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Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:24 am
by bikerthai
kanban wrote:
like I said things have changed.


Do they even use skydrol any more? Specifically I don't think they use Skydrol for military application.

But you are right about things changing. They are moving away from cad plate fasteners to something like a nickel zinc.

bt

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:36 pm
by Ozair
Flight global has an article on the

5 technologies needed to make attritable UAVs work

Advanced manufacturing and engineering
Digital engineering will be key to balancing the cost and capability of attritable aircraft, before using funds for building prototypes and flight testing, says Shane Arnott, director of Boeing Australia’s Airpower Teaming System programme.

Trustworthy autonomy
Managing loyal wingman or swarms of attritable UAVs can’t add tasks to overworked pilots and ground operators. Instead, new forms of flight control automation and artificially intelligent software need to be developed.

Cheaper jet turbines
Because attritbale aircraft would likely only have lifecycles of 20 to 30 missions – more than single-use cruise missiles, but less than manned jet fighters – new turbines need to be developed to fit this novel application.

Cheaper mission systems
For an attritable aircraft to be low-cost enough to be lost to combat attrition its subsystems and payloads also need to be inexpensive.

Airborne recovery
More work needs to be done to perfect recovering UAVs in midair, says Keeter of Dynetics.
“While most may struggle to think of airborne recoverability as a technology, it is in fact a collection of enabling technologies like precision navigation, innovative recovery systems, robust safety systems, aerial networks, mass property management, structural design elements to enable recovery, and specialized avionics,” he says


https://www.flightglobal.com/flight-int ... 57.article

More at the link but you can see how all those key areas need to improve for the cost ratio to become acceptable as well as the respective attritable systems have sufficient capability and lethality to be effective.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 9:00 pm
by Ozair
The UK has stood up a dedicated SQN, 216, to handle drone experimentation. A few key personnel have likely started the SQN and it will increase in strength over the next couple of years. With these types of units they are very selective at the start bringing in specific staff and often sending them off to education or Industry to skill them up.

UK stands-up ‘swarming drones’ development unit

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has stood-up an experimental unit dedicated to developing an operational ‘swarming drones’ capability, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Jane’s .

216 Squadron was reactivated at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on 1 April, the MoD said. Previously, the ministry explained that the unit will be tasked with bringing the RAF’s “ambitious” swarming drones capability into service and continue its development.

As previously reported by Jane’s , the then-Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson said in February 2019 that by the end of that year the RAF would operationally field “swarm squadrons of network-enabled drones capable of confusing and overcoming enemy air-defence systems”. In July 2019 the then-Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier clarified the minister’s comments by saying that 216 Squadron would be stood-up by the end of the year to develop the concept, with the capability itself to be delivered by about July, with further development to follow.

This is still the MoD’s stated intention. However, Jane’s understands that 216 Squadron has been reformed with minimal manning for now, and that work is ongoing to assess the effects of the current coronavirus pandemic on future plans, manning, and timelines.

In terms of the potential solution to the ‘swarming drones’ requirement, the RAF has previously said that the timelines meant it would not be looking to develop a bespoke platform but would instead be using something that was already available. No further details have been provided for commercial confidentiality reasons.

While the near-term timelines and milestones for 216 Squadron and the wider swarming drone capability are currently subject to developments with the ongoing coronavirus emergency, the MoD noted earlier that progress during recent trials has exceeded expectations in several unspecified areas. A source familiar with the trials noted to Jane’s that the results so far were “looking promising”.

...

https://www.janes.com/article/95245/uk- ... pment-unit

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:51 am
by Ozair
The Loyal wingman concept from Boeing Australia is really moving along. They have reached weight on wheels and the electrical systems have been powered up. Still no info yet on what engine the aircraft is using but apparently Boeing Australia are building three prototypes and plan to have first flight this year at an undiclosed location. Factory acceptance testing and then taxi testing are next, after some wings...

