F-35 and X-47B

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post28 Jul 2020, 15:30

First sight of buddy store on MQ-25A unmanned refueller
27 Jul 2020 Richard Scott

"...Aerial refuelling operations will be undertaken using two standard buddy pods, one under each wing, paying out a refuelling hose and basket. These buddy stores, already in service on USN F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, are built by Cobham.

Images showing T1 fitted with the Cobham buddy store under its port wing were earlier released on 20 July by Democrat Senator Tammy Duckworth after she had visited the Boeing facility at MidAmerica regional airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, the previous week. Boeing later released a short video on social media showing the pod installation process being undertaken inside its hangar at MidAmerica airport."

Photo: "Screen capture of the underwing refuelling pod being mounted on T1. (Boeing)" https://www.janes.com/images/default-so ... r-7158.jpg


Source: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... -refueller
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Unread post28 Jul 2020, 16:26

Another photo.
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Unread post26 Sep 2020, 14:25

USS Vinson Flies F-35s & Quietly Readies For New Refueling Drone
25 Sep 2020 Paul McLeary

"...While the F-35 work garnered most of the headlines, critical work was also performed to prepare the ship to operate the MQ-25 Stingray drone, a move that would add hundreds of miles of range to carrier air wings....

...The Stingray would likely fit into these flight operations by acting as an extra sensing node in the sky, pushing data back and forth between crewed and autonomous surface vessels and giving the Navy and Marine Corps another intelligence gathering asset. As a tanker, it will also extend the range of the Navy’s carrier-based F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and F-35 fighters by hundreds of miles.

Some of the work on the Vinson involved establishing an Unmanned Aviation Warfare Center on the ship, along with new network infrastructure and command and control equipment....

...A June Government Accountability Office report warned that if the work wasn’t performed on the Vinson and the next carrier USS George H.W. Bush, the Navy might have to extend the drone’s development testing by up to three years, but Navy officials confirmed Friday that the first of two upgrades were made to the Vinson, and the program remains on track.

The Stingray is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability by 2024, followed by the integration of the drones into the Navy’s air wings."

Photo: [FUNNY CAPTION] "An F-35C takes off from the USS Carl Vinson."
https://sites.breakingmedia.com/uploads ... Vinson.jpg


Source: https://breakingdefense.com/2020/09/uss ... ing-drone/
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Unread post28 Sep 2020, 14:54

I suspect it won't be long before the X-47 leads to bigger and better things in the air to air arena. Once they get the AI in place it's going to be doing a lot more than refueling/acting as just another airborne sensor.

Musk was right: It's the way forward, and manned aircraft in most cases won't be able to compete. I don't like it, I'm sure pilots don't like it either. But that's where things are going, and the sooner probably the better. China has a very robust drone program, and it's only going to accelerate from here.
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Unread post28 Sep 2020, 22:41

mixelflick wrote:I suspect it won't be long before the X-47 leads to bigger and better things in the air to air arena. Once they get the AI in place it's going to be doing a lot more than refueling/acting as just another airborne sensor.

Musk was right: It's the way forward, and manned aircraft in most cases won't be able to compete. I don't like it, I'm sure pilots don't like it either. But that's where things are going, and the sooner probably the better. China has a very robust drone program, and it's only going to accelerate from here.


I'm still (very) skeptical about that!
In order for a UAV/UCAV to have any chance against the most advanced manned fighter aircraft they would need to be very complex and have some very advanced capabilities such as sensors and weaponry something which would make them just as expensive as their manned counterparts. On top of this, UAVs/UCAVs can be jammed or more precisely the link between them and the controllers can be jammed something which won't happen with manned fighter aircraft.

So and IMO, UAVs/UCAVs will indeed be very important in future warfare just like guided missiles/munitions are but IMO they will be just that: a complement to manned aircraft and not a replacement for them (like Musk said). BTW, note that this isn't the first time that someone says that manned combat/fighter aircraft will cease to exist - in the 1970's there were some who said that manned combat/fighter aircraft would be fully replaced by missiles and "fast forwarding" to today, guess that those people failed their predictions completely and IMO the same will happen with these UAV/UCAV 'predictions' of today.

By the way, didn't the US Navy cancelled the X-47?
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post28 Sep 2020, 22:49

ricnunes wrote:In order for a UAV/UCAV to have any chance against the most advanced manned fighter aircraft they would need to be very complex and have some very advanced capabilities such as sensors and weaponry something which would make them just as expensive as their manned counterparts. On top of this, UAVs/UCAVs can be jammed or more precisely the link between them and the controllers can be jammed something which won't happen with manned fighter aircraft.

