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USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA

marauder2048

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Even in the mid-90's, Air Force and general DOD concern about runway vulnerability was very much there.
And it's (in part) why you've seen some recurring AF interest in the F-35B since the 90's.

If STOL had made it on the F-22 it might have been a different story. But it didn't so here we are...with runways
that are more vulnerable that ever to conventional weapons.
 

sferrin

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Yes but getting a shaft-driven lift fan to work with TWO engines would be a giant pain in the backside.
I distinctly recall 2 engine supersonic harrier replacement concepts in the 80s. No shaft driven fans.

If the shaft driven fan was 'required', why was it not in the JSF requirements?
Where did I say it was required?
 

jsport

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LowObservable said:
CAS requirement:

Numero Uno - Be there when required (persistence, response time)

Numero Two-O - C2 between the team on the ground and the airplane. "I want to see your TDP video so you're not targeting us". That is, ROVER and follow-ons.

Numero Three-O - Precision low-yield weapons

PS - if you're penetrating the IADS, you're not CAS. And if you're doing CAS, LO means silent.
Bombers have other jobs like winning the strategic battle.

What really is needed is a F/A-XX like the F-111.


Given the number of threats 2030+ CAS "plinking" and CAS supporting SEAD will need to be near simultaneous and accomplished by the generally the same the craft

If there are dedicated pure SEAD supporting Deep, Medium range (BAI) and Close battle (CAS) they would need to carry as many UAS/msles as possible internally and/or stealth conformal ..but these craft would be required to attack vehicles as far from troops as possible as well (Assaultbreaker/Warbreaker like).. so not pure SEAD either. The end of pure SEAD as a mission the new emphasis defeating APS and Counter-PGM at standoff takes ex/internal space and volume for these munitions.

The F-111 was the first turbofan so if these ADVENT Turbofans w/ advanced bypass are all that a F-111-like size/weight FBA-XX needs. Modern wing and material science could allow an F-111 size plane to even possess decent maneuver and at speed. Yeah F-111 tried to do too much for too many but it taught alot.
;The Martin Marietta T-16 (Assault Breaker) was an experimental ground or air-launched missile based on the MIM-104 Patriot anti-aircraft missile.
The T-16 "had a range of about 100 km. It carried guided Brilliant Anti-Tank (BAT) submunition as payload. Ten launches were conducted."
 

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jsport

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The T-16 carried something better than BAT. If DARPA is bring back Warbreaker, the an FA-XX should be carrying RPA/missiles which carry RPAs/missiles and improve on the ERAM concept with more miniaturization and high energetic for explosives and munition range.
 

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rooster

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Looks like NGAD is continuously evolving....

So if someone happens to destroy 1 bomber, we lose 6 to 8 drones along with it? That's the future of an offensive A2A capability?

I don't see the logic in removing a human from the airframe. The only cost savings is in the life support as all else as far as airframe, engines, sensors and flight control systems remain in place. You save a few thousand pounds of weight removing a cockpit, but that doesn't translate into that much of a greater range. You still need to write the requirements, design, proto it, flight test it, and do everything else like a manned aircraft. How does removing the human suddenly make an allegedly unaffordable aircraft affordable when it's not the life support systems creating the bulk of the costs?
 

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So if someone happens to destroy 1 bomber, we lose 6 to 8 drones along with it? That's the future of an offensive A2A capability?

I don't see the logic in removing a human from the airframe. The only cost savings is in the life support as all else as far as airframe, engines, sensors and flight control systems remain in place. You save a few thousand pounds of weight removing a cockpit, but that doesn't translate into that much of a greater range. You still need to write the requirements, design, proto it, flight test it, and do everything else like a manned aircraft. How does removing the human suddenly make an allegedly unaffordable aircraft affordable when it's not the life support systems creating the bulk of the costs?
Because that unmanned fighter can now pull 20Gs and if it gets downed over enemy territory you don't have a pilot trapped behind enemy lines. Also, that "bomber" will have much greater stand off capability. Basically, what they've found is that the best way to avoid being shot down by a missile is to stay out of the missile's range. Of course, you also save money by not requiring as much avionics on the drone/unmanned vehicle, since a lot of that information can be sent to it via other platforms.
 

jsport

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"If anything, a heavily upgraded “F-35E” variant of the Joint Strike Fighter is far more likely to serve in the role of a future manned tactical fighter for the USAF based on fiscal constraints alone. "

Norman Augustine

Law Number XVI: In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy 3-1/2 days each per week except for leap year, when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.

