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New MQ-X requirements

doolyii

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No longer this "low tech, expandable, cheap system' for traditional UAV criteria holds. May be they try to do 'either' option ? (just plug off jet engine or opposite depends on mission it will perform ?). How will it reach 0.8 speed with feathering screw (or drag from that redundant propeller post ?). I will say it's kind of mis-information or accommodating vague mission pending final requirement from USAF...

Company produced U-2 proposing complex platform like this, it's still rather surprising...
 

donnage99

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I wouldn't be so quick to come to any conclusion that involves the boeing's concept. We have no detail of boeing's concept yet accept some assumption based on general look alone. It looks like it has CACS and probably fluidic thrust vectoring as seen in boeing's tradition of tailless vehicles. It didn't come as a surprise to me to see boeing's concept to be tailless at all as there's no reason to implement such a know-how technology given the tremendous advantage it would bring.

As for lockheed's concept, not only I agree that the engines would become dead weight, but that the engines would also take up space from the start. The proposed range are not lacking at all, but as Sweetman pointed out, that space could be an extra bomb or missile. I think that Skunk Works really think the unique capability it provides would outweight disadvantages.
 

Lampshade111

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I can't imagine this being very stealthy either. Some features to reduce RCS, but closer to what you would see on the Super Hornet than the Navy's X-47B.
 

donnage99

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You don't need to imagine, you can be sure that it would never come anywhere close to the x-47B, just as the super hornet won't come anywhere close of it neither.
 

AeroFranz

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Really? Of course I haven't got the slightest means of quantifying the Boeing concept's RCS, but it actually looks pretty good, especially from below and to the side. It looks Tacit Blue-ish, which was optimized for loitering on the battlefield and side RCS, not frontal RCS. The lack of vertical/canted tails makes it especially attractive in that regard.

the Lockheed concept, on the other hand, has a huge vertical surface. i don't know what to make of it, except they are NOT shooting for low side RCS.
 

flateric

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enjoy!

Air Force ISR in a Changing World
Changing Paradigms While Optimizing “Low Density” to Meet “High Demand”

Lt Gen David Deptula
Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
 

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donnage99

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From insidedefense:

DefenseAlert, April 27, 2010 -- Development work on the Air Force's next-generation unmanned aircraft has been put on hold to allow service officials a chance to integrate a number of new capabilities into the program.
 

ouroboros

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I may be asking a dumb question here, but people seem to be thinking of two completely separate powerplants (jet and diesel), or clutched jet like the JSF.

But isn't the difference between a jet and a diesel (aside from pressure and cycle) where and how power is extracted? Modern diesels use turbochargers, which are essentially power turbines coupled to a compressor. So one difference between engine types is whether the output of the compressor is routed to a piston cylinder or to a combustor can.

Why not a hybrid engine where you can bypass the compressor output from the compressor/turbine block (partially or fully?) being fed to the diesel engine block and run the compressor/turbine block like a traditional jet engine (essentially a secondary combustor/burner substituting it's exhaust for the diesel block's exhaust)? I would assume that the two blocks don't have a common shaft/transmission line though. There is the obvious problem of the design compressor pressures and turbine design points/pressures of the two modes not meshing at all, making optimization difficult.

To visualize, think of semi-truck diesels and their turbochargers, and then think of small jet engines for VLJ's like a FJ-22.

Bad idea?
 

quellish

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This ECM pod looks familiar.
 

mz

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Ouroboros, I think the airflow in the jet is too large to use as a turbo for the piston engine. I wonder what happens if you run it at low speed though. You could do with the lower compression ratio as well, compared to the pure jet.
 

donnage99

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What ECM pod u guys talking about?
 

donnage99

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Oh, thanks!