So and IMO, UAVs/UCAVs will indeed be very important in future warfare just like guided missiles/munitions are but IMO they will be just that: a complement to manned aircraft and not a replacement for them (like Musk said).


A loyal wingman at the end of an LPI/LPD/LPE/AJ datalink seems like the sweet spot.

That wingman is quite willing to take a missile for you and won't hog your kills or undermine
your position in the squadron.

ricnunes wrote:By the way, didn't the US Navy cancelled the X-47?


Yes. It's completely dead. Meanwhile, the Navy is talking about MQ-25 likes it's some giant demonstrator program.
All about "learning lessons from operations and sustainment" like 20 years after the contract for X-47B was awarded...
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 03:44

mixelflick wrote:I suspect it won't be long before the X-47 leads to bigger and better things in the air to air arena. Once they get the AI in place it's going to be doing a lot more than refueling/acting as just another airborne sensor.


This Ai guff is a black hole for wasting time and money to produce a useless ineffective pure distraction, instead of providing real and sufficient capabilities, plus a whole lot of technical over-reaching, for a mere analysis and learning function. It's basically irrelevant to controlling or enabling an X-47-like derivative platform, and making it very useful. Human pilots and commander can use such a platform's data and added SA to make decisions now using non-artificial intelligence, the known and measurable reliable decision-making capacity of human grey-matter.

Same applies to Loyal Wingman aircraft too, IMO, there is no need for 'Ai' anything here. A whole lot of techie BS is being dressed up as a way forwards, when all you're really doing is firstly, replacing POB with a datalink, and using a fusion engine.

Whoopdie-doo!

There's waaaaay too much touchy-feely Ai bullcrap in every other airpower article these days. I'm not stupid. I'm not falling for all this unproven Ai bullcrap. Human brains work. So do LPI/LPD encrypted datalinks. They're available now, brains are cheap to train and learn, they are motivated. They understand purpose, and they know why the hell they're making the decisions they make. They understand priority. They know when to suspend decision-making to await more information, before acting, assuming or classifying.

The buckets of money being heaved at the Ai initiative garbage reminds me of the expensive needless desire to provide astronauts with a zero-G ink pen, when a graphite pencil would get the job done, for 5 cents inside of 10 seconds.

Far too many people trying to make a career or fast-buck on the back of public funding for this Ai marketing mania.
Last edited by element1loop on 29 Sep 2020, 04:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 03:59

element1loop wrote:Same applies to Loyal Wingman aircraft too, IMO, there is no need for 'Ai' anything here. A whole lot of techie BS is being dressed up as a way forwards, when all you're really doing is firstly, replacing POB with a datalink, and using a fusion engine.



I think the main use of AI there will just be "cognitive offload" so more of, if you are familiar with autonomous cars,
a level 3 autonomy.
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 04:02

marauder2048 wrote:
element1loop wrote:Same applies to Loyal Wingman aircraft too, IMO, there is no need for 'Ai' anything here. A whole lot of techie BS is being dressed up as a way forwards, when all you're really doing is firstly, replacing POB with a datalink, and using a fusion engine.



I think the main use of AI there will just be "cognitive offload" so more of, if you are familiar with autonomous cars,
a level 3 autonomy.


Agree the offload, but I do not want a Tesla computer driving me at highway speed when a kangaroo or steer plods out on to the carriageway.
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 04:07

element1loop wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
element1loop wrote:Same applies to Loyal Wingman aircraft too, IMO, there is no need for 'Ai' anything here. A whole lot of techie BS is being dressed up as a way forwards, when all you're really doing is firstly, replacing POB with a datalink, and using a fusion engine.



I think the main use of AI there will just be "cognitive offload" so more of, if you are familiar with autonomous cars,
a level 3 autonomy.


Agree the off load, but I do not want a Tesla computer driving me at highway speed when a kangaroo or steer plods out on the carriageway.


The question is: would you be any better in that dynamic situation?

If you have 1337 motorsport or aviation level reaction times, maybe.

But if you look at where Level 3 has screwed up it's not clear to me that (with some exceptions like MobilEye* being
an utter piece of $hit) the average human driver would have done any better.

* full disclosure: I worked for a competitor.
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 04:15

marauder2048 wrote:The question is: would you be any better in that dynamic situation? If you have 1337 motorsport or aviation level reaction times, maybe.But if you look at where Level 3 has screwed up it's not clear to me that (with some exceptions like MobilEye* being an utter piece of $hit) the average human driver would have done any better.

* full disclosure: I worked for a competitor.


The question is: would a human be any worse?

The onus is not on human brains, we've survive 4 million years of proof-testing, in the big-time. We know we work and are capable.

