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UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

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VinodTK
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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby VinodTK » 23 Jul 2017 01:52

I do not know why USAF does not want them; however IAF might use them to fly close to the northern and eastern border on long endurance missions (my guess).

As why to why only 36 Rafales! only the PM and the person who told him the number know the answer (transparency is important). Agree the $8 billion is a huge number.

As for evaluation, if the process starts in 2017 by the time it is completed the Predator C avenger assembly line will be closed.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby abhik » 23 Jul 2017 02:26

^^^
I don't think there is a Predator C assembly line as of today.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Karan M » 23 Jul 2017 02:32

Vinod these are UCAVs. Flying them along borders are not what they are meant for. Plus why acquire an untested airframe in huge numbers when funds are scarce for the tested teeth aka the Rafale.
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-u- ... cb9a3d10b8

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Manish_Sharma » 23 Jul 2017 03:17

Karan M wrote:I am surprised why 100 units! IAF only has 36 Rafales, cant some part of that money go to buy 18 more Rafales? Where will the GOI get 8 Billion from?


For some reason we always seem to have enough money for buying stuff from usa.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 23 Jul 2017 04:36

abhik wrote:^^^
I don't think there is a Predator C assembly line as of today.


It has been and will be made on the existing line with first foreign customer likely to be Canada. Having said that, this does appear dubious given the Avenger's status as a limited (CIA and USAF) use asset and that the USAF does not have a requirement for this class.

The only appeal the Avenger has to the USAF is if it can showcase an integrated HELLADS which it will likely do by early next decade. But the laser isn't tied to the platform so it will have to compete with other platforms such as the AC-130. Short of this they are unlikely to buy it since it isn't enough of a differentiator to them to pay the higher cost as it transitions to an all Reaper fleet.

It has surfaced time and again in the IAF context but I have always been skeptical. It is tough to gauge a GA product however since the company is private and quite secretive in terms of who it is negotiating deals with.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby nash » 23 Jul 2017 14:02

brar_w wrote:
It has been and will be made on the existing line with first foreign customer likely to be Canada. Having said that, this does appear dubious given the Avenger's status as a limited (CIA and USAF) use asset and that the USAF does not have a requirement for this class
.

The only appeal the Avenger has to the USAF is if it can showcase an integrated HELLADS which it will likely do by early next decade. But the laser isn't tied to the platform so it will have to compete with other platforms such as the AC-130. Short of this they are unlikely to buy it since it isn't enough of a differentiator to them to pay the higher cost as it transitions to an all Reaper fleet.

It has surfaced time and again in the IAF context but I have always been skeptical. It is tough to gauge a GA product however since the company is private and quite secretive in terms of who it is negotiating deals with.


The Highlighted part may be the reason of USAF not interested as their requirements are fulfilled by other UAVs/UCAVs and cause of IAF looking for Avenger as GA is PE and they may don't have any order to start the production line. Order of hundred might be sufficient enough to start production line, may be in India also, very much similar to F-16, which USAF don't want any more happy with what they have for now and transferring the production line to India.

Now the big question would be about money and here time line is also important. IMO GoI may scrap the ~$20 billion single engine MII, expand the Navy's order of 57 to 100+ under MII(SP model of DPP) , as they already issue RFI to OEMs, not only for aircraft carriers but also for the coastal bases at A&N islands, East Coast near WB and West Coast near Maha-guj and go for Advance SH . Next Twin engine MII and increase the number of Rafale. And as next step after 22 Gaurdian Drones go for Avenger.

Consequently, what ever ToT or Tech know how or know why, we should invest in Tejas MkII and order 120 and 60 for IAF and In respectively.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 23 Jul 2017 18:09

Nash, the USAF looked at tactical high end unmanned strike and funded quite a bit of research on platforms and concepts that were much more capable than the Avenger. Ultimately, this did not interest them enough given their strike-complex needs and they drifted to funding Penetrating ISR and possible Stand-In AEA as those were supporting mission needs that needed to be developed as a priority. So for that 'fight' the Avenger was not required as a class of UCAV. Where it appealed to them elsewhere was given its faster speed whereby they could move it around quicker and possibly get higher SGRs. But that also largely fell through given the large cost difference that comes with a jet powered aircraft so they decided to build an all Reaper fleet for that mission.