IHMO the pilot culture is still quite necessary, needs curbing a bit, but not too much.
 

rooster

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So if someone happens to destroy 1 bomber, we lose 6 to 8 drones along with it? That's the future of an offensive A2A capability?

I don't see the logic in removing a human from the airframe. The only cost savings is in the life support as all else as far as airframe, engines, sensors and flight control systems remain in place. You save a few thousand pounds of weight removing a cockpit, but that doesn't translate into that much of a greater range. You still need to write the requirements, design, proto it, flight test it, and do everything else like a manned aircraft. How does removing the human suddenly make an allegedly unaffordable aircraft affordable when it's not the life support systems creating the bulk of the costs?
Because that unmanned fighter can now pull 20Gs and if it gets downed over enemy territory you don't have a pilot trapped behind enemy lines. Also, that "bomber" will have much greater stand off capability. Basically, what they've found is that the best way to avoid being shot down by a missile is to stay out of the missile's range. Of course, you also save money by not requiring as much avionics on the drone/unmanned vehicle, since a lot of that information can be sent to it via other platforms.
Then a manned platform also does not need as much electronics as the information is coming from other platforms. Again the only difference is that multiple unmanned drones can be disabled by going after the "mother ship". Unmanned can be jammed. Unmanned cannot.

This I think is as bad an idea as leaving the gun out of the Phantom.

Leaving a human out of the cockpit can take a decade to correct with something manned. Very bad idea. At least at bare minimum make it optionally manned or this could be a very costly mistake in more ways than dollars.
 

kaiserd

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The point is that manned and unmanned combat aircraft (currently, and probably for short-medium term) need to complement each other.
And it’s important to distinguish between different classes of UCAVs; as they get larger and more sophisticated and autonomous they are increasingly no more vulnerable to jamming and related activity than manned aircraft.
So while thoughts approx. a decade ago that unmanned was about to take over completely proved to be exaggerated equally UCAVs are not going away as they become increasingly important and are set to become a larger and larger part of the mix.
 

rooster

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Agree unmanned is intelligent to develop and field. But it scares me when I hear about ditching an f22 and f15 replacement with unmanned drones controlled by Raiders. Good grief, just imagine when congress cuts the Raider back or caps it to 100. 100 raiders serving as bombers also tasked with air superiority will spread things thin. Loyal Wingman, good idea. Totally unmanned future fighter fleet, bad idea. I am actually disappointed the US didn't do anything with the x47.
 

marauder2048

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I don't see the logic in removing a human from the airframe. The only cost savings is in the life support as all else as far as airframe, engines, sensors and flight control systems remain in place. You save a few thousand pounds of weight removing a cockpit, but that doesn't translate into that much of a greater range. You still need to write the requirements, design, proto it, flight test it, and do everything else like a manned aircraft. How does removing the human suddenly make an allegedly unaffordable aircraft affordable when it's not the life support systems creating the bulk of the costs?
Removing the human opens up a large volume for fuel. And canopy/windshield drag can be a very non-trivial chunk of overall drag.
Their removal permits an optimal inlet placement.

I've seen claims that total pilot interface/support equipment cost is around 10% of overall vehicle cost.

Not sure I've ever seen estimates on how much pilot interface/safety adds to design or DT/OT testing costs though
surely not being exposed to redesign/re-qualification costs for human interface systems (OBOGS, ejection seats, HMDS etc)
is a large advantage of unmanned systems.
 

jsport

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very hard to argue against your points Marauder.
 

rooster

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I don't see the logic in removing a human from the airframe. The only cost savings is in the life support as all else as far as airframe, engines, sensors and flight control systems remain in place. You save a few thousand pounds of weight removing a cockpit, but that doesn't translate into that much of a greater range. You still need to write the requirements, design, proto it, flight test it, and do everything else like a manned aircraft. How does removing the human suddenly make an allegedly unaffordable aircraft affordable when it's not the life support systems creating the bulk of the costs?
Removing the human opens up a large volume for fuel. And canopy/windshield drag can be a very non-trivial chunk of overall drag.
Their removal permits an optimal inlet placement.

