Various UAV and UCAV designs of unidentified origin

hesham

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Hi,

the HyFish fuel cell powered UAV.
http://airbornecombatengineer.typepad.com/airborne_combat_engineer/aircraft/index.html
 

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Matej

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hesham said:
Hi,

the design of UAV cyclocopter.
http://www.sc-conference.org/sc2004/schedule/pdfs/pap275.pdf
I can imagine that this can be as good harvester as the Avrocar was the grass cutter :D Do you think that this type of technology can work in a real life? If so, is it worth to build such a thing (does it have enough advantages)? And what about sustaining the strong wind, etc...
 

Firefly 2

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Stingray said:
hesham said:
Hi,

the HyFish fuel cell powered UAV.
http://airbornecombatengineer.typepad.com/airborne_combat_engineer/aircraft/index.html
Kinda reminds me of the UCAV from the movie STEALTH.
Hmmm, maybe the flowing lines. I read about this project. It is supposed to apply fish derived fluiduum concepts to an aeroplane.
 

Lampshade111

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I am still very skeptical of UCAVs replacing front line combat aircraft. While UAVs have performed well, I believe manned pilots will still be needed in most aircraft for awhile to come.
 

Remko

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Lampshade111 said:
I am still very skeptical of UCAVs replacing front line combat aircraft. While UAVs have performed well, I believe manned pilots will still be needed in most aircraft for awhile to come.
Same here... UAV or UCAV definately have a place on the battlefield (support of SOF missions perhaps) as well as armed reconnaissance or just High-altitude recce (an unmanned U-2 comes to mind, we'll never have a "Gary-Powers" again...). Even battle field support or anti-armor missions could work. But air-to-air combat? Probably not. The best place to win a dogfight is right there in the cockpit no matter how good a computer is, a human pilot will be better in judgment calls.

Only when artifical intelligence finally emerges this could be done by UCAV's. But then we could ge a whole other problem... Self prservation. The UCAV's on board computer might decide that running away is better than engaging the enemy (which is bad) or (which is even worse) an AI equipped UCAV might consider human lifes expendable, increasing the risk of friendly fire casualties.
 

Antonio

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The best place to win a dogfight is right there in the cockpit no matter how good a computer is, a human pilot will be better in judgment calls.
I agree with you about dogfighting is out of reach for an UCAV, but SAM don't need to enter doghfight to intercept a piloted fighter. Maybe you can use UCAV for air combat redefining air combat rules.

Just a personal opinion.
 

Jemiba

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"But air-to-air combat?"
A UCAV not necessarily has to be fully autonomous. In a dogfight in a clear blue sky,
the "Eyeball Mk.1" may still be the best sensor, but at night or adverse weather,
the human pilot has to rely on sensors and instruments, too. With a secure data
link, the pilot can as well be placed somewhere on the ground. And if the link is
jammed, the UCAV could fall back to an integrated software, and perhaps such a
software could be already sufficient for most missions. Remember, that today
not even chess masters are still able to win against a computer, although in this case
probably no AI is involved. About two decades ago, this was seen as impossible by
many experts, because "the computer will never real have fantasy and intuition".
Maybe that's right, but it's memory can check all possible variants much faster and
acurately, than a human brain. Add to this the much better resistance against accelarations
and other strains and an unmanned fighter should be possible even today.
Of course, as long, as most airforce officers are pilots by themselves,the chances of
UCAV to conquer the highest level of military aircraft are slim.
 

Lampshade111

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Another thing to consider is what if the enemy were to develop a sudden leap in electronic warfare technologies? Something that enables them to "jam" a UCAV and crash it. If such a thing is technologically feasible it could largely cripple a UCAV based air force.

The concept of a manned fighter as a "flight controller" and having a degree of control over three UCAVs, is an interesting concept as it adds more flexability. Yet that would probably be too much work for one pilot, and would require two crewmembers.
 

Antonio

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can check all possible variants much faster and
acurately, than a human brain
I remember a BBC Horizon documentary talking about "premonition". The best fighter pilots excell anticipating enemy aircraft movement. They obviously can't see the future, it is just his brain evaluating all possible positions and selecting the most probable with a high degree of success. As Jemiba says, a computer can do that much faster than a human brain.
 