Image

The orbit demand from their COOCOMs needs a pretty high number of UAV's and UCAVs and bringing in a more expensive (to buy and operate) UCAV would negatively impact their budgets. So yeah, short of stellar HELLADS demonstrations or a new mission set arising I do not see the USAF procure the Avengers in quantity. It is not survivable enough to hang around with the B-2 or B-21 (like the RQ-180 can for example) and it can't replace the hundreds of reapers that they intend on having. Given that they are acquiring 2-3 squadrons of stealthy F-35As a year for the forceable future, they don't immediately need a survivable magazine that is in the size and class of the Avenger. Other potential operators might come to a different trade and GA realize this..this is one reason they've put north of 14,000 hours on the few airframes they have to mature the product over the last may years. They feel there is a market out there with customers that want a faster, more survivable and more capable drone than the reaper but can't afford or can't wait for the various other concepts (like Neuron, Taranis etc etc) to show up in the late 2020s.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby tsarkar » 24 Jul 2017 18:18

Karan M wrote:I am surprised why 100 units! IAF only has 36 Rafales, cant some part of that money go to buy 18 more Rafales? Where will the GOI get 8 Billion from?

Typically modern strike requirements are of two types - quick response and persistent.

Quick response to rapidly emerging situations is fulfilled by fast jets - the best example being 1971 Dhaka Govt House attack by MiG-21s. BrahMos can also be used in such situations.

The other requirement is persistent cover. Typically this involves multiple CAPs over the battlefield protecting own troops from air attack and attacking enemy targets. Typically over battlefields like Chamb and Lahore, there were multiple CAPs. Using multi-role jets to do so is expensive and sufficient jets wont be available. Same for attack helicopters.

Using UAVs for this role is ideal given they can loiter over the battlefield. Needless to say, the stealth of Avenger and higher speed than Predator will enable better performance in the battlefield.

The strike role will go more & more to UAVs. That is the way of the future.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby sommuk » 27 Jul 2017 16:29

AI and drones are used to combat elephant poaching in Africa .... can this be re-purposed/training different sets of models for infiltration detection along LoC or other combat roles in an Indian context ?

https://news.developer.nvidia.com/artif ... in-africa/

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Manish_P » 27 Jul 2017 17:23

There is a good chance that it is being thought about. There was a report about us looking to purchase of some 5000 drones (from israel ?) being looked at.

Khan does it extensively on the mexican border.

Even Greece has done it - link

sommuk wrote:AI and drones are used to combat elephant poaching in Africa .... can this be re-purposed/training different sets of models for infiltration detection along LoC or other combat roles in an Indian context ?

https://news.developer.nvidia.com/artif ... in-africa/

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Manish_P » 27 Jul 2017 17:46

An alternative or complimentary system to drone could be Aerostats. Thethered or Free flying.

Benefits are much longer persistence. Disadvantages could be higher costs and fixed location (if thethered)

US system - Lockheed Martin Persistent Threat Detection System (74K Aerostat) - Link

Israeli system (used by India ?) - CONTROP - Link

Indian system (in development ?) - Akashdeep Aerostat - link , Nakshatra - Link

There is post by Indranil sir on page 47 of this thread about the same.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby tsarkar » 27 Jul 2017 19:36

^^ Indian Army & BSF Battalions on LoC or CI Grid do use a lot of COTS drones. Battalions have discretionary budget for this. Lots of photos on the internet and sometime back Pakistanis claimed an Indian quadrotor had landed in their territory.