Also, I just noticed that the tanker role uses probe refueling, which is usually found with the navy and marines, not air force. Is it because it's more practicle to attach probe into an aircraft that is not exclusively intended for aerial refueling role?
 

bobbymike

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From Insidedefense.com - AIR FORCE SUSPENDS MQ-X DEVELOPMENT TO FLESH OUT MORE CAPABILITIES

Development work on the Air Force’s next-generation unmanned aircraft has been put on hold to allow service officials a chance to integrate a number of new capabilities into the program.
 

donnage99

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Northrop's (generic?) MQ-X. Looks like bastard son of the global hawk and A-10:
 

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donnage99

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Anyone got better quality of these pix?
http://aviationweek.typepad.com/files/next_gen_uas__close_air_support_slides.pdf
 

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quellish

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donnage99 said:
Anyone got better quality of these pix?
http://aviationweek.typepad.com/files/next_gen_uas__close_air_support_slides.pdf
What weapon is directly below the text "Interdiction" with the inverted V-tail?
 

JFC Fuller

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quellish said:
donnage99 said:
Anyone got better quality of these pix?
http://aviationweek.typepad.com/files/next_gen_uas__close_air_support_slides.pdf
What weapon is directly below the text "Interdiction" with the inverted V-tail?
Looks like a poorly drawn JSOW.
 

Steve Pace

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The latest on the MQ-X program from Air Force magazine:
http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/2010/August%202010/0810RPA.pdf
 

flateric

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http://nia-webdev.nianet.org/aviation-unleashed/assets/PRESENTATIONS/rsmith.pdf
 

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shedofdread

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I'm sure I've seen a similar (or the same?) concept used elsewhere and my issues with it remain the same - high thrust line (inneffecient and big trim change with power setting), heavy (structural pylon), potential issues with flow interaction over the tailplanes and increased RCS from both the unmasked prop disk and the increased frontal area.

Also, in the same presentation, the ducted fan VTOL UAS - big problems with control of such platforms and they are never able to fly as long as a traditional helicopter (disk loading...).

Oh, and don't set me off about the whole 'nano UAV' thing - yes, they can be made to work but if one considers the situations they are likely to be opperated in; outdoors (windy) and urban environment (turbulence), there isn't the technology yet to give them adequate power for thrust and control in the 'real world'.

As ever, thanks to all who find and post such interesting articles for us all to enjoy.

S
 
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Ian33

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http://www.alert5.com/2012/02/17/usaf-cans-mq-x/


Not a lot of info just that it's halted.
 

flateric

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Boeing MQ-X planform view and some guts. Sorry for awful quality.
 

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flateric

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apparently aerodynamic configuration was inspired by pigeons (in some way)
 

flateric

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interesting twin-boom LMSW MQ-X is interesting
 

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AeroFranz

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is it me or they mislabeled UCLASS? it looks more like Lockheed's Medusa/AMC-X/AJACS transport.
 

flateric

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TomcatViP

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“If all we do is replace the MQ-9 mission only, we really generated a bill for the Air Force,” Roper said. “We haven’t saved any funding to be able to afford the program itself. We made the pivot to divest the MQ-9 to pivot into high-end warfighting. We’re going to have to build new systems for high-end warfighting. … So I think the litmus test for the MQ-Next is going to be what other letter can we assign to its name, because it’s doing a mission other than ISR and strike.”

For example, the follow-on to the Reaper could be armed with air-to-air weapons, so it can protect high-value assets that don’t have defensive systems, such as tankers.

“It’s things like that that will open up an opportunity for us to go faster on the program, because the more of a mission we can take on, well that’s less we’re having to spend for those missions [that are] otherwise generating an asset bill for the Air Force,” Roper said.
[...]
Roper said the MQ-9 is outdated in several ways because it was “designed at a different point in technology.” For example, a main reason it needs to be replaced is because it flies low, slow, and without stealth, making it susceptible to enemy air defenses. It relies heavily on GPS, which can be denied by several adversaries, not just those with high-end capabilities. And, it requires “a ton of people” to operate, leading to more cost and infrastructure, he said.

“Now, many of the things we have people do, we can automate,” Roper said. “So there’s one function we are pulling the thread on, which is: How do we do the smart automations so that we still have people in the loop for critical decisions … [and] where do we simplify how people interact with the [user interface] itself. So, we have to automate as much as possible if we’re going to keep the platform affordable.”
 

Grey Havoc

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Quite arguably, they should have never cancelled the original MQ-X program.
 

TomcatViP

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It's probably also the perfect domain for Dr Roper to implement one step further his digital vision and and prove to all he is right.
 
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