• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

UK Project Vixen Naval Drone Project

shin_getter

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
260
Reaction score
213
Original Source:
2.PNG
PWAS = presistent warning and control system (?)

1.PNG


“Potential arrestor solutions ideally should offer:
a. Max trap 47000lbs / 21318Kg
b. Min trap 11000lbs / 5000Kg
c. Energy damping method
d. Potential for energy reclamation

Potential catapult solutions ideally should offer:
a. Max launch weight 55000lbs / 24949Kg
b. Electrical power input required against launch cycle time.”

“a. Develop further MoD understanding of the different technologies and capabilities available in the market, both current and emerging.
b. Alignment of potential future MoD requirements with industry standards and processes for procurement of maritime un-crewed and autonomous capabilities; and,
c. Enable the Authority to develop a procurement strategy that will deliver best value for money for Defence.”

The Royal Navy is driving hard to introduce a range of un-crewed air vehicles and to “give wider options for the use of different air vehicles types within the Fleet”.

edit missed one:

----
Seems like much to speculate over.
 
Last edited:

TomS

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,623
Reaction score
1,776
Edit: Deleted, because this comment was based on a wrong guess for the weight of the MQ-25
 
Last edited:

DWG

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
865
Reaction score
645
It's all interesting. The AAR would probably be justified just to extend the FWAEW time on station - which lets you get by with fewer dedicated platforms. And just a post-takeoff top-up would add a useful few NM to Lightning strike range.

And it's not just a fixed wing drone, notice the Proteus RWUAV down there in the waves doing the Find role for ASuW and ASW (I do like that they've used the FAA's historic Find, Fix, Strike motto here). Plus there's the Small UAS doing light logistics, strike and ISR/EW - I'd expect the light strike to be something like the Camcopter plus a couple of Martlet's that's already been demonstrated.

And it looks like the RN is getting serious about a maritime version of Protector:

 

Fluff

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 9, 2019
Messages
487
Reaction score
267
'Access and basing limited' really sounds like a dig at the RAF.

Havent the Navy heard of in flight refueling? Oh yes they have, as apparently its going to help their 'sea' based assets go further......
 

TomS

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,623
Reaction score
1,776
PWAS = presistent warning and control system (?)

Persistent Wide Area Surveillance, I believe. In this context, I'd assume radar-based surface surveillance, complementing the AEW capacity. But sometimes, this term is associated with optical/IR wide-area capability.
 

DWG

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
865
Reaction score
645
There are a few acronyms in there that aren't immediately apparent:
MITL - for Phoenix RWUAS doesn't sound consistent with Man in the Loop, if it was, then it should be on all of the UAS, especially the strike platforms

DSAR - for Merlin and Wildcat, possibly 'deployed Search and Rescue' based on a single search hit on 845 Sqn doing an exercise in it (paywalled, so I couldn't see the details), but with JPR (Joint Personnel Recovery) also listed for Merlin I suspect not. It could be 'differential Synthetic Aperture Radar', particularly as it's tagged Above Water on the Wildcat, but as the full combination for Wildcat is MIOPS/MCT/DSAR(AW), it makes me suspect it may be SF linked on the assumption MIOPS/MCT is Maritime Interdiction Ops/Maritime Counter Terrorism.
 

TomS

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,623
Reaction score
1,776
One source for both: https://www.fleetairarmoa.org/news/flynavy-departs-somerset-to-support-royal-navy-carrier-trials

MITL = Maritime Intra Theatre lift. ("movement of military personnel, passengers, cargo, mail and equipment around the carrier group and from land to sea")

DSAR = Deployed Search and Rescue (DSAR)

I think DSAR is being conducted from ships, mainly to recover downed aircrew in the water (I see references to rescue swimmers being involved) while JPR is going into potentially hostile territory to recover friendly personnel.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
2,155
Reaction score
1,827
I am not sure whether its MQ-25 or something else. Refuelling is not mentioned on the top diagram; at least it isn't listed under Project Vixen and a separate MQ-25 is not shown even if Protector is. Presumably a Vixen variant without radar and weapons capability could serve as an MQ-25 analogue but that would seem to be a sub-optimal way of doing things.