Image

Image

In an interesting use, Mumbai Police & Coast Guard jointly use drones for monitoring Ganapati Visarjan in the sea

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Austin » 28 Jul 2017 11:11

Iran made Shahed-129 UCAV against terrorist groups in Syria & Western borders



Exclusive new footage of Iranian Shahed-129 UCAV in combat over Syria


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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Austin » 28 Jul 2017 11:52

China CH4 UAV combat in Iraq


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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby kit » 30 Jul 2017 17:36

The US Poseidons are operating in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton . How significantly different is the Triton from the Sea Guardian UAVs when operating with the Indian Neptunes ? I suspect there is a magnitude of capability difference between the two.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby VKumar » 30 Jul 2017 18:11

India tests unmanned, remotely operated tank named Muntra. It has three variants for surveillance especially in nuclear, chemical sectors. It has a laser sight that enables it to identify man or machine even 15 km away.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 30 Jul 2017 18:52

kit wrote:The US Poseidons are operating in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton . How significantly different is the Triton from the Sea Guardian UAVs when operating with the Indian Neptunes ? I suspect there is a magnitude of capability difference between the two.


Yes there is but the Triton is also significantly more expensive (likely 3x the cost). Platform performance aside the sensor suite, and the potential to add more sophisticated ESM and communication sensors to it is significant. One advantage of this is that the larger, higher performing platform has quite a bit of room to grow from a SWaP perspective and the USN plans on pushing even more sophisticated ESM and SIGINT equipment in there to eventually replace the retiring EP-3 Orion aircraft.

The ZPY-3 is also widely regarding as a generation bump (if not more) on the Seavue and is and has been the focus of much of the USAF and USN development $s over the last many years. Also the platform is already cleared for, and is used as a gateway and it excels at the role given the altitude it operates in.

Image

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby DrRatnadip » 31 Jul 2017 14:47

https://sputniknews.com/amp/military/20 ... velopment/

Under PAK FA's Auspices: Russia Develops 'Flying-Wing' Strike Drone

The Russian website paralay.iboards.ru published a photo of a heavy Russian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which is being developed by the country's Sukhoi company in accordance with the Okhotnik-B project. Sukhoi is a major Russian aircraft manufacturer, headquartered in Moscow.
With characteristics of the new strike drone yet to be disclosed, it was reported that the 20-ton UAV will be equipped with stealth technologies of the new Russian fifth-generation T-50 PAK FA fighter jet and will be capable of flying as a sixth-generation fighter.

Flight tests of the Okhotnik-B are due to begin already in 2018, and in 2020 it is expected to enter service with the Russian Armed Forces.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Austin » 31 Jul 2017 15:58


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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Austin » 01 Aug 2017 14:54

Good Footage in the interview of Dassault UCAV Neuron including dropping of bomb


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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby UlanBatori » 03 Aug 2017 02:01



Sorry if posted already, but take with usual shipment of NaCl.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4115763/r ... decisions/

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Manish_Sharma » 04 Aug 2017 21:05


brar_w
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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 04 Aug 2017 21:18

The mockup shown at 1:24 is the Boeing Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (X-45C) model.

Image

Image

Indranil
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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Indranil » 17 Aug 2017 00:22

The Rustom is finally moving forward with the zeal it should. I like its current project manager a lot. He knows his stuff and demands that user don't give a best of all worlds requirement specification.

Anyways, they are preparing for a modified Rustom II with AUW of 2.7 Tons. The eight prototype will be the first one of this kind. More composites, new outboard pylons, wing tanks, engine nacelles, indigenized SATCOM radome etc.Timeline: 30 months.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Zynda » 17 Aug 2017 00:47

Indranil wrote:Timeline: 30 months.

Good to hear on the progress of Mod Rustom-2. But is the above timeline agreeable to the forces/MoD? Does the timeline refer induction or first flight?

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Indranil » 17 Aug 2017 04:58

Whether it is acceptable or not, it takes this amount of time to develop an UAV of this calibre. The govt. and forces must be on board because what they are doing needs money.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Rakesh » 17 Aug 2017 06:19

Has the Time Come to Replace Manned Combat Aircraft With Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles?
http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/replace ... era_160817


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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 17 Aug 2017 20:17

Rakesh wrote:Has the Time Come to Replace Manned Combat Aircraft With Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles?
http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/replace ... era_160817


The F-35 should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.
– Ray Mabus, US Secretary of the Navy


Mabus, the politician probably knew he was wrong..but never one to miss getting in the headlines..

