
Posts: 1148
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:39 pm

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Sat May 18, 2013 6:56 am

Quoting cjg225 (Reply 9):
One thing I've wondered... if this is supposed to be totally autonomous, are they *programmed* to do things like flap checks or is that still being commanded by a remote operator? Seems like when you have to have humans interfacing with the aircraft on the deck (or even if it's a ground-based aircraft) that there needs to be some way to communicate to the aircraft or to a remote operator that something doesn't look right.

It would likely be a built-in self-test...much like a police traffic radar...which would alert the operator to anything being out of tolerance.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 10):
The question for me is will the US Navy be able to talk it's way out of the F-35 or at least get away with ordering far fewer numbers, if UCLASS proves effective, which I am sure it will.

There is no plan to replace all their aircraft with drones. The Navy will do very well with the F-35 when they start operating them.

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 12):
Like a rash, the F-35 will be around for quite a while, slowly destroying budget allocations intended for other applications. Premier ? A matter of opinion.

Like you already implied to the other poster...yours is also a matter of opinion as is mine. Folks said the same thing about the F-22 and now many of those same people have said we should have kept producing them...or restart the line. Funny how it comes full circle. Bottom line is that ANYTHING with advanced LO and or sensor and flight capabilities costs money to develop. Always has and always will. The Navy didn't lose much in the way of budget cuts...they simply had to park a couple of carriers...but you don't see them being scrapped. All major weapon systems for them are still proceeding.

Quoting Bthebest (Reply 15):
Is it an Unmanned or Semi-autonomous vehicle?

Yes

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 35):
I bet the Reaper drones were not meant to be attack aircraft either, but that is exactly what they excel at today.

Actually they were. They were specifically developed to have an increase in weapons capability over the MQ-1's among other things.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2534
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Sat May 18, 2013 8:37 am

Quoting checksixx (Reply 38):
There is no plan to replace all their aircraft with drones. The Navy will do very well with the F-35 when they start operating them.

Indeed, UCLASS and F-35 will have complimentary roles in a carrier air wing. The Navy is barely scratching the surface with what UCLASS (assuming the Navy stops arguing amongst itself regarding the level of capabilities it wants out of UCLASS) and F-35 can do onboard the carrier.
 
tommytoyz
Posts: 1195
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:08 am

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Sat May 18, 2013 6:02 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 36):
The Navy has not defined the specifications of UCLASS yet

Keep your own words in mind from the quote above when you proclaim to know the NAVY has a specific use in mind. The X-47B itself, already has a stated 4,500lbs internal payload capability, which already exceeds that of any F-35 internally. That kind of capability was designed into the X-47B on purpose, as was putting the word "strike" in the UCLASS name. These are the known facts. The rest is reading the tea leaves.

Imho, by looking at the speeds at which the X-47B and the F-35 programs are progressing, by the time the F-35C becomes carrier operational, it will have to adapt to the already operating UCLASS, rather than the other way around.
 
ThePointblank
Posts: 2534
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

RE: X-47B Carrier Launch

Sat May 18, 2013 7:17 pm

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
Keep your own words in mind from the quote above when you proclaim to know the NAVY has a specific use in mind. The X-47B itself, already has a stated 4,500lbs internal payload capability, which already exceeds that of any F-35 internally. That kind of capability was designed into the X-47B on purpose, as was putting the word "strike" in the UCLASS name. These are the known facts. The rest is reading the tea leaves.

The Navy has an idea of what they want, but they are debating the exact capabilities they want out of UCLASS. The Navy is said to be internally divided over UCLASS. 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.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 40):
Imho, by looking at the speeds at which the X-47B and the F-35 programs are progressing, by the time the F-35C becomes carrier operational, it will have to adapt to the already operating UCLASS, rather than the other way around.

According to the Navy, won't happen. UCLASS is expected to first fielded to the carriers in the 2018-2020 timeframe, and that's slipped already. F-35C will reach the carriers much earlier.

Some of the technologies UCLASS will be dependent on for sustained all-weather carrier operations need to be perfected and implemented prior to, and these technologies are coming alongside F-35 (things such as JPALS).

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