MQ-25 US Navy Stingray Program

Sub-scale and Full-Scale Aerial Targets and RPAs - Remotely-Piloted Aircraft
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Dragon029

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Unread post22 Mar 2018, 08:05

KamenRiderBlade wrote:Hopefully they can at least meet F-117 level's of LO.

If it's being used as a tanker I doubt it; that Cobham pod isn't in any way stealthy.
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Dragon029

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Unread post26 Mar 2018, 13:45

http://aviationweek.com/defense/lockhee ... 5-stingray

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No actual prototypes have been built / will be built unless Lockheed is selected, this is because the requirements were too fluid and Lockheed's MQ-25 proposal wasn't finalised in design until mid-2017.

It's single engine (engine not disclosed at this time, but likely a commercial turbofan), has 2 offset hardpoints (one for the AAR pod, another for future ISR pods, etc), the multiple sensors in the nose are for increased remote pilot situational awareness when manoeuvring on the deck, there's supposedly a sensor ball (though maybe they mean the middle-bottom aperture of the 4 in the nose) for light ISR work, it's not designed at all for stealth (Lockheed claims the flying wing is optimal for aerodynamics and fuel capacity, the wings fold between the 2nd and 3rd flaperons on each wing, it uses the F-35C's landing gear, and Lockheed is aiming for their design to meet the CBARS objective requirements in regards to fuel offload (which are still not public, but the 14,000lb at 500nmi is the threshold requirement).
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element1loop

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Unread post26 Mar 2018, 16:38

Looks' like the Boeing version is bigger. The pod looks huge under the small LM flying-wing render. The long sleek Boeing design may have the higher internal volume, especially if they thicken and broaden the inner wet-wing as now intended. But I suspect LMs flying-wing may cruise at higher atlitudes more efficiently, burning less fuel.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post26 Mar 2018, 16:57

The Boeing design puts all of the fuel in the fuselage while the LM design distributes it throughout the wing.
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weasel1962

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 01:00

Fuselage may be more survivable? But I supposed the design philosophy is probably don't even get detected in the first instance.

With all the talent they have at skunk works, I wouldn't be surprised if they find someway to incorporate a pair of self defence AAMs + jammers somewhere.
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citanon

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 01:14

Why is there a ram air turbine on the refueling pod?

Edit: oh i see, it's to power the pump.
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citanon

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 01:27

Free associating here: would it be possible to bounce AMDR beams off of these guys to get better over the horizon radar coverage?
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Dragon029

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 01:47

citanon wrote:Free associating here: would it be possible to bounce AMDR beams off of these guys to get better over the horizon radar coverage?


Not really; that fuselage isn't that flat and even then you'd get a very unstable beam that can't be easily or accurately directed where you want.
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rheonomic

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 01:54

weasel1962 wrote:But I supposed the design philosophy is probably don't even get detected in the first instance.


It's not LO. The Skunk Works proposal is that a flying wing is more efficient for the tanking mission.
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element1loop

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 04:51

rheonomic wrote:
weasel1962 wrote:But I supposed the design philosophy is probably don't even get detected in the first instance.


It's not LO. The Skunk Works proposal is that a flying wing is more efficient for the tanking mission.


It is LO (it has many LO design features), it'just not VLO. It will probably have sealed RAM coatings as well.
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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 05:01

SpudmanWP wrote:The Boeing design puts all of the fuel in the fuselage while the LM design distributes it throughout the wing.


This is not the case Spud, Boeing clarified recently the current inboard wings are already wet, and intend to redesign the wing to make it both wider and thicker (presumably for better alt performance and efficiency too, not just more fuel).

viewtopic.php?p=391027#p391027

" ... that could carry fuel or — as originally developed — advanced sensor systems and ordnance.

One area of concern, however, is the thin wing design, which is clearly influenced by the previous high-altitude ISR mission,” he said.

“I would expect, as the MQ-25 mission tanker program goes forward, that this prototype would evolve the wings to make them wider from their front leading edge to back and also thicker. This would make the platform more robust for sustained tanking missions as well as add additional fuel capacity to the design. ... //

.... According to Gaddis, the company’s MQ-25 stores its fuel in tanks surrounding the engine, and the inner section of its fold-up wings are “wet,” meaning the fuel moves freely within that part of the wing. ... //

Gaddis said Boeing’s design meets that requirement with margin to spare, telling Defense News that it “carries a ton of gas.” But with a competition still ongoing, he declined to detail exactly how much the air vehicle can carry. ... //


https://www.defensenews.com/unmanned/20 ... prototype/
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citanon

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 06:44

Dragon029 wrote:
citanon wrote:Free associating here: would it be possible to bounce AMDR beams off of these guys to get better over the horizon radar coverage?