Is there any link between Mosquito and Vixen? Both would seem to be highly capable UCAVs with radar and weapon bays and if they want to add AEW then it must have a very decent loiter capability. Developing both Mosquito and Vixen as separate RAF and RN entities would be a very expensive solution.

Is Maritime Protector actually a genuine bid for RN-operated Protectors or is the P-8/Protector pairing just a sop to the RAF to give them some grudging "limited access" to the Navy's ambitions? This effort looks more ambitious than FCAS in the number of platforms and aiming for 2030, 5-years sooner than FCAS. Doubtless the RAF will have its own Powerpoint showing their P-8, Protector, Lightning and Mosquito will have littoral warfare all sown up.

Is it just me or does there seem to be a multiple array of strike options that seem rather duplicated:
Anti-Ship/tactical land targets: P-8 F-35, Vixen, Protector, Wildcat, Proteus, Small UAS (and this is ignoring the further ship-borne options of the converted Bay and Type 32 strike platforms and Astutes, the RN is going BIG on land strike)
ASW: P-8, Merlin, Proteus
AAW: F-35, Vixen

This implies that Wildcat will never get a series ASW capability (i.e. dipping sonar) and that Crowsnest may well be a short-term solution. Merlin is due to retire in 2035-40 so its an open question whether a future Merlin replacement will be an ASW asset or just purely a Marine-lifter/CSAR platform.

Looks like an acronym soup, presumably someone somewhere understands what it all means? DSAR in the old day was just the humble 'plane guard'.
 

Fluff

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 9, 2019
Messages
487
Reaction score
267
I am not sure whether its MQ-25 or something else. Refuelling is not mentioned on the top diagram; at least it isn't listed under Project Vixen and a separate MQ-25 is not shown even if Protector is. Presumably a Vixen variant without radar and weapons capability could serve as an MQ-25 analogue but that would seem to be a sub-optimal way of doing things.

Is there any link between Mosquito and Vixen? Both would seem to be highly capable UCAVs with radar and weapon bays and if they want to add AEW then it must have a very decent loiter capability. Developing both Mosquito and Vixen as separate RAF and RN entities would be a very expensive solution.

Is Maritime Protector actually a genuine bid for RN-operated Protectors or is the P-8/Protector pairing just a sop to the RAF to give them some grudging "limited access" to the Navy's ambitions? This effort looks more ambitious than FCAS in the number of platforms and aiming for 2030, 5-years sooner than FCAS. Doubtless the RAF will have its own Powerpoint showing their P-8, Protector, Lightning and Mosquito will have littoral warfare all sown up.

Is it just me or does there seem to be a multiple array of strike options that seem rather duplicated:
Anti-Ship/tactical land targets: P-8 F-35, Vixen, Protector, Wildcat, Proteus, Small UAS (and this is ignoring the further ship-borne options of the converted Bay and Type 32 strike platforms and Astutes, the RN is going BIG on land strike)
ASW: P-8, Merlin, Proteus
AAW: F-35, Vixen

This implies that Wildcat will never get a series ASW capability (i.e. dipping sonar) and that Crowsnest may well be a short-term solution. Merlin is due to retire in 2035-40 so its an open question whether a future Merlin replacement will be an ASW asset or just purely a Marine-lifter/CSAR platform.

Looks like an acronym soup, presumably someone somewhere understands what it all means? DSAR in the old day was just the humble 'plane guard'.
Is it just a case of dont ask, dont get?

They have pretty much asked for everything.
 

DWG

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
865
Reaction score
645
Is Maritime Protector actually a genuine bid for RN-operated Protectors or is the P-8/Protector pairing just a sop to the RAF to give them some grudging "limited access" to the Navy's ambitions?

Is it just me or does there seem to be a multiple array of strike options that seem rather duplicated:
Anti-Ship/tactical land targets: P-8 F-35, Vixen, Protector, Wildcat, Proteus, Small UAS
Given we're only buying 9 P-8s, versus a planned 22 Nimrod MRA4s, I'd fully expect the Navy to be wondering where it could get some extra platforms. Personally I'd prefer a second squadron of P-8s, but Maritime Protector's better than nothing.

