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Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS-D

Silencer1

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Hi!


Sorry for off-topic, but why there were four (!) C-2 Greyhounds on the carrier deck?
Are this aircraft not suited for internal stowage inside the ship.


And one more question - this C-2 have been painted with relatively bright white-gray color scheme with large Navy markings. Are this type of carrier-based aircraft sole in USN, that didn't finished in low-visibility camouflage and markings?


X-47 looks great!
 

bobbymike

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Apparently a third attempt was aborted when the X-47B 'self detected' a navigation anomaly.

http://www.lanl.gov/conferences/sw/2013

First thing that popped into my head is that at sea there are no alternative landing sites and 2nd I wonder what a future at sea response would be to this type of event. Would they in-flight refuel while diagnostics were run or would there be a manually landing override if such a thing existed?

Interesting the see of the term, albeit accurate, that the X-47 'self diagnosed' kind of like the movie Stealth when that aircraft self diagnosed the best way to attack targets, hmm?
 

VH

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bobbymike said:
Do you think there are a few late night meeting of the 'brass' in China after this fantastic aviation landmark?

Or maybe they are just saying, "Hey is that the UCAV we got from our latest hack let's make a copy" :eek:

That anti-access strategy China has been putting together will have to undergo a total review
 

collins355

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Err, the Chinese anti-access strategy is about making the carrier vulnerable. The UCAS still has to take off and land somewhere.

And they already have a copy.
 

LowObservable

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The C-2s were for the VIPs from Washington. (Media got to show up early at Norfolk NAS and rode a helo.)


If I was the Chinese, I'd be thinking about bypassing all this FLCP and at-sea training and recurring quals and going all-auto-all-the-time for the 2020 airwing.


Someone mentioned weather. Honey badger don't care about visibility because the system is all RF. Sea state can be managed too, with the caveat that it depends on a lot of USN expertise and data on ship motion. The point being that if you know how 90000 tons going 30 knots moved in 3D space for the last 60 seconds you have a pretty damn good idea of where it's going to be in the next 30 seconds, during which time the system can recalculate the landing point 3000 times.
 

bobbymike

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collins355 said:
Err, the Chinese anti-access strategy is about making the carrier vulnerable. The UCAS still has to take off and land somewhere.

And they already have a copy.
Err, having to be 400 to 500 miles away from the Chinese coast and having to be 800 to 1000 miles away is a huge difference maker.
 

bring_it_on

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Having a much much improved ISR capability, 24x7, real time with quite a bit of reach is going to be a major problem that anyone looking to create A2AD scenarios against US Carriers...The sensor reach and the ability to touch an opponent would increase considerably, while this alone would not remove the A2AD threat, it combined with other developing technologies could certainly do so.
 

JFC Fuller

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bring_it_on said:
Having a much much improved ISR capability, 24x7, real time with quite a bit of reach is going to be a major problem that anyone looking to create A2AD scenarios against US Carriers...The sensor reach and the ability to touch an opponent would increase considerably, while this alone would not remove the A2AD threat, it combined with other developing technologies could certainly do so.
Exactly. The Chinese "anti-access" strategy, as much as it exists, is dependent on getting sensors looking at USN assets- it less than clear how they can do this. The ability of Aegis ships to engage satellites undermines, to some extent, their utility- long range stand-off platforms are going to be vulnerable to AIM-120D equipped fleet fighters not to mention SM-6 as are Chinese UCAVs. It's all well and good having masses of AShM cruise and ballistic missile but if you don't know where the target is they are not much use.
 

bring_it_on

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Well, if the Chinese are hell bound to take out a carrier, they can potentially create a heck of a lot of problems...Nothing is stopping them using tactical nukes for example..However the strategy is to mitigate the threat to acceptable levels, where your ability to HURT the opponent is going to act as a strong and credible deterrent. This is what the ASBC seems to be based on, its not going to totally remove the A2AD threat to the US operations, but make the potential ramifications disproportionate and thereby act as a deterrent. The thing we all must keep in mind is the A2AD and threat to the US carrier is not something new, it could be argued that the USN faced a much greater threat to its carrier during the cold war. Platforms like the UCLASS, F-35C, FA-XX, Triton, Future DEW applications (the ONLY way to tackle missile swarming attacks, with a potential unlimited supply of anti missile defense), LRASM (A & B ) will all contribute
 

SOC

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JFC Fuller said:
Exactly. The Chinese "anti-access" strategy, as much as it exists, is dependent on getting sensors looking at USN assets- it less than clear how they can do this.