Not really; that fuselage isn't that flat and even then you'd get a very unstable beam that can't be easily or accurately directed where you want.


No I meant by mounting a specialized antenna / signal repeater on the UAV.

You take advantage of the ship's power output with the UAV's altitude.
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element1loop

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 07:51

Is it possible the pod could be ejected to reduce RCS in the event a threat gets near to an MQ-25 and it needs to prevent detection and vacate area unseen to survive?

(with a ready tanker in the air, during high threat condition, to replace any MQ-25 doing that, of course)
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Dragon029

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 09:43

element1loop wrote:Is it possible the pod could be ejected to reduce RCS in the event a threat gets near to an MQ-25 and it needs to prevent detection and vacate area unseen to survive?

(with a ready tanker in the air, during high threat condition, to replace any MQ-25 doing that, of course)


I doubt it; the airframe may give an air of low observability, but it's not really; round leading edges, rectangular flaperons, round intake and exhaust, exposed antennas and whatever is on the rear of the fuselage inboard of the flaperons (drain ports or whatever). Part of the reason for having unmanned systems is to have them be semi-disposable; a manned S-3 is worth a whole lot more to the Navy than an unmanned MQ-25 (even if the flyaway unit cost of the MQ-25 is comparable or higher).

citanon wrote:
Dragon029 wrote:
citanon wrote:Free associating here: would it be possible to bounce AMDR beams off of these guys to get better over the horizon radar coverage?


Not really; that fuselage isn't that flat and even then you'd get a very unstable beam that can't be easily or accurately directed where you want.


No I meant by mounting a specialized antenna / signal repeater on the UAV.

You take advantage of the ship's power output with the UAV's altitude.


I would imagine that not being very cost effective; power is going to have dropped significantly by the time it reaches the drone, plus AFAIK any repeater system that's designed to be able to control and steer the re-directed beam would need phase shifters and other hardware rated for a relatively high throughput power (dictated by a specified minimum operating distance from the AMDR array), meaning that you could just add the signal generator circuitry for a little extra money and get an AESA that's similarly capable / more capable at longer ranges than a repeater array, and isn't dependent on a destroyer, etc being nearby.

The Aviation Week article actually specifically mentions:

There are two hard points on the undercarriage positioned left and right of the centerline, which affords space for the engine to be dropped and swapped without modification. The Navy’s standard Cobham air-to-air drogue refueling pod is seen mounted on the left, while the second spot can accommodate a future sensor, such as a sea-surveillance radar or signals-intelligence pod.
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element1loop

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Unread post27 Mar 2018, 10:31

Dragon029 wrote:
element1loop wrote:Is it possible the pod could be ejected to reduce RCS in the event a threat gets near to an MQ-25 and it needs to prevent detection and vacate area unseen to survive?

(with a ready tanker in the air, during high threat condition, to replace any MQ-25 doing that, of course)


I doubt it; the airframe may give an air of low observability, but it's not really; round leading edges, rectangular flaperons, round intake and exhaust, exposed antennas and whatever is on the rear of the fuselage inboard of the flaperons (drain ports or whatever). Part of the reason for having unmanned systems is to have them be semi-disposable; a manned S-3 is worth a whole lot more to the Navy than an unmanned MQ-25 (even if the flyaway unit cost of the MQ-25 is comparable or higher).


Yairbut ...bear with me. Boeing's offering for instance, is derived from a LO airframe, and then there was the fugly X-32 tech development. Given it's been a looooong time since it was announced that curved surfaces could be built as LO as RCS shaped areas, plus newer coatings, how much can we really presume about the geometry that we see, and judge the relative RCS by eye?

If it is lower RCS, it would make sense to lose the pod if aspect and signature exposure analysis indicated detection was moments away.

Anyway you look at it, survivability of tankers equals survivability of other manned systems. Disposable, sorta, but not really. No one wants to lose one unnecesarily. It's still a plane shotdown.

So I'm really asking if it would be physically possible to just lose the whole apparatus?

Because as I see it, well within the life-cycle of a Stingray, that will become an issue. And only 72 are planned.
Accel + Alt + VLO + DAS + MDF + Radial Distance = LIFE . . . Always choose Stealth
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