F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 00:01
by F16VIPER
Is there an indication as to where they fit within the aircraft carrier force structure.
Is it possible that they both end up replacing all the fighter planes in a carrier, with the F-35C performing the fleet defense role and the operational version of the X-47B the strike role.

Also, isn't the X-47B what would be considered in Lockheedmartin's parlance a 6th gen plane?

F16VIPER

RE: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 01:00
by stereospace
I think UAVs are ideally suited to monotonous drudgery work, like flying CAP. I think the F-35, being piloted, is better suited to combat. That said, a highly stealthy UAV might be a good candidate for flying a designated route to a fixed target and bombing it. But situations where things need to be evaluated are probably best left to manned aircraft.

According to an article I read, carrier suitability should be ongoing right now at PAX and carrier trials begin next year. Really interesting technology development.

RE: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 01:21
by spazsinbad
Here is an excellent thread about the X-47B even if I say so meself!:

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-15075.html

I have not kept it up to date with recent developments - despite naysayers things seem to go well. Early days about what it will do operationally I think. First X-47B has to launch and recover successfully to a carrier before the operational niche solved. This first launch recovery will be an aviation milestone moment for sure.

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 02:02
by Gums
Salute!

Don't forget cooperative missions in high-threat areas versus planned targets and IAD elements.

With all the data fusion capabilities of the Cee, and being fairly stealthy, a few drone wingmen could be used very effectively, with the Cee carrying a few missiles versus a heavy load of eggs.

Might be a viable employment concept.

Gums ponders...

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 02:22
by spazsinbad
I wonder what an X-47B payload capacity might be. Any takers?

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 03:10
by 1st503rdsgt
It doesn't really matter very much for now because an operational UCAV comparable to the X-47 (naval or otherwise) isn't going to be here until the mid-late 2030s at the earliest. Right now the USN needs to figure out a means for handling the F135 that doesn't rely on sling-loads.

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 03:51
by megasun
They are all good, but neither is focused on air superiority, in regard to "replacing all the fighter planes in a carrier".
I think that's why Boeing sees as an opportunity and proposed a 6-gen fighter, though no particular interest has been shown from Navy.

Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 04:05
by popcorn
F16VIPER wrote:Is there an indication as to where they fit within the aircraft carrier force structure.
Is it possible that they both end up replacing all the fighter planes in a carrier, with the F-35C performing the fleet defense role and the operational version of the X-47B the strike role.
Also, isn't the X-47B what would be considered in Lockheedmartin's parlance a 6th gen plane?
F16VIPER


The Admirals seem to look at the UCLASS that will follow the X-47B as a means for the CBG to remain relevant and effective going into the future vs more robust A2AD networks that potential adversaries are putting in place.
With it's longer range/endurance, a CBG will be able to engage an enemy in a more timely fashion from extended distances far exceeding that of manned strike fighters.

RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 04:58
by spazsinbad
Then there is this:

X-47B UCAS B-roll

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IDIucbCDEk

"Published on Sep 4, 2012 by northropgrummanmedia
X-47B UCAS B-roll"

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 05:50
by popcorn
Here's how the CSBA sees things possibly developing..

... Combined with autonomous aerial refueling, these attributes would give an unmanned platform significantly greater unrefueled range and mission persistence than a manned fighter. For example, a carrier squadron of twelve X-47B-based aircraft could sustain five orbits along an enemy’s coastline to search for mobile targets or provide supporting electronic attack, or two-plus orbits five hundred miles inland, even if the carrier were based 1,500 nm from the coast, assuming sufficient tankers were available 500 nm from the coast. Each orbit is depicted in Figure 13 with a 200 nm-diameter circle representing the distance that an aircraft at the center of the orbit could travel within fifteen minutes (estimated conservatively at approximately 100 nm for an aircraft cruising at 460 knots). This metric is used to approximate the geographic rapid-response “coverage” of an aircraft persisting in the operational area. Removing the tail structure is also critical to achieving a low-observable RCS needed to penetrate and persist in contested airspace

Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 21:44
by archeman
spazsinbad wrote:Then there is this:

X-47B UCAS B-roll

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IDIucbCDEk

"Published on Sep 4, 2012 by northropgrummanmedia
X-47B UCAS B-roll"


That video has some pretty cool but also some dumb stuff in it.

List of dumbs:

* I don't see any advantage to UAVs using close formation flying - they don't do that now because they don't want them crashing into each other but even when that is less of a concern the traditional wing-man concept just isn't there (no man). The mutual interference will be greater than the mutual support.

* Low level flyby of the tower??? You might do that for laughs if you were in the aircraft and could enjoy it but if your not there then all you get is trouble and no laughs.

* UAV Dropping ordinance at 40% bank? Unlikely scenario. The moments before ordinance release will be completely filled and scripted carefully - like making sure the target approach is lined up correctly.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Oct 2012, 23:35
by count_to_10
As far as I can tell, the role depends on how autonomous a UAV is. One that has to be remotely piloted is probably going to be restricted to low threat situations for link stability and SA reasons. An autonomous UAV can go into high threat situations, but is still going to be limited by it's ability to make acceptable judgments (I've always liked the idea of unmanned wing-men, but who knows?).

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2012, 00:15
by spazsinbad
They'd be 'vortex surfing'...
'Vortex surfing' could be revolutionary 11 Oct 2012 by Roger Drinnon
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

http://www.asdnews.com/news-45469/_Vort ... ionary.htm

"Migrating birds, NASCAR drivers and Tour de France bicyclists already get it. And now the Air Force is thinking about flying gas-guzzling cargo aircraft in formation -- 'dragging' off one another -- on long-haul flights across the oceans.

Flight tests with C-17s "vortex surfing" at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Sept. 6 and Oct. 2, have demonstrated potentially large savings of fuel and money by doing what geese do naturally. Tests show that flying in formation might be smarter than flying alone for Airmen, and not just for birds...."

LONG POST - GOOD READ.

Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2012, 00:43
by popcorn
archeman wrote:
* Low level flyby of the tower??? You might do that for laughs if you were in the aircraft and could enjoy it but if your not there then all you get is trouble and no laughs.


It was programmed with a little Maverick playfulness.. sneak up on the Air Boss and spill his coffee..should play a mean game of beach volleyball as well.,All in preparation for it's role in the Top Gun sequel where it locks horns with it's F-35C rival.:D

Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2012, 00:50
by 1st503rdsgt
popcorn wrote:
archeman wrote:
* Low level flyby of the tower??? You might do that for laughs if you were in the aircraft and could enjoy it but if your not there then all you get is trouble and no laughs.


It was programmed with a little Maverick playfulness.. sneak up on the Air Boss and spill his coffee..should play a mean game of beach volleyball as well.,All in preparation for it's role in the Top Gun sequel where it locks horns with it's F-35C rival.:D


Somehow, I don't really think it would achieve the same spill-the-coffee effect as the Tomcat. :(

Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2012, 00:52
by count_to_10
popcorn wrote:
archeman wrote:
* Low level flyby of the tower??? You might do that for laughs if you were in the aircraft and could enjoy it but if your not there then all you get is trouble and no laughs.


It was programmed with a little Maverick playfulness.. sneak up on the Air Boss and spill his coffee..should play a mean game of beach volleyball as well.,All in preparation for it's role in the Top Gun sequel where it locks horns with it's F-35C rival.:D

Dramatic license. From my (somewhat limited) experience, the people that make these videos are just graphic designers that don't necessarily run them by anyone that actually evaluate what the product will be doing. Said videos end up heavily influenced by pop culture and misconceptions.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2012, 01:02
by spazsinbad
Here is some auto formation flying at the best today with more to follow (to complete the mission).

DARPA completes autonomous high-altitude refuelling tests 09 Oct 2012 by Zach Rosenberg

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ts-377447/

"The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has completed autonomous refuelling trials with two Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawks, demonstrating that unmanned air vehicles could refuel in mid-air.

The success of the experiment has the potential to revolutionise large UAV manufacturing and operations.

During the tests the two aircraft flew in close proximity in nine test flights. While the NASA-owned high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) aircraft were never physically linked and no fuel was passed, DARPA's analysis shows that the aircraft could have done so on up to 60% of the attempts. The agency had anticipated a 17% success rate given the nature of the aircraft - capable of great altitude and endurance, but not manoeuverability - and the difficulty of precision flight at 44,000ft (13,400m), where the tests took place.

"The goal of this demonstration was to create the expectation that future HALE aircraft will be refuelled in flight," says Jim McCormick, DARPA programme manager. "Such designs should be more affordable to own and operate across a range of mission profiles than systems built to satisfy the most stressing case without refuelling."...

...Plans are moving forward to use the Northrop Grumman X-47, a testbed for unmanned combat vehicle technologies, for autonomous refuelling from manned tankers following the completion of aircraft carrier landing trials."

VIDEO: Autonomous High Altitude Refueling (AHR) test flight

"Published on Oct 5, 2012 by DARPAtv
This DARPA video shows excerpts of a close-proximity test flight of two
modified RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles. This demonstration
proved for the first time that High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) class
aircraft can safely and autonomously perform the steps required for
in-flight refueling. The video shows the probe reaching the necessary
pre-contact position for refueling and an autonomous breakaway. For more
information on DARPA's Autonomous High-Altitude Refueling program (AHR),"
http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Release ... 10/05.aspx

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bjyv16ha ... r_embedded

http://www.darpa.mil/uploadedImages/Con ... 1_8062.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Oct 2012, 01:16
by spazsinbad
From URL in previous post above:

Making Connections At 45,000 Feet: Future UAVs May Fuel Up In Flight October 05, 2012

http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Release ... 10/05.aspx

"DARPA completes close-proximity flight tests of two modified RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles, demonstrates technology enabling autonomous aerial refueling

Currently global military aviation relies on a key enabler – aerial refueling. Fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and transport aircraft use “flying gas stations” to go the extra mile. Increasingly, UAVs are conducting combat and ISR operations, but UAVs aren’t designed to be refueled in flight. In 2007, DARPA teamed up with NASA to show that high-performance aircraft can easily perform automated refueling from conventional tankers, yet many unmanned aircraft can’t match the speed, altitude and performance of the current tanker fleet. The 2007 demonstration also required a pilot on board to set conditions and monitor safety during autonomous refueling operations.

Today DARPA has addressed this capability gap. DARPA’s two-year Autonomous High-Altitude Refueling (AHR) program, which concluded Sep. 30, explored the ability to safely conduct fully autonomous refueling of UAVs in challenging high-altitude flight conditions. During its final test flight, two modified Global Hawk aircraft flew in close formation, 100 feet or less between refueling probe and receiver drogue, for the majority of a 2.5-hour engagement at 44,800 feet. This demonstrated for the first time that High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) class aircraft can safely and autonomously operate under in-flight refueling conditions. The flight was the ninth test and the first time the aircraft flew close enough to measure the full aerodynamic and control interactions. Flight data was analyzed over the past few months and fed back into simulations to verify system safety and performance through contact and fuel transfer–including the effects of turns and gusts up to 20 knots.

Since HALE aircraft are designed for endurance at the expense of control authority, the program started with the expectation that only one of six attempts would achieve positive contact (17%). The final analysis, however, indicated that 60% of the attempts would achieve contact. Multiple autonomous breakaway contingencies were successfully triggered well in advance of potentially hazardous conditions. Fuel systems were fully integrated and ground tested, demonstrating a novel “reverse-flow” approach with the tanker in trail. This approach opens valuable trade space for future developers to choose between various fixed and modular implementations of proven probe and drogue hardware.

“The goal of this demonstration was to create the expectation that future HALE aircraft will be refueled in flight,” said Jim McCormick, DARPA Program Manager. “Such designs should be more affordable to own and operate across a range of mission profiles than systems built to satisfy the most stressing case without refueling. The lessons from AHR certainly extend beyond the HALE flight regime, and insights into non-traditional tanker concepts may offer further operational advantages.”

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 01:54
by spazsinbad
Perhaps superceded but one idea of X-47B intended capabilities:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-n2U4GkmnatU/T ... 0/X47B.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 02:52
by spazsinbad
This is probably a repeat post but relevant to topic...

Navy document plans future of carrier air wings By D. Majumdar Jan 18, 2012

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/01/d ... gs-011812/
-
“The Navy’s carrier air wings of tomorrow will look very different from to-day’s, according to a new document produced by the sea services. By 2032, the Navy’s fleet of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets fighters and new EA-18G Growler electronic attack jets will have begun to be replaced by new types, a new document called Naval Aviation Vision 2012 reads.

The Navy will consider manned, unmanned & optionally manned aircraft to replace the long serving Rhino, as the F/A-18E/F is known to carrier deck crews. The Super Hornet will begin to reach the end of its service life around 2025 & must be replaced. The document says a competitive fly-off will be held at some point in the future. The Super Hornet-derived EA-18G will also start being replaced by a new aircraft, but the document offers no further details.

Additionally, a new Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance & Strike (UCLASS) is to be integrated onto the carrier deck around 2018 — possibly with four to six planes embarked. The aircraft could make use of technologies developed by the X-47B program. The Navy document calls for “balanced survivability” so that the unmanned strike plane will be effective in “specified tactical situations.”

The F-35C will serve alongside these prospective aircraft....”

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 03:17
by 1st503rdsgt
spazsinbad wrote:Additionally, a new Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance & Strike (UCLASS) is to be integrated onto the carrier deck around 2018 —

2018? You've gotta be fvckin $hitting me. :lmao: They haven't even held a UCLASS competition yet, let alone a fly-off, after which we have 15 years of development hell to look forward to. And we thought the F-35's software was a PITA.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 03:51
by archeman
The fat unmanned dedicated air refuel bird seems like something that everybody should agree on.
Simple mission profile, greatly reduced manpower needs, greatly reduced mission equipment on board.
None in service, None in testing (global hawk refueling another global hawk doesn't count) or apparently prototypes in service project planning stages either???

Everything I can find is a project dedicated to how to get UAVs to drink from manned refuelers and not the other way around.
Is it that they don't trust a UAV to guide the probe?
That doesn't sound like a problem of infinite possibilities.
The probe and drogue system should be much simpler.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 05:30
by 1st503rdsgt
archeman wrote:The probe and drogue system should be much simpler.

Switching the USAF to the drogue after decades of using the boom isn't very simple. :(

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 07:06
by neurotech
1st503rdsgt wrote:
archeman wrote:The probe and drogue system should be much simpler.

Switching the USAF to the drogue after decades of using the boom isn't very simple. :(

Almost all the USAF tankers can refuel a probe equipped jet, using wing-mounted refueling pods, or they sometimes use an adapter onto the refueling boom known as "iron maiden" because it is metal and inflexible compared to the normal drogue basket.

A UCAV could use a refueling probe, or USAF boom refueling system. If they put IR reflective markings around the receptacle, it would be relatively easy to automate the refueling using a computer vision system. The KC-46 and KC-767 have a fly-by-wire refueling boom already, the operator controls the boom from a front cockpit station.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 07:19
by 1st503rdsgt
neurotech wrote:
1st503rdsgt wrote:
archeman wrote:The probe and drogue system should be much simpler.

Switching the USAF to the drogue after decades of using the boom isn't very simple. :(

Almost all the USAF tankers can refuel a probe equipped jet, using wing-mounted refueling pods, or they sometimes use an adapter onto the refueling boom known as "iron maiden" because it is metal and inflexible compared to the normal drogue basket.

A UCAV could use a refueling probe, or USAF boom refueling system. If they put IR reflective markings around the receptacle, it would be relatively easy to automate the refueling using a computer vision system. The KC-46 and KC-767 have a fly-by-wire refueling boom already, the operator controls the boom from a front cockpit station.

I was referring to institutional inertia. One can only hope they'd be reasonable here.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 08:52
by munny
An aircraft with the shaping and flat angles of the X-47B would always be a preferable platform for IADS penetration and deep strike. The X-47B will be the 2020+ version of F-117 in its time compared to the F-35 (F-16).

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 09:26
by 1st503rdsgt
munny wrote:An aircraft with the shaping and flat angles of the X-47B would always be a preferable platform for IADS penetration and deep strike. The X-47B will be the 2020+ version of F-117 in its time compared to the F-35 (F-16).


Possible, but more along the lines of 2030+.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 09:54
by spazsinbad
The X-47B thread used to be on this forum until someone requested it be changed, so I'll just add some URLs because this is only the F-35 forum.

Both types of refuelling will be tested:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... 7B&prev=10

Automonous Touch and Go - aviation first + Carrier Tests possible in 2013:
http://defense.aol.com/2012/06/14/x-47b ... r-takeoff/

YabbaYabba: http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5068

Deck Handling stuff: http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 482843.xml

Directing X-47B around Deck: http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... cffdfd7acd

USN looks for capability by 2018 Contracts: http://www.ainonline.com/ain-defense-pe ... no_cache=1

More on carrier testing: http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... ll&next=20

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... Pages/Navy’sUnmannedCombatAircraftFlyingUnderCloudofUncertainty.aspx?PF=1

"But budget uncertainty is likely to delay the UCLASS program beyond the current goal of a limited operational capability by 2020." http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... ookforNavy’sUnmannedAviation.aspx
_____________

"The X-47B is being designed to fly in highly defended airspace, and even when GPS
satellite navigation signals are blocked. “The technologies for survivability are very mature,” said Johnson. In the absence of communication links, “there are approaches that an autonomous UAV can deal with,” he said. The prototype that is now being tested is “probably the most advanced autonomous UAV that has been demonstrated,” said Johnson.

Its electronic brain consists of “decision aids” that can selfroute the aircraft, and allow it to hook up with an aerial refueling tanker. A pivotal test will be whether it can land itself on a moving aircraft carrier. “Senior Navy leadership has indicated there will be an unmanned presence on carriers,” said Johnson. “They’re pretty clear that they’re going to continue down that path.”
_______

“It caught the three-wire every time,” he said, referring to the arresting wire pilots try to hit when they land."... http://www.defensenews.com/article/2012 ... se-Testing
___________

"...The Navy is on the cutting edge with its X-47B UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air System), now in tests at Patuxent River, Maryland. Admittedly, the UCAS is only a “demonstrator” – a kind of proto-prototype – to work out the technology of operating unmanned jets off aircraft carriers. But the Navy plans to start work soon on an actual operational stealth drone called UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike), which is set to enter service, perhaps optimistically, in 2019-2020...."
http://defense.aol.com/2012/08/10/drone ... ran-china/
________________

http://www.hrana.org/news.asp#NavyCarrierDronesWayoff
*
NUCAS & PADDLES: http://www.hrana.org/documents/PaddlesM ... er2012.pdf

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 14:02
by marksengineer
It's not a matter of institutional inertia with respect to the Air Force and the type of refueling equipment. You can flow more fuel thru a boom per minute than thru a hose and drogue set-up. When you look at the size and refueling off-loads to large aircraft and the ability to refuel several small aircraft more rapidly it makes sense. That is not to say that hose and drogue doesn't have advantages it's just for the operational needs of the service the boom was and is better. I'm sure they will make both systems work autonomously but my personal opinion is that boom refueling will be easier to automate since there are less variables for the control system to deal with.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 19:08
by spazsinbad
From first URL in my last post above:


Navy Moves Ahead On Automated Aerial Refueling Demo By Graham Warwick 05 Dec 2011

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 397986.xml

"...So it makes sense that, once it has shown it can operate from a carrier, the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator should be tasked with proving autonomous aircraft can refuel in flight from the same tankers, and using the same methods, as manned aircraft.

To that end, the program plans in 2014 to demonstrate that the X-47B can refuel autonomously in flight via U.S. Navy probe-and-drogue and Air Force boom-and-receptacle systems, transferring 3,000 lb. of fuel to the UCAS by each method.

The flight demo will build on work under way, led by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), to develop technologies and operating concepts (conops) for automated aerial refueling (AAR). Key to the effort is proving that precision-GPS relative navigation (relnav) can enable unmanned aircraft to rendezvous with and connect to essentially unmodified aerial tankers.

In the common architecture being developed by the Air Force and Navy, the unmanned receiver and manned tanker exchange position information from onboard global-positioning/inertial-navigation systems (GPS/INS) via a high-integrity data link. The receiver calculates its location relative to the tanker and flies itself into formation, from where it is directed, by its ground control station (GCS) or the tanker itself, to move through the standard refueling positions used by manned aircraft.

Developing a draft conops enabling tankers to refuel both manned and unmanned aircraft is a key goal, says AFRL's Daniel Schreiter, AAR program manager. Producing an architecture to which the government has data rights, so it can maintain a common refueling system across industry primes to ensure integration of the tanker fleet with future unmanned aircraft is another key goal, he says.

The demonstration system developed by AFRL is based on the Northrop Grumman LN-251 GPS/INS and Rockwell Collins TTNT (tactical targeting network technology) data link. “Our goal is to get an AAR variant of the LN-251 [to] a production-standard unit that can be bought off the shelf,” Schreiter says.

Phase 1 of the AAR program included four rounds of flight testing: first to test GPS operation in formation flight; then to test performance of the TTNT data link, followed by closed-loop automated station-keeping: first following the tanker, then allowing the GCS to direct the aircraft between refueling positions....

...The flight demonstration will use the second X-47B, air vehicle 2, which will be equipped for both probe-and-drogue refueling from a 707 tanker and boom refueling from a KC-135. “One aircraft is fully provisioned, but the full-up system is not in place yet,” he says.

“We will take the exact boxes and data link out of the carrier and put them into a rack on the tanker, port the software from the carrier air traffic control center into the tanker operator's station, and do relnav to the tanker with the same hardware,” Engdahl says. The Navy will use the same dual-redundant TTNT data link as AFRL, but Honeywell's H-764G embedded GPS/INS instead of the LN-251.

While the two services are developing a common approach to automated refueling, the Navy version requires an additional step. In the Air Force system, the unmanned aircraft navigates itself to the center of the boom envelope, where the refueling operator on the tanker takes over and steers the boom into contact with the receiver.

In the Navy probe-and-drogue system version, the unmanned aircraft will navigate itself to where the drogue is expected to be, where an onboard sensor will guide the probe into contact with the refueling basket."

Probably best to read entire article at URL.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 19:20
by spazsinbad
Navy Getting Very Close to UAV Aerial Refueling by John Reed on January 26, 2012

http://defensetech.org/2012/01/26/navy- ... refueling/

"So, the Navy just took a big step toward achieving the military’s goal of having UAV’s capable of mid-air refueling.

Last month, a Navy Learjet equipped with flight control software and refueling hardware from the service’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator jet autonomously completed a mock air-to-air refueling from a Boeing 707-based tanker...

...Remember, the Northrop Grumman-made X-47B is designed to prove that a stealthy, fighter-size drone can be operated from aircraft carriers and perform long-range strike, ISR and aerial refueling missions. X-47B is meant to pave the way for the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) combat drone, set to enter service later this decade....

...This is a major step in advancing the flight control systems that allow UAVs to safely fly extremely close to other aircraft and execute potentially dangerous missions. Keep in mind that so-called, automatic sense-and-avoid technology is the key to allowing drones to safely fly in crowded airspace...

...Once sense and avoid is perfected, you’ll see UAVs regularly flying aerial refueling missions and others that require serious interaction with other aircraft, manned and unmanned. You might even see them cleared by the FAA to fly in civil airspace."

Similar info otherwise to last post above but always good to go to read original article at URL.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 19:23
by velocityvector
Anything that can be presented to a human pilot for analysis and decision-making can be processed and executed onboard an aerial vehicle equally or better by the resident machines. The technologies enabling this have been known by computer scientists for more than a decade. We will possibly retain human pilots over the next few decades for the same reason some F-35 will have a gun. Just in case. Still, the savings and vehicle penalties compel elimination of human pilots, whether aboard else on the ground. We know how to do it today, we just need to overcome the human biases and budgetary issues, including the labor to be displaced. The technical means we have already, and I understand my little relevant patch of it. 0.02

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 19:44
by spazsinbad
'neptune' kindly provided this link over on the 'DRONE' forum (whichname applies to some posters BTW) :D but anyway worth looking at again for those wot missed it...

What is the potential and what are the challenges the Navy faces in fielding a UCLASS to the fleet? 28 June 2012 by galrahn

http://www.informationdissemination.net ... gle+Reader

"...While a carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle is known by many names (J-UCAS, X-47B, UCAS-D, and UCAV, among others), the current program scheduled for initial operating capability in 2020 is known as UCLASS, or the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike platform. To understand the potential of UCLASS, as well as the challenges this program faces, we must first take a step back and look at the role the nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) and its associated Carrier Air Wing (CVW) will play in tomorrow's naval strike missions....

...The UCLASS faces at least two challenges. Partially as a result of the the $487 billion in defense cuts levied on the Department of Defense by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the first challenge is that the program's IOC has already slipped from 2018 to 2020. Estimates hold that it would cost roughly $300M to accelerate the program to 2019 and $600M to field it in 2018. Congress must also be aware that further cuts may force this date to slip further.

A second challenge the Navy faces concerns what type of UCLASS it should build and the tradeoff between stealth and range. Some have argued that UCLASS must have a very low radar signature, with the expectation it will need to conduct sustained operations inside a high-threat environment. However, because carrier-based aircraft are limited by their size and weight, an unmanned airframe that has both endurance and stealth would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Alternatively, an unmanned aerial vehicle with conventional wings and modest stealth could provide greater endurance at a more reasonable price.

Along with squadrons of F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and the F-35C, I believe the CVW of the future should include a detachment of 4-6 UCLASS so that it could have a larger strike radius. A UCLASS program with an endurance of greater than 12 hours (or roughly a 1,000nm combat radius), that is moderately stealthy, and can carry as much or more payload than the F-35 carries internally would transform the CVW from a capability with short tactical reach to a global naval strike and reconnaissance platform. A UCLASS with 12-14 hour endurance would allow for 2 launch/recoveries each day to provide full 24-hour ISR coverage from each platform. More importantly, a UCLASS outfitted with JSOW could operate as a "missile truck," to borrow the Chief of Naval Operations terminology, while freeing up high-end platforms like the F-35C to perform other missions.

In short, a CVW with a detachment of UCLASS equipped with stand-off weapons would give the CVN of the future the capacity and reach to hold targets at risk while operating outside the ASBM envelope. This would help to reduce the operational advantage the ASBM offers while increasing the strategic and operational flexibility of American decision-makers.

Considering the changes to the security environment on the horizon, the promise of the UCLASS program (teamed with stand-off weapons) for the Navy should be considered on par with the early 20th century leap from 20nm battleship gun battles to carrier air strikes from 300nm. Just like during this period of innovation and transition, it will be up to civilian and military officials to lead the Navy forward and the Congress to adequately invest in the capabilities to ensure the CVN's continued relevance as an instrument of American power in the coming half-century."

LONG POST best read at source especially for background info on CVN positive features.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Oct 2012, 23:58
by count_to_10
velocityvector wrote:Anything that can be presented to a human pilot for analysis and decision-making can be processed and executed onboard an aerial vehicle equally or better by the resident machines. The technologies enabling this have been known by computer scientists for more than a decade. We will possibly retain human pilots over the next few decades for the same reason some F-35 will have a gun. Just in case. Still, the savings and vehicle penalties compel elimination of human pilots, whether aboard else on the ground. We know how to do it today, we just need to overcome the human biases and budgetary issues, including the labor to be displaced. The technical means we have already, and I understand my little relevant patch of it. 0.02

Computers are only as effective as their programing. One of the major difficulties with attacking ground targets, particularly in urban or CAS environments, is that there is a lot of contextual information that a human pilot already has, but may not have been programed into the machine. This is particularly important when trying to limit collateral damage.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2012, 01:01
by neurotech
count_to_10 wrote:Computers are only as effective as their programing. One of the major difficulties with attacking ground targets, particularly in urban or CAS environments, is that there is a lot of contextual information that a human pilot already has, but may not have been programed into the machine. This is particularly important when trying to limit collateral damage.

Yes, and I think they'll be resistance for a long time towards human-out-of-the-loop fire control on UCAVs, and for good reason.

The old Air Traffic Control joke comes to mind.
"An air traffic controller can route thousands of jets without incident, but when there is a collision .. everyone makes a big deal about it."

There have been cases of smart weapons systems failing to identify targets correctly, and even more cases of human-machine interface design flaws causing problems for the human operator in identifying the targets. If an semi-autonomous strike UCAV accidently mis-identifies a target, it will be a very big deal..

(I am a programmer btw)

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2012, 01:48
by spazsinbad
From previous page is this URL that was not highlighted but it is also relevant to these 'human' issues:

Navy’s Unmanned Combat Aircraft Flying Under Cloud of Uncertainty
February 2012 By Sandra I. Erwin

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... Pages/Navy’sUnmannedCombatAircraftFlyingUnderCloudofUncertainty.aspx?PF=1

"...The science behind unpiloted flying is well understood by now, after years of progressively more frequent deployments of drones by the U.S. military. Scientists have perfected technologies such as autonomous flying — which does not require a controller on the ground — and in-flight refueling of unmanned aircraft. They are now finding that the technology, although mature, is running up against policies that could hinder its progress. Rules that restrict independent UAV flying, experts contend, are expected to slow the expansion of unmanned aircraft.

“Making an unmanned vehicle fly is not a challenge. It’s an airplane, and we understand those pretty darn well, whether they’re large or small,” said Rebecca Ahne, deputy chief technology officer of the Naval Aviation Enterprise, under the Naval Air Systems Command, in Patuxent River, Md.

The NAE oversees the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ $40 billion worth of aviation programs, including 3,700 aircraft and 11 aircraft carriers.

Ahne said the naval aviation community, like its Air Force and Army counterparts, is comfortable operating remotely controlled aircraft, but it could be awhile before more advanced autonomous systems are seen taking off and landing on carrier decks....

...Ahne does not see any technological barriers to having combat aircraft flying autonomously, but she sees “lots of policy issues” that have to be resolved before engineers can continue to push the technology. “Whether we’ll be allowed to do that [fly autonomously] certainly drives technology,” she said. “Instead of truly autonomous, do we need a system that can alternate between autonomous and man in the loop?”

There are also well-known regulatory barriers that are imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration that limit unmanned aircraft flying in U.S. airspace. Safety concerns are magnified when it comes to the crowded deck of an aircraft carrier, where UAVs would have to share the congested airspace and deck area with manned aircraft and crews.

“The biggest challenges are control and communications,” Ahne said. There is no clear consensus on what level of autonomy vehicles should have, she added....

...Carl Johnson, program manager for unmanned combat air systems at Northrop Grumman, said the technology is advancing rapidly, but there are still unresolved procedural issues. “There aren’t that many technical constraints,” he told National Defense. “The question is more about policy, procedures, how do you handle automation, what is the protocol, is there a man in the loop?”

The culture has yet to catch up with the technology, Johnson said. “We’re not ready yet for that kind of mentality in unmanned systems.”

At their most basic level, UAVs are flown by a human “in the loop” with a joystick, then they progress to “man on the loop,” which allows the operator to override the machine. “Then you look at how you might allow advanced levels of autonomy and how policies will enable that,” said Johnson.

The X-47B is being designed to fly in highly defended airspace, and even when GPS satellite navigation signals are blocked. “The technologies for survivability are very mature,” said Johnson. In the absence of communication links, “there are approaches that an autonomous UAV can deal with,” he said. The prototype that is now being tested is “probably the most advanced autonomous UAV that has been demonstrated,” said Johnson.

Its electronic brain consists of “decision aids” that can self-route the aircraft, and allow it to hook up with an aerial refueling tanker. A pivotal test will be whether it can land itself on a moving aircraft carrier...."

Another long article - these excerpts do not do it justice - please read at original URL. Thanks.

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2012, 02:04
by Gums
Salute!

Who is this "velocity" dude?

I borrow/paraphrase from a U.S. Senate hearing when the TFX/F-111/'vark was under the gun.

"Just what, if any, experience does the Secretary have?"

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 17 Oct 2012, 23:53
by velocityvector
Gums wrote:Salute!

Who is this "velocity" dude?

I borrow/paraphrase from a U.S. Senate hearing when the TFX/F-111/'vark was under the gun.

"Just what, if any, experience does the Secretary have?"

Gums sends...

Just like the Sexcretary, I choose to assert my 1st and "5th" Amendment rights. That is my choice, you are free to draw inferences. Cheers.

/sDudeVelocity

Unread postPosted: 18 Oct 2012, 22:57
by Gums
Salute!

No big deal, velocity.

And BTW, Sec McNamara had no coherent reply.

+++++++++

Problem here is establishing credentials and not being viewed as a "troll" on these forums.

The views and opinions of the UAV advocates are not without merit. And I have not resisted the employment of the drones/UAV's for many missions.

From the perspective of the on-scene commander of several combat missions, I can guarantee that the computer programs and cosmic sensors could not come up with an effective "next move" when the situation changed dramatically within a minute, or maybe seconds. You know? The Boyd OODA sort of thing. [ I am not a Boyd disciple to the nth degree]

The drones do not possess "judgement". And there are times, particularly in CAS and SAR scenarios, that require a lot of "judgement".

So I fully support drone attacks on pre-planned targets that we are considering the X-47B operational verion for. Hell, we can even go for IAD suppression missions as long as we don't have friendlies or many innocent civilians in the area. I can also envision coming into the target area with a few drone wingmen and then assigning them targets/threats to eliminate. No big deal.

What bugs me is a drone with so-called artificial intelligence and I /we humans had no way to stop the damn thing when we found out something wasn't right.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 04:33
by neptune
Gums wrote:Salute!

....What bugs me is a drone with so-called artificial intelligence and I /we humans had no way to stop the damn thing when we found out something wasn't right.

Gums sends...


Like Gums, I have no affinity for the AI, but persistence in a drone is demanded and pilot fatigue is an issue.

In this case Aurora Flight Services and Raytheon, in concert with DARPA, will test a persistent battlefield close air support Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) concept utilizing a retired A-10 airframe as the platform.

As a proponent for truly persistent close air support, where the Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC) has the ability to request weapons effects on demand. In other words, allowing the JTAC to literally click points on a map he wants to attack, then select from a menu of weapons available on an orbiting platform to get his desired effects on each target. Press send, repeat if necessary.

Not my original idea but shared by many,

http://aviationintel.com/2012/02/21/unm ... interface/

Interesting website but some "far-out stuff".

In the end, "man-in-the-loop" is required for the far seeable future. Whether a drone driver or a JTAC, weapons delivery must be "personal". Watching the Navy have a go with the X-47 will be quite interesting in comparison to the operation of AF/ Army, MQ-1/ MQ-1C. At least with the X-47, fleet defense would be anticipated in some form of Air to Air combat? :idea:

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 05:51
by Gums
Salute!

Neptune has a lot correct.

One thing not mentioned by Neptune was the "instant" comm between the grunts and the CAS planes, whether helos or Warthogs, or Vipers or Lightnings.

A typical CAS mission with good guys and bad guys in close proximity requires great care to prevent fratricide. There have been well-documented drone attacks on You Tube that show that the drones can be effective if the action is slow and the bad guys can be easily isolated/identified. In my experience, the trading of tracers back and forth was pretty clear. But I could look very quickly all around and make a judgement if things didn't "look right". The drone cannot make such a judgement. And remember HAL.

Even back in '68 we had a separate radio to talk directly with the grunts. Same for the combat SAR missions I flew a few years later. Made a lotta difference in what we did and what we stopped doing if hitting too close to the good guys or not hitting the bad guys with better effect. But most importantly, it allowed us to respond instantly if something happened that a drone or AI drone would have to "consider", regardless of the power of the computers and the pre-programmed whatever.

Sorry to wax poetic, but that's the way i see it.

I am not anti-drone or anti-AI in general. But I prefer the Asimov laws for the robots versus the "terminator" laws.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 06:35
by munny
Gums wrote:What bugs me is a drone with so-called artificial intelligence and I /we humans had no way to stop the damn thing when we found out something wasn't right.

Gums sends...


How many autonomous drones are there other than GlobalHawk and ....this guy? It wasn't him was it?

Image

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 11:46
by count_to_10
Gums wrote:Salute!

Neptune has a lot correct.

One thing not mentioned by Neptune was the "instant" comm between the grunts and the CAS planes, whether helos or Warthogs, or Vipers or Lightnings.

A typical CAS mission with good guys and bad guys in close proximity requires great care to prevent fratricide. There have been well-documented drone attacks on You Tube that show that the drones can be effective if the action is slow and the bad guys can be easily isolated/identified. In my experience, the trading of tracers back and forth was pretty clear. But I could look very quickly all around and make a judgement if things didn't "look right". The drone cannot make such a judgement. And remember HAL.

Even back in '68 we had a separate radio to talk directly with the grunts. Same for the combat SAR missions I flew a few years later. Made a lotta difference in what we did and what we stopped doing if hitting too close to the good guys or not hitting the bad guys with better effect. But most importantly, it allowed us to respond instantly if something happened that a drone or AI drone would have to "consider", regardless of the power of the computers and the pre-programmed whatever.

Sorry to wax poetic, but that's the way i see it.

I am not anti-drone or anti-AI in general. But I prefer the Asimov laws for the robots versus the "terminator" laws.

Gums sends...

I wonder if the issue of CAS inaccuracy is part of why the psychological effect of the presence of CAS aircraft has historically been as or more important than the actual damage they do.
Perhaps more accurate systems will change that.

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 12:52
by f-22lm
So if the F-35C is going to operate with the x-47b, then the Boeing Phantom Ray could be operating with the F-35A? :?:

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 16:16
by maus92
I'm with Gums in that I wouldn't want an UCLASS / UAV to have the ability to attack targets autonomously on CAS missions where fratricide or collateral damages are a risk . What could be done is allow the FAC to control the drone's weaponry via datalink. The FAC sees what the UCLASS sensors sees, or the FAC sends verified coordinates to the UCLASS...

For a deep strike mission, an UCLASS could accompany a manned strike, bringing more weapons to the fight.

An UCLASS could be assigned to a number of CAP mission profiles, and allowed to attack autonomously if targets meet certain conditions - or it could be controlled by the air defense organization.

My favorite application for an UCLASS is a tanker. They could be assigned tracks at various points to support a strike by tactical aircraft, be an escort tanker, or be stationed around the boat for helping aircraft in a low fuel state.

There is a place for drones, but I do not think it would be wise to replace manned aircraft it situations where human judgement is paramount.

Unread postPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 17:24
by sferrin
Now if the X-47 could be temporarily taken over by a FAC and feed the FAC realtime video, control of weapons, targeting (but not flight - let the FCS fly the plane) etc. . .

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2012, 02:38
by count_to_10
sferrin wrote:Now if the X-47 could be temporarily taken over by a FAC and feed the FAC realtime video, control of weapons, targeting (but not flight - let the FCS fly the plane) etc. . .

I think that is where the army is trying to go with CAS in the future.

Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2012, 16:24
by quicksilver
archeman wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:Then there is this:

X-47B UCAS B-roll

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IDIucbCDEk

"Published on Sep 4, 2012 by northropgrummanmedia
X-47B UCAS B-roll"


That video has some pretty cool but also some dumb stuff in it.

List of dumbs:

* I don't see any advantage to UAVs using close formation flying - they don't do that now because they don't want them crashing into each other but even when that is less of a concern the traditional wing-man concept just isn't there (no man). The mutual interference will be greater than the mutual support.

* Low level flyby of the tower??? You might do that for laughs if you were in the aircraft and could enjoy it but if your not there then all you get is trouble and no laughs.

* UAV Dropping ordinance at 40% bank? Unlikely scenario. The moments before ordinance release will be completely filled and scripted carefully - like making sure the target approach is lined up correctly.


And possibly one more -- who was the LSO talking to? :wink:

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Oct 2012, 16:44
by marksengineer
There is an article in the Oct. 22 issue of Aviation Week describing the Boeing pitch to the Army of a MLRS rocket launched SDB. The key points are that it is all weather, can be delivered on any axis with respect to the location of troops and has the ability to hit targets on the reverse slope of mountains, etc.. Also mentions that Raytheon could do this with the SDB-II.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Nov 2012, 02:02
by f-22lm
X-47B UCAS successfully operated by CDU

Northrop Grumman has taken a first critical step toward demonstrating that the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator can be manoeuvred safely and wirelessly on the crowded deck of an aircraft carrier. The company carried out a shore-based trial in cooperation with the US Navy in early November which saw the aircraft successfully controlled by a new wireless, handheld device called a Control Display Unit (CDU).


‘Instead of towing the aircraft out to the flight line, we can now start the X-47B outside its hangar, then use the CDU to taxi it out to the runway, or into a catapult for launch. Use of the CDU is the most time-efficient way to move the X-47B into the catapult or disengage it from the arresting gear after landing.’

More here at the jump. :D

http://www.shephardmedia.com/news/uv-on ... rated-cdu/

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2012, 22:26
by f-22lm
X-47B unmanned test aircraft hoisted aboard ship for first sea tests

Covered in protective wrapping, the X-47B sits on a barge before being hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) at Norfolk naval base on Nov. 26. In the background is the amphibious assault ship USS WASP (LHD 1). (U.S. Navy photograph)
One of two Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft was barged down from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and arrived on Nov. 26 at Norfolk naval base, Va., where it was promptly hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75). This marks the first time one of the stealthy aircraft has been on board a ship.

TRUMAN was fitted during a recent overhaul with gear and software to operate the X-47B, the first jet unmanned strike aircraft designed for carrier operation. Extensive carrier deck handling tests will be run before flying operations take place later this winter.

The carrier will undertake three weeks of tests with the X-47B, both in port at Norfolk and underway along the Atlantic coast. Engineers and sailors will use a hand-held control display unit to control the aircraft moving along the carrier’s deck.

TRUMAN is scheduled to deploy to the U.S. Central Command region early in 2013.


Image

Image

Image

Image

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... PLHC5rwOYo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Z_RVrMjH8#!

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2012, 22:33
by spazsinbad
2 different videos on Utube - go here for info: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... rt-90.html Stroll down...

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2012, 22:57
by f-22lm
spazsinbad wrote:2 different videos on Utube - go here for info: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... rt-90.html Stroll down...
Spaz always beat me to it :D.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2012, 00:36
by KamenRiderBlade
Is it me, or am I getting the feeling that the X-47B is just a over priced drone with not enough bang for the buck in terms of what a drone should / can do.

Wouldn't the Naval variant of the 'MQ-9 Reaper' be better suited for similar missions as the X-47B without the high costs?

And if they were worried about stealth, couldn't stealth paint coating be applied as a quick solution to decrease the Reaper's radar signature?

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2012, 00:50
by count_to_10
Like the F-35, the cost is probably more the avionics than the stealth. Autonomy isn't cheep.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2012, 01:03
by bigjku
The X-47B is a heavy strike drone. The Reaper is more of a persistent recon platform that can be armed. They don't really do the same thing. Once you toughened up the Reaper to make it a carrier capable platform it would lose a ton of capability as well. It is not designed at all to operate from a carrier with long, thin wings and sticks for an undercarriage.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2012, 01:04
by Prinz_Eugn
kamenriderblade wrote:Is it me, or am I getting the feeling that the X-47B is just a over priced drone with not enough bang for the buck in terms of what a drone should / can do.

Wouldn't the Naval variant of the 'MQ-9 Reaper' be better suited for similar missions as the X-47B without the high costs?

And if they were worried about stealth, couldn't stealth paint coating be applied as a quick solution to decrease the Reaper's radar signature?


It's you.

No.

Also, no.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2012, 01:16
by Orangeburst
[quote="f-22lm"]X-47B unmanned test aircraft hoisted aboard ship for first sea tests

Kinda reminds me of the Langley....a future not foreseen by many

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Nov 2012, 17:28
by marksengineer
Latest on Autonomy of weapon systems from DOD:

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corr ... 00009p.pdf

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 29 Nov 2012, 00:03
by batu731
kamenriderblade wrote:Is it me, or am I getting the feeling that the X-47B is just a over priced drone with not enough bang for the buck in terms of what a drone should / can do.

Wouldn't the Naval variant of the 'MQ-9 Reaper' be better suited for similar missions as the X-47B without the high costs?

And if they were worried about stealth, couldn't stealth paint coating be applied as a quick solution to decrease the Reaper's radar signature?


What? You expect MQ9 fly deep into A2/AD area and pull off some fancy stuff?
No, they are different aircraft with complete different purposes.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 00:49
by spazsinbad
NAVAIR Clips: X-47B Inaugural Land-Based Catapult Launch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... HtMowd8eWc

"Published on Nov 29, 2012 by NAVAIRSYSCOM
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator successfully completed its inaugural land-based catapult launch Nov. 29 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

The Navy's first-ever steam catapult launch of the pilotless X-47B ensures the vehicle can structurally handle the rigors of the unique and stringent aircraft-carrier environment. Read more at:

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5199

CAPTION: "Launching crew prepares the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) for its first land-based catapult launch Nov. 29 from Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)"

http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 96_082.jpg
&
http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 9003_1.jpg

CAPTION: "The X-47B prepares for its inaugural catapult shot Nov. 29 at Patuxent River, Md. The Navy’s first-ever steam catapult launch of the pilotless X-47B ensures the vehicle can structurally handle the rigors of the unique and stringent aircraft-carrier environment.(U.S. Navy photo)"

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 03:16
by Gums
Salute!

I was surprised the Navy didn't do a trap when the sucker landed.

The thing can prolly fly an approach as good as a human, and it would have made a super video and great PR.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 03:46
by spazsinbad
I guess we will see the video of the first arrest (Hallo Hallo Hallo) however the X-47B had some hook troubles also (being fixed if not already fixed by now - there is a story about it somewhere on these forums).

I would guess that the other X-47B now aboard CVN will arrest and catapult at some stage next year because already it has arrested successfully ashore - and we have not heard about it. OR more testing is in the works before the end of the year for this X-47B on the catapult. Anyway here is the old story:

http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... ook#230963 (Stroll to end of page)

Fleet Readiness Center “hooks up” unmanned aircraft 05 Sept 2012

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5114

"...In less than two months, despite the design challenges, the UCAS team received the completed parts from FRCSW in early August, avoiding costly delays and allowing the team to proceed with aircraft testing. Since then, the X-47B successfully engaged the arresting gear with the redesigned hook point during three separate roll-in arrestment tests...."

We have not seen or heard of any fly-in arrest X-47B tests though.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 04:13
by bigjku
I am curious when one might expect to see an X-47 variant actually in service. My presumption is that these first couple models will fly just fine but probably have not been programed for tactical operations yet. I would assume that a basic model dropping JDAM's would be fairly simply to do but I don't really know how far down that path they have gone.

Also does anyone know if the weapons bay is a straight port from the F-35? They seem to have pretty much the same capacity.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 04:27
by spazsinbad
Based Unmanned Aircraft In 2013 (NATIONAL DEFENSE 14 NOV 12) Valerie Insinna

http://www.hrana.org/news.asp#NavyToLaunchCompetition

"Defense contractors will be asked to submit proposals next year for a next generation unmanned aerial system that will be deployed from aircraft carriers, said the Navy’s deputy program executive officer for UAS.

After a two-year delay, the Navy expects to issue a request for proposals in 2013 for its Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS). The goal is to have the aircraft in the fleet by 2020, said Patrick Buckley at a Nov. 9 conference on unmanned aerial systems in Springfield, Va.

The road to establishing requirements for UCLASS has been fraught with debate, with officials in a tug-of-war on how advanced UCLASS should be, given fiscal and technological constraints....

...UCLASS will harness “mature” technology that has been demonstrated in relevant operational environments, as opposed to technology in very early stages of development, Buckley said. Bidders can propose commercial off-the-shelf or modified off-the-shelf components within their design, as well as new components that contain mature technology, he continued.

The project includes three segments: upgrades to carriers to support unmanned operations, the UCLASS aircraft and mission systems, and the command-and-control system. The Navy will be the lead systems integrator for the components, providing data and interface specifications to allow the contractor to deliver the air vehicle and mission systems, Buckley said. Finnegan predicts contractors will offer systems based on existing platforms....

...He expects all UCLASS competitors will be U.S. firms. Because of the classified nature of the project, there will be limitations placed upon the involvement of foreign defense contractors, said Buckley. “I don’t know to what degree those limitations will be, but there will be some.”

Best read it all at the jump if it is still there or google key phrases for original somewhere out there.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-n2U4GkmnatU/T ... 0/X47B.jpg

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 04:37
by 1st503rdsgt
bigjku wrote:I am curious when one might expect to see an X-47 variant actually in service.
Well, the X-47 only won a demonstrator contract, and the USN has yet to open an actual UCLASS design competition (4-5 years) or conduct a prototype build and fly-off (another 2-3 years). After that, we have ~15 years of development-hell for the winner to look forward to (and we thought the F-35's software was a nightmare). Let's see... if they got started tomorrow, we might have an operational aircraft by the mid-late 2030s. [edit] Frankly, the 2020 date is laughable for a TACAIR platform.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 04:41
by spazsinbad
IF my eyes don't deceive me a chap in the article above said this: "...the Navy expects to issue a request for proposals in 2013 for its Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS). The goal is to have the aircraft in the fleet by 2020, said Patrick Buckley at a Nov. 9 conference..." Now I'm no crystal ball gazer but it seems to me that so far the X-47B has hit all the marks and some and is on the way to being a successful demonstrator - all going well subsequently. Then the requirements for follow-on UCLASS seem to be realistic for a timely result (as per the article above).

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 04:49
by bigjku
I think they will do better than that frankly at least for an early operational ability. I would presume the first thing they would want it to do is use its range to lob JSOW's and JDAM's at targets. That should not be all that complicated really.

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 10:20
by spazsinbad
X-47B UCAS wireless ground handling demo VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... TVNIVjMDhM

"Published on Nov 15, 2012 by theworacle
US Navy video of the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator being maneuvered on the ground at NAS Patuxent River, Md, using a wireless hand controller attached to the operator's wrist. This land-based test simulates moving the unmanned aircraft on a carrier deck. The controller has a hand tiller and other controls to wirelessly control the vehicle's engine thrust, mainwheel braking and nosewheel steering, and to exercise the flight-control surfaces and raise and lower the tailhook. The X-47B is planned to operate from a US Navy aircraft carrier in 2013."

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 13:18
by f-22lm
Image

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 20:01
by gtx
kamenriderblade wrote:And if they were worried about stealth, couldn't stealth paint coating be applied as a quick solution to decrease the Reaper's radar signature?


It is a fallacy to think that you can just add some "stealth" paint to a standard platform to get a useful reduction in RCS. sigh, if only it were that easy, I'd be buying shares in paint companies already... :lol:

Unread postPosted: 30 Nov 2012, 20:01
by spazsinbad
U.S. Navy 'stealth drone' takes to the sea for tests: The autonomous X-47B is hoped to be first carrier-borne unmanned aircraft By Damien Gayle 29 Nov 2012

The drone will be the first to be piloted entirely by artificial intelligence

Tests hope to prove it can take off and land from an aircraft carrier
It has a claimed range of 2,000 miles and flight time of six hours

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... craft.html

"A stealth drone set to be the world's first unmanned, robot aircraft piloted by artificial intelligence rather than a remote human operator has taken to the sea for tests.

If the futuristic killer drone completes all its sea trials then it will be first aircraft capable of autonomously landing onto an aircraft carrier.

In development for five years, the X-47B drone is designed to take off, fly a pre-programmed mission then return to base in response to a few mouse clicks from its operator....

(...The difference between the X-47B and previous drones is that it will not be pilot movement by movement by a remote - like a remote control car would be.

Instead, it will be controlled by a forearm-mounted box called the Control Display Unit which can independently think for itself, plotting course corrections and charting new directions....") [Probably an editing mixup that may be corrected online.]
&
"...The aircraft is as yet not equipped with military hardware, but is designed for ample space to accommodate bombs and surveillance equipment.

Not having a pilot eliminated the need for much of the life support equipment and other essentials that humans need to survive at high altitudes.

The aircraft has a claimed unrefuelled range of 2,000 miles and a flight endurance of more than six hours. It can carry two 2,000lb bombs.

A variant of the craft, the X-47C will have a larger payload provision of 10,000 pounds and a wingspan of 172-feet..."

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/11/ ... 06x221.jpg

Best to read entire article - it also refers to ethics.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 00:06
by count_to_10
10,000 lbs of payload is kind of small for 172 ft of wing span, isn't it?

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 03:34
by popcorn
I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 03:36
by popcorn
I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 04:18
by 1st503rdsgt
popcorn wrote:I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.
The Sea Avenger is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the other contenders... something to think about with a type of weapon system that is fundamentally more prone to crashing than manned aircraft.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 05:04
by popcorn
1st503rdsgt wrote:
popcorn wrote:I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.
The Sea Avenger is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the other contenders... something to think about with a type of weapon system that is fundamentally more prone to crashing than manned aircraft.


The Navy is likely hedging it's bets. Sea Avenger would appear to offer a pedigree of proven performance at a lower price point vs. more expensive bleeding-edge alternatives from NG, LMA and Boeing.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 05:11
by popcorn
1st503rdsgt wrote:
popcorn wrote:I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.
The Sea Avenger is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the other contenders... something to think about with a type of weapon system that is fundamentally more prone to crashing than manned aircraft.


The Navy is likely hedging it's bets. Sea Avenger would appear to offer a pedigree of proven performance at a lower price point vs. more expensive bleeding-edge alternatives from NG, LMA and Boeing.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 05:25
by XanderCrews
Navy Pilots: "You can't fly over water with one engine safely"

NAVY: "Oh?" *Removes pilots.*

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 06:09
by megasun
popcorn wrote:
1st503rdsgt wrote:
popcorn wrote:I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.
The Sea Avenger is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the other contenders... something to think about with a type of weapon system that is fundamentally more prone to crashing than manned aircraft.


The Navy is likely hedging it's bets. Sea Avenger would appear to offer a pedigree of proven performance at a lower price point vs. more expensive bleeding-edge alternatives from NG, LMA and Boeing.


I don't think Navy wants a predator-like low-intensity conflicts UAV. Navy needs not only long range penetration capability, but also favors long endurance surveillance role and BACN role

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 07:50
by neurotech
popcorn wrote:The Navy is likely hedging it's bets. Sea Avenger would appear to offer a pedigree of proven performance at a lower price point vs. more expensive bleeding-edge alternatives from NG, LMA and Boeing.

Yeap, and consolidation in the market reduces competitive pressure on prices.
F-35 = LM with NG as subcontractor.
F-22 = LM with Boeing subcontractor
F/A-18 = Boeing with NG As subcontractor.

General Atomics overall has done pretty well with the UAVs, except for the ground station malware SNAFU. The RQ-4 program has hit cost increases and other issues.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 08:21
by 1st503rdsgt
megasun wrote:
popcorn wrote:
1st503rdsgt wrote:
popcorn wrote:I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.
The Sea Avenger is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the other contenders... something to think about with a type of weapon system that is fundamentally more prone to crashing than manned aircraft.
The Navy is likely hedging it's bets. Sea Avenger would appear to offer a pedigree of proven performance at a lower price point vs. more expensive bleeding-edge alternatives from NG, LMA and Boeing.
I don't think Navy wants a predator-like low-intensity conflicts UAV. Navy needs not only long range penetration capability, but also favors long endurance surveillance role and BACN role
I'd hardly consider the Avenger limited to COIN missions. Doubtless, it's not quite so survivable as the competition; but that's not really the main consideration when talking about unmanned systems, especially when such systems are subject to much higher loss-rates from accidents anyways. Take human pilots out of the equation, and cost-control suddenly becomes a lot more important.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 11:04
by megasun
1st503rdsgt wrote:
megasun wrote:
popcorn wrote:
1st503rdsgt wrote:
popcorn wrote:I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.
The Sea Avenger is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the other contenders... something to think about with a type of weapon system that is fundamentally more prone to crashing than manned aircraft.
The Navy is likely hedging it's bets. Sea Avenger would appear to offer a pedigree of proven performance at a lower price point vs. more expensive bleeding-edge alternatives from NG, LMA and Boeing.
I don't think Navy wants a predator-like low-intensity conflicts UAV. Navy needs not only long range penetration capability, but also favors long endurance surveillance role and BACN role
I'd hardly consider the Avenger limited to COIN missions. Doubtless, it's not quite so survivable as the competition; but that's not really the main consideration when talking about unmanned systems, especially when such systems are subject to much higher loss-rates from accidents anyways. Take human pilots out of the equation, and cost-control suddenly becomes a lot more important.

IMHO, cruise missiles are for high loss-rate tasks. UAVs are still expected to come back most of times, so that it can carry valuable equipments and sensors, and built to last many years. 1 main benefit of unmanned is for longer endurance than human pilots, like RQ-4

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 11:24
by 1st503rdsgt
megasun wrote:
1st503rdsgt wrote:
megasun wrote:
popcorn wrote:
1st503rdsgt wrote:
popcorn wrote:I think it's interesting that of the 4 competing UCLASS contenders, the Navy is considering the Sea Avenger with its canted tails. The USN had been playing up the X-47B and it's tailless design which would help it penetrate and survive in advanced IAD environments.
The Sea Avenger is also a hell of a lot cheaper than the other contenders... something to think about with a type of weapon system that is fundamentally more prone to crashing than manned aircraft.
The Navy is likely hedging it's bets. Sea Avenger would appear to offer a pedigree of proven performance at a lower price point vs. more expensive bleeding-edge alternatives from NG, LMA and Boeing.
I don't think Navy wants a predator-like low-intensity conflicts UAV. Navy needs not only long range penetration capability, but also favors long endurance surveillance role and BACN role
I'd hardly consider the Avenger limited to COIN missions. Doubtless, it's not quite so survivable as the competition; but that's not really the main consideration when talking about unmanned systems, especially when such systems are subject to much higher loss-rates from accidents anyways. Take human pilots out of the equation, and cost-control suddenly becomes a lot more important.
IMHO, cruise missiles are for high loss-rate tasks. UAVs are still expected to come back most of times, so that it can carry valuable equipments and sensors, and built to last many years.
Then it's a matter of balancing costs against what one would consider "most of times." I suspect the Avenger has the most useful ratio, given that its competitors will most likely be ~$40 mil a pop.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 11:31
by madrat
They still can use Firebee for the one-way tasks. When people think about UAV technology they forget how broad the topic can be.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 11:38
by madrat
maus92 wrote:I'm with Gums in that I wouldn't want an UCLASS / UAV to have the ability to attack targets autonomously on CAS missions where fratricide or collateral damages are a risk . What could be done is allow the FAC to control the drone's weaponry via datalink. The FAC sees what the UCLASS sensors sees, or the FAC sends verified coordinates to the UCLASS...


From what I understand is that the secure link requires the signals to go to space and back regardless of where the operator is located. Whether control is locus or regional doesn't matter much at that point.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 19:40
by spazsinbad
Autonomous drone poses no technology challenges for Navy, official says By Bob Brewin, November 30, 2012

http://www.nextgov.com/defense/2012/11/ ... ng-HPriver

"The Navy has not found technology challenges in developing the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system aircraft, Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for the system, told a press briefing Friday.

Designed to fly autonomously without a ground-based pilot, unlike drones such as the Air Force’s Predator, the X-47 successfully completed its first catapult launch Thursday from the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Md. The craft then flew and landed back at the base, said Carl Johnson, the Northrop Grumman program manager.

The Navy loaded the second X-47B demonstrator on the Norfolk, Va.-based USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier on Tuesday for flight deck test operations. A catapult launch and flight test for the unmanned aircraft from an East Coast-based carrier is slated for the summer of 2013.

The Navy last year conducted flight tests of the X-47B at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., transported the drone to Patuxent River this year and ran a successful 36-minute flight test in July over the Chesapeake Bay.

In addition to these live tests, Navy and Northrop Grumman officials said the X-47B has flown thousands of flights in a computer simulation lab, and Engdahl said that the service “has not found any technology challenges” through any stages of flight, including launch, simulated aerial refueling and landing.

Mike Mackey, another Northrop Grumman program director, said the aircraft is managed by 3.5 million lines of software code. Engdahl said this software digitizes the view a pilot would have for flight operations, including carrier landings.

Software is also installed in carrier air traffic control systems, with a version of that software installed at Patuxent River. While the X-47B flies autonomously, it still is monitored by a live operator, Engdahl said.

Precision GPS systems installed on a carrier and on the X-47B provide a glide slope path to guide the aircraft onto the ship, he said.

The X-47B’s autonomous flight on Thursday stayed within inches of the programmed flight path, Johnson said, compared with the four-mile deviation allowed for commercial aircraft using precision navigation systems over the Atlantic.

Thursday’s launch and the flight deck tests on the Truman are manually controlled by a Northrop-developed control display unit which allows an operator to control engine thrust, nose wheel steering and brakes. “The CDU is fundamental to integrating the X-47B into carrier deck operations," said Daryl Martis, Northrop’s test director.

"It will allow us to move the aircraft quickly and precisely into the catapult for launch, or out of the landing area following recovery,” he said. “Both of these activities are essential to maintaining the rhythm of the flight deck.”

Whether or not the Navy will ever deploy a squadron of unmanned aircraft is not known at this time. But Engdahl said he already sees a payoff for improved performance of manned flight operations in the future, including carrier landings in rough weather and nighttime aerial refueling.

All of the post is above.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 20:15
by f-22lm
Dassault Aviation:The nEUROn makes its maiden flight


Image

With a length of 10 meters, a wingspan of 12.5 meters and an empty weight of 5 tons, the aircraft is powered by a Rolls-Royce Turbomeca "Adour" engine.

The nEUROn will continue to undergo testing in France until 2014, at which time it will be sent to Vidsel in Sweden for a series of operational trials. It will then go to the Perdadesfogu range (Italy) for further tests, in particular firing and stealth measurements.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... vowBrTNOA#!
X-47b competitor.

Unread postPosted: 01 Dec 2012, 20:19
by spazsinbad
US aircraft carrier tests new drone 30 Nov 2012 by W.J. Hennigan

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-te ... 2aik0.html

“...the X-47B, is designed to perform one of aviation's most difficult maneuvers: landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. What's even more remarkable is that it will do that not only without a pilot in the cockpit, but without a pilot at all.

With the drone's ability to be flown autonomously by an on-board computer, the X-47B marks a paradigm shift in warfare....

...The X-47B could carry out a combat mission controlled entirely by a computer. A human pilot designs a flight path and sends it on its way, and a computer program guides it from a ship to target and back....

...The X-47B is an experimental jet — that's what the X stands for — and is designed to demonstrate new technology, such as automated takeoffs, landings and refueling. The drone also has a fully capable weapons bay with a payload capacity of 2040 kilograms, but the Navy said it has no plans to arm it....

...The Navy has said it expects the X-47B to first land on a carrier by 2013, relying on pinpoint GPS coordinates and advanced avionics. The carrier's computers digitally transmit the carrier's speed, cross-winds and other data to the drone as it approaches from kilometres away.”

Guts of important stuff above - youse know the rest....

Unread postPosted: 02 Dec 2012, 09:04
by spazsinbad
Can the 'EuroMORON' land on a carrier? :D Anyway...

Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration [UCAS-D] (X- 47B)

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... 1683359B26

Mission
The mission of the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) is to mature technologies for a carrier (CV) suitable, low observable (LO) relevant, unmanned air system (UAS), while reducing risk for UAS carrier integration and developing the critical data necessary to support potential follow-on acquisition programs.

Description
In the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy was directed to restructure the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program and develop an unmanned, longer- range carrier-based aircraft capable of being air-refueled to provide greater aircraft carrier standoff capability, to expand payload and launch options, and to increase naval reach and persistence.

The Navy UCAS program will develop and demonstrate a CV suitable, LO relevant, unmanned air system in support of persistent, penetrating surveillance, and penetrating strike capability in high threat areas. The Navy UCAS program will evolve technologies required to conduct Launch, Recovery, and Carrier Controlled Airspace (CCA) operations and Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) of an LO platform. In FY13, the Navy plans to achieve UCAS CV demonstration objectives. In FY14, the Navy plans to achieve probe & drogue (USN style) and boom/receptacle (USAF style) AAR demonstration with an unmanned platform.

The X-47B made a successful first flight in February 2011 and is now at NAS Patuxent River, Md., undergoing shore-based carrier suitability testing in preparation for sea trials in 2013.

Specifications
Overall Length: 38.2 feet
Wingspan: 62.1 Feet
Height: 10.4 feet
Aircraft Carrier Takeoff Gross Weight: approximately 44,500 pounds
Speed: High subsonic
Power Plant: one Pratt & Whitney F100-220U engine
Payload Provisions: 4500 pounds, plus allowance for electro-optical, infrared, radar and electronic support measures sensors
Autonomous Aerial Refueling Provisions: US Navy and US Air Force styles
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corporation

Program Status
ACAT: Pre-Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP)
Production Phase: Demo
Inventory: 2”

Unread postPosted: 02 Dec 2012, 13:42
by popcorn
It appears that Neuron will not feature autonomous operation it will be remotely piloted either from the ground or from another aircraft.

Unread postPosted: 04 Dec 2012, 18:28
by spazsinbad
X-47B Demonstrator Moves Closer To Carrier Demo By Graham Warwick 03 Dec 2012
Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 523288.xml

"...So far, AV-2 has completed engine runs, telemetry and communications checks, and been moved around the flight deck and hangar bay. Once the Truman is underway, the X-47B will be maneuvered through simulated carrier operations using a wireless hand controller.

Using the control display unit (CDU), the deck operator will maneuver the unmanned aircraft around the flight deck, in and out of the arrestor wires and catapult, and up and down the elevators, says Don Blottenberger, Navy deputy program manager.

Demonstrated in earlier ground taxi tests at Patuxent River, the CDU enables the operator to wirelessly control engine thrust, nose-wheel steering, main-wheel braking, flight-control sweeps and lowering and raising the tailhook.

Back at Pax River, the Navy will clear the limited catapult-launch envelope planned for the demonstration while it completes development of the software load required to begin shore-based arrested landings. These are expected to begin early in 2013, Blottenberger says.

A redesign of the tailhook point to ensure it catches the wire has been successful, says Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy program manager. The original design used an F-14 hook point, but did not reliably catch the wire in tests.

“We did a quick redesign, in 45 days, and have done three arrestment roll-ins, all successful,
” he says. The problem is caused because the tailhook is closer to the main gear on the tailless X-47B and has less time to bounce back....

...Blottenberger says there is an option to fly AV-1 into the carrier-controlled airspace around the Truman while it is at sea, conducting deck-handling trials with AV-2. The carrier to be used for the 2013 launch and recovery demonstration has not been identified.

All of the Navy’s East Coast-based Nimitz-class carriers are being modified temporarily to operate with the X-47B, Engdahl says. This includes installing a mission control element, relative navigation system and data links."

Much mo' betta to read all the article at the URL above because a lot of detail is missing from these excerpts.

Unread postPosted: 04 Dec 2012, 20:16
by Prinz_Eugn
Trouble with the hook you say? Better cancel it.

Unread postPosted: 05 Dec 2012, 02:57
by FlightDreamz
The original design used an F-14 hook point

Wait, what? It's the F-14 Tomcat's fault that the original arrester gear hook design didn't work? Now what would Maverick say to that!

Unread postPosted: 05 Dec 2012, 07:20
by neurotech
FlightDreamz wrote:
The original design used an F-14 hook point

Wait, what? It's the F-14 Tomcat's fault that the original arrester gear hook design didn't work? Now what would Maverick say to that!

Maybe Spazsinbad can comment, but I'll start. I detect some misinformation in the article. Different jets need different arresting hook characteristics. The F-14 is a significantly bigger jet, with a bigger hook, and a different wheel/hook distance. I'm under the impression that the X-47B uses a similar hook design to the F/A-18 but I could be mistaken.

Unread postPosted: 05 Dec 2012, 08:57
by spazsinbad
The 'hook point' is important and a lot of background information is covered in the now long thread (plus other associated threads at the time) about the F-35C hook issues. I think this thread has links to the other related threads. I would not be hung up on the hook point description. The X-47B original hook point may have been only similar or exactly the same - I cannot say. As seen by the issue with the original F-35C hook it is difficult to have the correct solution from the beginning. Looking at the overall history of hook development from the beginning there were lots of 'hits and misses' with many modifications for some before the aircraft/hook combination was successful. In other words - having difficulty designing a hook (even with computer technology today) is not unusual. Probably these issues will continue with future aircraft or perhaps the computer simulation of the complex behaviour of the hook, aircraft and arrestor wires will be more accurately modelled.

Already the thread below (or one linked to it) has a discussion about similarity or not with F-14 hook versus the F/A-18. I don't believe it matters either way. The X-47B and the F-35C will have their own hooks no matter what other hooks they look like. To some they all look the same anyway. As for bigger aircraft or whatever, the hook will be designed to take the forces of the maximum weight and groundspeed on deck during the arrest for the X-47B which is quite big and heavy itself. Any aircraft being arrested on deck will always have limits defined by what the arrestor gear can handle, with perhaps the aircraft being able to land heavier and therefore faster (which actually is irrelevant in the light of the first limit).

F-35C Lands at Lakehurst For Testing

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-15767.html
BUT start from page 3 (youse can see how threads go off topic)
http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... rt-30.html (stroll down)
and on page 4 top on 13 DEC 2011 almost a year ago there is this 'alloycowboy' exclamation:

"@Neptune, funny how all of a sudden their is an abundance of information on the tail hook problem. It's like the information Santa came early...." Perhaps the infoSanta is here again? The takeaway from the X-47B story despite the mocking one liners is that the problem appears to have been solved with the successful roll in arrests and we now await fly in arrests. Keep your fingers crossed.
_________

page 9 of the long thread has info on other hooks mentioned here:

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-120.html

As always SMSgt Mac can have some insightful comments or not (on same thread page but repeated here):

Some perspective...

F-35 Tail Hook Risks? Meh. 19 Jan 2012 by SMSgt Mac

http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/201 ... s-meh.html

Some stuff already mentioned at beginning (worth going to read though) then this:

"PS: I’d discuss the technical challenges of successful arresting gear development in more detail, (beginning with the fact that when it comes to an aircraft system interacting with the ship system what we are talking about is essentially a chaotic meta-system) but most people’s eyes would glaze over before I was finished. OK, I admit it, since I deal with this kind of stuff from 9 to 5 it would be no fun for me either. The article linked above covers what may be the critical bits in this case anyway.

Just think about ALL the variables that might be involved and you’ll get the idea."

Unread postPosted: 07 Dec 2012, 05:54
by spazsinbad
X-47B from carriers for long range terrorist strikes/surveillance inland (from a counter-terrorist planner author). "The author is a counterterrorism planner. The opinions and views expressed in this post are his alone and are presented in his personal capacity. They do not necessarily represent the views of U.S. Department of Defense, the US Navy, or any other government agency."

Sea-Based Drones & the Future of Counterterrorism 02 Dec 2012 by Chris Rawley

http://blog.navaldrones.com/2012/12/sea ... re-of.html

"...The exact make-up of manned and unmanned squadrons in future Carrier Air Wings has yet to be determined. Certainly, an embarked squadron or two of very low signature aircraft like the bat-winged X-47B could provide a robust day-one strike capability against a nation state with complex integrated air defenses. But for longer term missions such as servicing ground targets once air superiority has been achieved or conducting persistent reconaissance operations as previously described, a plane like the Sea Avenger may be a better (and likely, more affordable) fit to complement manned aircraft in the air wing. Despite the distances described in the Kagan article, a 12-plane squadron of Sea Avengers operating from a carrier in the Indian Ocean should be able to sustain more than three ISR orbits (each representing 24 x 7 coverage over a single target area) in Pakistan or Afghanistan. With tanking, an X-47B squadron might achieve similar rates. This number pales in comparison to the dozens of ISR aircraft currently flying in Afghanistan, but many of these orbits are soley devoted to force protection of ground troops.

Nothing can substitute for the fidelity troops on the ground bring to a fight. Though regardless of the eventual U.S. troop count in Afghanistan, airborne CT operations will remain critical. As the Kagans note, logistics are equally important. Maintaining air operations with a smaller U.S. footprint will require more aerial resupply and less reliance on fragile supply chains through contested territory. In addition to expected domestic and international political friction over the future of U.S. force presence in Afghanistan, airfields there are under increasing pressure from enemy action. Basing can be rendered unusable or even lost for any number of reasons; sea-based air will mitigate risk to these operations in the future.

The Navy should begin planning now to augment land-based ISR and strike aircraft with sea-based drones. The introduction of long-dwell unmanned ISR to carriers will also bring a powerful reconaissance capability to complement existing strike assets. As an added benefit, basing more attack-capable ISR at sea provides operational flexibility and strategic surprise. The same long-range strike launch and recovery capability that might hunt AQ in the FATA can be rapidly relocated to the coast of Africa, Persian Gulf, or anywhere else sustained ISR presence might be required to find, fix, and finish terrorist targets or support major combat operations. Most importantly, repositioning these floating ISR airfields would not involve complicated diplomatic kabuki to secure or retain basing rights."

Only LAST three Paragraphs above so best read it all at de jump.

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 13:07
by spazsinbad
If anyone thinks any naval aircraft can 'glide' to a (simulated) carrier landing then - think again. POWER POWER POWER! AND... the X-47B does NOT do 'standard runway landings'. Hokay? It is a naval aircraft doing no flare carrier style landings for gorsake.

Navy Preps For X-47B Cats, Traps On Carrier By Amy Butler, Graham Warwick 10 Dec 2012 Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 524348.xml

"...Meanwhile, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) program, a technology demonstration precursor to Uclass, made significant strides last month. Navy officials successfully launched the first X-47B (Air Vehicle-1), a stealthy, tailless platform, from a steam catapult Nov. 29 at NAS Patuxent River, Md. For this first test, the aircraft reached an airspeed of 151 kt. for launch and climbed out at a peak pitch of 15.5 deg, says Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman's UCAS program manager. The aircraft executed a standard carrier approach pattern during its 10-min. flight. It reached 1,200 ft. in altitude before gliding in at 3.25 deg. for a standard runway landing...."

All the rest is wot youse seen before elsewhere.

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 15:31
by Beazz
So where does the article say anything about a "simulated carrier landing"? All I saw was a simulated cat shot
And pattern work and then a standard landing on a land based runway.

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 17:29
by spazsinbad
'Beazz' are you aware that the X-47B will one day land on a carrier in 'carrier landing style'? Hence every landing it does is a simulated carrier landing via a simulated carrier landing approach. Such a landing and such an approach is not the same as a 'standard runway landing' despite how it may look to you. For example did the X-47B flare?

A carrier landing approach is done at a constant angle of attack at Optimum AoA which means the airspeed will vary according to aircraft weight. This also means it is a 'power on' approach so that the engine will be at high RPM for quick response - especially waveoff. No 'glide' there. If you are so close go ask about it.

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 19:01
by spazsinbad
Search the forum for 'LSODS' to find at least three references. Also there will be a short excerpt from this long article now replicated below on a thread with same graphic as below [ http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... cas#233055 ]. Note the number of times 'waveoff' is mentioned in this article. I guess one day we will know more about the Optimum AoA (which will bring the aircraft onto the deck at the correct landing attitude at or below the maximum landing weight - hook point, mainwheels, nosewheel - in that order of touchdown - no flare). The X-47B is not going to 'glide land' anytime soon. Now attached is an example of the Opt AoA attitude then a still frame from a video of a touchdown.

1st ever landing 'carrier style' from first flight VIDEO was here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Iq5dT7D_ic

SAME VIDEO HERE: (look on top right side of page)
http://www.irconnect.com/noc/press/page ... l?d=209544
__________________

Paddles monthly Oct 2012

http://www.hrana.org/documents/PaddlesM ... er2012.pdf

NUCAS and Paddles - [by] Marty Paulaitis works for AIRINC, has attended the last several LSO OAGs, and has a close working relationship with the LSO School.

There are two primary goals in developing the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS-D) when it comes to landing aboard ship. First, if an unmanned aircraft can't land safely and consistently on the boat, it's not fit for naval service and we don't want it. This is non-negotiable. Second, the LSOs need to be able to wave unmanned vehicles, as much as practical, the same as they do a manned aircraft. LSOs cannot be asked to have procedures different than those they use for manned aircraft; that would be a training nightmare and a recipe for disaster. This second point is somewhat negotiable due to available technologies and budget constraints, but remains an important target for implementing LSO requirements during the UCAS demonstration.

Building on these fundamental premises, the Navy UCAS program has been very intentional in working with the Navy LSO School to ensure we get this right, and has enjoyed a close, open working relationship throughout UCAS-D development and testing. What follows is an overview of the systems developed through this cooperative relationship, a brief description of unique requirements, and a discussion to address a potential concern.

System Overview: The vision was not to build a new LSO system, but to incorporate UCAS-D requirements into existing systems. This resulted in minor hardware and some software modifications to the LSO Display System (LSODS) and installing an IFLOLS interface box in the lens room. All cut and waveoff switches on the LSO pickles, the LSODS, and in the tower activate the IFLOLS relay box, which in turn initiates electronic cut and waveoff datalink messages. Here is how the system works with an approaching air vehicle or AV (refer to fig 1):

· When the AV approaches ¾ mile (Case I) or 1¼ to ¾ mile (CATCC selectable - Case III) in the landing configuration, it will electronically call the ball via a digital message. A red “Ball Call” indication appears on LSODS primary and secondary screens when this digital message is received.

· When the LSO presses the “cut” switch, an electronic “Roger Ball” message is sent to the AV and will be displayed on LSODS in red along with the cut indication. A smaller electronic UCAS “cut” icon will also illuminate when a separate loopback systems receives the electronic cut signal. This loopback system will be discussed later.