They've got a sizeable network of coastal LPARs and OTH-SW radars, which probably has something to do with it. I've contemplated that the LPARs could potentially be used as midcourse guidance for an AShBM. Instead of tracking an inbound, track the outbound and feed it course corrections. They can still be used to track any inbounds from Taiwan as well, although given the amount of sensor coverage in the area LPARs for just BMEW over the strait is overkill. What you need at this point is someplace to aim, and either their RORSATs, UAVs, OTH-SWs, or even signals from SSNs could perform that role.
 

JFC Fuller

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SOC said:
They've got a sizeable network of coastal LPARs and OTH-SW radars, which probably has something to do with it. I've contemplated that the LPARs could potentially be used as midcourse guidance for an AShBM. Instead of tracking an inbound, track the outbound and feed it course corrections. They can still be used to track any inbounds from Taiwan as well, although given the amount of sensor coverage in the area LPARs for just BMEW over the strait is overkill. What you need at this point is someplace to aim, and either their RORSATs, UAVs, OTH-SWs, or even signals from SSNs could perform that role.
That is certainly true, but in the medium term there has to be very real questions asked about the survivability of both those land based assets and the satellites. The LPARs look like ideal targets for Virginia class launched Tomahawks and the satellites could be targeted with SM-3s. Even Chinese UAS, given their lesser understanding of signature reduction and the increasing USN emphasis on detecting VLO targets may be vulnerable.

China has very few SSN's and they are currently VERY noisy.
 

bring_it_on

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Things like killing SAT's, is not something the DOD is going to come out and talk openly about, so to think that the SM3 is the only way we have to take it down, is unwise, and i am sure the chinese know of this. What else is the black budget for ;) ....
 

sferrin

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bring_it_on said:
Things like killing SAT's, is not something the DOD is going to come out and talk openly about, so to think that the SM3 is the only way we have to take it down, is unwise, and i am sure the chinese know of this. What else is the black budget for ;) ....
I've often wondered if GBI would have a secondary ASAT role. It should be able to reach up pretty high.
 

bring_it_on

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Hi sfferin, nice to be able to exchange ideas with you after many years, from keypub days...For the anti satellite role, once you have the targeting and tracking (following) all figured out, getting out there and touching is not that big of a problem, especially if you are only looking at building a capability to take down a few dozen or so SAT's....you could use the interceptor you have mentioned, or design a dozen or so specialized weapons to be air launched....It should not be that expensive, once you get to detect, and have a targeting radar in place...What really excites me however are the non-kinetic options that could be developed (and probably have already in secret), why shoot a satellite when you could hack it and start beaming down misinformation...taking out a SAT could escalate a tense situation, hacking into one, or disabling it to look like a malfunction would not....Its harder to be able to do, but i guess this is what the ASBC is emphasizing as opposed to the more boring (relatively) approach of shooting it down..
 

SOC

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JFC Fuller said:
That is certainly true, but in the medium term there has to be very real questions asked about the survivability of both those land based assets and the satellites. The LPARs look like ideal targets for Virginia class launched Tomahawks and the satellites could be targeted with SM-3s.

The LPARs are protected behind a very well-layered SAM barrier. Plus, they're at high altitude comparatively, as they're stuck atop ridgelines. That gives the SAM systems a better chance of seeing inbound missiles.


JFC Fuller said:
Even Chinese UAS, given their lesser understanding of signature reduction and the increasing USN emphasis on detecting VLO targets may be vulnerable.
Well, now you've got to consider the entire picture on both sides then. Whatever they do to dick around with AEGIS, the USN is still not at the level of fielded CVLO capability in terms of detection that someone like China is, who has invested in a large number of digital VHF-band radars. Of course, that's just protection for the future (unfortunately), and a capability not overly important today on either side.

JFC Fuller said:
China has very few SSN's and they are currently VERY noisy.

Yeah, I was thinking subs and SSN snuck in there when SSK would be far more likely.
 

JFC Fuller

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SOC,

All true, the Chinese are certainly building up depth, but whilst there are some interesting systems being deployed and clear tactical arrangements (note for instance the large number of FAC's with long-range AShM's and satcom links) there does not yet appear to be anything approaching the comprehensive approach the Soviet's deployed; and that was the point I was hoping to convey.
 

SOC

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Oh, they're still a LONG way off from where the USSR was, but then again they may never really desire to get that far anyway. They know good and well that they only need to pay attention to a certain piece of the western Pacific.
 

sferrin

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To be fair it didn't get to the ship to attempt a landing.
 

sublight is back

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VTOLicious

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Just found a video at EngineeringTV featuring Wind River...think it wasn´t posted before.

Northrop Grumman partnered with Wind River to deliver the software platform for the U.S. Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration aircraft. Tighe Parmenter, manager of X-47B Navy UCAS business strategy and development, discusses how they relied on Wind River and the X-47B Joint Industry Team (JIT) to deliver this system.