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby Rakesh » 18 Aug 2017 06:26

Dynamatic sets sights on becoming “private sector HAL”
http://ajaishukla.blogspot.ca/2017/08/d ... oming.html

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 18 Aug 2017 19:04

Full article at Source -

Avenger C Prospects Brighten With Potential International Deal


POWAY, California—General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) is in the early stages of negotiating the potential sale of as many as 90 Predator C Avenger remotely piloted aircraft to an unidentified international customer.
The order, if ratified, would represent a massive turnaround for the program, which to date has failed to attract any notable sales since making its first flight in 2009. Only eight of the jet-powered Predator C models have been built, one of which remains a company testbed while another is operated by the U.S. Air Force. The rest are operated by unnamed U.S. agencies for classified missions.

But renewed international interest in the aircraft is believed to be led by India, which has requested access to the capability as a potential follow-on to the planned acquisition of as many as 22 GA-ASI MQ-9B Sea Guardian UAVs.

Although India initially sought the purchase of the Sea Guardian in mid-2016, the proposed acquisition has taken on renewed emphasis as part of recent intergovernment talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The talks, which also reportedly involved General Atomics U.S. and International Strategic Development Chief Executive Vivek Lall and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, are believed to have been centered on the Indian Navy’s Sea Guardian, but were expanded to include the Indian Air Force’s additional focus on the Predator C. The uptick in interest in the large UAV follows General Atomics’ recent development of an extended range (ER) version with a larger wingspan and greater payload capacity.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby ldev » 20 Aug 2017 05:24

brar_w wrote:Full article at Source -

Avenger C Prospects Brighten With Potential International Deal


POWAY, California—General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) is in the early stages of negotiating the potential sale of as many as 90 Predator C Avenger remotely piloted aircraft to an unidentified international customer.
The order, if ratified, would represent a massive turnaround for the program, which to date has failed to attract any notable sales since making its first flight in 2009. Only eight of the jet-powered Predator C models have been built, one of which remains a company testbed while another is operated by the U.S. Air Force. The rest are operated by unnamed U.S. agencies for classified missions.

But renewed international interest in the aircraft is believed to be led by India, which has requested access to the capability as a potential follow-on to the planned acquisition of as many as 22 GA-ASI MQ-9B Sea Guardian UAVs.

Although India initially sought the purchase of the Sea Guardian in mid-2016, the proposed acquisition has taken on renewed emphasis as part of recent intergovernment talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The talks, which also reportedly involved General Atomics U.S. and International Strategic Development Chief Executive Vivek Lall and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, are believed to have been centered on the Indian Navy’s Sea Guardian, but were expanded to include the Indian Air Force’s additional focus on the Predator C. The uptick in interest in the large UAV follows General Atomics’ recent development of an extended range (ER) version with a larger wingspan and greater payload capacity.


If this sale happens it's a big step forward. Even the USAF will not have the Avenger C (not that they wanted it but nevertheless). And to get as many as 90 will really help with targeting cross border terrorists in Pakistan. Could also help if things heat up further on the Chinese border.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby srin » 20 Aug 2017 13:22

How would it help in targeting cross border terrorists ? Flying slow and high, will give plenty of time for TSP radars to warn.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby ldev » 20 Aug 2017 16:36

srin wrote:How would it help in targeting cross border terrorists ? Flying slow and high, will give plenty of time for TSP radars to warn.


Apparently this latest development of the Predator series, besides having a turbofan is also stealthy....that's how it has been advertised by General Atomics the manufacturer. Just how stealthy it is and what is it's radar cross section is not known at this stage. But it will be helpful vs TSP radars.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 20 Aug 2017 16:49

There are two Avenger variants, one is the one we see flying the most and the variant in service and one is the ER version that GA-ASI has been pushing more over the last few months/years and has recently flown. Furthermore, their pitches to the MDA, Canadians and even the IAF have really not been out in the public and they don't have a need to report information like other defense companies so this leaves a lot of unknowns as to what a potential Avenger customer may have an option to choose from. Smart bet is on using a lot of the systems developed for the Predator family where better forms of data links, new control stations, and better sensors have been developed, prototyped, or fielded over the time period (since when Avenger was first conceived).