· Once the AV receives the “Roger Ball” message, it replies with a digital message stating it received the “Roger Ball” and the red “Roger Ball” on LSODS will turn green.

· If the Ball Call is not “Rogered” by 200’ AGL (140’ above flight deck level), the AV will wave itself off. The AV will not continue below 200’ without a “Roger Ball.”

· The LSO can wave off the AV from the time it calls the ball until the AV touches the deck. There is a dual-redundant system that activates both the primary and emergency waveoff circuits to ensure the AV will wave off. When the waveoff button is actuated, a “waveoff” uplink discrete message commands the AV to waveoff. The X-47B will respond immediately, within 0.2 seconds of actuating the waveoff button. Additionally, a separate AV “heartbeat” message – a signal always pulsing between the AV and the ship – has discrete fields that also send “cut” and “waveoff” for dual-redundancy. When waveoff is pressed, waveoff will illuminate on LSODS along with a smaller electronic UCAS-D “waveoff” indication when it receives the electronic waveoff signal through the loop-back system.

· If there is a loss of datalink where the heartbeat signal is not being received by the AV and the AV is outside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region, then the AV will wave itself off. If the heartbeat is lost inside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region, then the AV will continue its approach to landing. The autonomous waveoff inhibit region is software adjustable and will be matched as closely as possible to the 10 ft waveoff window, initially set to 3 seconds. Only the LSO and PriFly can command a waveoff inside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region. The AV cannot get to the three second window without an accurate Precision GPS solution propagated to touchdown, or it will waveoff well before this point.

· If the AV is waved off, bolters, or does a touch and go, it will go into the bolter/waveoff pattern identical to a manned aircraft.

Unique Requirements: Since all interaction between the LSOs and the AV is through digital messaging, there needed to be some way to ensure these messages were being sent and received. LSODS “Roger Ball” indication changing from red to green when the AV responds to the “Roger Ball” message is one example of this. Another came at the request of the LSO community three years ago. Prior to recovery, the LSOs do a functional test of the cut and waveoff lights. The LSOs wanted some way to test whether cut and waveoff electronic messages were being sent to have confidence the UCAS-D ship systems were functioning end-to-end. An LSO Loopback System was designed with an independent receiver that listens for the cut and waveoff signals and displays this with separate icons on LSODS. Additionally, the small antenna icon illuminates green when the UCAS-D systems are transmitting the heartbeat signal properly. This icon will illuminate yellow if there is a system degrade or red if there is a systems failure; it will not display at all if the system is powered off.

Addressing a Potential Concern: One of the most common fears expressed in the fleet is that the AV would make an approach to the boat and nobody would be able to wave it off. The procedures used today by manned aircraft were written from years of experience and unfortunate mishaps. Experience molded the framework for UCAS-D systems design:

· The AV will not continue below 200’, let alone land, without a “Roger Ball.”

· The AV will attempt to execute a waveoff anytime the LSO or Air Boss presses the waveoff button.

· If the AV is outside its established parameters to land, which are much tighter than those for a manned aircraft, and it is outside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region – it will wave itself off.

· If the AV loses its datalink outside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region (three seconds or greater from touchdown), it will wave itself off.

· If the AV loses its datalink inside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region (inside three seconds), the AV will land.

There has been much discussion concerning the autonomous waveoff inhibit region. A recent news article poorly articulated an old and already rectified issue, one that was signed off by the LSO School OIC and briefed openly at the 2012 LSO OAG. There were no concerns expressed by anyone in the LSO community at that time. During development of the Performance Specification documentation several years back, the autonomous waveoff inhibit region was initially set at five seconds based on a holdover from the SPN-46 landing system. That value was instituted to prohibit a CATCC controller from waving off an aircraft inside five seconds to touchdown on a mode I approach. However, anticipating the potential need to adjust it, a caveat was included that read, “The value of 5 seconds may be adjusted, if needed, during flight test based on feedback from the Landing Signal Officers.” During the LSO OAG in 2011, the LSOs express concern that five seconds was too long for a lost link AV to attempt to land. The Navy UCAS Program Manager agreed and directed that the autonomous waveoff inhibit region be software adjustable, and that analysis of X-47B waveoff performance and approach simulations be conducted to determine a better value. In laboratory simulation three seconds was determined as a more reasonable value that showed safe landing performance at up to sea state 5 and closely matched the X-47B 10 ft waveoff window. At Patuxent River a high fidelity “LSO in a Dome” simulator has been developed using the X-47B flight dynamics model and this month representatives of the LSO community will wave the aircraft in the simulator to practice procedures and prepare for the carrier demonstration next year.

Digitizing LSO communications and operating unmanned systems aboard carriers is a new capability that challenges our paradigms and nobody takes this lightly. The Navy UCAS program leadership actively seeks and values the LSO’s views and is responsive to input precisely because the fundamental premise in Naval Aviation will always hold true: if any aircraft cannot land safely and consistently on the boat, then we don’t want it.

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 20:10
by spazsinbad
Navy Closer to Unmanned Aircraft Operation on Carriers July/26/2012
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonnie Hobby, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=68607

“USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At sea (NNS) -- The Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program conducted a series of unmanned air vehicle (UAV) surrogate recoveries and launches aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), July 18-22.

Sailors assigned to the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 recovered their first UAV-equipped F/A-18D Hornet, containing in-flight software replicating the software installed in the unmanned X-47B, July 18.

"The focus during this at-sea period is to test the hardware inside the Hornet to make sure our unmanned system is able to operate the same way manned aircraft operate aboard a carrier," said Lt. James Reynolds, UCAS-D surrogate project officer from VX 23.

Since the beginning of July, a team of more than 50 Sailors and engineers have performed tests to ensure Truman's on-board UAV software and the UCAS-D surrogate aircraft's software were properly interfacing....

...The UCAS-D testing had many criteria to meet, including launching the surrogate aircraft from all four catapults and touch-and-go tests, said Benner....”

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 21:27
by spazsinbad
Just happened on this gem 'blog post' with the excerpt below. How to land an aircraft - which method? And how to carrier land. The last bit about using the gunsight in the A4G was for the final approach to an HPA High Precautionary Approach (engine out forced landing).

Attitude for Airspeed. Power for Rate of Descent? 20 Feb 2010 By Marty

http://www.flight.org/blog/2010/02/20/a ... f-descent/

“...Peter, an Emirates 777 pilot [ex-A4G pilot], posted the following:
‘Real aviators landed airplanes on ships by flying alpha (angle of attack) and varying power to control the sink rate. Pilots of the blue persuasion insisted on landing on long runways by using power to control airspeed and attitude to control the sink rate. I like the navy way!’

John Bartels (of QF30 fame), and now an A380 Captain [ex-A4G pilot], said:
‘The RAAF teaches power for speed, and attitude for glidepath. It’s easy to understand, works, and it’s accurate. And it then translates to every other aircraft type that they use, so you don’t have to learn another method.

The navy actually flies both an an AoA approach, and an airspeed controlled by power approach [second one seldom used except for emergencies such as a heavyweight landing or with flight control difficulties]. Flying alpha in something like an A4 was difficult to learn and hard to do accurately [a bit overstated IMHO], but it allowed pilots to fly way down on the back of the drag curve… well below where any sensible person would want to be flying. It allowed you to arrive on the ship with the minimum energy… an absolute necessity. On shore bases it’s used for practice, but if you want to make air force style smooth landings, then you needed to be a bit faster, and so use the other method.’

[MARTY] JB’s early flying experience was gained in Skyhawks [A4Gs] and other fast navy jets [Macchi MB326H] in an environment that required aircraft be flown in a particular manner. However interesting, I’m not quite sure the technique applies to training aircraft!

In typical JB style, he gives us another point of view validating the military-style ‘attitude for profile’ method:

Also from the A4G. [JB on HPA] ‘Put 170 mils on the gunsight (just a setting, don’t worry about it). Hold the cross hairs (pipper) on the end of the runway, and don’t let it move. Control speed by varying the drag (gear, flaps, speedbrakes). Approach IAS… around 200-220 kts. Start flare at 400 feet AGL....’”

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 21:52
by f-22lm
Image

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:cheers: :applause:

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Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 22:25
by Beazz
spazsinbad wrote:'Beazz' are you aware that the X-47B will one day land on a carrier in 'carrier landing style'? Hence every landing it does is a simulated carrier landing via a simulated carrier landing approach. Such a landing and such an approach is not the same as a 'standard runway landing' despite how it may look to you. For example did the X-47B flare?

A carrier landing approach is done at a constant angle of attack at Optimum AoA which means the airspeed will vary according to aircraft weight. This also means it is a 'power on' approach so that the engine will be at high RPM for quick response - especially waveoff. No 'glide' there. If you are so close go ask about it.


Thanks for the dribble but I was in the Navy and no all about it. But what you say is wrong
The X47B will certainly be making normal.a/c landings before it takes on carrier style ones.
Just like the F35C did not make all landungd carrier style. Duhjh

Later Spazz

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 22:45
by 1st503rdsgt
Beazz wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:'Beazz' are you aware that the X-47B will one day land on a carrier in 'carrier landing style'? Hence every landing it does is a simulated carrier landing via a simulated carrier landing approach. Such a landing and such an approach is not the same as a 'standard runway landing' despite how it may look to you. For example did the X-47B flare?

A carrier landing approach is done at a constant angle of attack at Optimum AoA which means the airspeed will vary according to aircraft weight. This also means it is a 'power on' approach so that the engine will be at high RPM for quick response - especially waveoff. No 'glide' there. If you are so close go ask about it.
Thanks for the dribble but I was in the Navy and no all about it. But what you say is wrong
The X47B will certainly be making normal.a/c landings before it takes on carrier style ones.
Just like the F35C did not make all landungd carrier style. Duhjh

Later Spazz
I wasn't in the Navy at all; but to my untrained eye, every X-47B landing I've seen on video looks "carrier-style," from the very first flight. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDnvxNdez84

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 22:51
by KamenRiderBlade
I want them to make a model of the X-47B with a F-35 engine strapped in =D.

Just imagine, how fast, how far, and how high that UCAS can go, along with the payload.

Maybe they'll do that for the X-47C model!

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 23:18
by 1st503rdsgt
kamenriderblade wrote:I want them to make a model of the X-47B with a F-35 engine strapped in =D.

Just imagine, how fast, how far, and how high that UCAS can go, along with the payload.

Maybe they'll do that for the X-47C model!
Maybe, the actual UCLASS competition hasn't even started yet, so anything is possible. Of course, I doubt it, but if they did, it might take costs down for the F135 and reduce the number of engine types needing maintenance on a carrier.

Unread postPosted: 10 Dec 2012, 23:52
by KamenRiderBlade
Wouldn't that be great if the future USN only had to maintain the F-35 engine, F-18E/F engine, E-2D Hawkeye Engine, and V-22 Osprey engine?

Unread postPosted: 11 Dec 2012, 00:36
by spazsinbad
'Beazz' said: "Thanks for the dribble but I was in the Navy and no all about it. But what you say is wrong
The X47B will certainly be making normal.a/c landings before it takes on carrier style ones.
Just like the F35C did not make all landungd carrier style. Duhjh..."

Having just proved at great length what the X-47B does 'carrier landing style-wise' you 'Beazz' will have to do better than that to back up your assertions. Firstly you will have to define for me what a 'normal a/c landing' is before then defining what a 'carrier style one' is. I think I have done that but can give you more 'dribble' about what I mean.

The F-35C is a manned aircraft. As indicated in the comments made by 'JB' an ex-A4G pilot, Navy Landings were done ashore but sometimes Air Force style were done also. IMHO I think JB forgot to mention that he would have been doing Air Force style landings in the Macchi MB326H and rarely in the A4G. There is nothing difficult for the pilot or aircraft if it has been made to carry out carrier style landings. By this I mean a 'no flare' landing made at Optimum AoA at a fixed approach angle (usually with the aid of a portable FLOLS/IFLOLS). As indicated there is nothing difficult about it especially as many pilots have now mentioned in the F-35C the 'carrier approach' on a runway is easy. Difficult to ask the computer in the X-47B [which of course is programmed to carry out carrier style approaches because that is what it does duh] though.

Unread postPosted: 11 Dec 2012, 01:11
by count_to_10
So, not being educated on naval ops, I would tend to think that a "carrier style landing" would be one that uses carrier type arresting gear, while a "normal style landing" would be without, regardless of the angle of approach. Is that what Beazz means?

Unread postPosted: 11 Dec 2012, 01:18
by spazsinbad
'count_to_10' I'm not answering for 'Beazz' however if you read (what he terms 'dribble') this info (indicated on previous page) about various styles of aircraft final approach you may know more.

Attitude for Airspeed. Power for Rate of Descent? 20 Feb 2010 By Marty

http://www.flight.org/blog/2010/02/20/a ... f-descent/

Unread postPosted: 11 Dec 2012, 01:51
by spazsinbad
X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) Demonstrator VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdY-V0uq ... r_embedded

"Published on Dec 10, 2012
121209-O-ZZ999-001
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 9, 2012) - The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) demonstrator taxies on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Harry S. Truman is the first aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. Harry S. Truman is underway supporting carrier qualifications. (Northrop Grumman video by Dave Buchanan/ Released)"

Unread postPosted: 11 Dec 2012, 02:35
by spazsinbad
US Navy starts X-47B taxi trials on carrier 10 Dec 2012 Dave Majumdar

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... er-380031/

"...Sailors onboard the massive 104,000t warship are controlling the X-47B on the flight deck using an arm-mounted control display unit (CDU).

"With the CDU, we followed the aircraft director's signals to move the aircraft left or right, over the arresting wire, to and from the catapults and to various spotting positions," says Gerrit Everson, one of the X-47B operators. "These tests proved that we can taxi the X-47B with the precision that an aircraft carrier's flight deck requires."..."
________________

US Navy details X-47B catapult launch test 30 Nov 2012 Zach Rosenberg

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... st-379662/

"..."Rotation and fly-out showed excellent flight dynamics," says Captain Jaime Engdahl, programme manager for unmanned combat air systems-demonstrator (UCAS-D), "with normal or nominal [aerodynamic] loads throughout the flight".

"We've gone through thousands of flights in simulations," he adds. "If you were to look at the simulations and our event yesterday, you would have seen no differences."

The aircraft was launched using a profile "very representative" of actual carrier launch conditions, according to Northrop, using a relatively benign but operable combination of takeoff weight, catapult force and headwinds.

The aircraft lifted off at 147kt (272km/h).

The launch marks the first of a "very conservative build-up" of speed, weight and forces as the navy simulates a catapult launch at sea.

"As we go through testing, it's pretty standard to take a conservative approach, at least initially," says Engdahl.

The aircraft will be launched several more times from the ground catapult before an actual aircraft carrier launch, planned for mid-2013...."

Unread postPosted: 12 Dec 2012, 04:25
by spazsinbad
US Navy delays UCLASS RFP Dave Majumdar 11 Dec 2012
From: http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ft-rf.html
_______________

VIDEO: General Atomics Aeronautical - Predator C Avenger UAS Combat Simulation [480p] This is a similar repeat elsewhere on forum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... ncyuC0sKZY

"Published on Oct 20, 2012
As with Predator B, Predator C Avenger was developed through the foresight and funding of GA-ASI. Its unique design, reduced signature, and speed increases its survivability in higher threat environments and provides potential customers with an expanded quick-response armed reconnaissance capability. The first flight of Predator C occurred in April 2009. The aircraft is currently in an expanded flight test program."
___________________________

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... fp-380098/

"The US Navy has delayed a request for proposals (RFP) for its unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft programme until next year.

"We are looking at the early part of 2013 now
," the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says. A draft RFP is now likely to be released between January and March, possibly due to difficulties in finalizing the requirements for the new programme. Previously, the RFP was scheduled to be released this month....

...Goure says that the USN should focus less on defining the exact requirements needed for the UCLASS and more on getting a "modest" unmanned aircraft operating on a carrier deck sooner. A small number of those more modest machines should be used to gain a better understanding of the operating concepts for a carrier-based unmanned aircraft system, he says. "You're trying to guess about a future you don't even perceive well and then trying to design a perfect platform for a poor illuminated future," Goure says. "We don't know what a perfect stealth carrier unmanned aircraft is going to look like."

USN budget documents indicate that the service hopes to have the new aircraft in limited operational service by 2020. According to USN officials, that means that a small squadron of perhaps a half-dozen UCLASS aircraft would be ready to train onboard ship with a carrier air wing by that date. However, the unit would not deploy with the carrier during its cruise...."

Always more at the jump

Unread postPosted: 12 Dec 2012, 10:53
by popcorn
spazsinbad wrote:VIDEO: General Atomics Aeronautical - Predator C Avenger UAS Combat Simulation [480p] This is a similar repeat elsewhere on forum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... ncyuC0sKZY


A good thing those 2 Raptors were riding shotgun or those Avengers would have been target practice for the Flankers. :)

Unread postPosted: 12 Dec 2012, 12:57
by popcorn
Intrigued by HELLADS and learned a little bit more... am curious as to the range of the laser though specially in the DEAD role.
http://www.ga.com/press-releases/2011/1 ... monstrator

The HELLADS laser concept employs an innovative new approach to electric lasers which combines the high storage density of solid-state with the efficient heat removal of flowing liquids. The HELLADS program seeks to demonstrate a 150-kilowatt laser weapon that weighs less than 2,000 pounds and could be mounted to military platforms as small as patrol ships, fighter and surveillance aircraft, armored combat vehicles, and perhaps even UAS. In addition to the laser itself, GA-ASI completed prototype power and heat removal systems last year, confirming that the supporting technologies are in place for a complete weapon system.

Unread postPosted: 12 Dec 2012, 15:37
by marksengineer
More info:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/01/solid- ... k-for.html

Don't think anyone who knows would share the range.

Unread postPosted: 12 Dec 2012, 16:01
by popcorn
marksengineer wrote:More info:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/01/solid- ... k-for.html
Don't think anyone who knows would share the range.


Yes, much is speculation at this time. The ATL was a 100Kw chemical laser and media reports cited a 20-mile range.. may have been speculation as well.

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2012, 17:48
by spazsinbad
Checkout the USAF style flared landing at the end of this video....

X-47B UCAS Catapult Testing VIDEO shows the complete catapult/landing process

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAsf6zlm ... r_embedded

"Published on Dec 13, 2012
Wireless ground handling and testing of X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System at Naval Air Station Patuxent River leading up to its first catapult launch Nov 29, 2012."

During the approach the 'on speed' at Optimum Angle of Attack orange light next to the landing light can be seen cycling on/off on nosewheel strut.

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2012, 18:33
by Gums
Salute!

Lots to be said for the "navy" approach, especially in the planes we've flown since the late 50's.

Pitch for AoA ( read speed), and thrust for rate of descent.

The SLUF could have a little bit left to slightly flare for a smoother tiuchdown, but most of us used a combination unless in bad weather. Then, most used the "navy" approach and touch technique. We flew basic 2.5 degree approaches and the gear was well able to handle that or more.

The Viper did not like the "crash" landing, as it still had too many lifties and would not "stick". At best AoA we might have a tail scrape if we held it all the way to touchdown. So we flew a degree or so less than optimum, then slowed in the flare, reducing impact angle.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2012, 18:42
by spazsinbad
Thanks 'Gums' - I was otherwise being sarcastically ironic (is that even possible?) about the 'USAF style landing'. That was a real-deal no flare carrier landing style landing. The X-47B is built to carrier land and that is what it does - and does best.

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 00:24
by spazsinbad
X-47B UCAS-D, Back on Land by Graham Warwick Dec 19, 2012

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... 9b7e5373bc

"...Tests included maneuvering the aircraft up to the catapults, taxiing over the arresting cables and moving up and down the elevator....

...Tests proved the aircraft can operate in the hostile electromagnetic environment of a carrier..."

Jump at the more.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Portals/AWe ... parked.jpg

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 00:35
by spazsinbad
Fleshed out story here - go read it:

X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Completes First At-Sea Tests Dec/18/2012
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor DiMartino, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=71156

"...With X-47B's deck testing completed, Blottenberger said the aircraft will return to Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River for further testing and is scheduled to embark another carrier in mid-2013...."

CAPTION: "121211-N-ZZ999-102 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 11, 2012) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft is transported on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Alan Radecki/Released) December 17, 2012"

BIGPIC: http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/ ... 99-102.jpg

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 00:46
by Gums
Salute!

Yep, I want a few of those flying my wing when going in harm's way.

We can get into employment doctrine and tactics later, but initial SEAD missions might be a very good use of those UAV's.

They also look good for interdiction missions that do not involve close air support or massive collateral casualties. Think airfield denial or POL depots or.....

Merry Christmas!!!!

And it was 40 years ago this week that I finally got to see the best air defense outfit since then. The North Vee had plenty of practice, and even using lottsa AAA guns and SA-2 missiles were a very worthy adversary. Later conflicts did not hold a candle to what we saw.

First day or two were brutal, but then we simply wore them down. By 6 days later the SA-2 missiles were basically unguided, or they came off the rail like a Chinese pinwheel firework. Even the AAA decreased.

So I recall those days from 40 years ago, and was damned glad ( in a weird way) to have flown a few missions up there and come back. I do not wish anyone here to have to do that, and I sure as hell didn't want to do it back then either.

The F-35 would have provided a lot better sense of security. And then factor in JDAM and HARM and AMRAAM and some nifty cruise missiles from a boat 200 miles away. Didn't have all that back then.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 02:01
by neurotech
Gums wrote:Salute!

Yep, I want a few of those flying my wing when going in harm's way.

We can get into employment doctrine and tactics later, but initial SEAD missions might be a very good use of those UAV's.

They also look good for interdiction missions that do not involve close air support or massive collateral casualties. Think airfield denial or POL depots or.....

Merry Christmas!!!!

And it was 40 years ago this week that I finally got to see the best air defense outfit since then. The North Vee had plenty of practice, and even using lottsa AAA guns and SA-2 missiles were a very worthy adversary. Later conflicts did not hold a candle to what we saw.
....

Gums sends...

Anyone got a A-37 to send Gums for Christmas? :D

One question though. Do you think its tactically better to jam IADS with EF-111s, EA-6s or EA-18s, as opposed to just fire the HARMs and JDAMs etc.. and destroy them early and move on?

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 02:31
by megasun
can operate in the hostile electromagnetic environment

Iran claimed to have captured multiple UAVs, new systems'd better be much more reliable.

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 02:36
by f-22lm
megasun wrote:
can operate in the hostile electromagnetic environment

Iran claimed to have captured multiple UAVs, new systems'd better be much more reliable.
IMO the Rq-170 looks like a fake. Nonetheless I agree.

Image

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 03:19
by Gums
Salute!

@neuro

I flew my Hanoi missions in the A-7D, but I would love to have an operational A-37 and the $$$ to fill it with JP-4. heh heh

Some standoff ECM might help, but why not have one of those UAV's have some active jamming close up? Oh yeah, maybe some JDAM's for known sites like C&C HQ or large, static radar sites or....

I'll leave the HARM's and most of the JDAM's for the manned planes due to discrimination and threat analysis at the moment.

And don't forget the mini-UAV's that can fly in and provide a zillion potential tgts for the bad guys.

Gums sends...

Unread postPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 04:53
by fiskerwad
Gums wrote:Salute!

Merry Christmas!!!!

And it was 40 years ago this week that I finally got to see the best air defense outfit since then. The North Vee had plenty of practice, and even using lottsa AAA guns and SA-2 missiles were a very worthy adversary. Later conflicts did not hold a candle to what we saw.

Gums sends...


Congratulations on the anniversary and thanks for all your service then and since. We are very fortunate to have your experience and wisdom here.
Merry Christmas, indeed!
fisk

Unread postPosted: 22 Dec 2012, 01:07
by spazsinbad
This is 'Simon Says' on a robotic scale. Had read about this feature earlier but did not know that it was being trialled/demonstrated also onboard. I had thought the X-47B controller was just obeying the hand signals of the director. Anyhoo... elsewhere there is a story about the robot recognition of hand signals on the webaroonie.

Talking to Robots on the Flight Deck 19 Dec 2012 by Galrahn

http://www.informationdissemination.net ... -deck.html

“You might ask yourself, "Who in the world is that yellow shirt signaling?" It is an unmanned system afterall, right? What is the point if the operator is that green shirted guy (not that kind of green shirt) right next to the yellow shirt. That was exactly the question on my mind last week when i first noted all the pictures and video put out by the US Navy as the X-47B was driving all over the flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

Well, it turns out all that work is part of teaching the UCAS-D to read and understand the hand signals of the Yellow Shirt. Yes, that guy in the green on video is the human engaged pilot, but there is a learning process underway by which the unmanned aircraft is learning how to taxi around an aircraft carrier autonomously based on the hand signals of the yellow shirt.

Ready to watch the video again? Pretty cool IMO.

Watch very closely in this video (and check out others for more examples) and you will see how very deliberate the yellow shirt is with his signals, indeed he stays very steady and is being very deliberate with every motion. This is an example of yet one more in a long list of very interesting, intricate processes being developed as the Navy moves toward flying advanced computers without pilots strapped to jet engines off aircraft carriers.

As one pilot noted to me today, what this video is actually showing is a two way conversation on the flight deck.”

That is it. VIDEO again here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdY-V0uq ... r_embedded
_______________________

Hunters & Collectors - Talking To A Stranger
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyiYBajrefY
"Uploaded on Oct 12, 2006
Hunters & Collectors - Talking To A Stranger Music video 1982" [Avert youse eyes to the TROLLS seen therein] :D Bass line done with a slack string.

Unread postPosted: 22 Dec 2012, 19:03
by marksengineer
Here's an article on the CDU the gent in the flight suit is carrying. The X-47B is following his commands. It's not a teach pendant as some would suggest:

http://www.naval-technology.com/news/ne ... sed-trials.

Unread postPosted: 22 Dec 2012, 19:10
by spazsinbad
Link will work without the fullstop at end thus: http://www.naval-technology.com/news/ne ... sed-trials

The story above describes one aspect of 'the training' according to the 'other info diss' report. The 'other' report describes not only that aspect but the second 'teaching the robot to recognise hand signals' part which apparently is not known generally. I cannot say one way or tuther without another story backing up the 'information dissemination' story. However I have read about the 'robot recognition of hand signals' earlier. I'll look for links that have specific info.
_______________________

Not what I'm looking for but at least a story confirmation:

X-47B robotic drone aircraft completes deck trials aboard nuclear aircraft carrier From: News Limited Network December 20, 2012

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/technology/ ... 6540923562

"WOULD you tell a killer robot where to park? The rise of the machines is one step closer, and this flight director had better get out of the way.

This sleek and stealthy robotic combat drone has just completed its first at-sea trials aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

Part of the X-47B's gruelling evaluation program was to "learn" how to accept instructions from a human deck controller.

Yes, the man in the yellow shirt is waving instructions to a robot.


Taxiing around an aircraft carrier's deck is a difficult and dangerous task, and must become second nature before any pilot - including a robot - is allowed to take-off.

The guy in the green shirt is there to make sure the drone didn't get a mind of its own and run anybody over. The remote-control over-ride is firmly in his grasp.

The two-week deck trials of the stealthy automated drone was the first major step in the US Navy's ambition to deploy advanced combat aircraft without the bother of expensive - and moody - pilots...." ['moody pilots'? As if. Moody reporters most likely.]
_________________

Here is one PDF I was looking for: [dated Jan 2011]

Tracking Body and Hands for Gesture Recognition: NATOPS Aircraft Handling Signals Database
Yale Song, David Demirdjian, and Randall Davis
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
fyalesong,demirdj,davisg@csail.mit.edu

http://rationale.csail.mit.edu/publicat ... D2011a.pdf (8.5Mb)

"Abstract—We present a unified framework for body and hand tracking, the output of which can be used for understanding simultaneously performed body-and-hand gestures. The framework uses a stereo camera to collect 3D images, and tracks body and hand together, combining various existing techniques to make tracking tasks efficient. In addition, we introduce a multi-signal gesture database: the NATOPS aircraft handling signals. Unlike previous gesture databases, this data requires knowledge about both body and hand in order to distinguish gestures. It is also focused on a clearly defined gesture vocabulary from a real-world scenario that has been refined over many years. The database includes 24 body-and hand gestures, and provides both gesture video clips and the body and hand features we extracted."
__________________

Another 'Song' (GangnamStyle?) PDF - more dense - ThesisStyle.

Multi-Signal Gesture Recognition Using Body and Hand Poses
by Yale Song B.S. Computer Science and Engineering, Hanyang University (2008)
Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in partial fulllment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at the
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY September 2010

http://rationale.csail.mit.edu/publicat ... Thesis.pdf (8.8Mb)

"Abstract
We present a vision-based multi-signal gesture recognition system that integrates information from body and hand poses. Unlike previous approaches to gesture recognition, which concentrated mainly on making it a single signal, our system allows a richer gesture vocabulary and more natural human-computer interaction. The system consists of three parts: 3D body pose estimation, hand pose classication, and gesture recognition. 3D body pose estimation is performed following a generative model-based approach, using a particle filtering estimation framework. Hand pose classification is performed by extracting Histogram of Oriented Gradients features and using a multi-class Support Vector Machine classifier. Finally, gesture recognition is performed using a novel statistical inference framework that we developed for multi-signal pattern recognition, extending previous work on a discriminative hidden-state graphical model (HCRF) to consider multi-signal input data, which we refer to Multi Information-Channel Hidden Conditional Random Fields (MIC-HCRFs). One advantage of MIC-HCRF is that it allows us to capture complex dependencies of multiple information channels more precisely than conventional approaches to the task. Our system was evaluated on the scenario of an aircraft carrier flight deck environment, where humans interact with unmanned vehicles using existing body and hand gesture vocabulary. When tested on 10 gestures recorded from 20 participants, the average recognition accuracy of our system was 88.41%."

Unread postPosted: 22 Dec 2012, 19:32
by maus92
A background story on hand signal recognition

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/04/n ... s-040112w/

Unread postPosted: 22 Dec 2012, 19:44
by spazsinbad
'maus92' good story/explanation - thanks. Perhaps why this aspect of the story was not emphasised earlier is that it is still 'under test' and perhaps will not be part of regular ops until much later? Until then the human controller taking directions from the aircraft controller will be the key interaction - robotic recognition (under test here) will come later. Anyway apart from reading the PDFs above the 'Navy Times' story [from 'maus92' URL above] has this to say:

The next step in directing drones: hand signals By Joshua Stewart 01 Apr 2012

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/04/n ... s-040112w/

“...It would be really nice if we had an unmanned vehicle that can understand human gestures,” said Yale Song, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT who developed a system. His work is the UAV equivalent of an aviation boatswain’s mate flashing hand signals to pilots before a launch and after a trap. In effect, he’s developed a way for a UAV to “see” the signals and identify the commands the signals represent.

“Gesturing is an instinctive skill we all have, so it requires little or no thought, leaving the focus on the task itself, as it should be, not on the interaction modality,” Song and his colleagues wrote in a paper that appears in the March issue of ACM Transaction on Interactive Intelligent Systems, an academic journal.

Song’s project works with a camera monitoring an aviation boatswain’s mate’s hand gestures. The camera instantly sends the images to a computer program he developed that can figure out what specific signal the sailor is sending. With future research, a UAV may be able to understand that signal and maneuver around the flight deck as gingerly and deliberately as its manned counterpart.

Tracking their moves
Song’s project, which began in January 2009, was funded by the Office of Naval Research. He traveled to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and learned the hand signals used on flight decks. From there, he returned to MIT with a Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization manual and taught 20 students how to perform 24 gestures; video footage from his lab shows a student wearing a yellow turtleneck and a cranial, just like a shipboard aircraft handler.

All 20 students performed the 24 signals in front of his camera, which translated their hand motions and body pose into a stick figure. With that, Song was able to develop an algorithm that’s able to “learn” how to identify signals from people it had never seen before.

“Based on that training data, we trained our model so that when new data comes in, it has our algorithm to classify the sequence of gestures,” he said.

In the journal article, he wrote that the system accurately recognizes gestures 75.37 percent of the time.

There needs to be more research before his work is installed into a UAV and appears on a flight deck
, he said...."

Unread postPosted: 22 Dec 2012, 20:30
by spazsinbad
Mr. Song explains in a Video: [from original post here: http://phys.org/news/2012-03-robot-planes-gestures.html ]

Guiding robot planes with hand gestures VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjVmLA8_ ... r_embedded

"Published on Mar 13, 2012
MIT News - March 14, 2012
Aircraft-carrier crew use a set of standard hand gestures to guide planes on the carrier deck. But as robot planes are increasingly used for routine air missions, researchers at MIT are working on a system that would enable them to follow the same types of gestures.

The problem of interpreting hand signals has two distinct parts. The first is simply inferring the body pose of the signaler from a digital image: Are the hands up or down, the elbows in or out? The second is determining which specific gesture is depicted in a series of images. The MIT researchers are chiefly concerned with the second problem; they present their solution in the March issue of the journal ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems. But to test their approach, they also had to address the first problem, which they did in work presented at last year's IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition.

Yale Song, a PhD student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, his advisor, computer science professor Randall Davis, and David Demirdjian, a research scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), recorded a series of videos in which several different people performed a set of 24 gestures commonly used by aircraft-carrier deck personnel. In order to test their gesture-identification system, they first had to determine the body pose of each subject in each frame of video. "These days you can just easily use off-the-shelf Kinect or many other drivers," Song says, referring to the popular Microsoft Xbox device that allows players to control video games using gestures. But that wasn't true when the MIT researchers began their project; to make things even more complicated, their algorithms had to infer not only body position but also the shapes of the subjects' hands.

Read more at MIT News: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/robo ... -0314.html

Video: Melanie Gonick
Simulations courtesy of Yale Song"

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 00:44
by spazsinbad
A disagreement with 'DissInfo' post about 'hand signal recognition' by someone else purporting to know. I don't really care meself but it is perhaps in the future. Anyhoo...

Talking to Robots on the Flight Deck 19 Dec 2012

http://www.informationdissemination.net ... qus_thread

"Michael_MSB
This system *flies* autonomously, but X-47B is under positive control on the deck from landing to launch. A big issue for UCAS-D was minimizing excursions from NATOPS, so the yellow shirt's task remained unmodified - UAV operator watches him while he does what he would for any airplane. Odd, but foolproof.

Navy is certainly interested in gesture recognition approaches for the future, but that isn't part of the current demonstration. Hard environmental challenges. Most promising idea I have seen in that regard uses accelerometers in the wands to augment any visual capabilities that evolve."

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 04:15
by velocityvector
Happy holidays!

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 18:21
by linkomart
Merry Christmas and happy Hollidays to you all.
After seeing the hand control on used to taxi the X-47 I'm a bit qurious on how it works if the deck is moving in bad weather, anyone that have actually been on a carrier (I haven't) that have any thoughts?
I assume that if the deck is moving really badly there are no flight ops, so maybe it is not a problem... or?

My 5 cent quriosity....

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 19:40
by spazsinbad
'linkomart' I'll assume you are referring to 'how the X-47B' works on deck when it is moving in bad weather? Like all aircraft in such conditions there will be 'bad weather/carrier deck movement' limits. When over that limit no aircraft will be moved, except perhaps due to an emergency and then the aircraft will be moved very carefully. Under one such severe weather condition an A4G was lost in the Tasman Sea west of New Zealand. Unfortunately the carrier turned (reason unknown) just as the A4G was being unchained (one chain still connected broke) and also connected by towbar to a heavy deck tractor. Perhaps the bridge personnel were not aware of the condition of the aircraft at the time (only my speculation). Anyway the A4G toppled over the starboard side with the tractor still connected (driver was able to jump off) while the A4G brakeman was still in the cockpit. He managed to escape whilst the A4G was near the surface and able to inflate his 'float coat' to be picked up in what were described as 'miraculous circumstances' by a ship rescue diver from a nearby destroyer (the stories differ somewhat). However in a storm anyone in the water is lucky to be seen, let alone rescued. My point being that this stuff happens even when done with care. The A4G had a tendency to topple due to undercarriage height but it demonstrates how much a deck can move.

If aircraft ops are possible with the deck wet and moving within limits then the aircraft will taxi more slowly than usual, which ordinarily will be slow, using brakes heavily. I think that is evident in the X-47B video? Usually every other aircraft due to fly is on deck, along with others perhaps, so there are many 'needles to thread' carefully as the aircraft may pass very close to other aircraft and the deck edge when turning; and to then be positioned precisely on the catapult. All of this is done by inches, with the aircraft being directed deliberately and slowly. Yes when conditions are bad due weather then there will be no flight ops and no aircraft movements. Large heavier carriers may move less than smaller lighter carriers but there are limits. Sliding sideways under braking on a wet deck must be considered also when the deck is wallowing from side to side.

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 21:16
by neurotech
@Linkomart The kind of mishaps Spazsinbad is talking about do occur on the larger Nimitz class carriers.

One advantage of the X-47B over the manned carrier aircraft, is that the pilot is less likely to eject when the jet slides sideways to the edge of the carrier deck. Even if the jet is caught in the safety net, or otherwise recovered, its still an expensive repair to replace the ejection seat and canopy.

This video shows a F-14 crew ejecting because of a marshaling error on the relatively small CV-62 USS Independence. The end result is the same, a damaged jet (at best)!
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e4c_1241 ... comments=1

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 22:03
by linkomart
Thanks spazsinbad and neurotech for your input, apreciate it. But to clarify, my thoughts were how easy it is to stand on a heaving deck and using a controlstick that is only attached to your arm, will it not be easy to give control inputs that are unintended?

I've only sailed on small boats in relatively calm weather, and my feeling from that is that to do precision input with your hands while the deck dissapears under your feets is not quite that easy.

But for real pro's on a big ship it might be different.... or?

regards

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 22:06
by spazsinbad
One very famous example at the time to illustrate what 'neurotech' highlights: http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/023823.jpg

http://www.uss-shangri-la.com/lastcruise.html

"On one wild afternoon an A-4E landed, on fire, having forgotten to put on a fuel cap. All of the yellow shirts worked to put out the fire after pulling the burning craft clear of the landing area. A second A-4 landed, experienced brake failure and taxied over the port side into the cat walk. The aircraft hung over the side but the pilot ejected into the water. The safety photographer on the bridge took a series of shots that made Stars and Stripes as well as newspapers around the world. As the A-4 rolled toward the edge of the flight deck, the Flight Deck Chief threw himself against the doomed aircraft. As the pilot ejected, an access panel flew off and whacked the Chief on his helmet, knocking him to the deck with an expression of anguish on his face. This was a real exciting series of shots. Several weeks later, Joe Hammons, the Chief, would autograph 8 X 10 photos for a $5 donation to the United Way. The SHANG turned a large check over to the United Way that year. Oh, by the way, the tail of the A-4 that hung over the side and the nose of the one that was on fire were joined to make one good A-4."