'Ai' ... not so much.
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 04:21

element1loop wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:The question is: would you be any better in that dynamic situation? If you have 1337 motorsport or aviation level reaction times, maybe.But if you look at where Level 3 has screwed up it's not clear to me that (with some exceptions like MobilEye* being an utter piece of $hit) the average human driver would have done any better.

* full disclosure: I worked for a competitor.



The question is: would a human be any worse?

The onus is not on human brains, we've survive 4 million years of proof-testing, in the big-time. We know we work and are capable.

'Ai' ... not so much.


Given the incredibly tiny cross-section of the human population that's physically and cognitively capable of
flying advanced fighters it's probably only appropriate to talk about elite samples.

But those elite samples will still have the same "design flaws": tunnel vision, confirmation bias, ego,
command structure deference, fear, excitement etc.

I was just reading about the F-15C shootdown of two UH-60s over Iraq in the 1990s.

The only thing those guys needed was some AI telling them:

"are you sure you want to do this..probability is *meh* that these helicopters are Hinds"
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 04:39

marauder2048 wrote:
element1loop wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:The question is: would you be any better in that dynamic situation? If you have 1337 motorsport or aviation level reaction times, maybe.But if you look at where Level 3 has screwed up it's not clear to me that (with some exceptions like MobilEye* being an utter piece of $hit) the average human driver would have done any better.

* full disclosure: I worked for a competitor.



The question is: would a human be any worse?

The onus is not on human brains, we've survive 4 million years of proof-testing, in the big-time. We know we work and are capable.

'Ai' ... not so much.


Given the incredibly tiny cross-section of the human population that's physically and cognitively capable of
flying advanced fighters it's probably only appropriate to talk about elite samples.

But those elite samples will still have the same "design flaws": tunnel vision, confirmation bias, ego,
command structure deference, fear, excitement etc.

I was just reading about the F-15C shootdown of two UH-60s over Iraq in the 1990s.

The only thing those guys needed was some AI telling them:

"are you sure you want to do this..probability is *meh* that these helicopters are Hinds"


DAS and other sensors auto-classify bogies now, have done so for a long time. This should reduce the possibility of ID errors, but even such a classification can be wrong. And you may ID a type, but do you know who's it is, and who is operating it? I'd trust a human more to find that out. And someone considered the situation and ordered/cleared those pilots to fire, so I don't see how Ai necessarily reduces blue side frag risk.

This is all beside the point, which is, we can win a war without learning-machines controlling aircraft. Judicious use of appropriate autonomy is quite sufficient. The macros in my word processor are autonomous, they do a good job, I like them, but I do not want a learning-machine Word processor Ai monitoring our too-and-fro, and attempting to write a reply message to you, because I went to the shops, or involuntarily fell asleep mid-draft, due to excessive ice-cream ingestion.

If we have a sufficient capability-mix optimized for human decision-making and monitoring we'll win an airpower fight for a long time to come. I trust human brains to win the fight.

We don't need Ai to win, it's not obvious it will even offer a tangible advantage to airpower employment. I do not fear an 'Ai-gap' either because the technology is so immature and over-hyped that it's not ready for prime-time, and won't be something we can have confidence in, for a very long time.

AFAIC, learning-machines are an aid, possibly with some improved but limited focus and applications, and a potential tool for showing humans what to do, and what not to do ... maybe ... but perhaps an algo-driven simulator would be better and more reliable for that.
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 05:09

"...involuntarily fell asleep mid-briefing, due to excessive ice-cream ingestion...." FIFY - real fighter pilot scenario there.
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Unread post29 Sep 2020, 06:30

DAS and other sensors auto-classify bogies now, have done so for a long time. This should reduce the possibility of ID errors, but even such a classification can be wrong. And you may ID a type, but do you know who's it is, and who is operating it? I'd trust a human more to find that out.


In the UH-60 shootdowns, the F-15Cs conducted daylight, clear weather, VIDs from a few hundred
to no more than 1500 ft away. Both F-15Cs got closer than the ROE permitted them to in order to ensure
that the VID was correct and cross-checked.

But because they hadn't been advised that Blackhawks were operating in the area and their IFF
interrogators didn't report probabilities just spectrum with end state ("initial friendly but turned hostile")
when combined with some hot-headedness, some pride (F-16s had done the only a2a kills since 1991)
and some combat predilections (wingman had downed a Hind at BVR with AIM-7 in GW1)...tragedy ensued.

All they needed was some tech to tell them: it's a bit *meh* on your Hind ID, Dave.

Or they could have sent, say, a Loyal Wingman in as close as possible to VID; they were wary of
coming within Hind gun range in the front quarter.
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