Boeing Australia advances Loyal Wingman development

Boeing Australia's first Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft prototype has stood on its own wheels and powered up its electrical system for the first time, the company announced on 8 April.

The latest development milestones follow the assembly of the first aircraft's fuselage structure in February and will lead to further systems installation and functional and integration testing from the aircraft's own landing gear.

The unmanned aircraft is one of three prototypes that are being developed as a part of the Loyal Wingman-Advanced Development Programme - also known as the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) - in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

"The weight on wheels milestone is when the main fuselage sits on its wheels for the first time," Dr Shane Arnott, programme director of the Boeing ATS, told Jane's in an emailed statement. "Power [has also been] turned on through the vehicle electrical distribution system which supports start of factory acceptance testing.

"The milestones allow for rapid progress on systems installation and functional and integration testing from the aircraft's own landing gear," he added.

"Following factory acceptance of the aircraft, it will go into taxi testing in advance of first flight, which will take place in 2020 in Australia - beyond that, we're not offering specific dates or the locations of the flight," Dr Arnott explained. "However, we know an aircraft of this type must be designed for rapid production and testing, and we've done just that."

The first prototype will also provide key lessons towards production of the ATS, which Boeing Australia is developing for the global defence market. It is envisioned that prospective operators will be able to tailor ATS sensors and systems to meet their specific requirements.

Jane's earlier reported that more than 20 companies are supporting Boeing Australia in this effort, with design, development, and manufacturing of the prototypes being carried out across three undisclosed Australian states, although Boeing declined to name specific locations.

...

https://www.janes.com/article/95446/boe ... evelopment

Image

It is looking reasonably close to the graphic,

Image

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:20 am
by SuperiorPilotMe
Ozair wrote:

I'm not feeling the VLO love from the design but it is just a mock-up.


I’m just as surprised as you are but if this is supposed to be a sacrificial as well as loyal wingman and mostly an EW asset VLO might be seen as a detriment. Still seems a bit complex for the roles described though.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:23 am
by bikerthai
There is many aspect to VLO including Shape and materials. Materials can be included later on as it is more expensive to fabricate and not necessary for a developemental program.

The shape however do have some VLO aspect. It reminds me of the MD losing bid YF-23.

by

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 10:37 am
by RJMAZ

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 10:38 am
by RJMAZ
Image

Image

This looks very stealthy.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 10:58 am
by Ozair
RJMAZ wrote:
Image

Image

This looks very stealthy.

It certainly looks better than the initial concept but it likely still has to have all the antennas and associated systems to come so that may change the RCS and appearance a little. A 3700 km range seems very long for the aircraft and although it looks potentially capable of it I doubt it will be supersonic. I still haven't seen any info on what the engine will be either. Also be interesting to know how tied this is to runways compared to the XQ-58 as this is a bigger aircraft and has a very conventional layout.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 12:46 pm
by bikerthai
Looks like with the swap-able mission suite, this bird could be more than just a wing man. You should be able use this as a stand alone ISR platform as well. That would make the extended, range/loiter time useful

Since this is developed in AU, wonder if it will have the same political ramification as any US product. I mean would this be more exportable to Taiwan as opposed to any advanced US developed hardware?

bt

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 12:55 pm
by bikerthai
Ozair wrote:
It certainly looks better than the initial concept but it likely still has to have all the antennas and associated systems to come so that may change the RCS and appearance a little.