Just call me Ray

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Remko said:
Same here... UAV or UCAV definately have a place on the battlefield (support of SOF missions perhaps) as well as armed reconnaissance or just High-altitude recce (an unmanned U-2 comes to mind, we'll never have a "Gary-Powers" again...). Even battle field support or anti-armor missions could work. But air-to-air combat? Probably not. The best place to win a dogfight is right there in the cockpit no matter how good a computer is, a human pilot will be better in judgment calls.
Of course people will chime in with flesh-bag G-limits, but there's another side to this:

The primary missions of the United States Air Force are as follows:

1. Deliver cargo to where they will do the most good for allied forces
2. Gather the most information that will give the most complete picture of enemy activity
3. Drop bombs to where they will do the most harm to the enemy's war effort.

No where in there does it say "shooting down planes for the sake of shooting down planes." The whole concept of air-to-air combat and air superiority/air dominance came about because of the need to intercept bombers and transports and, well, as Alton Brown would probably say, planes are "just so gosh-darned versatile" in that a single aircraft represents a critical threat in its ability to accomplish one of the above, so it would be a good idea to shoot it down, often with another high-performance aircraft.

But it's not strictly necessary - in fact the preferred means of destroying an aircraft is while it's still on the ground. And UAVs, every very cheap, simple, and rudimentary ones, are very good at performing all three primary tasks, since the most complicated thing is going to a specific waypoint and either switching on a sensor or dropping something on-target anyway.
 

Just call me Ray

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Lampshade111 said:
Another thing to consider is what if the enemy were to develop a sudden leap in electronic warfare technologies? Something that enables them to "jam" a UCAV and crash it. If such a thing is technologically feasible it could largely cripple a UCAV based air force.
Not if the UCAV is fully autonomous. We already have one of those - the Global Hawk.

If they manage to "jam" that, then manned aircraft are likewise screwed anyway.

The concept of a manned fighter as a "flight controller" and having a degree of control over three UCAVs, is an interesting concept as it adds more flexability. Yet that would probably be too much work for one pilot, and would require two crewmembers.
Not necessarily, though a second crewman certainly wouldn't hurt. Either there would be a computer on the manned plane that would in effect act as a second crewman, or there would probably be some sort of interface based on visual cues or audio commands so that coordinating between the drones won't be too difficult, like playing a computer game.

Actually, I'm a very big fan of UAVs (see avatar), but I'm a very big fan of this idea as well. A manned combat aircraft is still a very flexible machine, and having one act as a command node with two two, I dunno, six or whatever drones acting as "combat" or supplemental nodes will create an extremely flexible and deadly combat system.
 

Jemiba

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As we are speaking in the moment of UCAV for air-to-air combat, I just want
to express my opinion, that this actually is easier, than air-to-ground combat,
although the fight takes place in tree, not just two dimensions. But in another
thread, we already spoke about the problems of hitting ground targets today.
Is it a target or not ? A pregnant woman on the street, or a Taliban hidden
beneath a chador with a couple of guns ? Such problems will rarely exist in air-to-air
engegagements. Ok, the airliner flying in the wrong direction may be hijacked by terrorists,
or just have problems with his navigation, but generally it should be easier to decide friend
or foe. And this task often will not be done by the fighter pilot either, but by the fighter
controller in the AWACS. Maybe manned aircraft will still be more flexible for a while, because
the pilot don't need to be re-programmed, if the task switches from air-to-air to air-to-ground
during a mission, but why accompanying UCAV by a manned aircraft ? The drone controller
would be dependent on a data link either, and, as Just call me Ray said "If they manage to "jam"
that, then manned aircraft are likewise screwed anyway". So, why again risk human lives, which
could as well be sitting in a bunker far away, with the only danger of spilling coffee over their
keyboards ?
I'm not a flaminmg advocat of the UCAV, but I think, the fighter by are endangered by unemployment
in the future.. as long, as those in charge aren't pilots on their own ! ;)
 

Just call me Ray

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Jemiba said:
But in another thread, we already spoke about the problems of hitting ground targets today.
Is it a target or not ? A pregnant woman on the street, or a Taliban hidden
beneath a chador with a couple of guns ?
Hitting ground targets is actually very easy, you just unlatch the bomb and watch it drop on a designated point.

Of course this requires really good intelligence information, but it's not any bigger of a problem for a UCAV as it is for a manned aircraft, or for that matter, the bomb itself.

Of course what you're talking about is the fact that there are different types of ground attack. Interdiction and other missions involving hitting stationary targets are very easy for drones, yes, but close air support, or hitting any highly mobile target really. is simply out of their league for the forseeable future, for exactly the reasons you state. If you are going to give that mission to a UAV, it better have a hi-res camera and it better have a human operator piloting it through that camera. Maybe you can put the pilots on an orbiting C-130 to shorten the distance the command link needs to travel.
 