There's definitely a plethora of strike options, but I think that might be an artefact of basing realities.

P-8 and Protector are restricted to the Atlantic, GIUK Gap and North Sea. (Unless forward deployed, and that's dependent on having a convenient full-sized runway).

F-35 and Vixen are with the carrier group, and only the carrier group.

Wildcat, Proteus and the Small UAS offer strike to all the RN's other surface platforms - independently operating frigates, whatever we're calling the amphib group this year, and potentially RFAs. And rather than 'strike', defensive ASuW might be a better description, you're not going to give Wildcats and the rest an offensive strike role outside of something like a re-run of the Battle of the Bubiyan Channel, but you are going to load them up anytime you're threatened by a FIAC swarm or a single combatant.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
2,155
Reaction score
1,827
Given we're only buying 9 P-8s, versus a planned 22 Nimrod MRA4s, I'd fully expect the Navy to be wondering where it could get some extra platforms. Personally I'd prefer a second squadron of P-8s, but Maritime Protector's better than nothing.

There's definitely a plethora of strike options, but I think that might be an artefact of basing realities.

P-8 and Protector are restricted to the Atlantic, GIUK Gap and North Sea. (Unless forward deployed, and that's dependent on having a convenient full-sized runway).

F-35 and Vixen are with the carrier group, and only the carrier group.

Wildcat, Proteus and the Small UAS offer strike to all the RN's other surface platforms - independently operating frigates, whatever we're calling the amphib group this year, and potentially RFAs. And rather than 'strike', defensive ASuW might be a better description, you're not going to give Wildcats and the rest an offensive strike role outside of something like a re-run of the Battle of the Bubiyan Channel, but you are going to load them up anytime you're threatened by a FIAC swarm or a single combatant.

I suspect the RAF would want more than three Wedgetails too, but it is what it is. I am surprised that given the multi-role capabilities of Vixen that someone hasn't merged Mosquito and Vixen, the RAF would love some AEW UAVs to network with the Wedgetail fleet I am sure.
Nimrods operated all over their world in their life, so no reason why the Poseidons can't.

Ultimately Wildcat and Merlin won't last out the 2030s so these new UAV/UAS systems should offer decent replacement of capabilities (though the Wildcat lugging up to 20x Martlet takes some beating for engaging small fast targets).

The Littoral Response Group sounds fancy, the Russians showed they could bombard Syria with cruise missiles from a gunboat in the Caspian, but trying on the same trick against an opponent with a decent navy or air force would be a different kettle of fish. I don't think that there would necessarily be no carrier support for the LRG.
The Command Paper is so damnably woolly about the CSG and LRG and how they interact, but don't forget that PoW has a greater vertical amphibious capability with additional accommodation for the Royal Marines and presumably QE will receive similar capabilities in a future refit. It could well be that a carrier would be attached to an LRG to give the capability lost by retiring Ocean. We have no idea what the future Multi-Role Support Ships for littoral strike and Special Ops support will look like, given Type 32 seems to be a littoral strike platform these might be larger LPD-style vessels

The only other cautionary note I would sound is that, with the MoD still deep into an equipment funding black hole and criticisms of how it handles procurement and overspend, with the Navy building so many new classes of ship - this is probably the biggest fleet renewal programme since the late 1980s - its is feasible that the MoD can deliver on four or five new UAS systems for the Navy within 9 years and deliver on FCAS too? (If you look closely the gov't has only committed to FCAS R&D funding for the next 4 years - the remaining lifetime of this Parliament, so future R&D spend could go up or down)
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
2,270
Reaction score
974
Thoughts on this sort of thing....

UAV dipping sonar and UAV delivered torpedo, greatly enhances local sanitisation around a warship. Many can be carried/deployed compared to a single Merlin or Wildcat.
This is why RN is interested in Malloy Aeronautical T-400, able to carry over 300kg load to 12nm. Inferior to ASROC in foul weather, but recoverable, reusable and thus cheaper.

UCAV...logic suggests combining RAF and RN requirements, but history suggests that's risky.

Possibly rumbles about Kingfisher concept. Gun launched sonarbouys and depth charges from a 5". A scalable response system.
 

Similar threads

Top