You can burry the HF antenna. With a little work, you can hide the SATCOM antenna as well. As a autonomous vehicle, it would not require constant communication with the controller. Something in the range of a cellular network may be sufficient for close-in communication. We all know how small the cell phone antena are.

bt

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Tue May 05, 2020 1:36 pm
by bikerthai
There'sa good article in "The Drive" with some interesting details.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... gman-drone

While the aircraft was designed with low-observable (stealthy) features, performance and cost had to be weighed against the airframe's detectability. When asked why a flying wing wasn't used instead of the more traditional fighter-like layout, the ATS team noted that flying wings are expensive to make and unforgiving to fly. They also noted that their design has some maneuverability tricks up its sleeve with its relatively simple, but powerful four-control surface arrangement, which includes relative huge 'tailerons' that are similar to those found on the YF-23.


bt

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 2:07 pm
by LightningZ71
Just from a quick look, judging from the rear end shot, they could VERY easily give it 2-D thrust vectoring like the F-22 has if they needed pitch authority for high G maneuvers.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Wed May 06, 2020 2:55 pm
by wingman
I'm not a huge fan of Boeing's right now but I do appreciate the honor.

El Wingman

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 4:21 am
by RJMAZ
LightningZ71 wrote:
Just from a quick look, judging from the rear end shot, they could VERY easily give it 2-D thrust vectoring like the F-22 has if they needed pitch authority for high G maneuvers.

It looks a bit like the F117 to reduce IR signature.

This aircraft looks to have a very high level of stealth shaping and planform alignment. However from the wording it does not use exotic materials to get an ultra low radar signature. I would call this budget stealth. There is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to stealth so this design clearly has all the bang for buck stealth features. If this aircraft crashed behind enemy lines it might not have the exotic F-35 materials technology and this is what would prevent it from being exported.

A wonder what engine it uses. I think a Rolls-Royce AE 3007 as used on the Boeing MQ-25 Stingray would make sense. No US export restrictions and it has enough thrust for a 15t MTOW.

The F404 would also be likely. Even without afterburner it would allow for a potential higher mach 1.2 top speed. With afterburner it would put this aircraft in a different class. The first supersonic, stealth armed drone.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 12:11 pm
by bikerthai
RJMAZ wrote:
. I would call this budget stealth. There is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to stealth so this design clearly has all the bang for buck stealth features.


True, if they are targeting this in the price range of a high end cruise missile, then you do not want to spend to the nth degree in a semi-disposable weapon.

bt

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 5:16 pm
by LightningZ71
I agree, common composites for outer structure, aluminum for the inner framework, stealth shaping with well established RA paint. Given that it is a smaller platform than the F-35 or 18, it doesn't need to be overly aggressive in it's stealth tech to achieve a smaller RCS.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:17 pm
by SuperiorPilotMe
I have to wonder what exactly makes a flying wing harder to manufacture, given how LockMart's been able to do it (reportedly for cheap) with the RQ-170 Sentinel.

Actually come to think of it you might not realize it at first but the planform has similarities to the MQ-25 Stingray. I wonder if Boeing just has a particular favor towards this configuration? Not that I'm necessarily criticizing them for it (I'll save my more legit criticisms since I just came off yet another week-long ban for speaking the truth but whatever)....

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:40 pm
by bikerthai
SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
I have to wonder what exactly makes a flying wing harder to manufacture,


I would supposed it would be harder to make a flying wing modular. Having the wing, center body, nose etc., modular, reduces fabrication cost.

Note that for a wingman drone, you want to take advantage of the higher g capability. A more traditional tail configuration will make for a much more agressive dog fighter than a flying wing.

bt

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:45 pm
by SuperiorPilotMe
Flying wings aren't inherently non-modular per se; rather than reducing the cost of various components by making them modular you reduce their cost by reducing the number of components in the first place, down to just one. Or at least you eliminate, depending on how you look at it, the center body or the wings, and certainly the tail.

Also, "high-g capability" is largely independent on configuration and has more to do with the structural strength of the craft itself.

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:57 pm
by bikerthai
With high g, I was thinking more about the ability to quickly change the angle of attack or perform some aerobatic type maneuver to get in a position to get a shot.

A flying wing is very efficient at flying level, it will begrudgingly do a roll or an corkscrew.

bt

Re: New Boeing Combat Drone

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 11:00 pm
by DigitalSea
It would be pretty awesome for the drone to be able to carry its own warhead as a suicide drone once its expended its armaments.