I've seen claims that total pilot interface/support equipment cost is around 10% of overall vehicle cost.

Not sure I've e8n estimates on how much pilot interface/safety adds to design or DT/OT testing costs though
surely not being exposed to redesign/re-qualification costs for human interface systems (OBOGS, ejection seats, HMDS etc)
is a large advantage of unmanned systems.
Inlet placement depends not on manned or unmanned but on number of engines and the performance demands. Obviously for a single engine stealth kite, like x47, the inlet where a canopy would be makes sense. For maneuvering twin engine supersonic aircraft that position is no longer optimal.

I've seen that 10% figure before. I don't think 10% on the cost of a drone suddenly makes the price point unaffordable for the US. Which is the argument for a drone. Cost.

Obviously removing the cockpit opens more room for fuel if you leave the cockpit structure in the mold line, which isn't going to happen. You can design in plenty of fuel for very long ranged fighters. That's all in the mold line. For every drone you design witn X gallons of fuel, a manned aircraft can be designed with 1.2X or X + 500.

Spend billions on an unmanned fighter and save 10% in life support and human requirements. Realise its a mistake and spend billions more to fix it. That's what see happening.

Make it optionally manned.

Other than slow missile trucks and few reckon platforms the US had not fielded a drone. Now they want to skip over all the incremental combat drone aircraft we could have had and go straight into air superiority? Something is wrong here.
 

Sundog

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Then a manned platform also does not need as much electronics as the information is coming from other platforms. Again the only difference is that multiple unmanned drones can be disabled by going after the "mother ship". Unmanned can be jammed. Unmanned cannot.

This I think is as bad an idea as leaving the gun out of the Phantom.

Leaving a human out of the cockpit can take a decade to correct with something manned. Very bad idea. At least at bare minimum make it optionally manned or this could be a very costly mistake in more ways than dollars.
The Phantom is a poor analogy, due to the limitations of the training, tactics, and missile technology available at the time. It's like arguing we should go back to sundials, because those don't fail as often as modern watches/cell phones. As you can see in this report, guns kills have dropped so much that I don't know if the weight and maintenance of the gun is worth it anymore. Also, we now have AI software that in simulated fights against pilots kill the manned aircraft every time. There will still be "manned fighters" in the future, but the purpose of the man will be to manage the fight, not engage directly in it, except as a last result.
 

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Combat drone airframe also don't need training. One surrogate among hundred will suffice to train their manned counterpart and refine tactics. And even there a specially built one, re-inforced for sustained training operations (if deemed representative of the fleet), would do the trick. Then the combat operative airframe can be built without the burden of long life requirements at a lower cost or similar one but better performances. For example, turbine components can be made out of less expensive material and relaxed cooling needs knowing that they wouldn't have to sustain several flight and abid to maintenance cost targets.

I see the recent drafting of the single usage category of airframe as the translation of this reflexion.
 

marauder2048

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Inlet placement depends not on manned or unmanned but on number of engines and the performance demands. Obviously for a single engine stealth kite, like x47, the inlet where a canopy would be makes sense. For maneuvering twin engine supersonic aircraft that position is no longer optimal.
Rather depends on the supersonic AOA reqs. There's a lot to commend top mounted inlets particularly when you don't have a canopy in the way.

I've seen that 10% figure before. I don't think 10% on the cost of a drone suddenly makes the price point unaffordable for the US. Which is the argument for a drone. Cost.
The basic calculation is based on the cost per pound of empty weight multiplied by the total weight of pilot support equipment.
Since those are more the known knowns it's what gets cited as a base reduction. The use of non man-rated components
and other savings are harder to quantify. Happy to learn about some estimates.