GA-ASI is also working on a DON program where most guesses are that they are using the Avenger for their MQ-25 proposal so likely some systems related work will come out that even though the aircraft looks different. Logically, having a CIA/USAF customer operate a small number for some time and collectively (along with their aircraft) putting close to 14,000 hours into the enterprise would result in some product refinement as they enter competitive acquisition phases of a couple of competitions (USN MQ-25, and in Canada) so if and when this actually advances beyond just an 'interest' the IAF should be able to go to San Diego and evaluate a bunch of features and the aircraft.

GA-ASI Conducts First Flight of Avenger Extended Range

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced the successful first flight of its new Avenger® Extended Range (ER) aircraft, an extended range version of its multi-mission jet-powered Predator® C Avenger which has accumulated over 13,000 flight hours to date. The flight occurred on October 27th at the company's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.

"The first flight of Avenger ER is a significant achievement in the evolution of Predator C's proven performance and multi-mission capability," said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. "The increased endurance and high payload capacity will deliver tremendous capability to our customers, who need persistent situational awareness and strike mission affordability."

With an increased wingspan of 76 feet and 2,200 pounds of additional fuel, Avenger ER extends the legacy Avenger's already impressive endurance from 15 hours to 20 hours. The RPA provides an optimal balance of long loiter Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and precision-strike capability, supporting a wide array of sensors and weapons payloads to perform ISR and ground support missions. Like the legacy Avenger, Avenger ER features avionics based upon the combat-proven Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper®, has a 44-foot long fuselage, 3,000-pound payload bay, and is capable of flying at over 400 KTAS. Avenger ER, along with its predecessor, is designed to carry payloads such as the all-weather GA-ASI Lynx® Multi-mode Radar, the MS-177 Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and the 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

GA-ASI developed Avenger on Internal Research and Development (IRAD) funds with the intent of making a RPA that has a quick-response, armed reconnaissance capability. First flown in April 2009, the aircraft's fuselage was extended by four feet in 2012 to accommodate larger payloads and fuel. Avenger received a FAA-issued Experimental Certificate (EC) in 2016, enabling it to operate in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).


Even the USAF will not have the Avenger C (not that they wanted it but nevertheless).


The two US services that have an unmet/emerging MALE UAV requirement are the USN and USMC. The former wants to get back the mission tanking area, and pass on the recovery tanker mission to it from the SH that currently performs it.In addition the USN has a tail sitter MALE UAV in development. The USMC wants a MALE UAV/UCAV that can take off and land vertically and is looking to develop that. An Avenger derivative only fits one of those capabilities but since GA-ASI has no real world experience in carrier aviation they are unlikely to be down selected.

As far as the USAF is concerned, the only way they will acquire the Avenger if GA-ASI can show that an Avenger integrated HELLADS is tactically and cost wise more effective than a comparable system mounted on a manned aircraft such as a V-22 or AC-130. If this is not the case then the Avenger will continue to be used by the CIA/USAF type missions and only a handful will be required for the role. Purely for ISR, the USAF already has the RQ-170 and RQ-180 and the existence of the latter was pretty much confirmed by their unmanned aircrafts boss a few years ago. For the ability to drop a 2000 lb JDAM from altitude with a more survivable platform, they are already acquiring a couple of squadrons of F-35As a year so the Avenger's enhanced survivability in strike, and ISR does not appeal to them given availability of other resources. This then means that they will be paying a higher acquisition and operational cost for a capability that will still be primarily used the same way they use the current Predator fleet which sort of defeats the purpose.

One US Agency that may like the faster speed, and higher altitude envelope of the Avenger is the MDA and the 2000 lb of additional fuel may actually be something that will elevate their level of interest. at the moment, they are using modified predators for testing but if they were to think about getting back into the BPI mission area then the Avenger will likely be a better bet.