Jemiba

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"but it's not any bigger of a problem for a UCAV as it is for a manned aircraft, or for that matter, the bomb itself."

That's it, the UAV wouldn't be allowed to attack and probably the manned aircraft, too !
I remember having read a statement of an airforce officer, who said, that an aircraft, carrying
a crew, responsible on her own for the decision wether to attack a ground target, or not, would
have to be a B 747, probably mainly filled with politicians and lawyers ! ;D
 

Abraham Gubler

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Just call me Ray said:
Of course what you're talking about is the fact that there are different types of ground attack. Interdiction and other missions involving hitting stationary targets are very easy for drones, yes, but close air support, or hitting any highly mobile target really. is simply out of their league for the forseeable future, for exactly the reasons you state. If you are going to give that mission to a UAV, it better have a hi-res camera and it better have a human operator piloting it through that camera. Maybe you can put the pilots on an orbiting C-130 to shorten the distance the command link needs to travel.
Yet UCAVs have demonstrated this capability both in simulation and in war... If human approval is needed for weapons release target tracking systems enable a comlink delayed approval to work for a mobile target. Most piloted aircraft now use targeting pods with target trackers so the human doesn't have to keep the sight on the moving target.

If people persist in trying to judge UAVs and UCAVs based on an understanding of technology as it was in the 1980s then they are going to keep thinking false negatives.
 

flateric

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first I saw it I thought that James Dyson decided to run into UAV market...
"Engineered to pick up more dirt..."
 

Just call me Ray

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Abraham Gubler said:
Just call me Ray said:
Of course what you're talking about is the fact that there are different types of ground attack. Interdiction and other missions involving hitting stationary targets are very easy for drones, yes, but close air support, or hitting any highly mobile target really. is simply out of their league for the forseeable future, for exactly the reasons you state. If you are going to give that mission to a UAV, it better have a hi-res camera and it better have a human operator piloting it through that camera. Maybe you can put the pilots on an orbiting C-130 to shorten the distance the command link needs to travel.
Yet UCAVs have demonstrated this capability both in simulation and in war... If human approval is needed for weapons release target tracking systems enable a comlink delayed approval to work for a mobile target. Most piloted aircraft now use targeting pods with target trackers so the human doesn't have to keep the sight on the moving target.

If people persist in trying to judge UAVs and UCAVs based on an understanding of technology as it was in the 1980s then they are going to keep thinking false negatives.
Alright, fair enough

But even with 1980s UAV technology there was still a lot that could be done, and I really don't think we're using the full potential of UAVs with what we even have now.
 

sferrin

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Just call me Ray said:
Abraham Gubler said:
Just call me Ray said:
Of course what you're talking about is the fact that there are different types of ground attack. Interdiction and other missions involving hitting stationary targets are very easy for drones, yes, but close air support, or hitting any highly mobile target really. is simply out of their league for the forseeable future, for exactly the reasons you state. If you are going to give that mission to a UAV, it better have a hi-res camera and it better have a human operator piloting it through that camera. Maybe you can put the pilots on an orbiting C-130 to shorten the distance the command link needs to travel.
Yet UCAVs have demonstrated this capability both in simulation and in war... If human approval is needed for weapons release target tracking systems enable a comlink delayed approval to work for a mobile target. Most piloted aircraft now use targeting pods with target trackers so the human doesn't have to keep the sight on the moving target.

If people persist in trying to judge UAVs and UCAVs based on an understanding of technology as it was in the 1980s then they are going to keep thinking false negatives.
Alright, fair enough

But even with 1980s UAV technology there was still a lot that could be done, and I really don't think we're using the full potential of UAVs with what we even have now.
We're not. As in many other things $$$ is a factor. Money and political/organizational/doctrinal intertia are limiters.
 

Just call me Ray

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This is why I think we should focus on less complex UAV systems maybe, at least that would take care of the $$$ concern.
 

Lampshade111

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Has there been any serious work done on supersonic, radar equipped, air superiority UCAVs?

It seems to me like most "next gen" UCAVs like the X-47B are designed to be relatively cheap, long range, long loiter time, but relatively slow strike/reconnaissance aircraft. These are roles UCAVs are well suited for in my opinion, but what beyond that are people looking at?

Does the US eventually plan to phase out most current UAVs like Predator and Reaper in favor of stealthy turbofan powered UCAV designs?
 