Obviously removing the cockpit opens more room for fuel if you leave the cockpit structure in the mold line, which isn't going to happen.
You can design in plenty of fuel for very long ranged fighters. That's all in the mold line. For every drone you design witn X gallons of fuel, a manned aircraft can be designed with 1.2X or X + 500.
Cut the typical volume for cockpit/crew support equipment in half and it's still hundreds of gallons.
I'll accept that for a very large fighter that gain may be less meaningful.


Other than slow missile trucks and few reckon platforms the US had not fielded a drone. Now they want to skip over all the incremental combat drone aircraft we could have had and go straight into air superiority? Something is wrong here.
The incremental combat drone was something like the reactive SEAD UCAV envisioned way back
when which required some enormous leaps in autonomy over the entire mission duration.

For A2A, the autonomy could be more structured and of shorter duration but still tactically useful.
 

sferrin

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What happens when the other guy takes control of your UAV force?
 

sublight is back

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sferrin

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What happens when the other guy takes control of your UAV force?
And how would you go about doing that?
Same way they go about stealing terabytes of data from classified servers.
Which is predominantly exploited with phishing and social engineering attacks. I wonder how they can get UAV's to open their email.....
How did Israel and the US get Iran's centrifuges to "open their email"?
 

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What happens when the other guy takes control of your UAV force?
And how would you go about doing that?
Same way they go about stealing terabytes of data from classified servers.
Which is predominantly exploited with phishing and social engineering attacks. I wonder how they can get UAV's to open their email.....
This back and forth has the seeds of a Duffleblog or Onion article......
 

sferrin

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What happens when the other guy takes control of your UAV force?
And how would you go about doing that?
Same way they go about stealing terabytes of data from classified servers.
Which is predominantly exploited with phishing and social engineering attacks. I wonder how they can get UAV's to open their email.....
This back and forth has the seeds of a Duffleblog or Onion article......
Because it's unpossible a UAV could ever be compromised right?
 

jsport

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Inlet placement depends not on manned or unmanned but on number of engines and the performance demands. Obviously for a single engine stealth kite, like x47, the inlet where a canopy would be makes sense. For maneuvering twin engine supersonic aircraft that position is no longer optimal.
Rather depends on the supersonic AOA reqs. There's a lot to commend top mounted inlets particularly when you don't have a canopy in the way.

I've seen that 10% figure before. I don't think 10% on the cost of a drone suddenly makes the price point unaffordable for the US. Which is the argument for a drone. Cost.
The basic calculation is based on the cost per pound of empty weight multiplied by the total weight of pilot support equipment.
Since those are more the known knowns it's what gets cited as a base reduction. The use of non man-rated components
and other savings are harder to quantify. Happy to learn about some estimates.

Obviously removing the cockpit opens more room for fuel if you leave the cockpit structure in the mold line, which isn't going to happen.
You can design in plenty of fuel for very long ranged fighters. That's all in the mold line. For every drone you design witn X gallons of fuel, a manned aircraft can be designed with 1.2X or X + 500.
Cut the typical volume for cockpit/crew support equipment in half and it's still hundreds of gallons.
I'll accept that for a very large fighter that gain may be less meaningful.


Other than slow missile trucks and few reckon platforms the US had not fielded a drone. Now they want to skip over all the incremental combat drone aircraft we could have had and go straight into air superiority? Something is wrong here.
The incremental combat drone was something like the reactive SEAD UCAV envisioned way back
when which required some enormous leaps in autonomy over the entire mission duration.

For A2A, the autonomy could be more structured and of shorter duration but still tactically useful.
Structured autonomy for short duration turns tactical into strategic eventually and is the way to go. Your UAV force is never infiltrated. Code is tight and rigid in its responses.
 

sferrin

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I'm sure that was the idea at the plethora of defense sites who've had their servers raided too. (And continue to be exploited.)
 

kaiserd

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Re: posts about UCAV potential vulnerability to cyber attack I think it’s only fair to point out that manned aircraft are more or less just as vulnerable.
Apart from that I’d suggest we all try to stay on topic.
 

jsport

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Inlet placement depends not on manned or unmanned but on number of engines and the performance demands. Obviously for a single engine stealth kite, like x47, the inlet where a canopy would be makes sense. For maneuvering twin engine supersonic aircraft that position is no longer optimal.
Rather depends on the supersonic AOA reqs. There's a lot to commend top mounted inlets particularly when you don't have a canopy in the way.