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 22:14
by spazsinbad
'linkomart' now that your question is more specific then specific answers may be given. This device looks very secure to me. All sailors adjust to ship movement very quickly so that will not be a problem (for newbies it is adjusting back to dry land that causes the 'drunken' effect):

A Twist of the Wrist -- How to Drive an X-47B by Graham Warwick Aug 06, 2012

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... cffdfd7acd

"...The battery-powered device uses an RF data link to control nosewheel steering, engine thrust, mainwheel brakes and tailhook, and provides a display, keys and lights to communicate aircraft status to the operator maneuvering the unmanned X-47B on the flight deck...."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Portals/AWe ... loseup.jpg

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 22:44
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:One very famous example at the time to illustrate what 'neurotech' highlights: http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/023823.jpg

http://www.uss-shangri-la.com/lastcruise.html

I love the classic stories, and wonder how they could possible happen for real, but they do.

One of the legends going around the test squadron was the dual engine FOD mishap in a F/A-18C where the jet sucked in a protection mat on launch, then made a barricade landing on the carrier, with both engines seriously damaged. That one is in the Congressional record, as a commendation to the pilot who saved the jet.

We had a F/A-18E with an AMAD failure just after take-off, and the initial report said the engine had exploded (that's what it looked like) causing multiple hydraulic systems to "fail", but the jet still made it back for an arrested landing. After investigating the mishap, it was repaired for less than $1m.

Then there is the LEF failing 50 degrees up in a F-16 where the pilot made it back. We know that one happened for real :D (Kudos for Gums flying skills)

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2012, 23:40
by spazsinbad
[BETTER FORMATTED VERSION HERE: http://tailhookdaily.typepad.com/tailho ... om-oy.html ]
__________________________

For some reason the classic NIGHT barricade story mentioned by 'neurotech' is not easy to find (from original URLs anyway) so here is one UNFORFRIGGINFORMATTED!:

http://forums.ubi.com/archive/index.php/t-574577.html

"Here's a personal story of an F/A-18 Hornet's recent recovery by barricade. . at night .. on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. [ Note: a barricade is a huge net . . 20 ft high and stretches across the carrier's deck to 'catch' airplanes during extreme emergencies.]

Oyster, here. This note is to share with you the exciting night I had the other month. It has nothing to do with me wanting to talk about me. But it has everything to do with sharing what will no doubt become a better story as the years go by. So.... There I was .. ' manned up' a hot seat for the 2030 night launch about 500 miles north of Hawaii. I was taxied off toward the carrier's island where I did a 180 degree turn to get spotted to be the first one off Catapult # 1. They lowered my launch bar and started the launch cycle. All systems were ' go' on the run up. And after waiting the requisite 5 seconds to make sure my flight controls are good to go, I turned on my lights. As is my habit I shifted my eyes to the catwalk and watched the deck edge dude and as he started his routine of looking left, then right. I put my head back against the head rest.

The Hornet cat shot is pretty impressive. As the cat fires, I stage the afterburners and am along for the ride.
Just prior to the end of the stroke .. there's a huge flash . . and a simultaneous . . B-O-O-M !
And my night world is in turmoil. My little pink body is doing 145 knots or so and is 100 feet above the black Pacific. And there it stays -- except for the airspeed, which decreases to 140 knots. Some where in here I raised my gear. And the throttles aren't going any farther forward despite my Schwarzze-negerian> efforts to make them do so.

From out of the ether I hear a voice say one word: "JETTISON ! " Rogered that ! And a nano second later my two drops and single MER, about 4,500 pounds in all, are Black Pacific bound. The airplane leapt up a bit but not enough. I'm now about a mile in front of the boat at 160 feet and fluctuating from 135 to 140 knots. The next comment that comes out of the ether is another one-worder: " EJECT ! " I'm still flying . . so I respond . . " Not yet . . I've still got it." Finally, at 4 miles ahead of the boat, I take a peek at my engine instruments and notice my left engine . . doesn't match the right. ( Funny, how quick glimpses at instruments get burned into your brain.) The left rpm is at 48% even though I'm still doing the Ah-Nold thing. I bring it back out of afterburner to military power. About now I get another " EJECT ! " call. "Nope . . it's still flying." At 5 1/2 miles I asked tower to please get the helo headed my way as I truly thought I was going to be ' shelling out '. At some point, I thought it would probably be a good idea to start dumping some gas. But as my hand reached down for the dump switch, I actually remembered that we had a NATOPS operation prohibition against dumping fuel while in afterburner. But after a second or two [contemplating the threat of the unnecessarily burden] I turned the fuel dump switches on. Immediately [I was told later] . . SIXTY FOOT ROMAN CANDLE . . BEGAN TRAILING BEHIND. At 7 miles I started a ( very slight ) climb to get a little breathing room. CATCC control chimes in giving me a downwind [landing pattern] heading . . and I'm like: "Ooh . . what a good idea" . . and I throw down my tail hook. Eventually I get headed downwind to the carrier at 900 feet and ask for a Tech Rep [Manufacturer's Technical Representative]. While waiting, I shut down the left engine. But In short order, I hear Scott "Fuzz" McClure's voice. I tell him the following : " OK Fuzz, my gear's up . . my left motor's off . . and I'm only able to stay level by using minimum afterburner. And every time I pull it back to military power, I start down at about a hundred feet per minute." I just continue trucking downwind . . trying to stay level . . and keep dumping fuel. I think I must have been in afterburner for about fifteen minutes. At ten miles or so I'm down to 5000 pounds of fuel and start a turn back toward the ship. I don't intend to land but I don't want to get too far away. Of course, as soon I as I stuck in that angle of bank . .I start dropping like a stone. So I end up doing a [shallow bank] 5 mile [radius] circle around the ship. Fuzz is reading me the single engine rate of climb numbers from the ' book' based on temperature, etc. And it doesn't take us long to figure out that things aren't adding up. One of the things I'd learned about the Hornet is that it is a perfectly good single engine aircraft . . flies great on one motor. So why do I now need blower [afterburner] to stay level ? By this time, I'm talking to the Deputy CAG (turning [duty] on the flight deck) and CAG who's on the bridge with the Captain. And we decide that the thing to do is climb to three thousand feet and ' dirty up' [gear and flaps down] to see if I'm going to have the excess power needed to be able to shoot a night approach for a landing. I get headed downwind . . go full burner on my remaining motor . . and eventually make it to 2000 feet before leveling out below a scattered layer of puffy clouds. And the 'puffies' are silhouetted against a half a moon which was really, really cool. I start a turn back toward the ship . .
and when I get pointed in the right direction . .

I throw the gear down and pull the throttle out of after-burner. Remember that flash/boom! . . that started this little tale ? [ Repeat it here ]. Boom ! I jam it back into afterburner, and after three or four huge compressor stalls [and accompanying deceleration] the right motor ' comes back'. I'm thinking my blood pressure was probably up there' about now . . and for the first time, I notice that my mouth has dried up. This next part is great. You know those stories about guys who deadstick crippled airplanes away from the orphanages and puppy stores and stuff and get all this great media attention? Well, at this point I'm looking at the picket ship in front of me, at about two miles, and I transmit to no one in particular, "You need to have the picket ship hang a left right now. I think I'm gonna be outta here in a second." I said it very calmly but with meaning. The picket immediately pitched out of the fight. Ha! I scored major points with the heavies afterwards for this. Anyway, it's funny how your mind works in these situations. OK, so I'm dirty and I get it back level and pass a couple miles up the starboard side of the ship. I'm still in minimum blower and my fuel state is now about 2500 pounds. Hmmm. I hadn't really thought about running out of gas. I muster up the ****** to pull it out of blower again and sure enough...flash, BOOM! I'm thinking that I'm gonna end up punching out and tell Fuzz at this point " Dude, I really don't want to try that again." Don't think everyone else got it . . but he chuckled. Eventually I discover that even the tiniest throttle movements cause the ' flash/boom thing ' to happen so I'm trying to be as smooth as I can. I'm downwind a couple miles when CAG comes up and says, " Oyster, we're going to rig the barricade." Remember, CAG's up on the bridge watching me fly around doing blower donuts in the sky and he's also thinking I'm gonna run outta JP-5 fuel. By now I've told everyone who's listening that there a better than average chance that I'm going to be ejecting. (The helicopter bubbas . God bless 'em . . have been following me around this entire time.) I continue downwind and again, sounding more calm than I probably was, call the LSO. " Paddles, you up [listening] ?" "Go ahead" replies "Max" Stout, one of our LSO's. "Max, I probably know most of it ,but do you want to shoot me the barricade briefing?" So, in about a minute .. he went from expecting me to ' punch out ' .. to have me asking for the barricade brief [so he was hyperventilating.] But he was awesome to hear on the radio though . . just the kind of voice you'd want to hear in this situation. He gives me the barricade brief. And at nine miles I say, "If I turn now will ' it' be up when I get there? Because I don't want to have to go around again." "It's going up right now, Oyster. Go ahead and turn." "Turning in, say the final bearing." "Zero six three," replies the voice in CATCC." "OK, I'm on a four degree glide slope and I'm at 800 feet. I will intercept glide slope at about a mile and three quarters then reduce power."

When I reduced power : Flash/boom ! [Add power out of fear.] Going high! Pull power. Flash/boom! [Add power out of fear.] Going higher! [Flashback to LSO school...."All right class, today's lecture will be on the single engine barricade approach. Remember, the one place you really, really don't want to be is high. OK? You can go play golf now."] I start to set up a higher than desired sink rate the LSO hits the " Eat At Joe's" wave-off night lights. Very timely too. I stroke the AB and cross the flight deck with my right hand on the stick and my left thinking about the little yellow and black ejection handle between my legs. No worries. I cleared that sucker by at least ten feet. By the way my fuel state at the ball call was [now low] at 1.1. As I slowly climb out I punched the radio button saying . . again to no one in particular : " I can do this." I'm in blower still and CAG says, "Turn downwind." After I get turned around he says, "Oyster, this is gonna be your last look[at the boat in the dark below] so you can turn in again as soon as you're comfortable." I flew the DAY pattern and I lost about 200 feet in the turn and like a total dumbs - I look out of the cockpit as I get on centerline and that " night thing about feeling that I'm too high " grabbed me . . and [in error] I pushed down further to 400 feet. I got kinda irked at myself then as I realized I would now be intercepting the four degree glide slope in the middle .. with a flash/boom every several seconds all the way down. Last look at my gas was 600-and-some pounds [100 gallons] at a mile and a half. "Where am I on the glide slope, Max ?" I ask. And I and hear a calm "Roger Ball." I know I'm low because the ILS is waaay up there. I can't remember what the response was but by now the ball's shooting up from the depths. I start flying it but before I get a chance to spot the deck I hear : " Cut, cut, CUT !" I'm really glad I was a paddles for so long because my mind said to me " Do what he says Oyster ! " and I pulled it back to idle. (My hook hit 11 paces from the ramp. The rest is pretty tame. I hit the deck . . skipped the one, the two and snagged the three wire and rolled into the barricade about a foot right of centerline. Once stopped, my vocal cords involuntarily shouted, " VICTORY ! " The deck lights came on bright . . and off to my right there must have been a. . ga-zillion cranials and eyes watching. You could hear a huge cheer across the flight deck. After I open the canopy and the first guy I see is our huge Flight Deck Chief named Richards. And he gives me the coolest personal look . . and then two thumbs up. I will remember all of that forever. P.S. You're probably wondering what gave motors problems. When they taxied that last Hornet over the catapult .. they forgot to remove a section or two of the rubber cat seal. When the catapult shuttle came back [to hook me up], it removed the cat rubber seal which was then inhaled by both motors during my catapult stroke. Left engine basically quit even though the motor is in pretty good shape. But it was producing no thrust and during the wave-off one of the LSO's saw "about thirty feet" of black rubber hanging off the left side of the airplane. The right motor .. the one that kept running .. had 340 major hits to all engine stages. The compressor section is trashed . . and best of all .. it had two pieces of the cat seal [one 2 feet and the other about 4 feet long] sticking out of the first stage and into the air intake. God Bless General Electric ! By the way, maintenance data showed that I was fat on fuel -- I had 380 pounds ( 61 gallons) of gas when I shut down. Again, remember this particular number as in ten years [of story telling] when it will surely be . . " FUMES MAN . . FUMES . . I TELL YOU ! "

Oyster, out."

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 00:04
by Gums
Salute!

Thanks for the first person war story from an aviator.

I can tell all that knowing "when to hold them, and when to fold them" is a crucial aspect of aviation.

The basic media and civilian always talks about the brave pilot trying to avoid the apartment house or school or.... I throw the B.S flag. Sure, you try to stay clear of obvious things, but when the time comes to jettison the jet, you pull the handle ( or face curtain for early Navy jets). All you can do is all you can do.

The particle of wisdom for all the wannbes here from Oyster is the dude knew his jet. He knew when all was beyond recovery. So as long as the jet and motor responded and he got the appropriate response, then it was worth a shot. I only had three or four "bad" experiences, but I was ready to pucnh at any second. I knew the planes and I knew my personal limits. It's hard to admit defeat and punch, but at least we had that option.

Thanks for the war story, Spaz.

Amd Merry Christmas to all!!!

Gums lays a finger beside his nose and .....

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 00:28
by neurotech
Yeah.. thats one Spazsinbad :)

The interesting thing is that I'd heard about the F-16 incident involving gums, even though it happened years earlier, and before I came to F-16.net, because one of the F-16 pilots mentioned it during pre-flight walk-around, and finished the story at the officers club. To my knowledge, no F-16 pilot has repeated his accomplishment, and thousands more very much would like to avoid those kind of malfunctions with the LEFs.

Its going to be a sad day when a UCAS pilots say... "I was surrounded by enemy fire... stayed on target... dropped bombs.. then made it back across the border before ditching... all the flight surgeon wanted to do was give me a stupid drug test..." Doesn't sound as dramatic.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 01:12
by neurotech
Gums wrote:Salute!

Thanks for the first person war story from an aviator.

I can tell all that knowing "when to hold them, and when to fold them" is a crucial aspect of aviation.

The basic media and civilian always talks about the brave pilot trying to avoid the apartment house or school or.... I throw the B.S flag. Sure, you try to stay clear of obvious things, but when the time comes to jettison the jet, you pull the handle ( or face curtain for early Navy jets). All you can do is all you can do.

The San Diego F/A-18 crash mishap report comes to mind, the lessons learned from that one makes sobering reading.
http://art2science.files.wordpress.com/ ... s_ocr2.pdf
The pilot got into a situation where he ran out of options to avoid the fatal outcome.
Gums wrote:The particle of wisdom for all the wannbes here from Oyster is the dude knew his jet. He knew when all was beyond recovery. So as long as the jet and motor responded and he got the appropriate response, then it was worth a shot. I only had three or four "bad" experiences, but I was ready to pucnh at any second. I knew the planes and I knew my personal limits. It's hard to admit defeat and punch, but at least we had that option.

Couldn't agree more, Gums. Knowing the jet 100% and knowing what to do doesn't come from the NATOPS directly, it comes from years of experience and training from others who have years or decades of experiences. The NATOPS does have a weakness where multiple malfunctions are not covered, which can doom a jet.

Merry Christmas Gums!

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 01:55
by spazsinbad
'neurotech', interesting reading of the Miramar Hornet Crash details (not understanding all the details of fuel transfer/engine issues etc. though). Thanks. Some points about what the Hornet pilot did initially stuck out as they did at the time (not going to NASNI ASAP). I have mentioned that a few times now in regard to this accident on this forum. We were trained to be assertive in the air and that we were responsible for outcomes - unless advice from the ground was deemed to be good by the pilot - such advice could be ignored when deemed not suitable. The pilot signs for the aircraft; not some dude on the ground. I'm always grateful for the Safety Culture of the USN as we perceived it in far off Oz in those days (compared to previous stiff upper lip RN culture of earlier times). Being able to speak frankly about incident/accident issues at the time, and long after the fact, was always instructive IMHO. For comparison a Sea Venom pilot involved in a low level formation accident never had anyone else involved (he was not the cause) speak of it again nor anyone else for that matter. He was most puzzled by this lack of communication but typical of these old days apparently. I would rather be bored by detail than killed by lack of detail (in accident reports or crewroom discussions).

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 02:10
by archeman
spazsinbad wrote:'linkomart' I'll assume you are referring to 'how the X-47B' works on deck when it is moving in bad weather? Like all aircraft in such conditions there will be 'bad weather/carrier deck movement' limits. When over that limit no aircraft will be moved, except perhaps due to an emergency and then the aircraft will be moved very carefully. Under one such severe weather condition an A4G was lost in the Tasman Sea west of New Zealand. Unfortunately the carrier turned (reason unknown) just as the A4G was being unchained (one chain still connected broke) and also connected by towbar to a heavy deck tractor. Perhaps the bridge personnel were not aware of the condition of the aircraft at the time (only my speculation). Anyway the A4G toppled over the starboard side with the tractor still connected (driver was able to jump off) while the A4G brakeman was still in the cockpit. He managed to escape whilst the A4G was near the surface and able to inflate his 'float coat' to be picked up in what were described as 'miraculous circumstances' by a ship rescue diver from a nearby destroyer (the stories differ somewhat). However in a storm anyone in the water is lucky to be seen, let alone rescued. My point being that this stuff happens even when done with care. The A4G had a tendency to topple due to undercarriage height but it demonstrates how much a deck can move.

If aircraft ops are possible with the deck wet and moving within limits then the aircraft will taxi more slowly than usual, which ordinarily will be slow, using brakes heavily. I think that is evident in the X-47B video? Usually every other aircraft due to fly is on deck, along with others perhaps, so there are many 'needles to thread' carefully as the aircraft may pass very close to other aircraft and the deck edge when turning; and to then be positioned precisely on the catapult. All of this is done by inches, with the aircraft being directed deliberately and slowly. Yes when conditions are bad due weather then there will be no flight ops and no aircraft movements. Large heavier carriers may move less than smaller lighter carriers but there are limits. Sliding sideways under braking on a wet deck must be considered also when the deck is wallowing from side to side.


Spaz, my guess was that link-o-mart was suggesting that the X-47B's internal gesture interpretation may be adversely affected by the balancing motions of a man standing on a windy heaving deck. Where a human could recognize quickly that someone was just waving their hands to regain their posture, the X-47B may misinterpret that in a way that might negatively affect the deck flight operations. It's my humble opinion that if my 35K car can avoid a collision when in auto-parking mode, that a 70M airplane can also avoid a collision. Collisions aren't the only kind of problem that you can stir up on a busy flight deck however.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 02:19
by spazsinbad
An experienced sailor directing aircraft on a moving deck is not going to be waving his arms around - other than to direct the aircraft. A one tonne yacht in a seaway is nothing like a 90K tonne aircraft carrier in similar weather.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 02:39
by quicksilver
Gums wrote: I can tell all that knowing "when to hold them, and when to fold them" is a crucial aspect of aviation.


Amen. There comes a point where the jet is going to crash regardless of what one does. At that point, it's simply of matter of whether you're in it or out of it.

But, I'm sure all who've flown would agree that 'knowing when' has a lot to do with the time available to assess, decide and act. I still shudder at the recollection of those times when the interval between presentation of the problem and point of no-return decision-wise was literally milliseconds and I was either going to recover safely, or make the evening news.

Whether I was lucky, well-trained, or good remains entirely speculative. :whistle:

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 02:51
by marksengineer
Wonder how they plan to limit the field of regard of the vision system to that of only the director responsible for the movement of the UCAV? Certainly you potentially have more than one director within the field of view of the vehicle. Additionally how do you hand-off the UCAV from one director to another as you progress along the flight deck from the parking location to the catapults? In the video on the previous page a director continued signaling from the side of the X-47 as it traveled along the deck so it needs to be able to view directors from more than head on. Would assume that a system like the EODAS from the F-35 would be useful in seeing to the front and sides of the UCAV but how does it know which director takes presidence? Should be some interesting AI programming in this system.

Think they will adorn the directors with some form of visual augmentation that the UCAV's can see. Having not been on a carrier I can only speculate but from the videos and movies it seems to be a cluttered visual environment. To improve the accuracy of the response from the UCAV they will need to have a high contrast between the background and the signals displayed by the directors. Might be something simple as black gloves or the use of electroluminescent strips.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 02:51
by neurotech
quicksilver wrote:
Gums wrote: I can tell all that knowing "when to hold them, and when to fold them" is a crucial aspect of aviation.


Amen. There comes a point where the jet is going to crash regardless of what one does. At that point, it's simply of matter of whether you're in it or out of it.

But, I'm sure all who've flown would agree that 'knowing when' has a lot to do with the time available to assess, decide and act. I still shudder at the recollection of those times when the interval between presentation of the problem and point of no-return decision-wise was literally milliseconds and I was either going to recover safely, or make the evening news.

Whether I was lucky, well-trained, or good remains entirely speculative. :whistle:

What did you fly?

Some highly experienced pilots have told me that its "experience AND a whole lot of luck" to go an entire career without a major mishap. Several of the astronauts ejected out during their test pilot career.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 03:14
by spazsinbad
'marksengineer' as indicated on previous page by comment from '...MSB': "...Hard environmental challenges. Most promising idea I have seen in that regard uses accelerometers in the wands to augment any visual capabilities that evolve."" Perhaps the 'who is in charge' will be solved by some radio/laser beep in a set of wands switched on and off as control is passed along. I guess that is one hiccup to be solved for the future. Having the control emulate current practices really helps everyone be comfortable with the process 'according to NATOPS'.

For the future why not have some kind of 'magic stripe on the deck' for the X-47B to follow, that otherwise would not interfere with ordinary operations? Probably that has been looked at I'll guess and found to be wanting. It seems that the process in use today is satisfactory though.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 05:06
by neptune
Spaz, for those of us who work with HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) and automation, it is common for several layers of control to exist in parallel to minimize the "Risk" when humans are involved. That said, your "paint stripe", the beep in the wands and the optical recognition of the flight deck director hand signals in parallel processing, will attempt to smooth over those "hiccups" on the flight deck. This will be accomplished by program logic and not by any "aritificial intelligence" (this is not star wars). The learning events are validations of previous limited optical parameters established in the program and only being validated for sensor sensitivity during these deck trials. It will be complex, safe and reliable. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :cheers:

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 05:54
by spazsinbad
I wonder if voice recognition for the robot will be incorporated also as an extra layer for the optical recognition of the hand signals? What happens when the robot talks back? Is SkyNet active then? :D

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 05:59
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:Yale Song, a PhD student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, his advisor, computer science professor Randall Davis, and David Demirdjian, a research scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL),

For the record, CSAIL's director/principal investigator is Prof. Missy Cummings, a former F/A-18 carrier pilot. She's well regarded in the HMI field, especially with regards to aviation. Thats a good sign that whatever UCAS support systems and AI they use, at least they'll have a pretty good idea of what its really like on a carrier.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 06:41
by spazsinbad
Here is Missy with her new fangled Ouija Board: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/images/unmanned.jpg
Caption: "Missy Cummings and student Jason Ryan work on a virtual planning tool designed to organize planes and personnel on aircraft carrier deck.
Photo: William Litant"

Clearing the decks: A new planning tool helps direct traffic on aircraft carriers.
Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office 02 Aug 2011

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/auto ... -0802.html

"“...While the Ouija board has worked for decades to help human planners reshuffle flight decks, the system depends on people to keep track of all the moving parts. When lining planes up to launch or land, people in the tower radio down to the deck crew and pilots to confirm locations and prioritize planes with varying fuel levels and missions. When a ship’s equipment malfunctions, a person needs to reconfigure the entire deck on the fly to keep planes on schedule.

It’s a lot of data to process, and MIT’s Mary (“Missy”) Cummings, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, says computers can help people cut through that data to draw up faster, safer and more efficient flight-deck plans. Cummings and her students in the Humans and Automation Lab have designed a computer interface, called the Deck operations Course of Action Planner (DCAP) that works with humans to track incoming flight data and create new deck operation schedules....”
__________________

http://img.mit.edu/newsoffice/images/ar ... 4648-2.jpg
Caption: "Deck handlers manage traffic on an aircraft carrier by reshuffling tiny model planes on a tabletop model of the flight deck, known as the 'Ouija Board.' Photo: U.S. Navy"

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 06:53
by spazsinbad
In Profile: Missy Cummings
Former U.S. Naval fighter pilot aims to improve how humans and computers interact.


http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/prof ... -0405.html

"Mary (Missy) Cummings was exhilarated the first time she landed a fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier in 1989, but the young pilot's elation didn't last long. Seconds later, a close friend died while attempting the same landing on the back of the carrier.

“I can't tell you how many friends died because of bad designs,” says Cummings, recalling the crash that occurred on the U.S.S. Lexington in the Gulf of Mexico. “After spending so much time as a pilot, I found it incredibly frustrating to work with technology that didn’t work with me.”

It wasn’t until Cummings left the Navy after 10 years and chose to pursue a PhD in systems engineering that she realized she could help improve the severely flawed designs of the technological systems she used as a pilot — from confusing radar screens and hand controls to the nonintuitive setup of cockpits — by making an impact at the research level.

Today, she is an associate MIT professor with appointments in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and in the Engineering Systems Division, and she directs the Humans and Automation Laboratory (HAL). Her work focuses on “human factors” engineering — specifically, how to develop better tools and technology to help people like pilots and air traffic controllers make good decisions in high-risk, highly automated environments. It is a critical field of research that has burgeoned in recent years with the explosion of automated technology. This has replaced the need for humans in direct manual control with the need for humans as supervisors of complex automatic control systems, such as nuclear reactors or air traffic control systems.

But one consequence of these automated domains controlled by humans — known as “humans-in-the-loop” systems — is that the level of required cognition has moved from that of well-rehearsed skill execution and rule-following to higher, more abstract levels of knowledge synthesis, judgment and reasoning.

A novel application
Nowhere has this change been more apparent than in the military, where pilots are increasingly being trained to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to perform certain cognitive tasks,....

...Learning from boredom
Cummings began flying planes after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1988 and received her master’s degree in space systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994. When the Combat Exclusion Law was repealed in 1993, meaning that women could become fighter pilots for the first time in U.S. history, Cummings had already established herself as an accomplished pilot and was selected to be among the first group of women to fly the F/A-18 Hornet, one of the most technologically advanced fighter jets.

Although she loved the thrill of flying, Cummings left the military when her resentful male colleagues became intolerable. “It’s no secret that the social environment wasn’t conducive to my career. Guys hated me and made life very difficult,” she recalls. Cummings details this experience in her book Hornet’s Nest (Writer’s Showcase Press, 2000).

But what is most enduring about Cummings’ military experience is that it fueled her desire to improve how humans and computers can work together in complex technical systems. She focuses on how design principles, such as display screens, can affect supervisory control factors, such as attention span, when humans operate complex systems...."
________________________

Crash referred to above most likely - there is a video online also:

Crew Relives Horror Of Crash On Ship Lexington Returns To Pensacola With Jet Wreckage On Deck October 31, 1989|By Craig Dezern Of The Sentinel Staff

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/198 ... ogan-crash

"PENSACOLA — The flight deck of the USS Lexington smelled of jet fuel Monday. Touch the wall, and soot rubbed off on your fingers. Overhead, the tip of a red wing dangled from a fuel tank.

Naval investigators ducked beneath orange and white parachutes covering the twisted remains of a training jet that crashed onto the deck Sunday, killing five and injuring 17, one critically. The fireball had reduced the plane to a mass of wires, cables and metal....

...The two-seat T-2 Buckeye slammed into the carrier's tower and cartwheeled in flames onto the flight deck during a practice flight about 30 miles south of Pensacola in the Gulf of Mexico.

Killed were the pilot, Ensign Steven E. Pontell, 23, of Columbia, Md., a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; Petty Officer 3rd Class Burnett Kilgore Jr., 19, of Holly Springs, Miss.; Petty Officer 3rd Class Timmy L. Garroutte, 30, of Memphis, Tenn.; Airman Lisa L. Mayo, 25, of Oklahoma City; and civilian employee Byron Gervis Courvelle, 32, of Meridian, Miss.

Capt. C. Flack Logan, a veteran of 130 combat missions in Vietnam, said he and other officers spent much of Sunday night talking with young crew members shaken by the tragedy. The ship itself, he said, was hardly damaged.

''If we had a wartime mission, we'd be gone today. We wouldn't even have come in,'' Logan said. ''But we have a peacetime mission, and that's to train people to do it right.''

Logan said landing officers told the pilot, who was alone in the plane, to add power and waved him off but for some reason he was unable to comply. The man was a qualified pilot, Logan said, but was only beginning to learn the difficult skill of landing on a carrier.

''The nose pitched up and he lost control of his ability to fly the aircraft and it went up and came into the island,'' Logan said.

The plane was upside down when its wing tip hit the island, or tower of the ship, Logan said. The jet then smashed into the side of the island before crashing in flames on the flight deck.

It hit at the feet of Airman Dee Votalato of Houma, La., who was inside a glassed-in area operating a video camera used to tape all landings. The impact knocked her to the floor, but she got back up and pointed her camera at the flight deck in time to capture the plane bursting into flames....
____________________________________

Crash on the USS LEXINGTON AVT-16 Oct-1989 2 views in video
VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCmOEXVLeEk

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 07:18
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:In Profile: Missy Cummings
Former U.S. Naval fighter pilot aims to improve how humans and computers interact.


http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/prof ... -0405.html

"Mary (Missy) Cummings was exhilarated the first time she landed a fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier in 1989, but the young pilot's elation didn't last long. Seconds later, a close friend died while attempting the same landing on the back of the carrier.

“I can't tell you how many friends died because of bad designs,” says Cummings, recalling the crash that occurred on the U.S.S. Lexington in the Gulf of Mexico. “After spending so much time as a pilot, I found it incredibly frustrating to work with technology that didn’t work with me.”

It wasn’t until Cummings left the Navy after 10 years and chose to pursue a PhD in systems engineering that she realized she could help improve the severely flawed designs of the technological systems she used as a pilot — from confusing radar screens and hand controls to the nonintuitive setup of cockpits — by making an impact at the research level.

Today, she is an associate MIT professor with appointments in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and in the Engineering Systems Division, and she directs the Humans and Automation Laboratory (HAL). Her work focuses on “human factors” engineering — specifically, how to develop better tools and technology to help people like pilots and air traffic controllers make good decisions in high-risk, highly automated environments. It is a critical field of research that has burgeoned in recent years with the explosion of automated technology. This has replaced the need for humans in direct manual control with the need for humans as supervisors of complex automatic control systems, such as nuclear reactors or air traffic control systems.

But one consequence of these automated domains controlled by humans — known as “humans-in-the-loop” systems — is that the level of required cognition has moved from that of well-rehearsed skill execution and rule-following to higher, more abstract levels of knowledge synthesis, judgment and reasoning.

A novel application
Nowhere has this change been more apparent than in the military, where pilots are increasingly being trained to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to perform certain cognitive tasks,...."

The Bio is inaccurate. She didn't fly F/A-18 "fighter jets" until the 93-94. Her friend who crashed and died in 1989 was in a T-2 Buckeye trainer during initial his SNA CQ training.

The T-2 mishap (& earlier EA-6B crash in 1981) are sobering examples of why Naval Aviation is a dangerous business, although it has gotten progressively safer, in no small part to research into human factors By Prof. Cummings and Capt. Sully and a lot of others... and intense mishap review processes.

Note: Capt. Sully did not directly consult for the Navy, but after serving as a safety officers in the USAF, wrote several journal articles on human factors which contributed to the Navy resources on human factors in mishaps.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 07:35
by spazsinbad
The bio is accurate - however I'm at fault for shutting down computer during passing thunderstorms here necessitating doing stuff piecemeal. I had not got around to adding the extra bio bit about Missy's Hornet experience. This second part was added later after following up on the other stuff. The internet is lightning fast these days but my computer is not lightning safe. :D

"...Learning from boredom
Cummings began flying planes after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1988 and received her master’s degree in space systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994. When the Combat Exclusion Law was repealed in 1993, meaning that women could become fighter pilots for the first time in U.S. history, Cummings had already established herself as an accomplished pilot and was selected to be among the first group of women to fly the F/A-18 Hornet, one of the most technologically advanced fighter jets...."

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 07:55
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:The bio is accurate - however I'm at fault for shutting down computer during passing thunderstorms here necessitating doing stuff piecemeal. I had not got around to adding the extra bio bit about Missy's Hornet experience. This second part was added later after following up on the other stuff. The internet is lightning fast these days but my computer is not lightning safe. :D

I'm nitpicking about referring to the T-2 as a "fighter jet" in the linked article. The T-2 is a dedicated trainer. TA-4s flew as aggressors, so could be considered fighter/attack aircraft.

Incidentally, It was probably 1995 the first time I screwed up a PC in a lightning storm, damaged the modem. I was too focused on the internet and didn't shutdown in time.

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2012, 08:22
by spazsinbad
Fair enough. Mostly the thunderbumpers in my part of the world move on by on my East and West side, to create havoc elsewhere near the coast (Sydney Suburbs) but the lightning as they pass can be spectacular here in the Lower Blue Mountains. Sandstone with shale outcrops make for some nearby strikes every now and then along with the local high trees (often imported conifers but also large gum trees). Never a dull moment here in summer late afternoons in humid weather.

Some fifteen years ago I was out in the bush north of Sydney (also in a sandstone National Park) where a phone (connected via a radio link) was put out of action due to a nearby lightning strike inducing bad current on the handset to wall socket connecting wire. Luckily no human was injured in this incident. Always good to put down the phone and walk away from electrical outlets during our thunderstorms, even running water taps can be a hazard. Life huh. :D

Unread postPosted: 26 Dec 2012, 16:19
by marksengineer
Would assume by adding channels to JPALS you could use that system for position reporting and or navigation on the deck. Certainly has the accuracy.

Spaz- Thunderbumpers can be severe but I'll take one over the 12 inches of white stuff with winds I'm due to get today. You don't have to shovel thunder! :D

Unread postPosted: 26 Dec 2012, 18:10
by spazsinbad
At least there is an idea to track all personnel on a CVN via some means in future. Cannot recall if it will be via JPALS though. I think JPALS may be used eventually to track all aircraft - everywhere, including for that newfangled OUIJA Board (which tracks where aircraft are onboard including their health). When the robots become sentient then perhaps they will be smart enough to know where they are? :D On this forum I shovel B/S. :roll:

Unread postPosted: 09 Jan 2013, 07:33
by munny
Video update of deck tests of X-47B

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t84a89NvQ7A

Unread postPosted: 20 Jan 2013, 01:15
by f-22lm
Image


Photo of the day: An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator flies over the Chesapeake Bay last month in Patuxent River, Md. Just last week, the aircraft conducted flights offshore over the Atlantic Ocean and flew multiple precision approaches to Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

The Navy UCAS program is intended to identify and reduce technical risks associated with developing potential future unmanned, carrier-compatible systems. It is an essential first step toward full-scale development of a carrier-suitable unmanned intelligence surveillance reconnaissance/strike platform.

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2013, 12:38
by spazsinbad
Navy Unmanned Combat Air System UCAS-D Update 26 June 2012

http://md-calvertcounty.civicplus.com/F ... 837617.pdf (3Mb)

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2013, 15:37
by marksengineer
For those in the US Public Broadcasting is airing an episode of Nova devoted to drones. It's on at 9 PM tonight in my area although I don't know what the schedules are around the country. Would assume that they will have video of the X-47B. Should have something on their websites after it airs.

Spaz, Do they import those shows to Australia?

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2013, 18:06
by spazsinbad
Not that I know about.

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2013, 18:07
by spazsinbad
Entered twice because it took ages to respond to SUBMIT!

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2013, 20:33
by spazsinbad
Northrop Aiming For First UAV Carrier Takeoff, Landing 15 Feb 2013 Ross Wilkers

http://www.thenewnewinternet.com/2013/0 ... f-landing/

"Northrop Grumman is building a drone for the U.S. Navy with the goal of having the first conventional unmanned aerial vehicle to take off and land on an aircraft carrier, Flight Global reports.

Zach Rosenberg writes the X-47B drone is scheduled to fly and land on the USS George HW Bush in either April or May.

Rear Adm. Mathias Winter, executive officer for Navy UAV and strike programs, told an industry forum this week the Navy’s goal is to demonstrate feasibility of operating a UAV on carriers.

The Navy is also aiming to digitize the carrier environment so drones such as Northrop’s Fire Scout and an unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike drone can land on a carrier, Winter said, according to Flight Global.

Northrop and the Navy tested the X-47B’s ability to move on a flight deck in November and December 2012." That is it. I guess 'FrightGlobular' has more info?

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 09:26
by Corsair1963
If, the X-47 or a similar UCAS joins the F-35C in USN AirWings. I think you will see the Super Hornet retired much more quickly....Maybe with 2-3 Squadrons of F-35C and 1-2 Squadrons of X-47's. Though, we could see a composite squadron of Super Hornets in the mid-term. Say 10 Super Hornets used mainly as "Tankers" plus 4 Growlers. Which, was similar to the 10 A-6's and 4 KA-6's used in the 70's and 80's.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 10:50
by KamenRiderBlade
Is it me, or is the X-47's ordinance carrying load kind of weak for a bomb truck?
The load is almost F-117 like which didn't carry very much.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 11:07
by popcorn
Corsair1963 wrote:If, the X-47 or a similar UCAS joins the F-35C in USN AirWings. I think you will see the Super Hornet retired much more quickly....Maybe with 2-3 Squadrons of F-35C and 1-2 Squadrons of X-47's. Though, we could see a composite squadron of Super Hornets in the mid-term. Say 10 Super Hornets used mainly as "Tankers" plus 4 Growlers. Which, was similar to the 10 A-6's and 4 KA-6's used in the 70's and 80's.



The Navy's vision for the CAW come 2025 excludes a strike role for unmanned platforms and foresees a continuing role for the SH fleet.

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-22031.html

- Unmanned systems operating from the flight decks of our aircraft carriers will provide long-range persistent intelligence collection, surveillance, and organic tanker capabilities.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 17:53
by archeman
Corsair1963 wrote:If, the X-47 or a similar UCAS joins the F-35C in USN AirWings. I think you will see the Super Hornet retired much more quickly....Maybe with 2-3 Squadrons of F-35C and 1-2 Squadrons of X-47's. Though, we could see a composite squadron of Super Hornets in the mid-term. Say 10 Super Hornets used mainly as "Tankers" plus 4 Growlers. Which, was similar to the 10 A-6's and 4 KA-6's used in the 70's and 80's.


But isn't airborne tanker the perfect role for a UAV? Kind of expensive to keep officers trained and fit for carrier aviation when that programming is already a done deal and you just need to apply it to an aircraft devoted to that role.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 18:16
by maus92
Corsair1963 wrote:If, the X-47 or a similar UCAS joins the F-35C in USN AirWings. I think you will see the Super Hornet retired much more quickly....Maybe with 2-3 Squadrons of F-35C and 1-2 Squadrons of X-47's. Though, we could see a composite squadron of Super Hornets in the mid-term. Say 10 Super Hornets used mainly as "Tankers" plus 4 Growlers. Which, was similar to the 10 A-6's and 4 KA-6's used in the 70's and 80's.