Additionally, part of General Atomics's HELLADS solution is the integrated power supply for the high power laser. This is applicable in other areas where UAV's have so far been limited by low SWAP abilities. Take out the laser and put in a radar or electronic attack solution and you can have a fairly capable system that can supply a decent amount of power for intervals before requiring a recharge given that CW emitters in a large portions of the RF (all except maybe X-Ka band) have higher efficiency and lower power requirement than a triple digit KW directed energy weapon.

https://s2.postimg.org/ehy1ie36x/MDA_GA_HELLADS_BPI.png
http://i.imgur.com/SLux0tU.jpg
https://s31.postimg.org/5nef2iyaj/GA-_DESII-2.png
Last edited by brar_w on 20 Aug 2017 17:47, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby ldev » 20 Aug 2017 17:25

^^
brar_w, as usual thank you for your encyclopedic knowledge!!

By the way, I would give this transaction a better than 50:50 chance of success based purely on the man behind it, Vivek Lall, now with General Atomics, formerly with Boeing Commercial Aircraft and later with Boeing Defense Systems as India Country Head. The C17, P-8 and Harpoon buys were all done under his watch and the Indian services appear happy with Boeing's product and service delivery. So while EMALs may or may not happen because it is tied to the Indian Navy's evolving strategy on the size of the carriers it wants, I would give the Avenger C ER a better chance because of the smaller capital outlays involved and because it's a stand-alone system.

brar_w
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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 20 Aug 2017 17:55

srin wrote:How would it help in targeting cross border terrorists ? Flying slow and high, will give plenty of time for TSP radars to warn.


The Avenger provides a blank canvas for a more survivable UCAV as long as the operator is willing to invest in it and chooses sensors, antennas, and communication nodes with that in mind. Being hard to detect or target involves more than an RCS optimized aircraft and goes into the CONEMP and how it fits into the overall operational construct. The Avenger weapon concept that General Atomics likely has envisioned would involve stand off sensors, weapons, higher altitude and speed and lower RCS compared to other MALE UAV/UCAVs out there including in their own product line.

It is not in the X-45/X-47/Neuron/Taranis class as far as survivability is concerned since those designs and employment concepts envision more penetrating ability, greater autonomy and stricter RCS and EMCON requirements. This drives up cost. A case in point is the USN's analysis of what a highly survivable penetrating X-47B UCLASS would cost if the requirements were to move it to an unmanned mini B-21 like CONEMP and abilities. The cost would have risen from an APUC of around $25-$50 Million to the $150-$200 million range primarily driven by RCS, autonomous navigation and decision making in GPS/SATCOM degraded or denied environments, communications survivability, and sensor performance. These are some fairly tough problems to solve given that there isn't a man in the loop and you can't assume that your linked communications will survive contact with the enemy so you to develop your abilities in order to accomplish the mission in the toughest of those scenarios which drives up cost.

General Atomics is looking to avoid that route and with the Avenger have placed themselves in the middle of the two solutions ( Predator/Reaper on one end and Neuron/Taranis/UCLASS at the other).

kit
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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby kit » 20 Aug 2017 19:39

brar_w wrote:
srin wrote:How would it help in targeting cross border terrorists ? Flying slow and high, will give plenty of time for TSP radars to warn.


The Avenger provides a blank canvas for a more survivable UCAV as long as the operator is willing to invest in it and chooses sensors, antennas, and communication nodes with that in mind. Being hard to detect or target involves more than an RCS optimized aircraft and goes into the CONEMP and how it fits into the overall operational construct. The Avenger weapon concept that General Atomics likely has envisioned would involve stand off sensors, weapons, higher altitude and speed and lower RCS compared to other MALE UAV/UCAVs out there including in their own product line.

It is not in the X-45/X-47/Neuron/Taranis class as far as survivability is concerned since those designs and employment concepts envision more penetrating ability, greater autonomy and stricter RCS and EMCON requirements. This drives up cost. A case in point is the USN's analysis of what a highly survivable penetrating X-47B UCLASS would cost if the requirements were to move it to an unmanned mini B-21 like CONEMP and abilities. The cost would have risen from an APUC of around $25-$50 Million to the $150-$200 million range primarily driven by RCS, autonomous navigation and decision making in GPS/SATCOM degraded or denied environments, communications survivability, and sensor performance. These are some fairly tough problems to solve given that there isn't a man in the loop and you can't assume that your linked communications will survive contact with the enemy so you to develop your abilities in order to accomplish the mission in the toughest of those scenarios which drives up cost.