I've seen that 10% figure before. I don't think 10% on the cost of a drone suddenly makes the price point unaffordable for the US. Which is the argument for a drone. Cost.
The basic calculation is based on the cost per pound of empty weight multiplied by the total weight of pilot support equipment.
Since those are more the known knowns it's what gets cited as a base reduction. The use of non man-rated components
and other savings are harder to quantify. Happy to learn about some estimates.

Obviously removing the cockpit opens more room for fuel if you leave the cockpit structure in the mold line, which isn't going to happen.
You can design in plenty of fuel for very long ranged fighters. That's all in the mold line. For every drone you design witn X gallons of fuel, a manned aircraft can be designed with 1.2X or X + 500.
Cut the typical volume for cockpit/crew support equipment in half and it's still hundreds of gallons.
I'll accept that for a very large fighter that gain may be less meaningful.


Other than slow missile trucks and few reckon platforms the US had not fielded a drone. Now they want to skip over all the incremental combat drone aircraft we could have had and go straight into air superiority? Something is wrong here.
The incremental combat drone was something like the reactive SEAD UCAV envisioned way back
when which required some enormous leaps in autonomy over the entire mission duration.

For A2A, the autonomy could be more structured and of shorter duration but still tactically useful.
Structured autonomy for short duration turns tactical into strategic eventually and is the way to go. Your UAV force is never infiltrated. Code is tight and rigid in its responses.

on infinitum
 

sferrin

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So, "we'll never get hacked 'cuz it's unpossible". Okay, got it. Nothing to be concerned about here. It was probably just my imagination that we caused Iranian centrifuges to self-destruct with computer code not requiring them to, "open email".
 

sublight is back

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So, "we'll never get hacked 'cuz it's unpossible". Okay, got it. Nothing to be concerned about here. It was probably just my imagination that we caused Iranian centrifuges to self-destruct with computer code not requiring them to, "open email".
Thank god we don't have any Iranian centrifuges in our Skynet drone network.....
 

sferrin

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So, "we'll never get hacked 'cuz it's unpossible". Okay, got it. Nothing to be concerned about here. It was probably just my imagination that we caused Iranian centrifuges to self-destruct with computer code not requiring them to, "open email".
Thank god we don't have any Iranian centrifuges in our Skynet drone network.....
So basically you have no answer. You could have just said that from the start instead of avoiding the issue. (Or better yet, not responded at all since you didn't actually add anything of value.)
 

DrRansom

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The idea that we can jump from minimally-autonomous UAVs to autonomous UAVs as a centerpiece for air superiority is highly ambitious. I have the feeling that the USAF is starting from a ridiculous goal (air superiority in enemy airspace) and getting ridiculous solutions as a result. This is the equivalent of the RAF planning an air superiority campaign over Germany in 1939 - when you start with an unrealistic goal you get the Bristol Defiant.

The question of cyber defense is real - nobody knows if cyber defense is possible in the 21st century. The track record suggests the answer is no. Getting rid of pilots before we understand the cyber battlefield is equally unwise.
 

sublight is back

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So, "we'll never get hacked 'cuz it's unpossible". Okay, got it. Nothing to be concerned about here. It was probably just my imagination that we caused Iranian centrifuges to self-destruct with computer code not requiring them to, "open email".
Thank god we don't have any Iranian centrifuges in our Skynet drone network.....
So basically you have no answer. You could have just said that from the start instead of avoiding the issue. (Or better yet, not responded at all since you didn't actually add anything of value.)
Because you dont remotely understand the mechanisms used for executing that hack. Nobody knows what networking, processing, or storage related platforms will be used with these drones or their network, and in order to pull off that hack, you cannot design the logistics around the infiltration without having a duplicate of the hardware being used (AND potential cooperation from the manufacturers) as was the case in engineering the Stuxnet attack.
 