Matej

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This is what I am saying all the time: all current and almost all armed UCAVs in development are tactical *bombers*. They are not fighters! Of course, with some modification they can be rebuild to launch air-to-air rockets with the independent guidance, but it can be done with almost any flying machine, even the paperplane with the enough carrying capacity. And do you want to name the paperplane with attached AA missile "fighter"? I don't.
 

quellish

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Lampshade111 said:
Has there been any serious work done on supersonic, radar equipped, air superiority UCAVs?
Some.
Lampshade111 said:
It seems to me like most "next gen" UCAVs like the X-47B are designed to be relatively cheap, long range, long loiter time, but relatively slow strike/reconnaissance aircraft. These are roles UCAVs are well suited for in my opinion, but what beyond that are people looking at?
Predators have been flown with Stingers and fired them in anger. While far from a solid fighter, the Predator has been used in air to air engagements. And lost.

Lampshade111 said:
Does the US eventually plan to phase out most current UAVs like Predator and Reaper in favor of stealthy turbofan powered UCAV designs?
Yes, though their replacements are either not directly in development yet or are black. The thing flying in afghanistan right now is probably an example of this.

Interestingly enough, when Global Hawk originally won the Tier II+ ACTD, it was pointed out in AWS&T and other places that it was designed with hardpoints for decoys or ordinance. Since then I've rarely seen this mentioned.
 

Lampshade111

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Can all of these turbofan powered designs really be expected to match the endurance of our current turboprop designs? If I am correct that is one of the main advantages of current UAVs they want future designs to maintain.
 

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Lampshade111 said:
Can all of these turbofan powered designs really be expected to match the endurance of our current turboprop designs? If I am correct that is one of the main advantages of current UAVs they want future designs to maintain.
You have to remember there are major categories at play here. A long endurance, loitering observation platform UAV needs lowest absolute fuel burn for a given thrust and has a benign flight profile, so turboprops come to mind. For UCAV's, time to target/response and being able to keep up with other elements of strike packages dictates a mixed loiter/dash with high transit speed scenario, where a turbofan or propfan may be a better choice.

That said, if the recent geared turbofan work plays out, we may see a renaissance with turbofans. That, and the sudden reinterest in propfan technology is worthy of mention. How capable such designs are when scaled down to small engine packages will be a problem though. Too bad the Ramgen guys didn't get around to finishing their engine prototype, that would have been an interesting swap for the turbojet cores of a turboprop.
 

Mark Nankivil

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Pretty decent directory:

http://armadainternational.com/08-3/complete_08-3.pdf

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

hesham

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Hi,

the AirSniper is a VTOL mini-UAV.

http://www.aus-international.com/Products.html
 

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AeroFranz

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old pic from AWST, i think this is just a very generic UCAV configuration. it does have really weird (and unpractical) engine integration and weird outlines of wedges on the top surface.
caption was: "Future strike forces will probably include a mix of UCAVs and manned aircraft. UCAVS offer such strengths as persistence, expendability and stealth."
 

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fightingirish

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That picture reminds me of seeing a kitbash model over at sister forum "whatifmodelers" a few years ago, where a member strapped a B-1 engine pod under a wing from a B-58 Hustler. :D
 

flateric

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AeroFranz said:
found this while reading airforce magazine
"Illustration by Erik Simonsen" explains everything. Just...illustration.
 

flateric

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Andreas - forward landing gear position toward intake, its doors, their size and most likely direction it retracts looks little bit suspicious to me (in the other hand, we don't know what exactly powers 'this')


anyway, interesting! interesting!
 
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Ian33

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FLAVIIR had a nose boom and that was tiny, so would it not be possible for this to be a student orientated demonstrator? Maybe a precursor to a full scale project? (like Corax and Raven were for the Taranis).

Just wild guesses here because frankly it looks like a four way love child between Taranis, 47B, Neuron and Grande Duc.
 

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Definitely not a fully sized UAV like x-47b but could be a smaller demonstrator like raven or corax. The larger antennas could still be part of a decent sized craft I think, more pictures of it on the tarmac would be nice.
 

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The generic topics of this forum are currently being split up into smaller meaningful units.

If a project has enough pictures and/or information, it may already be covered in a specific topic, so please use the search engine first to be sure, and if not you can start a new topic.

Please use this here topic only for unidentified or ill-documented types.

Use these specific topics for small projects which you know the origin of:
  • Various UAV and UCAV designs from the USA [link]
  • Various UAV and UCAV designs from Europe [link]
  • Various UAV and UCAV designs from the Middle East [link]
  • Various UAV and UCAV designs from Australia [link]
  • Various UAV and UCAV designs from Eastern Asia [link]
If I made a mistake in placing a particular project in a certain topic, please let me know!
 
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