General Atomics is looking to avoid that route and with the Avenger have placed themselves in the middle of the two solutions ( Predator/Reaper on one end and Neuron/Taranis/UCLASS at the other).


The Avenger doesnt seem to be that much of an upgrade over the Reaper !

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-u-s-air-force-was-not-fond-of-the-next-gen-predator-drone-77cb9a3d10b8

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 20 Aug 2017 20:26

^ That same link was posted a page or so back. Anyhow, the USAF analyzed a GA configuration aircraft funded through IR&D. As I have said in my post, it provides a canvas for what a potential capability can be fielded leveraging what it shows up with. You still have to configure it to meet the end goal. It has flown nearly 14,000 hours since its 2009 first flight, and GA ASI has been known to iteratively develop capability based on customer feedback and internal investment track. The problem with judging most IR&D solutions is that they are usually 60-70% capabilities since they are not designed around a requirement so no OEM is going to develop a fully done system and provide it to the operator to evaluate. However since then the basic Predator family has seen improvements in sensors, communication, control stations and interface so naturally all of this would be rolled into the Predator-C as well.

We know that since its 2009-2010 configuration, the Avenger has added performance, added additional multi-spectral sensors, and GA ASI has developed and/or fielded other family enhancements such as autonomy, ground station enhancements and new mission control cockpit.. so what they show up with in terms of offering to their customers in the 2017-2020 would look quite a bit different form what they put together 8-10 years earlier. As far as comms node and navigation it will likely utilize whatever the state of the art is in the predator/reaper family lineup so if one wants something better than that then they must fund them to develop it. There are limits like I mentioned earlier.

Axe is boring hasn't posted the entire report he obtained so we can't judge and his own track record of drawing conclusions based on reports written by evaluators and experts is iffy at best. However, this stands out -

The Air Force desired a “hardened” MQ-X airframe, the history states—an airframe that could “withstand significant battle damage, while the on-board systems detected, avoided and countered both physical anti-air and electronic communications and GPS jamming threats.”
Ideally, the MQ-X would meet all these requirements. The Avenger, however, could not—according to the Air Force.


This all depends upon where you insert the requirements. If you desire a system capability that only the J-UCAS can deliver, then the Avenger will never meet them. As I said it requires basically a new program which the USAF itself determined it did not need given other duplicate capability being fielded elsewhere. If you need a more survivable and more capable Predator, the Avenger gets you that. Nothing more and nothing less. It then comes out to whether the added capability is worth the added cost when you fit that into your overall construct.

For the USAF as I said, unless the Avenger can show enhanced capability in executing directed-energy missions it really doesn't add much additional value to their strike or ISR complex. For others that want a larger payload, more, bigger sensors, and higher and faster envelope it may be. The USAF doesn't really value all of that in the same way. The U-2 and the Global Hawk can carry the MS- 177 (both fly higher so cover more area), the F-35 can carry the 2000 lb JDAM, the RQ-180 is their main go to UAV for penetrating ISR, and the F-35, F-22 or B-21 can be used in case more survivability is required for strike depending upon range/payload requirement. As a pure Predator/Reaper mission replacement the Avenger is inferior in many areas. It is more costly, and doesn't loiter for as long so if you are essentially looking at maintaining low threat environment orbits to support that aspect of the COCOM need you will need more aircraft and each will cost higher per unit. You will be able to generate more sorties because of its higher cruise speed but I think these orbits are more about TOS than ingress and egress so traditioanl SGR metrics don't really apply as such. You really need to value and need the additional capability in order to justify the Avenger over the other variants.