The plan - quite aggressive btw - is to have 4-6 onboard by 2020.

Another interesting note vis a vis F-35C is that X-47 had a tailhook problem similar to F-35C - hook mounted too close to the mains. A redesign took a paltry 45 days and roll in tests confirmed better functionality.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 18:43
by uclass
They'll probably be reluctant to use the X-47B in a strike role until it has proven its reliability in other operations but it's difficult to think that the weapons bay isn't going to come into use eventually.

kamenriderblade wrote:Is it me, or is the X-47's ordinance carrying load kind of weak for a bomb truck?
The load is almost F-117 like which didn't carry very much.

I think you are right as regards 'bomb truck' but it's a coincidence you mention the F-117A, because that's the ideal sort of role for it IMO.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 20:24
by spazsinbad
"Another interesting note vis a vis F-35C is that X-47 had a tailhook problem similar to F-35C - hook mounted too close to the mains. A redesign took a paltry 45 days and roll in tests confirmed better functionality." Oh those LM guys are such numbnuts.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2013, 21:02
by maus92
kamenriderblade wrote:Is it me, or is the X-47's ordinance carrying load kind of weak for a bomb truck?
The load is almost F-117 like which didn't carry very much.


It is an X-plane. Whatever aircraft eventually becomes the UCLASS might have larger bays, an assortment of sensors, etc.

Unread postPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 09:25
by spazsinbad
NAVAIR Clips: X-47B Touch & Go Landing VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3f2aj6p ... r_embedded

"Published on Mar 5, 2013
X-47B completes first approach to runway at NAS Patuxent River using GPS relative navigation March 2."

Unread postPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 09:57
by Corsair1963
Isn't the X-47B just a testbed for the type. Some act like it going to enter USN Service as is???

Unread postPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 10:29
by spazsinbad
The X-47B is a test aircraft only. At some future time the Navy will seek an operational robotic aircraft for aircraft carrier use.

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 03:59
by Corsair1963
spazsinbad wrote:The X-47B is a test aircraft only. At some future time the Navy will seek an operational robotic aircraft for aircraft carrier use.



Plus, isn't the X-47B really to small for USN Requirements?

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 04:15
by popcorn
Lessons learned from the X-47B should provide input into UCLASS.

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 04:15
by popcorn
Lessons learned from the X-47B should provide input into UCLASS.

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 12:50
by sprstdlyscottsmn
spazsinbad wrote:"Another interesting note vis a vis F-35C is that X-47 had a tailhook problem similar to F-35C - hook mounted too close to the mains. A redesign took a paltry 45 days and roll in tests confirmed better functionality." Oh those LM guys are such numbnuts.


to be fair spaz, lets make a comparative list of all the naval aircraft ever made by Lockheed vs all those made by Grumman.

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 12:55
by spazsinbad
'sprstdlyscottsmn': My bad - that quote ["Another interesting note vis a vis F-35C is that X-47 had a tailhook problem similar to F-35C - hook mounted too close to the mains. A redesign took a paltry 45 days and roll in tests confirmed better functionality."] was made by 'maus92' on previous page and I forget to amend my post - it is not my quote. You can ask 'maus92' to respond.

My sarcastic response to the 'maus92' post ["Another interesting note vis a vis F-35C is that X-47 had a tailhook problem similar to F-35C - hook mounted too close to the mains. A redesign took a paltry 45 days and roll in tests confirmed better functionality."] was about LM numnuts (and I do not think they are but acknowledge as most have that the hook issue is not so simple - you would have to read the very long thread about this issue which I will assume you have).

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 18:00
by neptune
spazsinbad wrote:.. was about LM numnuts (and I do not think they are but acknowledge as most have that the hook issue is not so simple ....


All,

It appears, as usual, several irons are in the fire at one time. Please jump to a reply but...

JPALS is an important if not critical piece of the tailhook impact location (placement) design. Until JPALS is certified with GPS either globally or locally (carrier or airport) flight testing of tailhook impact location cannot be tested for functionality of the hook. This appears to be consistent with both the F-35 and the X-47B programs.

JPALS has been flight tested at Lakehurst but no arrestments have been attempted, as publicly announced for both program, and certainly none for a carrier. The lack of 3D dimensional displacement between two bodies with 150+ knots differential should be quite a complex required control algorithm (to replace a simple non-required "Naval Aviator"), for the JPALS application. :)....and at Lakehurst there will be no rolling and pitching deck, in high sea state conditions.

It has been stated several times that the F-18D surrogate has successfully completed 'Auto Landing" for the X-47B program and those of us from Missouri are anxious for the first program public demonstration on a carrier for each a/c.

What should be interesting next will be the F-35C flying JPALS approaches and wave-offs with carriers from Norfolk.

It looks like the "Bee' will miss out on any JPALS testing with the WASP, later this year.

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 18:46
by spazsinbad
'neppie' I do not follow why JPALS has an impact on the hook design? The hook needs to work then JPALS is adjusted (not the other way around if that is what you are implying). Have not heard much about JPALS lately. The last SAR about it was critical of some aspects (2010?). Perhaps an amendment to the 'sequester' rules may allow more flexibility for previously announced WASP testing later this year - rather than NOT - as already announced. Why are US politics so shambolic? :D A rhetorical question indeed. :D No need for an answer.

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 22:17
by batu731
spazsinbad wrote:"Another interesting note vis a vis F-35C is that X-47 had a tailhook problem similar to F-35C - hook mounted too close to the mains. A redesign took a paltry 45 days and roll in tests confirmed better functionality." Oh those LM guys are such numbnuts.


LM don't have as much experience as Northrop do in naval aviation aspect.

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2013, 22:29
by spazsinbad
Probably irrelevant. If you read this thread pages about the F-35C hook issues (and there are other threads on this forum) you will see why: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-255.html

Various pages on that thread (and others) explain some of the issues. A few LM engineers did not design the hook without a lot of supervision by well experienced USN people - who thought it was fine - well knowing that physical trials were the only way. And so it turned out. Modelling the hook/wire behaviour is probably beyond computer simulation until perhaps quantum computing becomes available.

What is amusing was that the F-35C hook was way less dramatic than proposed by numnuts thinking the entire aircraft or worse would need to be redesigned SO CANCEL IT NOW! HahahHa. As a few people remarked - it ain't rocket science. But complex nevertheless due to the many factors in the arrest equation.

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 23:42
by neptune
[quote="spazsinbad"]'neppie' I do not follow why JPALS has an impact on the hook design? The hook needs to work then JPALS is adjusted (not the other way around if that is what you are implying). ...quote]

Correcto!

Spaz, no JPALS does not have an impact on the hook design but on the hook design testing. 2/5, (Bolters) were adequate in the olden days when flying onto a runway to test arresting gear but the F-35C with JPALS will bring a "New Day" to "catchin' a 3 wire".

My long winded point was that the hook run up testing is finished and flying-in arrestments have proven the revised design but the Proof will be when the F-35C traps on a carrier and I'm very certain that on that momentus day, JPALS will be sitting in the front seat watching every move the aviator is making both on the approach and the "cm. by cm." presentation of the tail hook to the cross deck pennant (wire).

The importance of this precision control will be reflected in the F-35C and the X-47B. We know where the target on the deck will be located but can the JPALS provided the accurate data adequately to the aviator or computer to precisely "fly" the hook to the target; I believe it will. :)


PS, I'm certain that other than in training and annuals, manual traps are on a count down to 'Auto-Landing". If that happens does that revert the aviator back to a pilot? :?: :roll:

The next significant milestone for the JPALS team is reaching Milestone C in the fall of 2013. Milestone C is the decision to authorize full production and fielding of the JPALS system.

Unread postPosted: 12 Mar 2013, 23:51
by spazsinbad
'neppie' Gotcha. Thanks.

The latest edition of the 'Paddles Monthly' USN LSO Newsletter has an item about MODE 1 approaches which is likely relevant. Even though as you say JPALS will increase accuracy for auto landings and such the pilots will need to do manual landings for all kinds of good reasons (such 'what ifs' - no JPALS?). And even though there is a view that pilots are full of sh*t they need to have confidence in their own ability to land the aircraft aboard under all conditions as best they can. And why not. It will be a lot easier according to test pilots - not forgetting the precision that IFLOLS and new control laws etc. with the F-35C gizmos will bring to turn night into day. Hooray! :D

Couple-Up for Safety!! 'Paddles Monthly' Feb 2013

http://www.hrana.org/documents/PaddlesM ... ch2013.pdf (1.6Mb)

"I heard a story a few days ago that reminded me of that simple phrase “Couple-up for Safety!” A Hornet was returning to the ship for a standard night Case III recovery. Having been flying at high altitude for an extended period of time, the aircraft rapidly descended to the ship into the hot, humid air that is the Gulf of Oman. Not surprisingly, the pilot ended up IFR in the cockpit with little relief from defogging attempts. The first attempt at recovery was terminated early when the pilot relayed that he could not see the ship at the ball call. So here’s where our simple phrase came into play. With recommendation from Paddles, the pilot coupled up for an ACLS Mode 1. The coupled approach, closely monitored by Paddles, resulted in an uneventful arrestment, demonstrating one of the exact situations for which the system was designed. We are taught early by our senior Paddles and the schoolhouse that the Mode 1 is to be used when the pilot’s ability to land the aircraft safely is degraded; be it IFR in the cockpit, injury, 0-0 conditions, old guys & Marines (editor’s addition), or maybe even just returning to the ship after an 8 hour mission over Afghanistan. Depending on your airwing, you may not see many mode 1s at the ship. So how do you really know that it’s going to be working correctly for these situations?..."

Current setup (NOT JPALS): http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/PMA213_2.jpg
___________________

http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public//PubFull ... 162-07.pdf

- Mode I: Hands-off approach to touchdown.

- Mode IA: Hands-off approach to ¾ NMI, pilot takeover.

- Mode II: SPN-46 radar provides azimuth and elevation guidance

- Mode III: Ground-controlled approach utilizing the SPN-46 radar for skin track. [Problem with F-35B/C so new system JPALS on way]

- Mode I, IA, and II capabilities require aircraft to have a radar beacon and an on-aircraft data link. [Problem with F-35B/C so new system JPALS on way]
__________

Go here for more explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Uni ... operations

"...Case I
Aircraft awaiting recovery hold in the “port holding pattern”, lefthand circle tangent to the ship’s course with the ship in the 3-o’clock position, and a maximum diameter of 5 nmi. Aircraft typically hold in close formations of two or more and are stacked at various altitudes based on their type/squadron. Minimum holding altitude is 2,000 feet, with a minimum of 1,000 feet vertical separation between holding altitudes....

Case II
This approach is utilized when weather conditions are such that the flight may encounter instrument conditions during the descent, but visual conditions of at least 1,000 feet ceiling and 5 miles visibility exist at the ship. Positive radar control is utilized until the pilot is inside 10 nmi and reports the ship in sight. Flight leaders follow Case III approach procedures outside of 10 nmi. When within 10 nmi with the ship in sight, flights are shifted to tower control and proceed as in Case I.

Case III
This approach is utilized whenever existing weather at the ship is below Case II minimums and during all night flight operations. Case III recoveries are made with single aircraft, with no formations except in an emergency situation)...."

Unread postPosted: 13 Mar 2013, 00:15
by count_to_10
Nice F-14 on the deck of that top pick.

Unread postPosted: 21 Mar 2013, 09:58
by spazsinbad
Rockwell Collins provides TTNT for X-47B deck handling trials 20 March 2013 by the Shephard News Team

http://www.shephardmedia.com/news/uv-on ... -handling/


"Rockwell Collins has supplied its Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) for use in a series of deck handling trials of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman. The trials were conducted by Northrop Grumman and the US Navy to demonstrate the ability to manoeuvre the X-47B on deck using a wireless handheld controller.

The tests are the latest in a series of activities leading up to the first carrier landings of the tailless, strike-fighter-sized X-47B, which are planned for mid-2013.

TTNT provides high data rate, long-range communication links for airborne platforms. As a complement to existing tactical data link networks, TTNT adds significant airborne network capacity while providing rapid, low latency message delivery. The minimal network planning requirements of TTNT will enable participants to enter and exit the network without extensive preplanning.

Bob Haag, vice president and general manager of Communication and Navigation Products for Rockwell Collins, said: ‘TTNT is part of the overall command and control architecture for the X-47B, and it plays an essential role in helping the aircraft perform vital functions. We’re pleased that our technology is helping Northrop Grumman and the navy successfully prepare for the introduction of unmanned aircraft to carrier operations.’

TTNT has been used in demonstrations of aircraft platforms, including the F-16, F-22, F-15, F/A-18, B-2, B-52, Airborne Warning and Control System, Battlefield Airborne Communications Node and E-2C Hawkeye."

http://www.shephardmedia.com/static/ima ... e/TTNT.jpg

Unread postPosted: 23 Mar 2013, 12:30
by spazsinbad
Now the VIDEO:

Rockwell Collins Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) capabilities

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZRrNIdJ ... r_embedded

"Published on Jul 30, 2012
This video animation demonstrates Rockwell Collins Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT), and its ability to deliver simultaneous voice, data and image services at a very low latency and high throughput via our IP mesh networking technology. TTNT allows for the coordination of multiple mission-critical applications during all phases of operation and reliably moves the right information to the right assets in real-time."

Unread postPosted: 26 Mar 2013, 23:40
by neptune
US Navy plans to place four UCLASS development contracts

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ts-383924/

US Navy plans to place four UCLASS development contracts

Print By: Zach Rosenberg Washington DC

The US Navy has announced its intention to fund four companies to design new unmanned air vehicles as part of its unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) programme.

Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman “have credible, existing, comprehensive UCLASS design solutions, and associated production capabilities and facilities” to design UAVs through the preliminary design review phase, the navy says.

The presolicitation, announced on 26 March, is the first step towards securing funding for the carrier-based strike and surveillance aircraft. A full solicitation is likely to go out “in the summer timeframe,” says the navy.

The first UCLASS aircraft are planned for production beginning in fiscal year 2016, following a likely downselect to a single manufacturer.

None of the involved companies had immediate comment, and all declined to share details of their proposals. All four have been working towards a UCLASS-capable aircraft for over a decade. .......

No mention of stealth, interesting! I wonder if an unmanned F-18 or F-35B/C will be offered? :lol:

Unread postPosted: 29 Mar 2013, 02:29
by spazsinbad
AUVSI Program Review 2013: USS George H W Bush targeted as next carrier for X-47B at-sea trials 15 Mar 20 13 Grace Jean
"The US Navy's (USN's) newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will host the next at-sea trials of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D), an official announced on 13 February.

Rear Admiral Mathias Winter, the USN's programme executive officer for unmanned aircraft and strike weapons (PEO U&W), said that the X-47B is being prepared to go on board USS George H W Bush (CVN 77), the tenth and final Nimitz-class carrier, in the April to May timeframe, depending on carrier schedules and fall-out from the US budgetary crisis.

The Northrop Grumman-built autonomous aircraft completed its first at-sea tests in December 2012 on board USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75). During the two-week trial period, sailors directed the tail-less aircraft in taxiing trials on the flight deck and also handled the vehicle in the hangar bays.

Harry S Truman was scheduled to deploy to the US Central Command area of responsibility in the Gulf region earlier this month, but its departure was scrapped due to budgetary constraints. It will remain in Norfolk, Virginia, on standby ready to surge if necessary...."

http://www.janes.com/products/janes/def ... 1065976322

Unread postPosted: 09 Apr 2013, 11:27
by spazsinbad
Unmanned Navy planes near big milestones in May By Andrea Shalal-Esa 09 Apr 2013
"NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland (Reuters) – The Navy plans to carry out the first catapult takeoff of its new X-47B unmanned plane from an aircraft carrier next month and other shipboard tests despite mandatory budget cuts this year, according to the admiral who runs the programs....

...Winter said he had enough in his budget to do shipboard tests with the X-47B on the USS George H.W. Bush in Norfolk, Virginia, in May – including the first-ever catapult launch – and possibly a landing using the plane’s tailhook. Other work on the program, however, might have to be delayed.

The Navy plans to ferry the X-47B to Norfolk on a barge in mid-May, where it will be hoisted on board for some taxiing maneuvers and a catapult shot off the ship, according to Winter.

That test will be followed by several days of “touch and go” landings without the plane’s tailhook. On the fourth or fifth day, if conditions are right, he said it would land on the carrier using its integrated tailhook."

http://maritimesecurity.asia/free-2/pro ... es-in-may/

Unread postPosted: 09 Apr 2013, 13:25
by spazsinbad
Airwaves: 28 March 2013 VIDEO
"On this edition of Airwaves, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) soars through major testing milestones on its way to being carrier ready. Plus, a GPS anti-jam system used on ships and large aircraft finds its way onto Fire Scout. Lastly, middle school students launch into learning at this year's Expand Your Horizons event at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... 447D210642 (3min 48sec)

+ HOT PIT REFUELLING for X-47B for first time.

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2013, 06:39
by spazsinbad
Navy shapes X-47B acquisition strategy By Kris Osborn Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
"...The 10-foot tall 14,000-pound Navy drone is slated for shore-based arrested landings at Paxtuent River, Md., and will then embark upon a series of tests aboard the USS George Bush in May, said Engdahl.

“During the test period, the UCAS-D test team will perform deck handling and ship integration tests, the first aircraft launches from the ship’s catapults, carrier approaches with the aircraft, and potentially the first carrier landings on the flight deck,” Engdahl explained....

...Two upcoming Requests For Proposal (RFP) are likely to shape the upcoming competition; a draft RfP for a Preliminary Design Review is slated for May to be followed by a formal Technology Development RFP a month later, Cosgrove said.

“We are demonstrating the technology and taking lessons learned from the UCAS-D effort to help the UCAS program. We are still working on our acquisition strategy,” she added.

The UCAS-D conducted successful flight tests last December aboard the USS Truman, she added.

“Additionally, the UCAS-D program includes Automated Aerial Refueling (AAR) demonstration on a manned surrogate to prove out multiple AAR technologies. Lessons learned from UCAS-D support follow-on acquisition programs,” said Engdahl...." [Capt. Jamie Engdahl, X-47B program manager]

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2013/04/16/navy- ... -strategy/

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 04:32
by neptune
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... xWTqHiy3RM

X-47B completes first shore-based arrested landing

Published on May 5, 2013

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completes its first shore-based arrested landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. May 4.

Appears to be a very accurate landing and curious about the JPALS (F-35 subsystem) contribution. :)

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 05:18
by spazsinbad
Cool stuff indeed.

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 17:18
by jetnerd
I couldn't hear the X-47's engines adjusting power settings much in the vid except for power down once it snagged the wire, but there could have been too much ambient noise (or my speakers are crappy.)

Watching carrier landings, I am used to hearing, when conditions are right, engine(s) spooling up & down on final on manned a/c as the pilots skilfully adjust throttle to maintain aoa/glideslope. I wonder if JPALS/ACLS with these UAV's will be noticeably smoother, or (as a testament to aviator skill), it won't be much of a difference overall.

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 19:52
by neurotech
jetnerd wrote:I couldn't hear the X-47's engines adjusting power settings much in the vid except for power down once it snagged the wire, but there could have been too much ambient noise (or my speakers are crappy.)

Watching carrier landings, I am used to hearing, when conditions are right, engine(s) spooling up & down on final on manned a/c as the pilots skilfully adjust throttle to maintain aoa/glideslope. I wonder if JPALS/ACLS with these UAV's will be noticeably smoother, or (as a testament to aviator skill), it won't be much of a difference overall.

It'll be noticeably smoother. Theres is some Naval Aviators who had a reputation for being smooth onto the boat, Capt. Hoot Gibon (F-14, Shuttle Pilot, Commander, and 737 pilot - totally cool pilot in real life btw) comes to mind, and I've seen other pilots do superbly under difficult deck conditions. The F/A-18F is one of the best jets behind the boat, and the F-35 should improve on that.

I remember seeing wing commander fly the ball onto a runway in a F/A-18F, under gusty wind conditions, and people were surprised how well the F414 engines throttled up and down for a smooth landing. A second F/A-18F flown by a younger pilot minutes later and scored a wave-off when the pilot let the e-bracket (approach "energy" indication on the HUD) drop too low. The two other F/A-18As had trouble on approach, and ended up with precautionary arrested landings while low fuel. The F/A-18A F404 engines are not as good with regard to throttle control.

The X-47B has a F100-PW-220U which has full FADEC control, would be pretty good on the throttles, and could be upgraded to newer F100-PW-229U standard later on for performance and durability.

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 19:55
by maus92
Nice to see that it can trap.

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 21:14
by jetnerd
Neuro -

Coupling what you've said about the better engine with good ACLS/JPALS, I would be curious if engines on carier-born UAV's will see significantly less time in the shop, with smoother ops/fewer cycles per flight hour. Might even contribute to greater airframe life.

And extrapolating, wonder if successful X-47 (A-47?) carrier ops will lead to more automated carrier landings with the F-35C (and other manned jets with ACLS) if the Navy thought it could get more airframe/engine life out of them - but hopefully without compromising pilot training for manual landings/ops.

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 21:53
by spazsinbad
IMHO the smooth carrier landers do not have more success than 'other' technique users. What matters is the score by the LSO predicated on many parameters for a safe three wire landing. Some approaches can look 'not smooth' and score well whilst those newbies 'trying to be smooth' do badly. Smoothness does not really count except the reverse of 'excessive roughness' so to speak. Smooth can get an inexperienced pilot into trouble.

Here is a good 'approach photo' likely again at Opt AoA. The story itself has nothing that has not been noted in earlier articles on this and similar threads.

http://breakingdefense.com/2012/08/01/n ... -carriers/

Navy Teaches Robot Top Gun, X-47, To Fly From Aircraft Carriers By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. August 01, 2012

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... eb011.jpeg
__________________________

Recent story has a good arrest photo but article itself unremarkable for info...

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/05/06/r ... ier-video/

Robot Top Gun: Navy X-47B Drone Rehearses To Land On Aircraft Carrier (VIDEO) By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. May 06, 2013

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... 24x682.jpg

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 22:51
by spazsinbad
All these quotes are scattered around this forum but worth repeating here in part. To answer 'jetnerd' it is thought that the auto engine controls will enable better more successful carrier landings on both the robot and piloted vehickles thus reducing engine wear (no bolters/waveoffs - going to burner etc.). A successful arrest does entail unavoidable airframe stress, however minimising the number of unsuccessful landing attempts (or training for the successful) will reduce the airframe stress over time ultimately. I'll start adding quotes....

Tailored to Trap December 1, 2012
"F-35C control laws give Navy pilots Integrated Direct Lift Control for easier carrier landings, and they open the door for future landing aids....

...“The landing approach in the F-35C is flown with the stick only,” noted Canin. “The throttle is automatic.” IDLC may someday facilitate hands-off landings and other possible F-35 shipboard enhancements...."

http://www.aviationtoday.com/av/militar ... 77964.html
_________________________________

F-35C Integrated Direct Lift Control: How It Works Eric Tegler on October 9, 2012
"...In a few years the F-35C’s flight control system will pair with the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to enable data-linked approaches controlled from the carrier. IDLC will take relevant incoming data from the flight control computer and aid in making the process that much more precise...." [Cmdr. Eric “Magic” Buus]

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stor ... -it-works/
________________________________

Trials Ahead for Navy Carrier Landing Software by Armed Forces International's Defence Correspondent 21/10/2011
"New software designed to assist US Navy pilots landing combat jets on aircraft carriers will be tested in 2012, the Office of Naval Research said in a 20 October press release. The flying skills demonstrated by naval aviators are often applauded - given that theirs is a role that demands extreme accuracy and concentration. Bringing high performance combat aircraft like the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet into a comparatively small space, on a moving platform, is a tricky business. It requires constant speed and flight control surface adjustments to ensure the correct trajectory's being followed.

Navy Carrier Landing Software
The new naval carrier landing software aims to simplify this process, bringing an unprecedented degree of precision to the maritime arena. "The precision that we can bring to carrier landings in the future will be substantial", the deputy chief of naval research for naval air warfare and weapons, Michael Deitchman, explained in the release, adding: "The flight control algorithm has the potential to alter the next 50 years of how pilots land on carrier decks."

The algorithm is designed to work in tandem with a so-called Bedford Array lighting system positioned on the aircraft carrier and a series of symbols presented in the pilot's HUD (Heads-Up Display). It connects the control stick straight to the aircraft's trajectory with the result that, rather than have to make minute shifts, the pilot directs the aircraft so it beams a fragmented green line in the HUD.

"You're tracking a shipboard stabilized visual target with a flight path reference, and the airplane knows what it needs to do to stay there", Naval Air Systems Command representative James Denham stated, in explanation.

Naval Landing Software Trials
Live tests involving the navy carrier landing software haven't yet been performed, but the algorithm's been trialled in a Super Hornet simulator. Next year, though, the naval landing software trials will get underway and both US Navy and Royal Navy pilots will be involved. The Royal Navy no longer has a fixed-wing naval strike capability but will receive F-35C Joint Strike Fighters in around 2018. [Since then changed back to F-35Bs again for RN/RAF on CVFs.]

The advent of the new carrier landing software will present several advantages. Pilot workloads will be reduced but, alongside this, carrier landing training programmes won't need to be as rigorous as they are now.

Additionally, while naval aircraft like the Super Hornet typically have strengthened undercarriages, to with-stand the impact of heavy deck landings, they're not necessarily indestructible. Consequently, the potential's there for related repair and maintenance costs to reduce, too."

http://www.armedforces-int.com/news/tri ... tware.html

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 23:02
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:IMHO the smooth carrier landers do not have more success than 'other' technique users. What matters is the score by the LSO predicated on many parameters for a safe three wire landing. Some approaches can look 'not smooth' and score well whilst those newbies 'trying to be smooth' do badly. Smoothness does not really count except the reverse of 'excessive roughness' so to speak. Smooth can get an inexperienced pilot into trouble.

Not disagreeing with you. Only pointing out that an experienced pilot shouldn't have to make excessive and unnecessary large power corrections.

@jetnerd: Each carrier approach results in the engine being cycled from low-power to MIL power, and so if the jet has to go around, then that puts strain on the engine and airframe. To a lesser extent, the same is true when a nugget makes large power changes, it all puts increased strain on the engine.

I doubt they'll be a large push for F-35 pilots to go "hands off" just to save wear and tear, as pilot proficiency will be a major concern. There is very few Naval Aviators who can claim they have sufficient traps, and sufficient currency, that they'd go ACLS because they've mastered landing on a carrier. Pilots do sometimes use ACLS after long missions, because its safer than trying manual pass when fatigue factors may be involved.

As Spaz noted above (that I'm not disagreeing with), IDLC will enable the F-35 to land using stick only, which will reduce wear on the aircraft and its engine, compared to older stick-and-throttle approaches. IDLC is more than just auto-throttle obviously.

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 23:11
by spazsinbad
I'll get me quotes finished eventually however as pointed out above reducing the 'failed' deck landings and reducing the training time for deck landings with better software in the aircraft to enable manual approaches (or automatic eventually - best read the sources such as the first one above). Who knows if later generations of carrier pilots will be more able to accept automatic landings - along with the manual landings and those inbetween as 'neurotech' mentions. Do not resist change when change is worthwhile. The Bedford Array may not only supplement the present IFLOLS but may replace it altogether if it works well in practice once the F-35B/Cs are onboard and the legacy aircraft fade away.

A carrier approach is a real time event where the pilot does what it takes to remain within the parameters required. If such 'smooth' pilot does not react appropriately for whatever the situation requires for the sake of so called 'smoothness' then buddy he better have a telephone book in the back of his flight suit to absorb the kicks subsequently! :D Meatball Lineup and Airspeed (no smooth there).

From a Neptunus Lex (also a former LSO) story ‘RHYTHMS Part 13 to 15’
"1) Never lead a low or a slow.

2) If you’re low and slow, add power and maintain attitude until the ball is in the center, then accel to on-speed.

3) Always lead a high or a fast.

4) If you’re high and fast, decel to on-speed & then work the ball down to the center.

5) Fly the ball to touchdown [t/d should be a surprise]. Don’t give up. [Just do it.]"

http://www.neptunuslex.com/2005/10/13/r ... rt-xxxiii/ [My comments in brackets]

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 23:32
by spazsinbad
On previous page of this threade 'neptune' asked: "...Appears to be a very accurate landing and curious about the JPALS (F-35 subsystem) contribution." The info below is a bit out of date but points to the ongoing building/testing of JPALS which so far is going well with one or two systems being delivered for further testing recently which may include X-47B. Some kind of mashup system thoroughly tested will guide the X-47B to a carrier landing and likely in play in the shore scenario testing also (but I guess).

JPALS team wins DoD award Nov 13, 2012
"...The next significant milestone for the JPALS team is reaching Milestone C in the fall of 2013. Milestone C is the decision to authorize full production & fielding of the JPALS system.”

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5175
_____________________________

NavAirSysCom Core Avionics Master Plan 2011
"...3. Funded Enhancements and Potential Pursuits.
Digitally Augmented GPS-based Shipboard Recovery (JPALS). (2015) JPALS is a joint effort with the Air Force and Army. The Navy is designated as the Lead Service and is responsible for implementation of shipboard recovery solutions (Increment 1).

JPALS will be installed on the newest carrier and its air-wing aircraft (F/A-18E/F, EA18G, E-2C/D, and MH-60 R/S) [& Navy unmanned air systems]. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Block 5 will be equipped with a temporary solution that will provide needles to the operator to enable a “JPALS assisted” approach. However, the interim solution will not equip the aircraft to broadcast its position in a manner that can be monitored by JPALS equipment on the ship. Legacy radar will have to be used for the shipboard monitoring of the approach.

JPALS will eventually replace the ACLS on carriers, SPN-35 radars on LH Class Amphibious ships, and ILS, TACAN, and Precision Approach Radar (PAR) systems at shore stations. JPALS will be interoperable with civil augmentation and FAA certifiable.

Shipboard JPALS will use Differential GPS (D-GPS) to provide centimeter-level accuracy for all-weather, automated landings. D-GPS provides a SRGPS reference solution for the moving landing zone. A JPALS technology equipped F/A-18 has demonstrated fully automated recoveries to the carrier. JPALS will also enable silent operations in Emission Control (EMCON) environments."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/pma209/_Docu ... p_2011.pdf

Unread postPosted: 06 May 2013, 23:49
by count_to_10
Noting that the X-47B makes it's landing approach with it's spoilers up, it's possible that they adjust it's elevation with those instead of throttle changes.

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 00:41
by neurotech
count_to_10 wrote:Noting that the X-47B makes it's landing approach with it's spoilers up, it's possible that they adjust it's elevation with those instead of throttle changes.

Likely a combination of both aerodynamic controls (spoilers, flaps, other control surfaces) and throttle changes. That is basically how Integrated Direct Lift Control on the F-35 works, use aerodynamic controls to adjust glidepath. Aerodynamic controls are much more responsive than throttling the engine.

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 00:51
by spazsinbad
A long screed explaining MODE 1 approaches today....

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2012 Issue
SHIP SUITABILITY PROJECT TEAM LCDR Robert "Timmay!" Bibeau, Ship Suitability Department Head
"...MANAGING MODE I EXPECTATIONS [page 17-18]
VX-23 certifies PALS for all CVNs. We usually do this about every two years, early in the workup cycle as part of the Flight Deck Certification. Our goal is to verify that the IFLOLS, SPN-41 (Instrument Carrier Landing System, or ICLS) and SPN-46 (Automatic Carrier Landing System, or ACLS) function properly, are aligned with each other, and lead the pilot to a good start. We check the average ACLS Mode I hook touchdown point and tweak it if necessary. As part of this process we fly dozens of Mode I approaches over a three day period. Additionally, VX-23 troubleshoots PALS anomalies when they occur. Sometimes there is a hardware-related root cause which needs to be corrected, but sometimes concerns result from pilot misconceptions or unrealistic expectations.

Whether or not you’re a frequent Mode I user, it is a valuable “tool” with the capability to recover aircraft down to zero-zero conditions. Understanding a few basic concepts about how the system operates is crucial. The “99 taxi lights on” call is too late to consider how to fly the Mode I.

The ACLS can be set to either 3.5 or 4? glideslope, and it is normally very good at flying that commanded glideslope. Typical vertical error at ¾ nm is less than a foot. In fact, the ACLS is usually more accurate and precise than the IFLOLS. The IFLOLS is aligned to a tolerance of +/-0.05?, which equates to almost 4 feet at ¾ nm, and a single IFLOLS cell at the same distance covers about 10 feet of elevation. Remember that there is no center cell on the IFLOLS: you are either looking at the high-center/”cresting” cell or the low-center/”sagging” cell. Most IFLOLS are aligned just a little on the high side, which means that more often than not during the Mode I you are on glideslope but looking at the low-center IFLOLS cell.

Most proficient pilots will not accept being low, and are more likely to fly the high-center cell during uncoupled passes. Additionally, experienced pilots often try to “crest” the ball, or fly along the boundary between two adjacent cells in order to see ball movement and more precisely determine glideslope. To a pilot or LSO used to flying or waving uncoupled passes, a Mode I often looks a little low all the way, when the reality is that normal uncoupled passes tend to average a little higher than the nominal glideslope.

Much like your FNG [freckingnewguy], the Mode I does not anticipate the burble. The system attempts to fly commanded glideslope and reacts to any deviations as they occur. The system reacts very quickly to very small deviations, but there is still some lag due to the laws of physics and flight control/engine response time. Often this will result in a little settle as the aircraft passes through the burble. The magnitude of this settle tends to increase with the strength of the burble, and is more noticeable with axial or starboard winds.

Shortly before touchdown the SPN-46 antennas lose the ability to track the aircraft due to the rapidly changing line of sight. 1.5 seconds prior to touchdown the system enters “command freeze” and will attempt to hold the last commanded rate of descent. The flight controls and throttles will still move as the jet works to maintain this descent rate, but the system is no longer actively updating the descent rate to target the desired hook touchdown point. Any unpredicted disturbances in the flight path in the last 1.5 seconds of flight (for example due to shifting winds or airflow around the ship) are not corrected for. The system is often still reacting to the burble when it enters command freeze. If the aircraft has settled in the burble, the commanded descent rate is shallowed to fix the low and then frozen, resulting in a flat flight path across the ramp. Put all of these effects together, and a “typical” Mode I pass on most ships looks a little low all the way, with a little settle in close and a little low flat at the ramp.

During a PALS certification we attempt to tune the Mode I touchdown point for ideal winds. When winds are less than perfect Mode I performance tends to degrade. As winds become more starboard the strength and position of the burble change, and the magnitude of the trends noted above increases. Settles tend to increase in magnitude. Rhinos tend to get a little flatter at the ramp, overcorrecting for the settle in the burble and often landing long and right with the occasional bolter. Hornets try to do the same, but often don’t have the power to recover from the settle and tend to land a little short.

These behaviors are general trends. Ultimately it’s up to the pilot and LSO to decide the acceptable magnitude of deviation during a Mode I, and the pilot must always be ready to take over manually when required. Understanding the normal behavior of the ACLS Mode I can help manage expectations and better prepare the pilot and LSO for deviations when they occur. VX-23 is always available to discuss PALS performance. If you notice a trend of questionable Mode I performance, or experience even a single unsafe Mode I, please don’t hesitate to contact us...."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=670 (PDF 2Mb)

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 00:57
by spazsinbad
More JPALS news...

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2012 Issue
JOINT PRECISION APPROACH AND LANDING SYSTEM (JPALS) LT Luke "Smuggla" Johnson [page 19]
"...Shore-based testing began in early July 2012 with a Beechcraft King Air 100 series aircraft providing a low cost airborne testing laboratory for JPALS. Further shore-based testing with legacy F/A-18’s is expected to begin later this fiscal year with at-sea tests beginning in spring of 2013 onboard CVN-77. Though a fully integrated JPALS air wing is not expected for sometime, both contractor and VX-23 personnel are already working closely with the LSO School and other fleet assets to ensure delivery of a quality system that will provide enhanced capability to fleet users."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=670 (PDF 2.1Mb)

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 01:41
by spazsinbad
Back to 'neptune' question about 'what was it?".... ["...Appears to be a very accurate landing and curious about the JPALS (F-35 subsystem) contribution."]

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2012 Issue
X-47B PROJECT TEAM CDR Kevin "LAMB" Watkins X-47B Department Head N-UCAS Government Flight Test Director
"...The Carrier Systems... surrogate teams have been busy as well, continuing to test the developmental software loads and actual X-47B hardware that will eventually guide the X-47B onto the ship.... The Carrier Systems team has been flying a Beechcraft King Air and two modified F/A-18s both at Pax River and aboard USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN-75), advancing the X-47B navigation and guidance software and validating/ verifying the shipboard landing, command, control, and monitoring systems. In July, the team successfully completed shipboard verification of all systems installed onboard CVN-75, paving the way for our at-sea deck handling testing with the X-47B aircraft later this December [2012]....

...UCAS-D AIR SYSTEM TEAM LCDR Brian "Penny" Loustaunau & LT Allan "Kreepy" Jespersen"
Every day the X-47B test team moves closer to demonstrating that an unmanned, autonomous aircraft can operate and be integrated successfully into all aspects of CV operations. The X-47B "Iron Raven" is an unmanned, autonomous aircraft controlled in flight by a Mission Operator (MO) located in a Mission Test Control Center (MTCC) linked to the AV via a Line-of-Sight (LOS) radio Command and Control Data Link (C2DL). In the UCAS-D program the MO does not provide direct pilot inputs, but can alter the autonomous flight profile as emergent situations require. The program relies on the development, testing and implementation of complex software systems so that the demonstration goal of landing on an aircraft carrier is possible....

...This allowed the test team to begin integration of the AV into ground operations at Pax River with high speed taxi tests and attempted roll-in arrestments. AV-1 is currently modified to begin Block 2 testing, which encompasses shore based catapults, arrestments, and precision navigation performance, paving the way towards the program’s goal of shipboard arrested landings in the spring of 2013.... Block 2 testing, scheduled to begin this summer and extend through the fall and winter, will move UCAS-D toward CV integration with heavy testing in a shorebased carrier-representative environment.... Block 2 testing will also see the X-47B testing its Precision GPS (PGPS) navigation system, taking the first ever autonomous catapult shots and autonomous arrested landings at Pax River...."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=670 (PDF 2.1Mb)

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 01:56
by count_to_10
So, at what point will automated landings be capable of landing on something significantly smaller than a full flat-top? Say, and extendable platform on the side of a destroyer?