Wind River's VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS) is a key technology for the Northrop Grumman X-47B. VxWorks was chosen by Northrop Grumman as the software platform for the UCAS-D program and by GE Aviation as the foundation for the Common Core System, the backbone of UCAS-D computers, networks, and interfacing electronics. VxWorks provides the primary computing environment.
http://www.engineeringtv.com/video/Wind-River-Northrop-GrummanX47B;search%3Aunmanned

Rgds, Michael
 

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https://medium.com/war-is-boring/90bf2db106b8

Mothballed X-47Bs to resume testing for two more years

After history-making autonomous landings and takeoffs on an aircraft carrier this summer, the Navy’s two X-47B jet-powered drones quietly flew into retirement in July. Publicly, the Navy and drone-maker Northrop Grumman initially said the bat-wing ‘bots were done flying. Future efforts would be focused on a new, better class of carrier-launched drone. But information obtained by War is Boring reveals details of the Navy’s new plan: to revive the X-47Bs in a few months and fly them for up to two more years on a fresh series of increasingly challenging tests. The apparent goal is to gather even more data in order to smooth the sailing branch’s transition to a more robotic air arm.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/90bf2db106b8

Mothballed X-47Bs to resume testing for two more years

After history-making autonomous landings and takeoffs on an aircraft carrier this summer, the Navy’s two X-47B jet-powered drones quietly flew into retirement in July. Publicly, the Navy and drone-maker Northrop Grumman initially said the bat-wing ‘bots were done flying. Future efforts would be focused on a new, better class of carrier-launched drone. But information obtained by War is Boring reveals details of the Navy’s new plan: to revive the X-47Bs in a few months and fly them for up to two more years on a fresh series of increasingly challenging tests. The apparent goal is to gather even more data in order to smooth the sailing branch’s transition to a more robotic air arm.
This can't be correct. Sanity is actually going to reign? No way.
 

red admiral

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Well there was a ~30% / $200m cost increase in the X-47B programme, so it was fairly obvious that the whole programme of tests wasn't going to be done with the available funding.
 

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UCLASS Capabilities have been watered down- dramatically it seems: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/reduced-capability-leaves-uclass-vulnerable-to-budget-axe-389305/

Likewise, the payload originally envisioned for a naval UCAS was much greater. Northrop officials in 2009 were expecting to develop a UCLASS that resembled a longer X-47B with weapons bays that could hold as many as 24 small diameter bombs, each weighing 113kg (250lb).

The present UCLASS requirements call for a total payload of 1,360kg, of which only 454kg would consist of air-to-ground weapons. "I would like to see us evolve into something that has greater capability," Roughead says.
 

sublight is back

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JFC Fuller said:
UCLASS Capabilities have been watered down- dramatically it seems: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/reduced-capability-leaves-uclass-vulnerable-to-budget-axe-389305/

Likewise, the payload originally envisioned for a naval UCAS was much greater. Northrop officials in 2009 were expecting to develop a UCLASS that resembled a longer X-47B with weapons bays that could hold as many as 24 small diameter bombs, each weighing 113kg (250lb).

The present UCLASS requirements call for a total payload of 1,360kg, of which only 454kg would consist of air-to-ground weapons. "I would like to see us evolve into something that has greater capability," Roughead says.
I am confused about their criticism of its "stealthiness". In its current incarnation, the shape provides no RCS reduction and it needs the addition of RAM based panels/bodywork to replace the current bodywork?
 

quellish

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sublight is back said:
I am confused about their criticism of its "stealthiness". In its current incarnation, the shape provides no RCS reduction and it needs the addition of RAM based panels/bodywork to replace the current bodywork?
The article is about the UCLASS requirements, not UCAS-N. They are saying the LO requirements are not as low as had been originally envisioned at the start of the program.
 
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quellish said:
sublight is back said:
I am confused about their criticism of its "stealthiness". In its current incarnation, the shape provides no RCS reduction and it needs the addition of RAM based panels/bodywork to replace the current bodywork?
The article is about the UCLASS requirements, not UCAS-N. They are saying the LO requirements are not as low as had been originally envisioned at the start of the program.
So why bother? seriously? i'm not as clued in as you guys, but to make an aircraft that cannot go into an aggressive nations airspace in war time and have a high percentage chance of survival seems absolutely futile.
 

sferrin

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Totally agree here. I don't understand why they'd go through the trouble to develop something as ground-breaking as the X-47B only to toss it away for something much less capable.
 

sublight is back

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sferrin said:
Totally agree here. I don't understand why they'd go through the trouble to develop something as ground-breaking as the X-47B only to toss it away for something much less capable.
That is exactly what threw me. I just assumed that UCLASS was going to be X-47B.....
 