Edit - Just had a quick look to see what GA has done since 2011 when according to Axe the USAF evaluated the company prototype. Two major changes that pop up are the new GCS that was designed for the Predator and flight demonstrated on the Avenger in late 2012, and a new Ka-band Satellite Communication link (which would replace the lower frequency Ku band SatLink and offer greater bandwidth) that was demonstrated on the Predator family. Additionally they have been toying with enhanced Link-16 LOS capability to enable Man-Unmanned teaming.

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Re: UAVs, Drones, Remote Surveillance Tech

Postby brar_w » 28 Aug 2017 17:55

General Atomics seeks to reduce RPA manning footprint by as much as 40%

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) could reduce by as much as 40% the number of people it takes to operate its remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) through a pair of capability enhancements, according to a key executive.

GA-ASI Senior Director for Strategic Development, Robert Walker, told Jane’s on 16 August at the company’s Gray Butte facility east of Palmdale, California, that one enhancement is called Expeditionary SOF (eSOF). GA-ASI said on 23 August that eSOF is similar to a concept of operations that leverages the capabilities of a MQ-9A Reaper Block 5 with a big wing and a MQ-9B Certifiable Predator B, without necessarily being tied to a specific aircraft. The concept was originally defined in collaboration with US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), but could be applied to any expeditionary mission.

Walker said the number of people required to operate one of the company’s aircraft typically ranges between 12 and 16 people for a two-aircraft system that flies 4,500 hours per year or 16 hour missions, seven days per week. GA-ASI believes reducing its manning footprint will help customers like the US Air Force (USAF) reduce its required manpower, which would result in a decrease in personnel costs.

eSOF is a mission capability that allows for expeditionary deployment that is intended to reduce manpower and footprint by providing a big wing and Expeditionary Automated Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC), a shorter runway for take-off and landing. eSOF also includes a self-runway survey at an austere location and the Expeditionary Command and Control (XC2) system, which reduces the requirement for landing recovery elements.

GA-ASI said aircraft with eSOF will have the ability to fly over an un-surveyed runway and determine length, width, and cardinal points to then determine if the runway can meet parameters for landing and takeoff. The runway can then be reviewed by the pilot for conditions being safe or unsafe, depending on whether the surface is improved or unimproved.

GA-ASI said a previous Pentagon enhanced MQ-9B cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) originally identified the Block 5 with the big wing, but as demand increases, the company believes it would be natural for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian to fill that role. The configuration can be accomplished with either the MQ-9A with the big wing or MQ-9B, according to the company.

Walker said an engine upgrade would provide additional power in a less-dense environment in altitude while the wings would provide a bit more lift on a shorter runway. Walker also said eSOF could apply to the SkyGuardian Predator B type-certifiable variant the company is producing for the United Kingdom.

GA-ASI said SkyGuardian already has the big wing and an alcohol-injection engine and is designed from the ground-up to be certified in national airspace. In the future, under GA-ASI’s current roadmap with the USAF and USSOCOM, the enhanced MQ-9B would become a SkyGuardian-based aircraft with all the SOF capabilities included as well as all the weather and lightning protection, certified production, and detect-and-avoid (DAA) capability.

The other capability enhancement under development is called SATCOM launch and recovery (LRE). Walker said aircraft LRE currently requires two footprints of people: people performing LRE and people performing the mission. He would like to reduce this footprint by 30–40% by having the same crew do both from a remote location.

Walker said GA-ASI is developing Ku-band satellite communications (SATCOM) LRE that would enable aircraft to lift off and land via SATCOM datalinks, freeing up personnel to quickly turn around aircraft. Walker said GA-ASI currently uses C-band line of sight (LOS) to perform LRE. Walker said GA-ASI is aiming to perform concepts of operations testing on its tech enhancements by the middle of 2018.GA-ASI is pursuing SATCOM LRE companywide for the USAF and USSOCOM through the enhanced MQ-9B CRADA to illustrate to customers that this is the future of the MQ-9B. GA-ASI sees a self-deploying capability for the MQ-9B anywhere in the world by using Expeditionary ATLC and XC2, thereby reducing manpower to operate and, essentially, eliminating the LRE component. This is something the USAF and USSOCOM desire, according to the company.



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