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 03:47
by spazsinbad
IF you refer to a vertical landing the VACC Harrier (now retired) when testing the Control Laws for the F-35B carried out a completely automatic vertical landing some years ago now. Here is one reference:

Push button plane landing hailed 21 May 2005
"The 'push button landing' was onto the deck of HMS Invincible Landing Harrier jump jets on ships in bad weather can now be done at the touch of a button, British technology firm Qinetiq has announced.

It is hoped the technology will allow pilots to fly missions that would not otherwise have been possible.

The system was based on "some very complicated maths which would remain a trade secret", the project's technical manager Jeremy Howitt said.

The technology could also be used on helicopters, frigates and destroyers.

Red button
The first automatic ship landing by "short take-off vertical landing" (STOVL) aircraft was achieved during a test on HMS Invincible.

It is part of the Ministry of Defence's £2bn contribution to America's $40bn Joint Strike Fighter programme.

It's something Harrier pilots have always wanted - a big red button to push and take you straight to the coffee bar (Pilot Justin Paines)

The device works by linking a STOVL aircraft, via satellite and radio, to an aircraft carrier, Mr Howitt said.

It enables the aircraft and the carrier to know the relative location of one another to
within 10cm.

Qinetiq pilot Justin Paines, 41, who was on the Harrier jet equipped with the new system said it made things "completely automatic".

In the new procedure, pilots have to press the button to plot a route in, press it again to accept and then a third time to engage.

"We are trying to make the task of recovering the aircraft to the carrier as simple as possible and let pilots focus on their war mission," he added."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4567923.stm

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 16:15
by ArrowHawk
Where is the tailhook on the X-47B in relation to the main gear? Is it different from the F-35C?

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 20:48
by spazsinbad
I'll guess that these graphics are to scale from....

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review 29 Nov 2011

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2 ... report.pdf (18.3Mb)

Unread postPosted: 07 May 2013, 23:02
by count_to_10
spazsinbad wrote:IF you refer to a vertical landing the VACC Harrier (now retired) when testing the Control Laws for the F-35B carried out a completely automatic vertical landing some years ago now. Here is one reference:

No, I meant a tail-hook landing. How much space is needed at an absolute minimum if we remove human limitations? Can you reduce the launch and landing space to something that could be retro-fitted to a destroyer?

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 00:17
by spazsinbad
'count_to_10' it would be nice if you searched/looked back through this forum. These issues have been discussed before - a likely place to start would be a 'flat deck' thread where such info is mentioned. Yes I realise the 'very long thread' has not been looked at nor referenced for a very long time now but it is likely to have such info - with human limitations. WITHOUT human limitations and fitted to a DESTROYER? You mean fitted to a destroyed flat deck? This is after all an F-35 forum so why do you want to know about "removed human limitations?" here?

Small UAVs are caught in nets already with larger ones caught in nets suspended off the side of a destroyer so it itself is NOT destroyed.

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 00:30
by neurotech
count_to_10 wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:IF you refer to a vertical landing the VACC Harrier (now retired) when testing the Control Laws for the F-35B carried out a completely automatic vertical landing some years ago now. Here is one reference:

No, I meant a tail-hook landing. How much space is needed at an absolute minimum if we remove human limitations? Can you reduce the launch and landing space to something that could be retro-fitted to a destroyer?

I thought the USS Midway was the only recent battleship to carrier conversion?

To answer your question, it depends on the arresting gear, and bolter procedure. Current carrier decks are about 700 ft long, and the jets stop in around 300 ft, with current arresting gear. Say they wanted to stop a F/A-18 in less than 300 ft, without the risk of a bolter, a barricade net could be used, either to augment the arresting wire stopping power, or in case of the hook missing the wires.

Of course, this would be very damaging to the jets to stop so quickly from landing speed.

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 00:47
by count_to_10
I've pretty much followed this thread from the beginning, Spaz, and I don't remember anything about what I was talking about. What I'm thinking of is basically a combined catapult and arrester strip, only a little wider than the landing gear of a fighter like the F-35, that could fold down from the side of a destroyer sized ship so that it could handle CATOBAR aircraft without having a full flat-top.
Oh, and, if automatic landings are perfected for the X-47B, then there is no reason that the same system couldn't be used to do the same with the F-35C. I didn't mean removing the limitation of keeping the pilot alive, just the limitation of having the pilot in control of the landing.

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 00:51
by count_to_10
neurotech wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:IF you refer to a vertical landing the VACC Harrier (now retired) when testing the Control Laws for the F-35B carried out a completely automatic vertical landing some years ago now. Here is one reference:

No, I meant a tail-hook landing. How much space is needed at an absolute minimum if we remove human limitations? Can you reduce the launch and landing space to something that could be retro-fitted to a destroyer?

I thought the USS Midway was the only recent battleship to carrier conversion?

To answer your question, it depends on the arresting gear, and bolter procedure. Current carrier decks are about 700 ft long, and the jets stop in around 300 ft, with current arresting gear. Say they wanted to stop a F/A-18 in less than 300 ft, without the risk of a bolter, a barricade net could be used, either to augment the arresting wire stopping power, or in case of the hook missing the wires.

Of course, this would be very damaging to the jets to stop so quickly from landing speed.

Okay, so the minimum length would have to be 300 ft, about 60% of the length of a Burke.

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 01:46
by spazsinbad
'count_to_ten' why don't you flesh out your question from the start. Thanks. Just making a vague scenario is next to useless. I still wonder how this question of yours is relevant to the F-35 forum. The 'very long thread' referred to has not been added to for a bit - I will do so soonish. In the meantime here is the link to the last page - scroll through it and related forum threads to find many discussions - usually from 'madrat' but not always about which you speak:

http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... lhd#242246

The sea-keeping ability of what you have described so far would be non-existent. USS Midway was compromised by having too much overhang for the angle deck conversion. Probably a catamaran style permanent arrangement would be best but again what kind of unmanned aircraft - how large/heavy and I'm stopping there because this is the F-35 forum.

BACK on track: Your statement "...Oh, and, if automatic landings are perfected for the X-47B, then there is no reason that the same system couldn't be used to do the same with the F-35C. I didn't mean removing the limitation of keeping the pilot alive, just the limitation of having the pilot in control of the landing." is a bit muddled. Automatic landings with JPALS will be perfected for all JPALS fitted aircraft eventually (some legacy aircraft will miss out). It is always best to have the so-equipped aircraft pilot/crew monitor the automatic approach (several long bits of info recently [from LSO / PADDLES Newsletters] have indicated this) because man/machine interfaces can muck up (as in the past with NON JPALS equipment). Perhaps the future with JPALS will be more secure. We will wait and see.
________________________

For 'neurotech' USS Midway was an axial deck WWII carrier converted to angle deck - she has the record for the worst roll ever (some 9 degrees if my memory serves me well - the intertrubles will know).

A Brief History of U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers Part IV - Korea and the 1950s
"May 26-29, 1952 - Tests proving the feasibility of an angled flight deck were conducted aboard USS Midway (CVB 41) using a simulated angle deck."

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/ships/carr ... hist4.html
_______________________

~ The History of Midway's Magic ~
"...She [USS Midway] entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Washington and was decommissioned for the first time in October 1955.

While the gradual removal of armament helped to curtail the burden of excessive weight, the advent of the angled carrier deck not only added additional tons of displacement, but became a serious factor in stability. Built as axial, or straight-deck carriers, the problem of cycling and spotting aircraft for either launching or recovery operations remained a detriment to combat efficiency since only one function could be performed at a time. The angled flight deck, pioneered by the British, changed all that.

After being decommissioned, Midway underwent a modernization project to give her the capability to operate high performance jet aircraft. She was fitted with two steam catapults on the bow and a shorter steam catapult in the new angle deck. The purpose of the third catapult was to allow ready deck launches while keeping the landing area clear for recoveries in an "alert" situation. Additional improvements included the installation of a hurricane (enclosed) bow, moving elevator number three to the starboard deck edge aft of the island, enlarging the number one elevator to accommodate longer aircraft, new arresting gear, jet blast deflectors, and the largest aviation crane ever installed on an aircraft carrier. On recommissioning in September 1957, Midway's load displacement had grown from 55,000 to 62,000 tons.

Midway was soon underway in December heading south for shakedown and refresher training. In August 1958, she was underway on her first deployment as an angle [13 degrees] deck carrier....

...At the time of her refit in 1986, hull bulges had to be added to create additional buoyancy to compensate for the increased tonnage. However these ungainly appendages seriously effected Midway's stability. During sea trials in 1986, excessive rolls in moderate seas took green water over her flight deck, thereby hampering flight operations. A 1988 Senate committee, outraged by the inept modifications carried out in the shipyard, voted to retire Midway early as a cost-saving measure. However, after considerable Navy lobbying the committee was overruled, with $138 million voted to remedy her stability dilemma...."

http://www.midwaysailor.com/midway/history.html

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 03:36
by maus92
count_to_10 wrote:Okay, so the minimum length would have to be 300 ft, about 60% of the length of a Burke.


Remember that other things are happening on the foredeck as aircraft are landing aft, which is why a CVN operational tempo and breadth of capabilities is unmatched by any other existing platform. Size matters.

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 11:58
by count_to_10
maus92 wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:Okay, so the minimum length would have to be 300 ft, about 60% of the length of a Burke.


Remember that other things are happening on the foredeck as aircraft are landing aft, which is why a CVN operational tempo and breadth of capabilities is unmatched by any other existing platform. Size matters.

It does, but I was thinking more of launching individual craft (and only in calm conditions). It's not like a destroyer has room for more than that, anyway.

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 22:29
by neptune
neptune wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CxWTqHiy3RM

X-47B completes first shore-based arrested landing

Published on May 5, 2013

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completes its first shore-based arrested landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. May 4.

Appears to be a very accurate landing and curious about the JPALS (F-35 subsystem) contribution. :)


Better links including a "Wave Off" :)

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... fault.aspx

Unread postPosted: 08 May 2013, 22:37
by spazsinbad
Thanks. We see the 'rollback' work but then the wire being brung back hooks up again - such is life. :D They may have to bring back the hook runner. AND from the press release....

Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Conduct First Arrested Landing of X-47B Unmanned Demonstrator 06 May 2013
"...Carl Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman, said this first arrested landing reinforced what the team already knew.

"The X-47B air vehicle performs exactly as predicted by the modeling, simulation and surrogate testing we did early in the UCAS-D program," Johnson said. "It takes off, flies and lands within a few feet of its predicted path."

The arrested landing test culminates more than three months of shore-based carrier suitability testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The testing included precision approaches, touch-and-go landings, and precision landings by the X-47B air vehicle.

For the arrested landing, the X-47B used a navigation approach that closely mimics the technique it will use to land on an aircraft carrier underway at sea...."

http://www.globenewswire.com/newsarchiv ... d=10031586

Unread postPosted: 09 May 2013, 06:57
by spazsinbad
I had hoped the X-47B would have been 'wrapped in plastic' such as the theme saying from 'Twin Peaks'....

Wrapped up in brown paper: the new stealth bomber! 08 May 2013 By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
"World's first unmanned, robot aircraft piloted by artificial intelligence to be unwrapped shortly. Adorned in brown butcher paper like a crudely wrapped present, this package is in all actuality the world's first unmanned, robot aircraft piloted by artificial intelligence. The stealth drone was slowly pulled on to an aircraft elevator from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The vessel is scheduled to be the first aircraft carrier to catapult-launch the the X-47B drone unmanned aircraft from its flight deck. In development over the past five years, the X-47B drone is designed to take off, fly a pre-programmed mission then return to base - with the few clicks of a mouse on a computer....

...The difference between the X-47B and previous drones is that it will not be pilot movement by movement by a remote - like a remote control car would be. Instead, it will be controlled by a forearm-mounted box called the "Control Display Unit" which can independently think for itself, plotting course corrections and charting new directions...."


The 'taxi on deck' human to drone control has been mixed up with the inflight computer controlled drone functions. Oh well - other parts of this story a bit garbled also.

http://www.catholic.org/technology/stor ... tealth.jpg
____________________________

http://www.norfolknavyflagship.com/news ... f887a.html

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews ... .image.jpg

Unread postPosted: 09 May 2013, 07:10
by spazsinbad
FlabberGasted:

Carrier Landings For Dummies By Mark Thompson 08 May 2013
"...Better fasten your seat belt...."

http://nation.time.com/2013/05/08/carri ... r-dummies/

WHAT?

Unread postPosted: 10 May 2013, 15:07
by spazsinbad
Attitude Check JPG from first flyin arrest 04 May 2013:

BETTER Version of this photo now at: http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... rest_1.jpg (12Mb)

I'll crop it soon (slow upload slowing downloads at moment)
"The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator with landing gear and arresting hook down seconds before touching down at Patuxent River, Md"

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5320

Unread postPosted: 11 May 2013, 22:45
by spazsinbad
NAVAIR Clips: X-47B Touch & Go Landing
"X-47B completes first approach to runway at NAS Patuxent River using GPS relative navigation March 2 [2013]."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3f2aj6p ... e=youtu.be

X-47B Hook Up Touch and Go before the big Arrest day on the 4th.....

Unread postPosted: 13 May 2013, 21:06
by spazsinbad
Navy to try first carrier launch of X-47B By Gary Robbins 13 May 2013
"The Navy says it will make its first attempt on Tuesday to launch Northrop Grumman's futuristic X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System drone from an aircraft carrier. The vehicle, which was developed at Northrop's San Diego County plants, is scheduled to undergo a catapult launch from the carrier George H.W. Bush, on the East Coast. If successful, the launch could represent an important step toward eventually making drones part of a carrier's air wing.

Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the Navy's program officer for the X-47B, said online Monday that, "Controlled by a mission operator aboard the ship, the X-47B will execute several carrier approaches demonstrating its ability to operate seamlessly within the carrier environment before it flies over the Eastern Shore and lands back at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., where two demonstration aircraft have resided for the past year ...

"Over the coming years, we will heavily leverage the technology maturation, networking advances and precision navigation algorithms developed from the X-47B demonstration program to pursue the introduction of the first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. This future system will provide 24/7, carrier-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting capability, which will operate together with manned aviation assets allowing the opportunity to shape a more efficient carrier air wing."

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/may ... rop-drone/

http://media.utsandiego.com/img/photos/ ... x_t940.png

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 09:14
by spazsinbad
14 May 2013 By Dianna Cahn The Virginian-Pilot
"...While the craft is programmed to fly itself, an operator can modify the flight by sending digitized commands for it to do specific tasks, like climb to a specific altitude or head to a specific location. On deck, its steering and speed are manually controlled by an operator with a remote control...."

http://hamptonroads.com/2013/05/unmanne ... rrier-bush

Caption:
"An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator is loaded onto the flight deck of the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush on May 6, 2013. The George H.W. Bush is scheduled to be the first aircraft carrier to catapult-launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck. The carrier is preparing to conduct training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (MC2 Tony D. Curtis | U.S. Navy)"

http://media.hamptonroads.com/cache/fil ... 461000.jpg

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 15:43
by spazsinbad
USN prepares for inaugural catapult launch of X-47B from aircraft carrier 14 May 2013 Grace Jean
"...The X-47B trial period on board Bush is expected to last for two weeks, according to Captain Jaime Engdahl, navy UCAS programme manager at Naval Air Systems Command, located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland...."

http://www.janes.com/products/janes/def ... 1065979105

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 15:57
by neptune
spazsinbad wrote:USN prepares for inaugural catapult launch of X-47B from aircraft carrier 14 May 2013 Grace Jean
"...The X-47B trial period on board Bush is expected to last for two weeks, according to Captain Jaime Engdahl, navy UCAS programme manager at Naval Air Systems Command, located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland...."

http://www.janes.com/products/janes/def ... 1065979105[/quote

Ok! The X-47B launched and landed today. During the next two weeks it will continue carrier approaches, culminating with a carrier trap! :)

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 18:53
by neptune
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57584 ... er-launch/

X-47B makes historic carrier launch

The X-47B prototype on Tuesday flew off an aircraft carrier and into the history books.
Today's achievement, the first-ever catapult launch of an unmanned aircraft from the flight deck of a carrier, promises to open up a new chapter in the annals of naval aviation.
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator launched from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush at 11:18 a.m. ET off the coast of Maryland. It executed several planned low approaches to the carrier and safely transited across the Chesapeake Bay to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after an approximately 65-minute flight.
Although "combat" is part of the aircraft's full designation, the X-47B is not intended to fly in harm's way. Rather, it's purpose is to prove a point: that unmanned aircraft can share the crowded, hectic flight deck of a carrier with traditional piloted planes, and that they can be integrated into naval flight operations, period.
Over the better part of the last decade, the Navy has spent $1.8 billion on the X-47B prototype, according to the Wall Street Journal.


:)

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 20:19
by maus92
I was wondering what the Pax NOTAM was for.... now we know.

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 20:21
by maus92
The second pic must be prior to a wave-off. I don't think they actually landed on on the deck yet.

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 21:57
by spazsinbad
Some RN History of pilotless target aircraft floatplanes being catapulted in the 1920-30s....

http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFAr ... 200642.PDF (0.5Mb) FLIGHT 16 May 1958

GIF and JPG made from PDF page above below.
_________________________________

Beaten By A Fairey Queen 14 May 2013 Bill Sweetman
"...more than 90 years ago. The carrier was HMS Argus and the UAV was built by the Royal Aircraft Establishment. Details here [as shown in URL ABOVE for PDF from FLIGHT].

The Royal Navy persisted with the idea of radio-controlled aerial targets, rightly concerned that the effectiveness of shipboard AAA would be crucial, and went on in the 1930s to develop a remotely piloted version of a catapult seaplane, known as the Fairey Queen, and, later, the de Havilland Queen Bee, a purpose-built target based on the Moth light aircraft.

Argus was at one point modified as a Queen Bee launcher. In all cases the aircraft did not land on deck: they were floatplanes and were recovered by crane.

The project was a technical success, but of limited use operationally..."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... dc792ab07d

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 22:24
by spazsinbad
Now for the video:

Northrop Grumman's X47-B Completes 1st Carrier Catapult Launch 14 May 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taW3XsZi ... r_embedded
__________________________

'Nuther HiQual Version here:

CVN77 UCAS Launch
"Published on May 14, 2013 130514N-WH671-001
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) completed its first ever carrier-based catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hknsbswL ... r_embedded

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 23:03
by spazsinbad

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 23:12
by count_to_10
Heh. The Northrop Grumman version of the A-12 is avenged! :cheers:

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 23:15
by spazsinbad
Some more tidbits:
US navy makes successful launch of drone from aircraft carrier AP 14 May 2013
"...The X-47B took off successfully Tuesday morning and made two low approaches to the ship before heading back toward land...

...In the 2014 fiscal year, the navy plans to demonstrate that the X-47B can be refueled in flight. The program cost is $1.4bn over eight years. Northrop Grumman was awarded the primary contract in 2007."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ma ... ful-launch

Unread postPosted: 14 May 2013, 23:20
by spazsinbad
For 'maus92' that graphic of an X-47B over the ramp (outside the waveoff window - see another thread - or this thread about this issue?) is computer generated: http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2007test/Fischer_SessionH4.pdf

NOPE - did not get to post the story unless it was on the old forum 'X-plane' thread. Whatever - here it is again:

http://www.hrana.org/news.asp#NavyCarrierDronesWayoff [LINK DEAD because HRANA.org was offline for a month recently and was likely reconstituted etc. - so here are some text excerpts - maybe the original article can be found at NAVY TIMES?]

Navy: Carrier Drone’s Wave-Off Window Shorter Than Contractor’s Claim (NAVY TIMES 15 0CT 12) Joshua Stewart
"The Navy is disputing claims the unmanned X-47B can’t be waved off in less than five seconds before a carrier landing.

Safety issues were raised at this year’s Tailhook Symposium in Sparks, Nev., after a Northrop Grumman official made the claim. A manned aircraft can be diverted as late as three seconds before landing.

Landing signal officers, whose job it is to ensure there are no hazards on the deck, were worried an extra two seconds was enough time for a sailor to wander into the plane’s path.

But Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for unmanned combat air system demonstration program, said he is confident the X-47B can be diverted much closer to touchdown. He could not estimate how much closer, however, citing the need for additional testing.

The Northrop Grumman employee’s evaluation at Tailhook came from old requirements for the program that are no longer relevant, Engdahl told Navy Times in September.

Early in the UCAS-D program, engineers set a “wave-off window” that was two seconds further out from its manned counterparts. A wave-off window is the last point in an aircraft’s, approach where it could safely abort a landing, using regular procedures.

It was expected, however, that the distance would change as the program’s capabilities became clearer, said Engdahl, who serves under Naval Air Systems Command.

“We set it pretty far out and said, ‘Let’s learn a little bit more about the vehicle,’” Engdahl said.

The exact wave-off window for the X-47B won’t be known until carrier testing
....

...The X-47B is programmed to fly a precise, GPS-guided flight plan, an advancement that shortens the response time and makes it more predictable, Engdahl said.

Adding to the complexity, however, is the plane’s tailless design. It’s uncertain how it will perform while flying through the “burble,” or the wake in the air created by the carrier’s superstructure, Engdahl said.

He also said it takes around a tenth of a second for an LSO, who monitors flight paths, to signal a wave-off and abort a landing. It takes another tenth of a second for the X-47B to respond, Engdahl said.

At that point, a variety of factors could effect the wave-off, including the amount of fuel onboard and wind, Engdahl said."

________________________________________

Navy UCAS Achieves Milestone Aboard Eisenhower Patuxent River, MD - 5 July 2011
"...For current fleet aircraft, the Landing Signal Officer (LSO), who is charged with safe recovery of aircraft aboard the ship, uses voice commands and visual signals [WAVEOFF LIGHTS on IFLOLS] to communicate with a pilot on final approach. Since a UAS cannot reliably respond to voice and visual signals, the LSO’s equipment communicates directly with the aircraft through the digital network via a highly reliable interface. Similar digital communication capability has been integrated with the ship’s primary flight control (“tower”) [AIRBOSS who can waveoff the X-47B also] and Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) facilities. Most importantly, the UAS operator’s equipment, installed in one of the carrier’s ready rooms, is integrated with the very same network...."

http://www.thebaynet.com/news/index.cfm ... y_ID/23048

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 00:04
by spazsinbad
Some waveoff criteria already posted on page 7 of this thread but repeated in part for ease of reading: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... lsods.html

Paddles monthly Oct 2012 - NUCAS and Paddles- [by] Marty Paulaitis works for AIRINC, has attended the last several LSO OAGs, and has a close working relationship with the LSO School.
"...System Overview: The vision was not to build a new LSO system, but to incorporate UCAS-D requirements into existing systems. This resulted in minor hardware and some software modifications to the LSO Display System (LSODS) and installing an IFLOLS interface box in the lens room. All cut and waveoff switches on the LSO pickles, the LSODS, and in the tower activate the IFLOLS relay box, which in turn initiates electronic cut and waveoff datalink messages. Here is how the system works with an approaching air vehicle or AV (refer to fig 1):

· When the AV approaches ¾ mile (Case I) or 1¼ to ¾ mile (CATCC selectable - Case III) in the landing configuration, it will electronically call the ball via a digital message. A red “Ball Call” indication appears on LSODS primary and secondary screens when this digital message is received.

· When the LSO presses the “cut” switch, an electronic “Roger Ball” message is sent to the AV and will be displayed on LSODS in red along with the cut indication. A smaller electronic UCAS “cut” icon will also illuminate when a separate loopback systems receives the electronic cut signal. This loopback system will be discussed later.

· Once the AV receives the “Roger Ball” message, it replies with a digital message stating it received the “Roger Ball” and the red “Roger Ball” on LSODS will turn green.

· If the Ball Call is not “Rogered” by 200’ AGL (140’ above flight deck level), the AV will wave itself off. The AV will not continue below 200’ without a “Roger Ball.”

· The LSO can wave off the AV from the time it calls the ball until the AV touches the deck. There is a dual-redundant system that activates both the primary and emergency waveoff circuits to ensure the AV will wave off. When the waveoff button is actuated, a “waveoff” uplink discrete message commands the AV to waveoff. The X-47B will respond immediately, within 0.2 seconds of actuating the waveoff button. Additionally, a separate AV “heartbeat” message – a signal always pulsing between the AV and the ship – has discrete fields that also send “cut” and “waveoff” for dual-redundancy. When waveoff is pressed, waveoff will illuminate on LSODS along with a smaller electronic UCAS-D “waveoff” indication when it receives the electronic waveoff signal through the loop-back system.

· If there is a loss of datalink where the heartbeat signal is not being received by the AV and the AV is outside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region, then the AV will wave itself off. If the heartbeat is lost inside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region, then the AV will continue its approach to landing. The autonomous waveoff inhibit region is software adjustable and will be matched as closely as possible to the 10 ft waveoff window, initially set to 3 seconds. Only the LSO and PriFly can command a waveoff inside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region. The AV cannot get to the three second window without an accurate Precision GPS solution propagated to touchdown, or it will waveoff well before this point.

· If the AV is waved off, bolters, or does a touch and go, it will go into the bolter/waveoff pattern identical to a manned aircraft.

Unique Requirements: Since all interaction between the LSOs and the AV is through digital messaging, there needed to be some way to ensure these messages were being sent and received. LSODS “Roger Ball” indication changing from red to green when the AV responds to the “Roger Ball” message is one example of this. Another came at the request of the LSO community three years ago. Prior to recovery, the LSOs do a functional test of the cut and waveoff lights. The LSOs wanted some way to test whether cut and waveoff electronic messages were being sent to have confidence the UCAS-D ship systems were functioning end-to-end. An LSO Loopback System was designed with an independent receiver that listens for the cut and waveoff signals and displays this with separate icons on LSODS. Additionally, the small antenna icon illuminates green when the UCAS-D systems are transmitting the heartbeat signal properly. This icon will illuminate yellow if there is a system degrade or red if there is a systems failure; it will not display at all if the system is powered off.

Addressing a Potential Concern: One of the most common fears expressed in the fleet is that the AV would make an approach to the boat and nobody would be able to wave it off. The procedures used today by manned aircraft were written from years of experience and unfortunate mishaps. Experience molded the framework for UCAS-D systems design:

· The AV will not continue below 200’, let alone land, without a “Roger Ball.”

· The AV will attempt to execute a waveoff anytime the LSO or Air Boss presses the waveoff button.

· If the AV is outside its established parameters to land, which are much tighter than those for a manned aircraft, and it is outside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region – it will wave itself off.

· If the AV loses its datalink outside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region (three seconds or greater from touchdown), it will wave itself off.

· If the AV loses its datalink inside the autonomous waveoff inhibit region (inside three seconds), the AV will land.

There has been much discussion concerning the autonomous waveoff inhibit region. A recent news article poorly articulated an old and already rectified issue, one that was signed off by the LSO School OIC and briefed openly at the 2012 LSO OAG. There were no concerns expressed by anyone in the LSO community at that time. During development of the Performance Specification documentation several years back, the autonomous waveoff inhibit region was initially set at five seconds based on a holdover from the SPN-46 landing system. That value was instituted to prohibit a CATCC controller from waving off an aircraft inside five seconds to touchdown on a mode I approach. However, anticipating the potential need to adjust it, a caveat was included that read, “The value of 5 seconds may be adjusted, if needed, during flight test based on feedback from the Landing Signal Officers.” During the LSO OAG in 2011, the LSOs express concern that five seconds was too long for a lost link AV to attempt to land. The Navy UCAS Program Manager agreed and directed that the autonomous waveoff inhibit region be software adjustable, and that analysis of X-47B waveoff performance and approach simulations be conducted to determine a better value. In laboratory simulation three seconds was determined as a more reasonable value that showed safe landing performance at up to sea state 5 and closely matched the X-47B 10 ft waveoff window. At Patuxent River a high fidelity “LSO in a Dome” simulator has been developed using the X-47B flight dynamics model and this month representatives of the LSO community will wave the aircraft in the simulator to practice procedures and prepare for the carrier demonstration next year.

Digitizing LSO communications and operating unmanned systems aboard carriers is a new capability that challenges our paradigms and nobody takes this lightly. The Navy UCAS program leadership actively seeks and values the LSO’s views and is responsive to input precisely because the fundamental premise in Naval Aviation will always hold true: if any aircraft cannot land safely and consistently on the boat, then we don’t want it."

http://www.hrana.org/documents/PaddlesM ... er2012.pdf (small)

GRAPHICS at original link: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... lsods.html

PHOTO:
http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Gua ... -a-008.jpg

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 02:03
by spazsinbad
Video Screenshot shows the 2 way comms row of green lights with the LSO viewable AoA for approach vertical lights with orange in the middle (when lit) and green on top (when lit) for slow and red down below etc. (with combos of orange and red/green perhaps - but perhaps not - only the individual colours may be shown) with the LSO viewing the screens showing approach parameters at the LSO station on the port side aft of the carrier.

And the flapdoodlerons being tested before catapulting.

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 04:14
by spazsinbad
AMAZing Days!
A 'watershed event'
Naval Air Forces commander calls X-47B catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush a pivotal milestone in naval aviation
14 May 2013
"USS George H.W. Bush (AT SEA) — The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) completed its first ever carrier-based catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia today.

“Today we saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex warfighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier,” said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, the Navy's “Air Boss”.

The unmanned aircraft launched from the deck of George H.W. Bush at 11:18 a.m. It executed several planned low approaches to the carrier and safely transited across the Chesapeake Bay to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after an approximately 65-minute flight.

Buss called the launch a "watershed event" in naval aviation and said he expects that decades from now, a future "Air Boss" will have a picture of the X-47B launching from Bush behind his or her desk just as he has a picture of aviation pioneer Eugene Ely's first-ever landing on the deck of a ship in 1911 behind his desk today.

Completing another important first for the UCAS-D program, the team demonstrated the ability to precisely navigate the X-47B within the controlled airspace around an aircraft carrier at sea and seamlessly pass control of the air vehicle from a “mission operator” aboard the carrier to one located in the Mission Test Control Center at NAS Patuxent River for landing.

“The flight today demonstrated that the X-47B is capable of operation from a carrier, hand-off from one mission control station to another, flight through the national airspace, and recovery at another location without degradation in safety or precision,” said Matt Funk, lead test engineer for the Navy UCAS program.


Prior to the catapult launch on Tuesday, the UCAS test team also conducted deck-handling and ship-integration testing to demonstrate the capability to safely operate the X-47B in the dynamic, unforgiving environment of an aircraft carrier flight deck.

“This event is a testament to the teamwork, professionalism and expertise of everyone involved with X-47B program,” said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. “Their work will positively impact future unmanned aviation development for years to come.”

Over the next few weeks, the X-47B aircraft will fly approaches to the ship multiple times and eventually land on the pitching flight deck, said Navy UCAS Program Manager Capt. Jaime Engdahl.

The UCAS team will conduct additional shore-based testing with the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before its final carrier-based arrested landing demonstration later this summer."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5341
ORIGINAL:
http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 99_005.jpg (3.6Mb)
&
http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 99_006.jpg (3.5Mb)

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 05:12
by spazsinbad
X-47B Lands at Naval Air Staion Patuxent River 14 May 2013
"Published on May 14, 2013
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator lands at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after completing the first launch of an unmanned aerial vehicle from an aircraft carrier, May 14, 2013."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vdll3FE ... e=youtu.be
___________________________

Late Line Up Correction due to crosswind as seen in second screengrab photo most likely....

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 07:01
by indochina
I want to see if the X-47B has the ability to automate maneuverability and dogfight round such as fighter aircraft manned or not?

The processing algorithm is so incredibly complex, it's like stepping out from the Terminator movies. Please see Mototerminator handling situations with complex algorithms like? whether the X-47B is capable or only in Hollywood?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2FtVqgqRGI

And Stealth movie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMniVgLBkyM

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 08:05
by KamenRiderBlade
Who knows what it's avoidance capability is.

Right now, it's software is probably in a very early stage, so I doubt it can do much more than the basics.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 08:50
by spazsinbad
Navy launches unmanned warplane off carrier Bush 14 May 2013 Dianna Cahn The Virginian-Pilot
"...Two prototypes of unmanned aerial vehicle are being tested. The X-47B, developed by Northrop Grumman, has a 62-foot wingspan, significantly larger than the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s 44-foot wingspan.

While the craft is programmed to fly itself, an operator can modify the flight by sending digitized commands for it do specific tasks like climb to a specific altitude or head to a specific location. While it taxis on the flight deck, its steering and speed are manually controlled by an operator with a remote control.

Today’s operation followed a successful shore-based catapult launch of the X-47B in November. The difference between that flight from Patuxent River and the one off the Bush on today was minimal, said Don Blottenberger, deputy manager of the program.

“This unmanned aircraft, the way that the software is programmed and the way that it operates, has no idea when it left the TC-7 catapult ashore at the Patuxent River that it was not flying off the front end of an aircraft carrier,” he said.

If anything, Blottenberger said, the Navy’s earlier testing put it through even more challenging conditions.

“Those catapult launches ashore were at higher G-levels, they were at higher air speeds and they were more rigorous that anything the aircraft would see coming off the front end of an aircraft carrier,” he said....

...Operators have also conducted arrested landings on shore at Patuxent. Over the next two weeks, they will practice approaches that will come increasingly closer to landing.

“The only difference between the shore-based environment and the carrier environment is the fact that the carrier flight deck moves up and down and it moves through the water,” Blottenberger said. “So the only real change in dynamics through the entire equation is the carrier flight deck.”

As with catapult tests, the program operators conducted vigorous tests with hard landings and fast-arrested landings “to make absolutely positive that it can handle the moving deck out there,” he said."

http://hrana.org/news/2013/05/navy-laun ... rier-bush/

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 09:03
by spazsinbad
Navy Catches The Drone Bug 14 May 2013
Test Flight Set for Plane That Admirals Say Will Extend an Aircraft Carrier’s Range
(WALL STREET JOURNAL 14 MAY 13) … Julian Barnes
"...On Tuesday, Sailors will taxi the X-47B, which was built by Northrop Grumman Corp., into the catapult on the left bow of the USS George H.W. Bush. “They will push the button and the X-47 will accelerate from zero to 140 mph and will go off the end of the ship,” said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the program executive officer for unmanned aviation.

The plane will turn, climb and then fly to the stern of the ship. The drone will approach as if to land at least twice but will be waved off each time and sent back to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. It will initially be controlled by a Sailor on the carrier, then handed over to Sailors at the air station.

The X-47B prototype program has cost $1.8 billion over eight years. The Navy is hoping to acquire its fleet of fixed-wing drones between 2017 and 2020 for between $38 million and $75 million each. Four major defense contractors—Northrop, Boeing Co., General Atomics and Lockheed Martin Corp. —are expected to bid.

Flying drones inside a foreign country or from a base abroad requires permission from host governments. But in international waters, naval drones will be able to operate with greater freedom, Mr. Harmer said.

Initially, the Navy plans to equip its drones with sensors that can intercept communications, take video and have infrared capability, extending the capabilities of current ships, Adm. Buss said. “In a Strait of Hormuz, the South China Sea or the eastern Mediterranean, that kind of sensor package will be very, very powerful,” he said.

The Navy once was skeptical of drones, according to analysts. But the X-47B prototype represents a new generation. It is more difficult to spot on radar, uses jet propulsion and an automated control system that means the drone largely flies itself, rather than being directly controlled by a remote pilot."

http://hrana.org/news/2013/05/navy-catc ... drone-bug/

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 14:03
by sprstdlyscottsmn
wow. X-47 is an impressive piece of equipment.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 May 2013, 22:58
by count_to_10
indochina wrote:I want to see if the X-47B has the ability to automate maneuverability and dogfight round such as fighter aircraft manned or not?

The processing algorithm is so incredibly complex, it's like stepping out from the Terminator movies. Please see Mototerminator handling situations with complex algorithms like? whether the X-47B is capable or only in Hollywood?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2FtVqgqRGI

And Stealth movie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMniVgLBkyM

It could probably be used to do BVR combat, but keep in mind that it isn't a fighter and may not be able to maneuver like one. It's situational awareness may also be limited, by field of view issues on it's sensors. It isn't like it's an unmanned version of the F-35.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 13:26
by spazsinbad
The people who write this stuff must be clueless about NavAv or they are trying to 'dumb it down' so that they look clueless? Youse be the judge....

Navy Drone’s Next Test: X-47B Will Land, Sort Of; China Unveils Similar Drone By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. and Colin Clark 15 May 2013
"...The X-47B will fly back to the carrier “later this week,” Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Navy’s X-47B program manager, told reporters this morning. It will perform not a full carrier landing, but rather what is called a “touch and go.” The X-47B will take off from shore, come in to the carrier as if for a landing, and its wheels will hit the carrier deck, but it won’t try to actually catch the arrestor cable.[TRUE] Instead, it will ramp its engine power back up and fly back up into the sky without having landed. [Which is a WAVEOFF and which the X-47B has carried out two already.] Only once it’s done a touch and go successfully, Engdahl explained, will the X-47B attempt an outright carrier landing, “later this summer.”

Is it usual for a Navy aircraft to do a touch-and-go landing [or WAVEOFF? - what are these people getting at?] on the carrier first, before trying an actual landing? Does the Navy test manned aircraft that way? “Usually we don’t,” Capt. Engdahl acknowledged when I asked him on the conference call.

[New carrier pilots - seeing the ship for the first time - will carry out one or two actual 'touch and goes' HOOK UP on the carrier deck before being allowed to put the hook down for an arrest. What the criteria is for a robot aircraft - we wait and see - already we know the robot has done two waveoffs deliberately - how well we do not know - so that has set a precedent already.]

But the issue isn’t the tailhook, he said. “Hooking the wire and stopping the aircraft, that’s a simple mechanical event,” he said. “The technology that we’re developing, the technology that’s most critical to convey to future unmanned systems, is the precision unmanned system, the flight controls, and the ability to land it on the flight deck.”

For manned aircraft, Engdahl explained, the crucial thing to test is that “mechanical event,” the physical ability of the tailhook to snag the arrestor cable and of the whole aircraft to handle the stress. That’s because, for manned aircraft, the control system that orients the plane in three dimensions, lines it up with the carrier and lands it is proven technology: It’s called the human brain, it’s been maneuvering objects through space for several million years, and it’s been landing planes on carriers since 1918.

The abilities of the X-47B’s robotic brain, however, still need to be proven to the absolute satisfaction of Navy safety officers. “The most technologically demanding and significant [task] is actually touching down on a moving flight deck... while the aircraft and the carrier are pitching and rolling,” Engdahl said.

What’s subtly remarkable about the X-47B is how much more autonomous it is than other unmanned aircraft, not just in take-off and landing but in flight as well....

...The X-47B is in constant communications with a human on the ground or on the carrier, but they don’t have a joystick – they use standard computer mice, or, for landings, a specialized hand controller – and they’re not flying it by remote control. They’re giving it commands to perform certain tasks, such as land, abort the landing (a “wave off” in Navy parlance), or fly to a specified point. The robot handles the details – just like a human pilot following instructions from flight control.