sferrin

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So, "we'll never get hacked 'cuz it's unpossible". Okay, got it. Nothing to be concerned about here. It was probably just my imagination that we caused Iranian centrifuges to self-destruct with computer code not requiring them to, "open email".
Thank god we don't have any Iranian centrifuges in our Skynet drone network.....
So basically you have no answer. You could have just said that from the start instead of avoiding the issue. (Or better yet, not responded at all since you didn't actually add anything of value.)
Because you dont remotely understand the mechanisms used for executing that hack. Nobody knows what networking, processing, or storage related platforms will be used with these drones or their network, and in order to pull off that hack, you cannot design the logistics around the infiltration without having a duplicate of the hardware being used (AND potential cooperation from the manufacturers) as was the case in engineering the Stuxnet attack.
They still had to get it in place. (IIRC a printer was involved.) My point is, unless you have full control over EVERY chip in the chain, or at least know what every foreign chip in your system does, you can't say it's secure. And there's the human angle. Just because it's a UAV doesn't make it impervious to being technically compromised.
 
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rooster

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China is ramping efforts to recruit non Chinese assets. You never know what the other guy knows and doesn't know. Remote controlled drones for air superiority is a bad idea. China could have the source code and schematics to gain control. No one is hacking a f35 or f22 to crash it or shoot down a friendly. Idont care if it does not carry an extra 300 gallons of gas. Meaningless compared to the alternative of not controlling your drones. Need to take incremental steps with ucavs. hellfire missile trucks flown out of Nevada killing terrorists is a long way from air superiority and the complex battlespace. A blunder with this could bankrupt the usaf.
 

jsport

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The idea that we can jump from minimally-autonomous UAVs to autonomous UAVs as a centerpiece for air superiority is highly ambitious. I have the feeling that the USAF is starting from a ridiculous goal (air superiority in enemy airspace) and getting ridiculous solutions as a result. This is the equivalent of the RAF planning an air superiority campaign over Germany in 1939 - when you start with an unrealistic goal you get the Bristol Defiant.

The question of cyber defense is real - nobody knows if cyber defense is possible in the 21st century. The track record suggests the answer is no. Getting rid of pilots before we understand the cyber battlefield is equally unwise.
Ridiculous is right. AI Air superiority is ridicolusly more effective. The only flaw w/ AI AS is that it has more patience than humans and spends too much time waiting for an adversary human mistake to exploit. One must do their Internet home work.
Since someone questioned my creds guess ..will to do the same. Folks seem to forget there are such things as Intranets which never touch the internet. The tight code on french bullet trains has been hacked?? someone would have show me sure proof, Never has been never will be.

If your code libraries are tight there is no software or even literally phyisical space left for any other code on the processors. This can also be networked LinK 16 for example ie no Internet protocol at all. Alot of cyber hype out there.
 
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sferrin

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Ridiculous is right. AI Air superiority is ridicolusly more effective.
"Is"? No. In theory? TBD.

If your code libraries are tight there is no software or even literally phyisical space left for any other code on the processors.
IF

I'll concede that a system can be made secure enough. (We've yet to see bank funds get transferred willy-nilly through remote hacking though that just may be a case of not yet.)
 

jsport

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"can be made secure enough"

On the Air Sup DO YOUR HOMEWORK
. not doing ur homework and not TBD . TBD is boulderdash
 

sferrin

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"can be made secure enough"

On the Air Sup DO YOUR HOMEWORK
. not doing ur homework and not TBD . TBD is boulderdash
It's dependent on being secure enough. All the eggs in that basket. Also, teaching an AI air combat. . .hmmm, I wonder if it would even be as difficult as the driverless car. If you're right, then great, a new wonder weapon. I'll believe it when I see it. WAY too early to dub it the next "game changer".
 

Mark S.

CLEARANCE: Confidential
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Automated air combat is decades away. They have yet to coordinate manned and unmanned aircraft even for more benign missions. It has taken 40 years from the first robots to the highly automated and robotic auto assembly plants we have today and air combat is much more complex. I remember when the robotic installation of windshields generated large piles of broken glass. It doesn't happen overnight and the longest pole in the tend isn't the robots but the knowledge base in the individuals doing the designing, programing and maintenance of the systems. They can't even keep the manning levels up in the UCAV community to generate the required expertise o be applied for new missions. I've spent 40+ years in the auto industry automation field. It may look easy but it's not.
 
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