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sferrin said:
Totally agree here. I don't understand why they'd go through the trouble to develop something as ground-breaking as the X-47B only to toss it away for something much less capable.
possibly budget concerns.. military budgets and budget predictions have changed quite a few times since the X-47B started development, they might not want to risk shooting for the best and possibly hitting budget concerns when they could settle for less and maybe upgrade later. especially when they already have a bunch of other very pricy programs already drawing fire due to similar concerns (F-35, LCS, Zumwalt, etc)
 

bring_it_on

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Why don't they go in for a spiral development and a system's approach? You ask in your RFP for a system that give you a initial capability that is your basic ISR and very light strike, and then you can build on from there. Go for the platform that offers you tremendous growth potential. If the Predator program can grow from a basic prop based UCAV to a stealthy Jet based avenger, there is no reason why your UCLASS cannot go from light-stealth for lightly defended targets, to heavy stealth for A2AD targets....UCAV's have proven their flexibility to adapt to changing missions...A basic flying wing design, or a cranked kite design (X-47) offers basic stealth characteristics that can be both scaled up or down, and can be made into VLO by choosing the right materials and exercising the highest tolerances. If you choose a basic design with inherent stealth, you can build up on LO and penetrability with the block developments. I do not think that the Bidders would be dumb enough to go out and drop their designs in search for something that is not VLO but is cheaper...I do not see NG drop the cranked kite X-47 design, or LMA drop their Flying wing design just because the USN is thinking about lowering the stealth requirements.
 

quellish

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bring_it_on said:
Why don't they go in for a spiral development and a system's approach? You ask in your RFP for a system that give you a initial capability that is your basic ISR and very light strike, and then you can build on from there.
That is pretty much what they have been doing in the UCLASS program.
 

bring_it_on

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By lowering the stealth requirement, you are effectively forcing the bidders to re-think their designs, in order to better optimize the capability and cost....Would a crank kite design still be as effective if the LO and A2AD mission is diluted (or done away with altogether)? Would NG be better off, offering something that is cheaper to build, offers better payload-range and is much lower in risk? Thats my point...Its ok to water down the capability at IOC, but its a different proposition altogether to water down the requirements of the airframe, forcing contractors to bid with a design that is LOW cost and LOW capability...
 

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You don't necessarily have to change the design just because they are lowering the RCS requirements. That also goes to materials and fit, etc. You could lower cost materials and not have to have the fit and finish required for LO which would lower the cost. Also, just because the RCS requirements have been lowered, no where did they state that would make them unable to operate in a very hostile environment. In fact, maybe the Navy is planning on using missiles instead of a UAV in such environments, so the LO requirements wouldn't be as stingent.

However, I can't help wonder if the lower RCS requirement is just to allow General Atomics to be able to compete.
 

bring_it_on

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The weaponry for the UCLASS, is strictly that, which the USN already has cleared for its tactical fighters. The USN has come out and said that they wont be clearing new weapons for it. I guess you could use Stand off weapons, but what are the chances given that the UCLASS that has lost its Weapons bay payload and possibly size, would support the JASSM? or other stand off weapons. Second, the contractors can submit over-stealth designs, and just make them with cheaper materials, but there comes a point when solutions that do not offer stealth design compromises start to look more attractive due to their simplicity and cost/risk etc. The GA offering starts to look more and more attractive, now that the RCS features are lowered, do NG respond by choosing some other design, as boeing is hinting at?
 
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Ian33

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http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/149322/x_47b-back-at-sea-for-more-carrier-trials.html

This weekend's tests demonstrated the X-47B's ability to integrate with the carrier environment. The aircraft performed precise touch and go maneuvers on the ship to generate data that characterizes the environment in close proximity of the carrier flight deck. In addition, the aircraft took part in flight deck handling drills, completed arrested landings and catapult launches. Mission operators monitored the aircraft's autonomous flight from a portable command and control unit from Theodore Roosevelt's flight deck during each of its 45-minute flights.
That's a really busy schedule they have got going on there, and without sharing any photos. Dammit!
 

sferrin

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Ian33 said:
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/149322/x_47b-back-at-sea-for-more-carrier-trials.html

This weekend's tests demonstrated the X-47B's ability to integrate with the carrier environment. The aircraft performed precise touch and go maneuvers on the ship to generate data that characterizes the environment in close proximity of the carrier flight deck. In addition, the aircraft took part in flight deck handling drills, completed arrested landings and catapult launches. Mission operators monitored the aircraft's autonomous flight from a portable command and control unit from Theodore Roosevelt's flight deck during each of its 45-minute flights.
That's a really busy schedule they have got going on there, and without sharing any photos. Dammit!
They shared a bunch. Unfortunately, it was with China.
http://slide.mil.news.sina.com.cn/slide_8_198_26683.html#p=1
 
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