“The air vehicle operator always has direct control, always has a direct link to the air vehicle, and always has the ability to direct it to do a certain task, [e.g.] to discontinue an approach or wave off, to turn or climb or to execute another round,” said Engdahl, “[but] the aircraft is always autonomous. It is always thinking about the commands that are given to it and reacting to the commands in one sense or the other.”

That level of autonomy is a major step up from most current drones and the biggest single innovation the X-47B can pass along to subsequent unmanned aircraft programs, whether they’re supposed to land on the carrier or a concrete runway."

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/05/15/n ... lar-drone/

"Edited 5:25 pm to correct description of the coming “touch and go” tests.

NuhUh - they did not do a good job methinks.

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... 43-745.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 13:53
by spazsinbad
X-47B First Carrier Launch YOUTUBE VIDEO

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQb34pvH ... e=youtu.be

"Published on May 15, 2013
U.S. Navy video report of the Tuesday May 14, 2013, launch of the X-47B unmammed aerial combat drone from the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier."

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 14:58
by F16VIPER
It may be a very simplistic comment but it appears to me that from the aerodynamic point of view the
X-47B is a a mini B-2 type of plane with the obvious advancement of incorporating unmanned
autonomous operation and carrier operation capabilities.
Where I am heading is, the questioning of whether that shape is an improvement over the 25 year old shape of the B-2 and if not,
is that the right type of plane for the second decade of this century, or is a more advanced external design needed.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 21:40
by spazsinbad
Oh NO - not another VIDEO!? This time the view is from the 'Goofers 'n LollyGaggers or Vultures Row'. AT 1min 27sec (THE END) we see a WAVE OFF! Yay! :D

X-47B Completes First Carrier-based Launch (Long) 3
"Published on May 14, 2013 130514N-SI489-001
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) completed its first ever carrier-based catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... FMvNrkwmi0

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 23:08
by count_to_10
Isn't a wave-off when the aircraft peals off without touching the deck, while a touch and go is when it does?

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 23:13
by spazsinbad
Exactly. A 'touch and go' is with the HOOK UP. A 'bolter' is a "touch and go so to speak" with the HOOK DOWN which misses catching the wires. Just posted today on Youtube one of THE most unusual bolters one could ever see.... :doh: A WaveOff can be ordered or carried out at any time - hook down/up - until the aircraft is TOO close to landing to wave off safely. However the skill of the LSO will sometimes cause him to order 'WaveOff' to keep the aircraft off the ramp but land/arrest anyway. Particularly this may happen at night/bad weather conditions etc. I'll post a link to a longer video on my SkyDrive page which explains about 'proper wave off technique and flying the meatball - olden style' soonish.

"Bring It Down Some" - Unusual A-4 Bolter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrtvoAfbW3Q
__________________________

In "Documents Various" folder on the 'SpazSinbad' page on Microsoft SkyDrive will be this 23 Mb video explaining WaveOff in a goodly fashion and other stuff. It seems that recently SkyDrive requires potential downloaders to register - whereas earlier this was not required. Oh well. At least without registering for FREE youse can see the files (unlike GoogleDrive but it registers FREE also - just no viewing without registering).

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=cbcd63d6 ... 07E6%21116

FileName: WAVEOFFcorrectly+FlyMEATBALL.wmv 23Mb

The video may take a while to get there because another file (latest version of the 4.4GB file) is being uploaded to GoogleDrive: https://drive.google.com/?authuser=0#fo ... 0szeVJFY0U

OR see short links in the signature below....

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 23:29
by count_to_10
Okay, spaz, but up above, where the article you quoted is talking about the the X-47B touching down on the deck and then lifting back off without coming to a stop, you complain that they are calling that a touch-and-go instead of a wave-off.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 23:39
by spazsinbad
OK 'count_to_10' please reread that confusing article description again. The authors have mixed two things together. I could rewrite the sentences in the paragraph to make clear what is going to happen but I will paraphrase perhaps.

"The X-47B will return for touch and goes later in the week with the hook up. Today - after the first catapult - the X-47B performed two waveoffs etc..."

I do not believe the article says this clearly.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 23:59
by count_to_10
. It will perform not a full carrier landing, but rather what is called a “touch and go.” The X-47B will take off from shore, come in to the carrier as if for a landing, and its wheels will hit the carrier deck, but it won’t try to actually catch the arrestor cable. Instead, it will ramp its engine power back up and fly back up into the sky without having landed.

I'm not seeing what is confusing about this.
Unless you interpret "landed" as just touching down instead of coming to a halt.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 00:22
by spazsinbad
So - is that not confusing? The order of sentences - the context is confusing. As probably admitted in the extra sentence at the end of the post - initially they did not make the scenario clear then probably further muddled it by the edit. "Edited 5:25 pm to correct description of the coming “touch and go” tests."

'count_to_10' I have now gone to great length to explain the concepts above. Please educate yourself so that you do not make ridiculous statements such as this:
"I'm not seeing what is confusing about this.
Unless you interpret "landed" as just touching down instead of coming to a halt."


The quote from the article you quote (if accurate) says the X-47B will perform a touch and go which article describes said touch and go well BUT then goes on in the next sentence to say this: "Instead, it will ramp its engine power back up and fly back up into the sky without having landed."

'without having landed' is the key phrase which in context is confusing. Perhaps if that phrase was altered to read "without having arrested" would make more sense. "LANDED"? no. If the aircraft does not LAND - it does not. This is a WAVE OFF.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 01:46
by spazsinbad
A view down then track (at an angle) of the first X-47B catapult....
X-47B Completes First Carrier-based Launch (Short) 1
"An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), May 14. George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nwdIH_A ... r_embedded

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 01:55
by spazsinbad
X-47B Heads For Final Tests 16 May 2013 Bill Sweetman
"The Northrop Grumman X-47B program is expected to perform its first touch-and-go landings -- intentional bolters [NO THEY ARE NOT] -- on the carrier George Bush within a few days, following its first at-sea catapult launch on Tuesday. A few first-hand observations:

The X-47B actually clicked through its pre-launch preparations faster than we had been told to expect. It took very little time for the aircraft to maneuver up to the end of the catapult. The remote control unit developed for the tests looks a bit cumbersome:

However, it appears to work, and the team's view seems to be that the gaming industry will generate the technology for a definitive system for Uclass. The team feel that they have proved the principle: that the unmanned aircraft can follow the same commands as a manned aircraft and can maneuver itself on the deck in the same way.

The X-47B looked quite stable on the approach, just rolling a little through the burble on the second pass, which waved off 50 feet from the deck. [Perhaps the low point during wave off but started earlier likely]

A non-planned wave-off can be initiated four ways: automatically by the vehicle; by the mission operator; by Paddles, the landing signal officer; or by Pri-Fly (primary flying control) in the tower. The mission operator "calls the ball" in the same way as the pilot, and lights on the landing gear indicate [to the LSO] that the aircraft intends to land....

...Speaking of pilots, the Navy's attitude towards adopting the X-47B's automatic landing technology for manned operations is quite positive. The potential benefits -- less wear and tear on airframes and less training time for the air group, along with improved safety -- are substantial."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... 3938045401

http://www.aviationweek.com/Portals/AWeek/P1010090.JPG

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 03:47
by spazsinbad
Salty Dog 502 — U.S. Navy creates a niche and makes UAV history
"...Salty Dog 502 (call sign for this mission’s X-47B UAV)...

...The Navy envisions four to six X-47B UAVs to be deployed on each carrier — initially for reconnaissance missions..."

http://blog.seattlepi.com/travelforairc ... v-history/

VX-23 at PaxRiver are the 'Salty Dogs' while 502 is the Bu.No. derived? Side Number/Tail Code (or whatever the USN call it) of the X-47B.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 04:44
by spazsinbad
Part of a long movie - shows requirement for proper wave off technique with an example of an A-4 inflight arrest PLUS 'Fly The MEATball'! CLICK graphic below for the movie.... (17Mb .MP4) [2min 08sec]

Image

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 06:11
by spazsinbad
"X-47B in flight after first-ever catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush 14 May 2013"

http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 48-298.jpg

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 06:30
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:Salty Dog 502 — U.S. Navy creates a niche and makes UAV history
"...Salty Dog 502 (call sign for this mission’s X-47B UAV)...

...The Navy envisions four to six X-47B UAVs to be deployed on each carrier — initially for reconnaissance missions..."

http://blog.seattlepi.com/travelforairc ... v-history/

VX-23 at PaxRiver are the 'Salty Dogs' while 502 is the Bu.No. derived? Side Number/Tail Code (or whatever the USN call it) of the X-47B.

Actually Spazsinbad, the Side Number is not based on the BuNo of the jet.

The Side Number is unique to the Air Wing, when a jet is transferred to another Air Wing, they often change the Side Number. The Letter code refers to the Squadron, not the Base its assigned to. VX-23 uses the Tail Code 'SD'.

For the record, the two X-47Bs are BuNo 168063 and BuNo 168064, and according to reports '064 was launched, confirmed by the video. The BuNo is on the main gear door.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 06:38
by spazsinbad
OK thanks. So youse USNers refer to the Side Number - which in this case is '502'? Yep gotcha on the Bu.No. thanks.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 06:50
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:OK thanks. So youse USNers refer to the Side Number - which in this case is '502'? Yep gotcha on the Bu.No. thanks.

I was only a contractor.. but yes, its normally Side Number used to refer to the jet, except in a JAGMAN Mishap report, or on official paperwork, then they use the BuNo.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 07:06
by spazsinbad
OK 'honourary USNer' then. :D

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 07:17
by spazsinbad
BIG PIC here: http://instapinch.com/blog/wp-content/u ... 09-532.jpg

Thanks to 'InstaPinch': http://instapinch.com/?p=2970 & http://instapinch.com/?attachment_id=2971
CAPTION: "130514-N-XE109-532
ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 14, 2013) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Read Castillo/Released)"

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 07:35
by spazsinbad
http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... 282%29.jpg

The day of the unmanned aircraft. 15 May 2013 By Dave Majumdar
"...Meanwhile, back in scenic Crystal City, Lockheed showed off this picture of their Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft mockup. Lockheed hopes to displace Northrop's entrant--likely X-47B derived--for the Navy's UCLASS effort. The UCLASS program will actually take four separate designs to a preliminary design review before downselecting to one. The UCLASS, which is an operational successor to the X-47B demonstrator, will likely be smaller than the Northrop-built prototypes and will likely only have a light strike capability...."

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ircra.html

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 09:15
by spazsinbad
Overhead view of catapulting and a concise overview of activities on the day....

X-47B Launch Called "Pivotal"
"Published on May 16, 2013
A top Naval leader calls the catapult launch of an unmanned X-47B from a carrier deck a major milestone in naval aviation."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8Hb0IUP ... tube_gdata

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 09:25
by spazsinbad
We see more humans (the operators with their GIGANTIC wrist watches - Dick Tracey Style) in this video but good nevertheless...

X-47B Launch Marks Navy Milestone
"Published on May 14, 2013
The U.S. Navy has carried out the first successful catapult launch of an unmanned aircraft from a carrier deck."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNW8cV9fxBA

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 09:49
by spazsinbad
Interesting first person account of the day including going out to the carrier via COD etc.....

http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers- ... MGI600.jpg
&
http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers- ... MER600.jpg

A front row seat to aviation history 16 May 2013 By Jason Reed
http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers- ... n-history/

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 12:07
by count_to_10
How realistic is it to expect the Navy to ultimately buy from another company after Northrop Grumman already has a working prototype? Is there historical precedent for this kind of thing?

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 14:14
by sprstdlyscottsmn
Grumman = Naval Aviation

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 18:52
by neurotech
The General Atomics MQ-9N Sea Avenger is still in the running, but I suspect that it will be more for carrier based armed reconnaissance than "attack" like a X-47B would be aimed at.

There isn't many Naval examples of working prototypes being shelved, because carrier suitability qualification is such an involved process. Then again, the Navy MQ-9C BAMS aircraft could get shelved or delayed, but its not actually carrier based.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 22:14
by spazsinbad
GOOD video(s) of X-47B deck maneuvers with controllers etc. Not sure I have seen it before in such detail. Anyway there is no 'Russian' narrative so do not be put off. Any other Russian videos on Utube about the X-47B from the past are woeful but the language might be good. :D

?????? ??????????? ?? ????? ????????? Combat drone aboard the aircraft carrier
"Combat drone X-47B "stealth" on board the nuclear aircraft carrier "Harry S. Truman"
Taking off from a catapult http://youtu.be/nTyj_VlG5fY "

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76xFuuIXMvU
_____________________________________

THIS SECOND ONE will have been seen before (first land catapult + normal landing)

Taking off from a catapult combat drone X-47B ????? ? ?????????? ??????? ????? X-47B
"Published on Dec 4, 2012
Combat drone X-47B "stealth" is being developed for the U.S. Navy.
is capable of seating up to 50 hours in air and refueled.

During the test flight, July 2, 2011 F/A-18 fighter aircraft landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier, "Dwight D. Eisenhower" in fully automatic mode using the flight control software, designed for UAV X-47B

aboard the aircraft carrier http://youtu.be/bHy8ptO9UzY

Drone - UAV for military purposes, a variety of military robot. The task of autonomous systems developed for the flight, is carrying out missions, potentially dangerous to humans.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTyj_VlG ... e=youtu.be "

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Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 22:22
by spazsinbad
USN's X-47B headed for first trap landing on board carrier at sea 17 May 2013 By Grace Jean
"After an historic catapult launch from the US Navy (USN)'s newest aircraft carrier, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator is headed for more key tests in the next 60 days, including the first trap landing on a carrier at sea, officials said on 15 May. The USN's UCAS programme manager is planning for the autonomous, low-observable aircraft to conduct touch-and-go demonstrations on the USS George H W Bush (CVN 77) next week, followed by more shore-based arrested landings in June and a subsequent trap landing on board the carrier after that.

"As we look at a moving ship at sea and as we look at the dynamic interface between this autonomous unmanned air vehicle in the landing environment, the ability to precisely touch down on the flight deck and the ability to track the vehicle all the way down the centre line of the landing area and to fly away again is the most significant technological feat of this programme," said Captain Jaime Engdahl, navy UCAS programme manager at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). "That's an important milestone for us."..."

http://www.janes.com/products/janes/def ... 1065979288

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Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 01:40
by spazsinbad
THE HOOK Winter 2012 (page 6)
Washington Report: Unmanned Systems On Board Aircraft Carriers by Sandra I. Erwin
"...“We still have many important ‘first steps’ to go before we do a catapult test at sea,” Engdahl said. He also warned that although the aircraft has no pilot in the cockpit, it is not without close human supervision. “The vehicle is monitored and controlled at all times with multiple datalinks and multiple methods to control the vehicle. We task the aircraft to take off. It does it autonomously while the mission operator monitors it... and we task it to land, with the click of a mouse,” Engdahl said. “The team knows what the vehicle is going to do.”

The vehicle, he noted, does not move autonomously around the flight deck. “Our task is to integrate the X-47B with the flight director as if it were a manned aircraft,” Engdahl said. “The deck operator drives the vehicle around the deck under the command of flight-deck directors.” The technological advances that have been made in this program since it began in 2007 have impressed Navy officials. The most “interesting challenge” so far has been the integration into the “manned paradigms of an aircraft carrier,” said Engdahl. “We’re excited about getting on Truman, with real deck operators driving UAVs around at the command of flight-deck directors.”

The carrier trials, which will include landings and catapults, are planned for summer 2013, Engdahl said, but insisted that test schedules are always a function of carrier availability. The next major step will be “working through the concept of operations,” he said. The vehicle must interface with the carrier deck. When there is no human pilot sitting in the cockpit working the controls of the air vehicle, “you have to do things differently.”

Carl Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager at NGC, said the X-47B is taking unmanned aviation to a new level. “UCAS has to be able to find where it’s going to land on the ship,” he said. “Every other UAV has a defined airfield that it comes back to, and a defined location, while the UCAS has to modify its own plan, has to reacquire the ship and enter the pattern for landing.” Eventually it will have to be able to find the tanker for aerial refueling, said Johnson. “The decision aids that used to be on the ground have been moved to the air vehicle to enable this autonomy.”

The Naval Aviation community and UAV manufacturers will be closely watching the UCAS program as its success or failure could seal the fate of the Navy’s future Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program. Contractors such as NGC, LMC, The Boeing Co. and General Atomics are expected to compete in UCLASS.

The Navy told contractors to anticipate a draft request for proposals in 2013, although there is speculation that the project might be delayed due to budget cuts, and also because the Navy has yet to settle on what type of aircraft it wants. The Navy is internally divided over UCLASS, according to a senior official who spoke at a private industry meeting. One camp wants an X-47-like deep penetrating “son of A-12” high-end aircraft. The other favors a lower-end “son of S-3” long-endurance vehicle that would cost less and would not be as technologically complex. It is no secret that this is a battle that has gone on inside the Navy and across the Defense Department."

http://www.tailhook.net/PDF/Hook_Magazi ... er2012.pdf (33Mb)

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Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 01:53
by count_to_10
“UCAS has to be able to find where it’s going to land on the ship,” he said. “Every other UAV has a defined airfield that it comes back to, and a defined location, while the UCAS has to modify its own plan, has to reacquire the ship and enter the pattern for landing.” Eventually it will have to be able to find the tanker for aerial refueling, said Johnson. “The decision aids that used to be on the ground have been moved to the air vehicle to enable this autonomy.”

There is also an important contribution that this can make to man aircraft, offloading the pilot's workload so that he can focus on tactical decisions.

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Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 02:16
by spazsinbad
'count_to_10' perhaps this/similar tech is/will be available to manned naval aircraft today - JPALS. Certainly if all is lost the pilot is briefed on where the carrier is likely to be for recovery at 'Charlie' - land on - time, even when 'no comms' are in force (in reasonable weather). Certainly every pilot/crew navigation aid can be improved. A pilot will have a mental map - even if only vague - on where the carrier will be at any time - however I guess that is less of an issue given the reliability of avionics these days etc.

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Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 04:39
by neptune
http://www.navy.mil./submit/display.asp?story_id=74225


X-47B Accomplishes First Ever Carrier Touch and Go aboard CVN 77

5/17/2013 5:11:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandon Vinson, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs


USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- The Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) has begun touch and go landing operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 17.

For UCAS-D, this represents the most significant technology maturation of the program. Ship relative navigation and precision touchdown of the X-47B are critical technology elements for all future Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) aircraft.

... Program manager, commented, "This landing, rubber hitting deck, is extremely fulfilling for the team and is the culmination of years of relative navigation development. Now, we are set to demonstrate the final pieces of the demonstration."...

"We are proud to be a part of another historic first for Naval Aviation. The landing was spot-on and it's impressive to witness the evolution of the Carrier Air Wing," .....

The various launch and landing operations of the X-47B on the flight deck of George H. W. Bush signify historic events for naval aviation history. These demonstrations display the Navy's readiness to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation operations.

.... said, "When we operate in a very dynamic and harsh carrier environment, we need networks and communication links that have high integrity and reliability to ensure mission success and provide precise navigation and placement of an unmanned vehicle."

"Today, we have demonstrated this with the X-47B, and we will continue to demonstrate, consistent, reliable, repeatable touch-down locations on a moving carrier flight deck," he continued. "This precision relative navigation technology is key to ensuring future unmanned systems can operate off our aircraft carriers."
........
:)

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 04:42
by spazsinbad
Nice - good to see the 'powers that be' are getting on with it. The ADMIRABLE must be sh*tting bricks to see that unpiloted thingo hurtling towards his CVN. :D

VIDEO of STILL photos of thingo downloadable from: http://www.navy.mil./media/multimedia/wir/wir_0517.mp4 (21Mb)

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 04:46
by spazsinbad
BIGpic: http://www.navy.mil./management/photodb ... 43-090.jpg
"130517-N-FU443-090 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 17, 2013) An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This is the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter/Released) May 17, 2013"


YaGottMe

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 05:28
by spazsinbad
These guys have gotta be clueless.... I'm referring to the caption under the main photo at top of page. I shudder to read the text.

BREAKING: Navy X-47B Drone Makes 1st ‘Touch & Go’ On Aircraft Carrier By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.on May 17, 2013
"The X-47B drone scoots off the back end of the USS BUSH flight deck and back into the sky after its first “touch and go.”

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/05/17/b ... t-carrier/

The official USN description is typically vague about what is going on in the photo with lots of 'RELEASED' crap. :D So perhaps we can forgive the doods at the above. I DON'T THINK SO.

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/u ... 30x419.jpg

OFFICIAL USN PHOTO CAPTION: "130517-N-YZ751-017 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 17, 2013)
An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This is the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication
Specialist 2nd Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)"

What a brainless description but whatever.... :D

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 05:48
by spazsinbad
"An X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This is the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter/Released)"

http://www.dvidshub.net/image/934688/x-47b-touch-and-go

http://www.dvidshub.net/download/image/934688

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 08:51
by spazsinbad
And now for something completely different? THE VIDEO...
UCAS Touch and Go Landing 1
"Uploaded on May 17, 2013
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gregory Wilhelmi
130517-N-WH671-001"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIWVs8x ... r_embedded

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Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 09:23
by spazsinbad
Excellent overview VIDEO of X-47B testing recently at PaxRiver - high quality video from many angles of landing approaches / TDs and the like...

X-47B Carrier Suitability Testing Spring 2013 Published on May 14, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f9gLAMe ... r_embedded

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 09:36
by spazsinbad
pppPPPPaages of Pphhotos here: http://www.navy.mil/view_photos.asp?pag ... sort_row=1

http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/ ... 09-277.jpg
__________

"517-O-ZZ999-006 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 17, 2013) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Alan Radecki courtesy Northrop Grumman/ Released)"

http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/ ... 99-006.jpg
____________

"130517-O-ZZ999-004 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 17, 2013) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Alan Radecki courtesy Northrop Grumman/Released)"

http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/ ... 99-004.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 10:22
by spazsinbad
QUOTE will be repeated on the F-35C thread about these issues....

The day of the unmanned aircraft. By Dave Majumdar on May 15, 2013
"...However, the X-47B did not carry out an arrested landing upon returning to Pax River. That could be because the unmanned jet was having difficulty making even that first trap it did the week before where the Navy showed off a video of the aircraft snagging a wire. Sources told the DEW Line, at the time of the earlier trap, the aircraft now had a 10 percent field boarding rate... So hopefully, this isn't an indication of a major problem. The X-47B guys have had to redesign their tail hook a number of times now due to the same inaccurate Navy-supplied wire dynamics model that was partly responsible for the F-35C's woes...."

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ircra.html

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Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 13:49
by count_to_10
Why would it do another arrested landing at Pax?

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Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 14:03
by neptune
Now we await the "Trap". When it is accomplished, it will fulfill the merging of differential GPS (JPALS) and the dynamics of the deck, the wire, the wheels and the hook. This would affect the current and future ship borne a/c (F-35C), imho.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 May 2013, 14:33
by spazsinbad
GrassHoppers... We have to be patient.... I think it is clear more testing of arresting the X-47B needs to be done as is shown from this quote from previous page repeated below.... And see MAJUMDAR quote above here....

USN's X-47B headed for first trap landing on board carrier at sea 17 May 2013 By Grace Jean
"..."After an historic catapult launch from the US Navy (USN)'s newest aircraft carrier, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator is headed for more key tests in the next 60 days, including the first trap landing on a carrier at sea, officials said on 15 May. The USN's UCAS programme manager is planning for the autonomous, low-observable aircraft to conduct touch-and-go demonstrations on the USS George H W Bush (CVN 77) next week, followed by more shore-based arrested landings in June and a subsequent trap landing on board the carrier after that...."

http://www.janes.com/products/janes/def ... 1065979288

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 May 2013, 02:29
by spazsinbad
A good example of what is required for all Naval Aircraft which is applied specifically to the F-35C - equally to the X-47B for example....

The Influence of Ship Configuration on the Design of the JSF Ryberg, Eric S. Feb 2002
"...[F-35C] CV VARIANT WAVEOFF AND BOLTER PERFORMANCE
“A waveoff is an aborted approach that occurs when the flight deck cannot be made ready in time to accept a landing aircraft or when conditions do not allow the approach to continue. Waveoff performance is quantified by the amount of altitude lost by the airplane from the time a waveoff is commanded until a positive rate of climb can be established. While waveoff performance must also be a consideration for land-based aircraft, it is much more critical for carrier operations because the rapid tempo of a recovery cycle make waveoffs more frequent. The need for good waveoff performance was the principal factor is sizing the desired thrust response characteristics of the JSF engine.

A bolter is an approach that was continued to touchdown, but the arresting hook was unable to engage the cross deck pendant, either because the aircraft landed beyond the landing area or because the dynamics of the landing caused the hook to skip over the wire(s). The bolter is, in essence, an unintentional touch-and-go landing. Bolter performance is measured by the amount of settle experienced by the airplane as it rolls off the edge of the flight deck. As it is for the waveoff, thrust response is a critical factor in bolter performance, in that the engine must quickly accelerate to the takeoff power setting.

Yet bolter performance demands considerable pitch control power as well, because the airplane must also rotate about its main landing gear to quickly attain a flyaway attitude. Both of these events must occur prior to the aircraft leaving the flight deck, or else the aircraft would experience unacceptable settling. Bolter performance was a critical factor in sizing the tail surfaces of the CV variants. Here is another example of where ship geometry, specifically the length of the landing area, directly influenced the design of the aircraft....”

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Lo ... =ADA399988

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 May 2013, 14:04
by count_to_10
spazsinbad wrote:QUOTE will be repeated on the F-35C thread about these issues....

The day of the unmanned aircraft. By Dave Majumdar on May 15, 2013
"...However, the X-47B did not carry out an arrested landing upon returning to Pax River. That could be because the unmanned jet was having difficulty making even that first trap it did the week before where the Navy showed off a video of the aircraft snagging a wire. Sources told the DEW Line, at the time of the earlier trap, the aircraft now had a 10 percent field boarding rate... So hopefully, this isn't an indication of a major problem. The X-47B guys have had to redesign their tail hook a number of times now due to the same inaccurate Navy-supplied wire dynamics model that was partly responsible for the F-35C's woes...."

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ircra.html

That's a very interesting point. If LM team was given bad assumptions about tail hook requirements by the government, then even the tail hook problem isn't their fault.

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Unread postPosted: 19 May 2013, 20:12
by spazsinbad
I think that it just goes to show that for any aircraft - designing a hook that works from the get go is not easy. AFAIK making a Navy Arrest Hook work involves trial and error with redesigns in between. The now very long F-35C hook thread and other related threads make that clear. For that Lakehurst Test thread start - go here:

http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... t&start=30

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 May 2013, 20:50
by quicksilver
neptune wrote:Now we await the "Trap". When it is accomplished, it will fulfill the merging of differential GPS (JPALS) and the dynamics of the deck, the wire, the wheels and the hook. This would affect the current and future ship borne a/c (F-35C), imho.


One trap and we've changed the world? C'mon man.

If F-35C had a 10% field boarding rate, there would be people demanding Congressional inquiry.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 19 May 2013, 21:16
by spazsinbad
'quicksilver' to me the comment you refer to by 'neptune' (and he can speak for himself) implies that the first 'trap' by the X-47B onboard will be significant proof of a bunch of technologies - with the implied successful testing of all the component parts beforehand. Nothing Less Will Do. Have Hook - Will Arrest. In JPALS We Trust. All good stuff and still under development but for the X-47B [with unique 'JPALS setup' - for time being] as close as done (we hope).

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Unread postPosted: 19 May 2013, 22:28
by count_to_10
"Field boarding rate"?

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Unread postPosted: 19 May 2013, 22:57
by quicksilver
count_to_10 wrote:"Field boarding rate"?


Ask Majumdar -- he coined it in the article. Call it what you want -- arrestment rates on land-based arresting systems is ~10 percent.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 20 May 2013, 08:15
by spazsinbad
I guess the X-47B has not been tested at Lakehurst JBD? I guess there is no JBD at NAS Patuxent River; although there is a steam catapult from which the robot has been fired. I guess it was not possible to fly the X-47B to Lakehurst for testing etc. Early days eh.

Attack of the Drones 15 May 2012 INSTApinch
"...If anyone can help me out as to why they did not use a jet blast deflector (JBD) for the launch off catapult 2, I’d be much obliged. I understand this was a one-off, a first launch and perhaps for photo-op reasons they didn’t need it with a clear/clean and empty deck, but it seems to me you would want to take advantage of data points in every category of a flight test."

http://instapinch.com/?p=2970

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Unread postPosted: 20 May 2013, 21:33
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:I guess the X-47B has not been tested at Lakehurst JBD? I guess there is no JBD at NAS Patuxent River; although there is a steam catapult from which the robot has been fired. I guess it was not possible to fly the X-47B to Lakehurst for testing etc. Early days eh.

Attack of the Drones 15 May 2012 INSTApinch
"...If anyone can help me out as to why they did not use a jet blast deflector (JBD) for the launch off catapult 2, I’d be much obliged. I understand this was a one-off, a first launch and perhaps for photo-op reasons they didn’t need it with a clear/clean and empty deck, but it seems to me you would want to take advantage of data points in every category of a flight test."

http://instapinch.com/?p=2970

My guess would be that the JBD is likely compatible with the X-47B F100-PW-220U engine. The F-14s had a similar engine, the F100-GE-400 which would have been more stress on the JBD. The F135 is a bigger engine, so the JBD had to be re-qualified.

It's been a while since i visited Pax river physically, but I don't think they have JBD testing there.

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Unread postPosted: 20 May 2013, 21:39
by spazsinbad
From what I saw in the video PaxRiver Steam Catapult does not have a JBD or it was not in use for the X-47B first catapult anyway(JPG + 2 screenshots):

http://globalbalita.com/wp-content/uplo ... t-Test.jpg

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Unread postPosted: 21 May 2013, 11:16
by spazsinbad
UCAS Touch and Go Landing 3
"Uploaded on May 17, 2013
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Andrew Johnson 130517N-SI469-001"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxYyQhh5 ... r_embedded

http://timemilitary.files.wordpress.com ... 2f7d_b.jpg

Screenshot shows instant before touchdown for a 3 wire (marked with white dots I guess).

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 21 May 2013, 13:36
by neptune
quicksilver wrote:
neptune wrote:Now we await the "Trap". When it is accomplished, it will fulfill the merging of differential GPS (JPALS) and the dynamics of the deck, the wire, the wheels and the hook. This would affect the current and future ship borne a/c (F-35C), imho.


One trap and we've changed the world? C'mon man.

If F-35C had a 10% field boarding rate, there would be people demanding Congressional inquiry.


Yes, it will change the world for Naval Aviators.

Proving the technology with the arrestment will have immediate application for all naval aviation, not just fixed wing with tail hooks. It's about precision placement not only for the hook but also for the ship. The dance of the aviator and the LSO will have the music added by JPALS. They will be able to anticipate the others actions and adjust (harmonize). To me, the other great benefit from that arrestment will be the reference for all aviators to be able to fly an arrestment and have the precision of the computerized "Ball approach" provided for the 4D flight contol, a confidence builder. Bringing that inherently intuitive skill into that algorithm has been no small feat and is mutally beneficial to manned and unmanned aviation. Yes, a game changer! :)

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 21 May 2013, 21:21
by spazsinbad
A great description of the process shown in the video at top of page. BZ....

Another Big Milestone For The X-47B: Its First Touch And Go Landing 21 May 2013 Clay Dillow
"...the Unmanned Combat Aerials System (UCAS) executed its first touch and go landings - that's when an aircraft touches down like it's landing but then accelerates and takes off again - aboard the USS George H.W. Bush on Friday [17 May 2013], bringing this technology demonstrator ever closer to being fully carrier-capable....

...Critical to UCLASS are the precision GPS and relative navigation technologies aboard both aircraft and carrier that link the two together into a seamless system, and that's what we're seeing at work in the video...

...In the video, the X-47B makes two passes over the carrier deck before executing a couple of touch and go maneuvers, which are essentially aborted landings wherein an aircraft touches down on the carrier deck and takes off again. They are a typical training maneuver, used when a pilot is practicing landing approaches. In carrier ops touch and go maneuvers are quite a bit more significant, as pilots must quickly take off again if they miss the arresting cable on the carrier deck when landing (although technically this is called a "bolter" rather than a "touch and go).

The two initial flyovers aren't just for show, however, and that's perhaps the most interesting part of the this video. During the two approaches wherein the X-47B doesn't touch down it is basically practicing its landing approach plus a "wave off" in which either the Landing Signal Officer on the flight deck or the aircraft itself decides the landing is unsafe. This could be because something on the flight deck becomes unsafe (a person or vehicle wanders into the landing area, for instance) or because the X-47B's flight computers detect something amiss with the aircraft's glide path or angle of approach.

In other words, those first two flyovers are testing the ability of the carrier and aircraft to talk to each other over the super-fast datalink that they share - which is really the linchpin of this system. And the touch and go moments show the system working spectacularly, putting the X-47B on the deck and then sending it skyward again off the other end. The Navy is still certifying the X-47Bs tail hook and landing capability on a terrestrial carrier simulator at nearby Naval Air Station Patuxent River on Maryland's Chesapeake Bay (the USS George H.W. Bush is tooling around at some undisclosed set of coordinates off the Virginia/Maryland coast so the aircraft can fly between the two), but by the looks of things it shouldn't have any problem completing carrier landings - and its mission - once it is cleared to do so."

http://www.popsci.com.au/technology/avi ... go-landing

http://www.thebaynet.com/images/news/sl ... 45AA68.jpg

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Unread postPosted: 22 May 2013, 01:59
by quicksilver
neptune wrote:
quicksilver wrote:
neptune wrote:Now we await the "Trap". When it is accomplished, it will fulfill the merging of differential GPS (JPALS) and the dynamics of the deck, the wire, the wheels and the hook. This would affect the current and future ship borne a/c (F-35C), imho.


One trap and we've changed the world? C'mon man.

If F-35C had a 10% field boarding rate, there would be people demanding Congressional inquiry.


Yes, it will change the world for Naval Aviators.

Proving the technology with the arrestment will have immediate application for all naval aviation, not just fixed wing with tail hooks. It's about precision placement not only for the hook but also for the ship. The dance of the aviator and the LSO will have the music added by JPALS. They will be able to anticipate the others actions and adjust (harmonize). To me, the other great benefit from that arrestment will be the reference for all aviators to be able to fly an arrestment and have the precision of the computerized "Ball approach" provided for the 4D flight contol, a confidence builder. Bringing that inherently intuitive skill into that algorithm has been no small feat and is mutally beneficial to manned and unmanned aviation. Yes, a game changer! :)


...not until it can get aboard reliably with a PoE equal-to or greater-than manned systems.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 22 May 2013, 02:54
by spazsinbad
At least things will improve with all this new JPALS / IDLC tech...

THE HOOK Journal of Carrier Aviation, Spring 2012
"AFTER THE BEGINNING
During CONA celebrations there were several “In the Beginning” beatitudes written. Well, the infamous Youthly Puresome (YP) took it one step further:

And, in the Darkiness over The Great Wets where bird farms
plowed the waves,
Ruled a willful Goat God called Grong, who called out his evil
son, Prang, and his almost as evil son, Bolter.
For his pleasure, he summoned up the rolling seas and pitching
decks of bird farms, causing their blunt ends to describe figure
eights and righteous aviators to dispaireth and develop a pox
called chickenshit-itis and having a bad night, and the piercing
eye of their saviours, called Paddles, to shed salt tears.
And night noises disturbed powerful engines.
And darkiness sucked lift from swept wings.
And, yea, Prang and Bolter reigned.
Yet, Paddles re-girded his loins, and he calmed the poxes and
caused sucking-it-up and the flying of the ball.
And Grong smiled his crooked smile and was sore pleased.
And he reined in his evil sons.
And there were traps until all the righteous had returned to
where the food was.
And manly beverages were swilled and sliders consumed.
And aviators maintained that, though they may have verily
boltered some, it was not because they were not good.
But they knew that every night would be at Grong’s pleasure,
And that it would be known as the breaks of Naval Air."

http://www.tailhook.net/PDF/Hook_Magazi ... ng2012.pdf (20Mb)

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 22 May 2013, 22:31
by spazsinbad
VIDEO Forward Deck iView of the X-47B wave offs and touch and goes twice each. Sadly sound is bad from other sources but worth watching anyways for the history innnit.

UCAS Touch and Go Landing 2
"Published on May 21, 2013
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Travis Litke 130517-N-HK564-001"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... KtlfQ1YYJI

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Unread postPosted: 24 May 2013, 01:21
by spazsinbad
Original X-47B HOOK screenshots from Youtube Video:

Northrop Grumman - X-47B UCAS First Low Speed Taxi [720p] 22 Apr 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUDDvbK0 ... r_embedded

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2013, 06:51
by spazsinbad
X-47B Drone Launched From USS George H. W. Bush - Aerial Footage of Drone from a noisy Seahawk (plane guard)
"Published on May 22, 2013
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) taxies and launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... PmfiGKs7Dc

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Unread postPosted: 24 May 2013, 14:34
by spazsinbad
X-47B Stealth Touch-And-Go Landing USS George H.W. Bush. VIDEO COMPILATION
"Published on May 22, 2013
X-47B Stealth Touch-And-Go Landing USS George H.W. Bush."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hpmo7E ... r_embedded

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2013, 15:37
by spazsinbad
RipOffLowQualityEditedVersion of a recent USN 'wot happened this week' video with the intro to "Screaming Jets" added....

ORIGINAL USN Video UNedited:...
Week in Review May 17, 2013 | May 11 - May 17

http://www.navy.mil/viewVideo.asp?id=18453

http://www.navy.mil/media/multimedia/wir/wir_0517.mp4 (22Mb)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQvLOPTNOdk Screaming Jets

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Unread postPosted: 24 May 2013, 15:49
by spazsinbad
VIDEO: Navy X-47B - Stealth Combat Jet Fighter
"Published on Apr 9, 2013
The Northrop Grumman X-47B is a demonstration unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) developed by the American defense technology company Northrop Grumman. The X-47 project began as part of DARPA's J-UCAS program, and is now part of the United States Navy's UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) program, which aims to create a carrier-based unmanned aircraft. It is intended that the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) will enter service in 2019. The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2013, it is undergoing flight testing, having successfully completed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations.

The Navy plans to carry out the first catapult takeoff of its new X-47B unmanned plane from an aircraft carrier next month and other shipboard tests despite mandatory budget cuts this year, according to the admiral who runs the programs.

Rear Admiral Mathias Winter, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, said Northrop Grumman Corp's X-47B program and other unmanned aircraft programs should survive the fiscal 2013 budget cuts largely intact because they are still early in development.

But the Navy may buy fewer unmanned planes and helicopters in coming years unless Congress reverses budget cuts required over the next decade,

The Pentagon is already implementing $487 billion in cuts from planned spending levels over the next decade, but under a 2010 law, must cut spending by an additional $500 billion.

Top Navy leaders have identified unmanned systems, including aircraft, ground vehicles and undersea vehicles, as their No. 1 priority, and several unmanned U.S. Navy airplanes are nearing key milestones next month. Those include the first catapult takeoff from a Navy aircraft carrier, the first landing on a carrier and the first flight of a new high altitude spy plane X-51A.

Triton, which is similar to the Global Hawk plane Northrop builds for the Air Force, is scheduled to have its first flight in May, with officials aiming to declare the system ready for combat in 2017. The demonstrator aircraft built for that program logged its 10,000th flight hour last week, with 96 percent of those hours in operational use, Winter said.

He said the Navy was focused on a few key programs: the X-47B, which will be followed by a competition for an unmanned carrier-based plane in 2014; the MQ-4C Triton; the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, and RQ-21A, a smaller unmanned surveillance plane being developed by Boeing for the Marine Corps."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRxjLPM6RDs

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 24 May 2013, 23:17
by spazsinbad
USS George H.W. Bush Completes Historic Underway 24 May 2013
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Derrik Noack, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public
"NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) returned to its homeport of Norfolk after a successful completion of new defense testing during a two-week underway period, May 24.

The ship tested a new torpedo self defense system, completed more than 115 launches and landings in assessing a precision landing system [JPALS?], all while launching the first carrier based unmanned aircraft in naval aviation history.

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) was launched from the ship in conjuction with the Navy/Northrop Grumman team, May 14. The unmanned aircraft flew over Maryland's Eastern Shore before landing safely at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

"We saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex warfighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier," said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces.

The X-47B returned to the ship three days later to conduct its first touch-and-go landing on an aircraft carrier. Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Unmanned Combat Air Systems program manager, took time to thank the crew during an all-hands call May 23, the night before the ship arrived into port.

"I hope all of you are proud of where you're standing," said Engdahl. "It's a changed world now. We launched a few naval aviation firsts and you were all there."

USS George H.W. Bush is in port conducting training operations in preparation for the upcoming underway schedule."

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=74386

[Photo Caption:] "130521-N-YZ751-424 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 21, 2013) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). The aircraft, nicknamed Salty Dog 501 [? 502?], made its debut aboard George H.W. Bush with seven touch and go landings. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tony D. Curtis/Released) May 22, 2013"

http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/ ... 51-424.jpg [BIG PIC 3Mb] Wot a pristine deck! :D

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 25 May 2013, 13:40
by quicksilver
Woo-hoo...

JPALS has reduced the CEP around the intended touchdown point to a remarkably small number.

The 'rest of the story' is that X-47 has major problems with the design of the arresting hook system.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 25 May 2013, 21:19
by spazsinbad
'quicksilver' any idea what the issues are with the hook system?

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2013, 15:30
by quicksilver
Structural loads.

These are the first truly new designs for tailhook aviation in roughly three decades. SH was an easy chip shot to a familiar green. Tailhook problems in successive development programs (F-35C and X-47) means there is some 'new learning' going on at the syscom.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2013, 15:45
by spazsinbad
OK thanks. Yes the new learning curve must be steep given this' factoid' (a repeat):

The day of the unmanned aircraft. By Dave Majumdar on May 15, 2013
"...However, the X-47B did not carry out an arrested landing upon returning to Pax River. That could be because the unmanned jet was having difficulty making even that first trap it did the week before where the Navy showed off a video of the aircraft snagging a wire. Sources told the DEW Line, at the time of the earlier trap, the aircraft now had a 10 percent field boarding rate... So hopefully, this isn't an indication of a major problem. The X-47B guys have had to redesign their tail hook a number of times now due to the same inaccurate Navy-supplied wire dynamics model that was partly responsible for the F-35C's woes...."

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ircra.html

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2013, 18:57
by quicksilver
spazsinbad wrote:OK thanks. Yes the new learning curve must be steep given this' factoid' (a repeat):

The day of the unmanned aircraft. By Dave Majumdar on May 15, 2013
"...However, the X-47B did not carry out an arrested landing upon returning to Pax River. That could be because the unmanned jet was having difficulty making even that first trap it did the week before where the Navy showed off a video of the aircraft snagging a wire. Sources told the DEW Line, at the time of the earlier trap, the aircraft now had a 10 percent field boarding rate... So hopefully, this isn't an indication of a major problem. The X-47B guys have had to redesign their tail hook a number of times now due to the same inaccurate Navy-supplied wire dynamics model that was partly responsible for the F-35C's woes...."

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ircra.html


Certainly a part of it...

The circumstance is illustrative of the complexity of CLAR designs and the very small eye of the ship suitability needle that those designs have to thread.

But hey, some of your neighbors to the immediate west of the Tasman Sea once claimed a naval F-22 could be built for about 300M US$ by just 'beefing up the structures a little bit.' :roll:

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 26 May 2013, 22:02
by spazsinbad
I'll have to check what CLAR means but anyway I am to the immediate west of the TASMAN SEA - inland by about 100kms from Sydenay (as spoken by Juan SummerRanch or whatever his name was - boss of the old Olympics). As Yossarian said in 'Catch 22' to the order "Help the bombardier" - "But I am the bombardier" - "Then help him!". :D

The chap who was 'investigating' that Naval F-22 travesty (a much more experienced and learned fighter pilot than my goodself I must stress) was part of my RAAF basic / advanced flying training course back at RAAF Point Cook in 1968. Yes I was an RAN FAA pilot but the RAN had no basic/advanced training assets and does not today so we train with the RAAF and then go back to the RAN to learn to fly again. :D

I guess my navalchutzpah rubbed off on the 'navalise the F-22 by using Microsoft Flight Simulator' RAAFie Chappie. Later this same chap - after a sterling RAAF career (compared to my relatively short one of only 9.5 years in the RAN) went on to specialise in simulations of threats for the RAAF and then as a civvie. These facts have been well pointed out earlier on this forum with me always pointing to a 1Mb PDF that says it all about what was required to get the three F-35s similar with two being able to operate from flat decks.

The same delusions exist with the GRIPEN. However apparently some serious work has gone into navalising the Gripen with real engineers in the UK as we know. No such work went into navalgazing the F-22. :D

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 29 May 2013, 10:08
by spazsinbad
UCAS Misses A Flight Due To GOES Failure 28 May 2013 By Amy Butler abutler@aviationweek.com
"Carrier-based flight trials of the U.S. Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator (UCAS-D) aboard the USS George H.W. Bush were briefly brought to a halt last week due to an unlikely frequency-sharing issue between the air vehicle and officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is trying to fix a problem with a faulty weather satellite....

...Trials are now complete and the X-47B performed nine touch-and-go landings on the carrier deck, according to Capt. Jamie Engdahl, Navy program manager....

...The X-47B began the first-ever flight trials of a stealthy, tailless unmanned air vehicle with a historic catapult launch from the deck of the aircraft carrier on May 14. The two Northrop Grumman X-47B aircraft are designed for intelligence collection and limited strike. They are being used by the Navy to demonstrate whether such aircraft can function on and around the carrier deck without interrupting the tempo of the air wing’s operations.

The frequency conflict only affected one planned flight, and the ship-based portion of the UCAS-D trials wrapped up last week....

...Engdahl says that while the vehicle was onboard the George H.W. Bush, operators conducted “multiple” command-and-control handoffs between land-based operators at Patuxent River and those on the carrier. And they were able to explore flight deck operations for the air vehicle.

Navy officials are expected to begin arrested landings of the X-47B in the summer."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 582900.xml

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND

Unread postPosted: 29 May 2013, 22:12
by neptune
Conspiracy??? :roll:

spazsinbad wrote:....The X-47B guys have had to redesign their tail hook a number of times now due to the same inaccurate Navy-supplied wire dynamics model that was partly responsible for the F-35C's woes....


Can this be laid at the feet of the "Bug Mafia"? They appear to have provided bogus info to both of their top challengers that "WILL EVENTUALLY REPLACE ALL F-18s"?

Both design groups have overcome the deficient design provided by the US Navy. Not only will the new tail hook designs lead to success in both groups but with the precision demonstrated by JPALS they will eventually lead to automatic arrestments, not unlike the automatic landing in the F-35B. :lol:

Embarrassing is the term that comes to mind when reflecting on these childish antics when professionalism could have had a shining moment.

.....a conspiracy rant! 8)

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 31 May 2013, 09:23
by spazsinbad
Another view of the X-47B on deck with the 'fat' controller (Thomas the Tank Engine) shown doing his thang.... :D

X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) on the flight deck!
"Published on May 24, 2013
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Dec. 9, 2012) - The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) demonstrator taxies on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Harry S. Truman is the first aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. Harry S. Truman is underway supporting carrier qualifications. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Donald R. White Jr./ Released)"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... v3Jj-KMlMc

At the start of the video the 'huffer' air starter machine can be seen (orange tubing shown otherwise in the attached photo): http://static2.businessinsider.com/imag ... ation-.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 04 Jun 2013, 03:52
by spazsinbad
'solomon' at SNAFU has this idea:

Modest Proposal. Lets make a real assault carrier. 03 Jun 2013
"The X-47B with the right sized carrier would make a formidable assault carrier.

In essence what I'm talking about is combining a high performance UAV with the Sea Control Ship concept.

The pluses are many. We separate manned and unmanned aircraft from the big carriers. We get the benefit of being able to jam pack the deck and the hangar below decks with aircraft. And last but not least.

When small wars popup that we don't want to be involved in but our allies drag us into anyway [laughable] (a recurring theme throughout our history going back to WW2) we can simply send this carrier to do the work instead of an Amphibious Ready Group or a Carrier Strike Group.

The UAV is the simple part...the hard part is going to be the ship. The most important thing about this is to NOT stray from the original concept. The original idea was for a 14000 ton warship. Steel is cheap but we shouldn't build a bigger ship just for giggles. This should be a one trick pony. Anything that doesn't help it accomplish its primary mission should be banished....no space for carriage of Marines or Special Operations...no allowance for operating manned aircraft etc....

The time has come, the idea has merit and we finally have the right piece..the X-47B."

http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com.au/20 ... sault.html

I would ensure that the X-47B follow works as designed to have a 'Sea Control Ship' outfitted with 'whatever follows on from the X-47B' with an angle deck (as described by another commenter) and F-35Bs and whatever support helos or V-22s required. Keep it small and as simple as possible. As also mentioned the EMALS is fine but the arrestor gear would have to be AAG (Advanced Arrestor Gear) especially tweaked to handle 'X-47B derivative' arrests on a smaller length flight deck pullout (whatever it might be). A 30K ton ship seems ideal given the right/ideal dimensions for 'X-47B derivative' cats 'nFlaps' flat angle deck ship - OK - maybe throw in a ski jump for the F-35Bs only to JUMP off of. :D EMALS can be down the angle deck or have another on STBD side bow with the SKI JUMP on port side bow (for weight and balance).

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 04 Jun 2013, 23:12
by count_to_10
That's part of what the LCS is supposed to do, just with VTOL aircraft. Lockheed even has that VTOL drone concept.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 04:10
by spazsinbad
Good article about X-47B tech....

New Military UAV May Lead to Commercial Drone Flights 11 Jun 2013 Paul D. Shinkman
"X-47B will make its first carrier takeoff and landing in July, officials say

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, Md --- One of the top officers overseeing a secretive drone program at this testing base outside Washington, D.C., predicts a future where unmanned aircraft are used for commercial flights.

"This is the evolution of the next step of unmanned aviation," Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Hall tells U.S. News. "There's going to be a time in the future where airplanes are going to be in the sky in the civil realm with nobody in them."

The possibility that a UAV eventually might haul cargo for private companies stems from the X-47B program that Hall helps oversee at this remote Navy air base in southern Maryland. The futuristic combat drone is in the final stages of testing after successfully taking off from a carrier in May and landing here at "PAX River."

The Northrop Grumman-designed X-47B demonstration plane will be able to take off and land on the same carrier by July, says Hall, the government flight test director for this program, thereby proving the capability of several new technologies that military drones can use to surveil or haul cargo or bombs.

EYE IN THE SKY
Three innocuous lights on the front landing gear of the X-47B act as a window into what the aircraft is thinking and doing, says Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the program manager for the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System, or UCAS. These are particularly important for an aircraft like this one, which unlike other UAVs cannot be directly controlled in-flight with a remote throttle and joystick.

The X-47B relies solely on pre-programmed tasks for its operations, or what Engdahl calls "task-based autonomy." It knows how to take off from a carrier using the ship's catapult, conduct a mission and line up in a landing pattern with manned planes and eventually drop its hook onto the carrier's "arresting cables."

Flight crews on the deck of an aircraft carrier handle the X-47B just as they would any other fighter in the Navy arsenal, such as an F-18 Hornet. But unlike those fighters, there is no pilot in the cockpit to relay information to these crews. That's where the lights mounted to the X-47B front landing gear take over.

A red light means the X-47B is waiting for someone to take control and give it commands. A blue light indicates someone below decks, such as a mission operator, is controlling the aircraft while it's on the carrier runway.

A green light means one of the "hand controllers" on the carrier deck is controlling the vehicle. These arm-mounted gadgets are yet another futuristic component of this program, in which multiple people on deck can pass control back and forth to one another through high-tech equipment mounted on their arms.

It's important to know what computations are going on inside the aircraft and who is giving it commands, says Engdahl. When the lights come on, that's a signal that the plane is ready for flight....

...Engdahl adds that he always underestimates the public interest of this aircraft, which has appeared on the cover of Popular Science magazine.

"We're handing the U.S. Navy ... the technology to be able to do whatever they need to," Engdahl says. "If it's a pivot to the Pacific and a focus on anti-access area denial, then the entire idea of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles is very beneficial.""

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/201 ... ne-flights

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 16 Jun 2013, 17:47
by That_Engine_Guy
FYI to all the folks who complain the F100-PW-220 didn't have enough thrust for combat....

The X-47B is powered by an F100-PW-220U (Un-augmented)

Watching videos of them on Y0u+ube they sound just like -220 powered Vipers!

Keep 'em flyin' :thumb:
TEG

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 16 Jun 2013, 21:26
by spazsinbad
G'day 'TEG' - where ya bin? :cheers:

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 17 Jun 2013, 05:08
by That_Engine_Guy
Around :cheers:

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 17 Jun 2013, 09:09
by spazsinbad
:D Round like a Record? :D

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 18 Jun 2013, 23:38
by spazsinbad
Long story here on the 4 contenders for USN 'Armed Drones'... BEST READ IT ALL AT SOURCE

Fight Begins Over Navy’s Armed Drone Program July 2013 By Valerie Insinna
"...Naval Air Systems Command in its presolicitation said four defense contractors — Lockheed Martin, General Atomics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman — “have credible, existing, comprehensive UCLASS design solutions” that will be ready for Navy evaluation in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014. The service plans to issue four contracts of an unspecified value to those companies for the design phase.

Officials from those companies said they are all gearing up for battle.

The eight-to-10 month preliminary design phase will not eliminate any competitors but is intended for the Navy to “evaluate the technical maturity and progress of the designs,” said Bob Ruszkowski, Lockheed Martin’s director of UCLASS program development.

Draft specifications for UCLASS indicate that the final aircraft will have a “light strike capability,” but will primarily be used to autonomously conduct intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance operations, Ruszkowski said.

“That provides some operational flexibility … that right now you don’t necessarily have with land-based UAVs, where you might have to ask a host nation for permission to operate there,” he said.

Final requirements are still in the works, but preliminary specifications state that UCLASS should be able to carry weapons currently available to aircraft that fly from carriers, such as the 500-pound joint direct attack munition, Ruszkowski said.

It will be required to perform persistent coverage of a target at a distance of less than 1,000 nautical miles from the carrier, though the range of its strike capability will be farther than that, he added.

Ruszkowski said part of the challenge will be creating a drone that can integrate seamlessly with an aircraft carrier’s normal deck cycle — the schedule whereby aircraft are launched and are recovered on the ship’s flight deck. “That could be 12 hours or more for one aircraft away from the carrier,” he said.

The Navy also has set aerial refueling requirements for the aircraft. UCLASS must be refuelable while in flight, and the Navy would also like it to be able to deliver fuel to fighter jets, Ruszkowski said."...

...Carrier-based arrested landings this summer will be the final demonstrations, said Carl Johnson, Northrop Grumman’s program manager for UCAS-D. The company is conducting additional shore-based arrestments and gathering data to prepare for the final leg of the program.

“Northrop is really the company to beat in part because of the work that it has been doing on this program,” said Finnegan. “Also, if you think more broadly, Northrop Grumman has a very strong position in the Navy” because of its experience building maritime equipment such as the Fire Scout, an unmanned helicopter that will be used by naval special operations forces.

Right now, Northrop Grumman has the advantage of being the only company that has landed a drone on a moving aircraft carrier, Finnegan said. Developing the UCAS has also given it experience working on preventing electromagnetic interference and corrosion resulting from the harsh maritime environment.

“This unmanned system is different from all of the systems that have been designed” before it, Johnson told National Defense. “Every other system knows where it’s taking off and landing,” but the X-47B has to be able to autonomously return to an aircraft carrier that has sailed away from its starting position....

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... nsOverNavy’sArmedDroneProgram.aspx

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Unread postPosted: 25 Jun 2013, 00:41
by spazsinbad
U.S. Navy Is Cautious On Carrier-Launched UAV June 24, 2013 (AVIATION WEEK 22 JUN 13) … Graham Warwick
" It is not just because operating manned and unmanned aircraft side by side from a carrier deck will be hard that the U.S. Navy is moving cautiously to deploy unmanned technology. After the debacle of the General Dynamics/McDonnell Douglas A-12, and the delays to the Lockheed Martin F-35C, the Navy wants a program success. To that end, the service has structured its first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft program to provide a modest capability at minimum risk.

Following on from the precedent-setting naval Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D), the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program essentially is a technology development effort that will leave behind a residual operational capability.

Before that, such is its caution, the Navy will fund all four UCLASS competitors—Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman—through to preliminary design reviews (PDR) for their UCLASS concepts. This will give the service a better understanding of the capabilities—and risks—of the competing designs before launching the technology development (TD) phase.

“We are not even at Milestone A, but the Navy has developed a capabilities development document [CDD], which is typically a prerequisite for Milestone B,” says Bob Ruszkowski, Uclass capture manager for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.

“They took quite a bit of time to get to the CDD. For the last three years, industry has worked hard to provide a lot of information to help them understand the art of the possible and help formulate the requirements in the CDD,” he says. “We know the key performance parameters and key system attributes. We’ve seen draft specifications derived from [both],” he says. “The Navy has asked for feedback—heading checks—on what will have a large versus a small impact.”

Now industry is waiting for a request for proposals (RFP) for the PDR phase, which will be an 8-9 month effort. Competitors then expect another RFP for the “air segment” phase, under which the Navy will select a single contractor to design, build, test and deploy the UCLASS air vehicles. A separate “ground segment” program will independently and concurrently develop a common control system to be used first with UCLASS, but ultimately with the MQ-4C Triton, MQ-8B/C Fire Scout and other Navy UAVs. The Navy will act as lead system integrator for the overall UCLASS program.

The Navy has little choice but to follow this measured path. “The fiscal 2013 defense bill has specific language that UCLASS must complete PDR before downselect,” says Ruszkowski. “The Navy has to have understood the technical maturity [of the bids] when it comes to reviewing the air-segment proposals.”

Over this time, UCLASS has converged on a requirement for persistence and a focus on the surveillance mission, but with a light-strike capability of carrying any 250-lb. weapon in the Navy’s inventory. The basic payload will be an electro-optical/infrared/laser-designator sensor, with growth to a radar. UCLASS also will carry a signals-intelligence payload, to be part of a family of systems planned to replace the Navy’s Lockheed EP-3Es.

The Navy’s requirement is to maintain a 24/7 surveillance orbit a specified distance from the carrier. Bidders are not discussing performance details, but because of the carrier deck cycle—the cadence between aircraft launch and recovery waves— UCLASS “will need at least 12 hours of persistence,” says Ruszkowski.

The requirement for survivability is shaped by a desire to operate UCLASS in contested airspace, not initially but eventually. “Lockheed Martin’s approach is to offer a system that can readily expand through retrofit. It will be inherently survivable, but we can add capabilities later that will make it stealthy. It will be inherently low-observable, but does not have to begin service with all the attributes,” Ruszkowski says. “Lockheed’s approach will allow the Navy to operate in areas where [Triton] will not be able to, through stealth, emissions control and signature management.”

Lockheed is proposing an all-new design for Uclass, a tailless flying wing, but is drawing on “50 years of unmanned-aircraft experience, including the low-observable RQ-170 Sentinel,” he says. “We’ve not done it for an aircraft carrier, but we can draw on the F-35C, which is qualifying all stealth requirements for the carrier. Risk is mitigated by integrating proven technologies. We are confident we can meet the Navy’s schedule.”

Ruszkowski does not believe offering an all-new design puts Lockheed at a disadvantage over Northrop, with its X-47B UCAS-D experience, or GA-ASI, which is flying land-based prototypes of its Predator C Avenger. “Naval Air Systems Command has a strict regime of testing for carrier qualification, for any aircraft. There are no short cuts,” he says.

The Navy plans to deploy an initial Uclass capability at the end of the TD phase—a single squadron of 4-6 aircraft on a carrier. “It’s a hybrid program, which is a challenge. There will be additional development after initial deployment,” he says. Deployment is expected 3-6 years after contract award—but before 2020—a wide date range “the Navy has not explained precisely,” Ruszkowski notes.

Because the program will be budget-constrained, it is likely the flight-test aircraft will make up the first deployed squadron. “The service-life specification goes beyond a test program, whereas the X-78B was always designed as an experiment, so has a limited life,” says Ruszkowski."

http://hrana.org/news/2013/06/u-s-navy- ... nched-uav/

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Unread postPosted: 26 Jun 2013, 04:26
by spazsinbad
Unmanned, Virtually Unlimited Jeff Rhodes 6 April 2011
"...UCAS-D
The X-47B, the test vehicle for the US Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration, or UCAS-D, program, made its first flight from Edwards AFB, California, on 4 February 2011. UCAS-D is the Navy’s effort to design, develop, and integrate an autonomous, fighter-sized, high subsonic UAS on an aircraft carrier.

Skunk Works is a teammate-subcontractor to Northrop Grumman on the X-47B. The vehicle, which has folding wings, has a wingspan of sixty-two feet and a length of thirty-eight feet. It is stealthy in design, although to reduce cost and complexity for the demonstration program, many parts are not made of stealth materials. The Skunk Works workshare includes development and fabrication of the arresting hook, control surfaces, and edges, including the engine inlet lip. Skunk Works technicians will maintain these components during flight test and carrier operations. The arresting hook system was particularly challenging because it was a clean-sheet design concept. Design of the control surfaces and edges capitalized on Skunk Works expertise and experience....

http://www.codeonemagazine.com/article.html?item_id=70

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Unread postPosted: 26 Jun 2013, 14:08
by spazsinbad
Navy Docs Reveal UCLASS Minimum Ranges and Maximum Costs 26 Jun 2013 USNI News Editor
"The Navy aims to build a stealthy pilotless aircraft to patrol at a minimum range of 600 nautical miles around an aircraft carrier at a maximum cost of $150 million a copy, according to a May Navy requirements documents obtained by USNI News.

The Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) so-called key performance perimeters (KPPs) outline an aircraft that will primarily fill information, reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting (ISRT) roles for the service’s carrier strike group with a limited ability to strike targets at a range of 2,000 nautical miles from the strike group in lightly contested environments, according to the documents.

The KPPs are the first concrete examples of the requirements for UCLASS — a program that the Navy wants to field by 2020. The document outlines the minimum requirements for the program ahead of a 2014 competition to field the autonomous aircraft onboard the carrier fleet.

The Navy would not comment on the KPPs specifically when contacted by USNI News but did provide broad outlines on the program with members of the Navy’s Office of the Chief of Naval Operations responsible for unmanned systems requirements.

“Our primary use for this asset is organic persistent ISR which the strike group doesn’t possess right now — especially at the range and speed that this thing will be able to execute,” Cmdr. Pete Yelle with OPNAV told USNI News on Monday.

The KPPs call for an aircraft that can field a 3,000 pounds worth of payload, including a 1,000 pounds of air-to-surface weapons — including the 500 pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bomb II.

To compare, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet — the current manned carrier strike fighter — can carry almost 18,000 pounds of ordinance and external fuel.

“It certainly is not a B-52 sized bomb load. You’re only going to have a couple of weapons,” Capt. Chris Corgnati, branch head for the unmanned aerial systems requirements and resources in OPNAV.

In the surveillance role, the Navy wants an aircraft system that can fly, “two unrefueled orbits at 600 nautical miles or one unrefueled orbit at 1200 nautical miles,” according to requirements documents.

The unit cost for the aircrafts, less research and development and operations and maintenance cost (known as recurring flyaway cost), “required to conduct a 600 nautical mile persistent orbit shall not exceed $150 million,” read the UCLASS KPP.

Put into perspective, a single F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has a recurring flyaway cost of $66.9 million an aircraft, according to 2012 Navy budget documents.

Yelle and Corgnati both said the planned UCLASS would double the amount of time the carrier can have assets airborne.

“You normally have a 12 hour fly day with a 12 hour gap in airborne surveillance in the strike group,” Corgnati said.
“You can launch UCLASS at the end of your fly day and it can span that gap while your flight deck is shut down.”

Though the broad outlines of UCLASS have been set, the Navy is still working on a concept of operations (CONOPS) on which warfare communities will be responsible for flying the aircraft and who will process and analyze the information collected...."

http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/navy-do ... imum-costs

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jun 2013, 12:40
by spazsinbad
STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2011 Issue
X-47B PROJECT TEAM LCDR Kevin “LAMB” Watkins X-47B Department Head N-UCAS Government Flight Test Director
...Following closely on the heels of the successful first flights of the X-47B, the team made Naval Aviation history by completing the first ever automatic (coupled) arrested landing onboard an aircraft carrier using only GPS-based navigation during our Aircraft Carrier (CV) Systems surrogate testing. The team took Salty Dog 423, an F/A-18D modified to fly using the guidance and control hardware and software installed on the X-47B, out to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and on July 2nd made the first coupled trap using only Precision GPS (PGPS) guidance and a high-speed Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) datalink. This was followed up on July 3rd with the first ever coupled Case I approach to an arrested landing on the carrier. The pilot literally coupled the F/A-18 after the break turn and shadowed the controls all the way from the downwind to a successful 3-wire. This is the cutting edge of aircraft guidance technology and a critical element to integrating unmanned aircraft into the CVOA. These historic flights were the culmination of extensive system development, hundreds of hours of lab testing and over 50 hours of flight testing at our simulated ship landing facility at NAS Patuxent River over the past year by the test and engineering team.

SYSTEM TEAM LCDR John “Crank” Kollar LCDR Brian “Penny” Loustaunau
The X-47B Air Vehicle (AV), which we have affectionately dubbed the “Iron Raven,” is controlled by a Mission Operator (MO) located in the Mission Test Control Center (MTCC) who is linked to the AV via a line-of-sight radio or satellite borne command and control data link. In the case of this autonomous AV, the MO can be thought of not as a traditional pilot providing direct inputs to fly the aircraft, but as a mission commander with a piloting background who can alter the autonomous flight profile as emergent situations dictate. The AV is designed to operate and integrate into both the CVOA and National Airspace System, but since it is unmanned and designed to fly autonomously – unlike a remotely piloted system such as the Predator or Scan Eagle – it requires significant up-front planning and prudent test build-up to ensure that the AV software’s logic, response, and automatic functions are predictable and work as planned....

N-UCAS CARRIER SYSTEMS TEAM LT Jon “Buddy” Slager LT Ben “Flanders” Carter
This was a monumental year for the Carrier Systems team with firsts for both Naval Aviation and unmanned aircraft systems. Using a modified F/A-18D Hornet as a surrogate aircraft, the team successfully achieved the first completely automated (coupled) Case I approach in naval history to the deck of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) on July 1st, 2011 using the Precision GPS (PGPS) and Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) data-link systems. These systems will eventually be used to guide the X-47B to the ship. This was followed on July 2nd by the first coupled trap on a Case III straight-in approach using the PGPS/TTNT system, and on July 3rd we achieved the first coupled trap on a Case I approach.

To put these accomplishments in historical perspective, Glenn Colby, one of the lead engineers from PMA-268, made the following observation: “The significance of these tests onboard CVN-69 go far beyond the scope of the Navy UCAS program. Prior to this, the first ever “automatic” landing of a carrier based aircraft occurred August 12th, 1957 onboard the USS Antietam (CVS 36) with an F-3D Skynight off the coast of NAS Pensacola, FL. The system supporting these tests, the SPN-10, evolved into the SPN-42 Automated Carrier Landing System (ACLS) and then the SPN-46 Precision Approach Landing System (PALS) over the next 30 years. Many improvements were made over this time, but the basic technical design, incorporating a ship-based radar, ship-based control laws, and data link remains the same today. The touch and go’s and traps just completed by the test team are only the second time in those 54 years since the first coupled landing that new technology has been demonstrated for automating carrier approaches; the first time being the touch and go’s demonstrated by the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) program in 2001 using an early form of PGPS. [However], the JPALS tests did not perform coupled traps... Additionally, the successful Case I pattern touch and go’s and traps are the first time that automated technology has ever been demonstrated for any type of carrier aircraft for visual flight rules operations...”

How the team got here and where the team is headed: A significant portion of the N-UCAS program is dedicated to integrating the X-47B and its systems with current or updated systems on an aircraft carrier. The first steps were the carrier operations performed this spring and summer at NAS Patuxent River and onboard CVN-69 with both the F/A-18D (“Salty Dog 423”) and a King Air. Both aircraft are fitted with a “pallet” which contained the computers loaded with the flight control laws, the TTNT data-link, and the PGPS systems that are planned to be used on the X-47B. In the F/A-18D, the systems are capable of interfacing through the aircraft’s autopilot so that the aircraft could be “flown around the sky” and “coupled to the deck” using commands sent from the ship systems. Systems were installed in CVN-69 over the past year to get the ship ready to communicate with and control the X-47B airborne test equipment. This included modifying the LSO platform, PriFly, and CATCC spaces, as well as revamping a ready room into a Test Conductor (TC) station and a Mission Operator (MO) Station. PGPS systems and TTNT data-link antennas with supporting equipment were also installed on the yard arm and around the ship. With these systems installed, commands could be sent to the aircraft from multiple test team operators onboard the ship. For example, the LSO has the ability to send a “roger ball” or “waveoff” command by using the standard pickle switch, which is responded to electronically by the X- 47B airborne test systems. The Air Boss could send commands to the surrogate aircraft such as “Charlie”, “Turn Downwind”, “Spin”, or “Break” by using a touch screen display installed in PriFly. Similarly, CATCC controllers could send electronic marshal instructions or any other CASE I, II or III commands to the airborne test system via their displays. All of this is done using pre-set sequences and flight profiles. All of the “classic” flight control and throttle manipulations, navigation, and aircraft configuration changes are determined and executed automatically by the air vehicle (in this case the surrogate aircraft) based on the instructions sent from the ship. The test aircrew can either respond to these commands by manually following flight director guidance displayed in the HUD or coupling to the ship and “shadowing” the controls while these functions are executed automatically. Prior to taking the surrogate aircraft to CVN-69, extensive testing at NAS Patuxent River was conducted over the past year. The PGPS and TTNT systems were installed in a building near runway 32 using actual ship hardware and software to create LSO, Pri- Fly, CATCC, and MO stations at the field. This facility is known as the NASIF (N-UCAS Air/Ship Integration Facility). With these systems in place at the NASIF and installed in both surrogate aircraft, the team executed hundreds of hours of simulator testing and airborne testing, controlling the aircraft from the NASIF to a simulated ship (runway 32) with simulated deck motion. After completing these shore based tests, simulator tests were conducted on CVN-69. All these efforts culminated onboard CVN-69 with 43.1 hours of at-sea flight test using both surrogate aircraft, 36 coupled approaches, 16 coupled touch and go’s, and 6 coupled traps. Also, the surrogate aircraft were used to test every maneuver and command the actual X- 47B will be required to perform while operating in the CVOA....”

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=671

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Unread postPosted: 30 Jun 2013, 05:07
by spazsinbad
USNI post above updated:
"...This post has been updated to clarify the $150 million maximum cost per orbit for UCLASS does not mean each aircraft will cost a maximum of $150 million. The flyaway costs will pay for the capability for the system (one or multiple aircraft) to patrol 600 nautical miles from a carrier in a 24 hour period."

http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/navy-do ... imum-costs

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Unread postPosted: 30 Jun 2013, 05:17
by spazsinbad
UCLASS By the Numbers 26 Jun 2013
"The Navy has outlined the specifications for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) in a requirements document obtained by USNI News.

Persistence:
A UCLASS system should be able to conduct two orbits at 600 nautical miles or one orbit at 1,200 nautical miles. The system should also be able to conduct a strike mission at 2,000 nautical miles.

Carrier Suitability:
Compatible with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) and nuclear carrier (CVN) while conducting maintenance, flight deck and air operations and be able to takeoff and land in seas at a minimum of up to four-foot waves (Sea State 3) and a maximum of 29 foot seas (Sea State 7).

Payload:
UCLASS requirements call for the aircraft to have a 3,000-pound payload and — at a minimum —integrated electro-optic/infrared surveillance and signals intelligence capability similar to the current MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9B Reaper. On the high end, the Navy wants UCLASS to moving target indicator, synthetic aperture radar and maritime specific radar. The payloads should be modular and easily swapped depending on the mission.

Weapons:
As part of the baseline 3,000-pound payload, UCLASS is required to carry at least 1,000 pounds of existing carrier weapons. Ideally the Navy wants more weapons on the UCLASS and the ability to carry the 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb II. The Navy has indicated the aircraft should have a self-protection payload, though it’s not clear if that entails decoys and other counter measures.

Net Ready:
UCLASS should be compatible with existing communications systems — both line of sight and beyond line of sight — and be able to handed-off between different ground and sea based operators over encrypted networks. UCLASS will also be compatible with the Navy’s planned Joint Aerial layer Network-Maritime — a system that plans to create a communications and sensor network if satellites networks go down.

Low Observability and Survivability:
While not stealthy at the same level of the B-2 Spirit bomber or the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy wants UCLASS to have some low observable characteristics — enough to allow it to perform strike missions in lightly contested areas. In high-end conflicts, UCLASS will provide sensor and targeting data to neighboring aircraft and ships...."

http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/uclass-by-the-numbers

http://i1.wp.com/news.usni.org/wp-conte ... -Web-2.jpg

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Unread postPosted: 10 Jul 2013, 07:16
by spazsinbad
X-47B to trap on board USS George H.W. Bush Navy on July 10th, 2013
"The X-47B will make an arrested landing on board USS George H.W. Bush, off the coast of Virginia, on Jul. 10."

&
"...In May, Sailors aboard USS George H.W. Bush worked X-47B operations for the first time and the world watched as they catapulted the aircraft from the deck with ease.

Throughout the next few days, we saw X-47B complete nine perfect touch-and-go landings on the moving carrier deck....

...Final X-47B shore-based arrested landings at Patuxent River were successfully completed in late June. Carrier suitability engineers put the aircraft through a series of very demanding tests, including hard landings and high speed arrestments, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were ready to land on a moving carrier deck. Both X-47B aircraft are now certified to conduct carrier flight operations, including catapults, arrested landings, flight deck taxi operations, maintenance and refueling...."

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2013/07/09/ ... touchdown/

My slow internet speed will not allow me to view all at the actual URL above - so YMMV....

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Unread postPosted: 10 Jul 2013, 22:30
by spazsinbad
X-47B Completes Carrier-based Arrested Landing (2)
"Published on Jul 10, 2013
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first carrier-based arrested landing on board USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia July 10."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPaH8CCt ... r_embedded
_________________

X-47B Completes First and Second Carrier-based Arrested Landings
"Published on Jul 10, 2013
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first and second carrier-based arrested landing on board USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia July 10."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzKDCO9KuaI
______________________

Screenshot from low quality iteration of this AIRBOYD short video Utube. Looks like this BUSH has only three wires while the X-47B catches the target No.2 wire on first arrest.

X-47B First Carrier Arrested Landing AIRBOYD short 18sec

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Qq6dOV1zY

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 00:02
by count_to_10
Sweet.

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Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 03:27
by neurotech
Interesting comments from Prof. (LT) Missy Cummings, a former Navy F/A-18 pilot.
http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics ... 130709.htm
"When I was flying the F/A-18 Hornet, the level of automation made me step back and reevaluate my life," Missy Cummings, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems director of the Humans and Automation Laboratory at MIT told DNews. "The plane landed itself better on the carrier than I ever could."

From what I've heard, her carrier landings were within standards, but F/A-18s could do "coupled" approaches accurately, even 20 years ago.

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Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 04:44
by spazsinbad
Over the time I have been on this forum I think that exact point has been made a few times. However.... pilots are apparently reluctant to use a completely automatic landing because they prefer to score a deck landing - rather than not. And however apparently, USN LSOs will mandate some automatic landings (I think this will depend on a particular airwing etc.) to keep the standard up - to ensure everyone is familiar with a completely automatic landing. You will see in the LSO newsletters 'Paddles Monthly' stories about this issue and also why the completely automatic landing may be relevant/necessary in certain emergency situations. Whilst APPROACH magazine (USN Safety Magazine) has a zillion 'horror' stories about these events such as 'smoke in the cockpit' / sandstorms and on and on....

One of the recent stories here or on another forum thread has mentioned that automatic landings have been in use and under constant development now for some 50+ years. As the technology improves so does the accuracy of the completely automatic landings. JPALS is the key to how the X-47B does so well today; and it will ensure the success of the F-35B/Cs and F-35As ashore, including all military and eventually all civilian aircraft (whether they are mandated to install the JPALS equivalent or can afford to do so) in future. Some years away for these JPALS developments for all though, with the USN first (along with suitable allies).

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 04:53
by Corsair1963
I've said this before but I'll say it again. My two cent is the F-35C will replace all of the Hornets. Then the USN will purchase more F-35C's and the UCLASS to replace remaining Super Hornets.

I base that on likely hood that the Super Hornet replacement (F/A-XX.FGAD) is waaaay off!

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 05:09
by spazsinbad
Further to 'neurotech' comment above: "...From what I've heard, her carrier landings were within standards...". No one goes out to the carrier or stays there if their DLs are not good enough and remain that way. Sometimes carrier pilots are out of practice when embarked so then they need to be in certain 'refresher' situations to get back to practice or go ashore (often the squadron may disembark for some FCLP practice for example - in the RAN anyway - when carrier in port for some days/weeks in some foreign port like Honolulu/Pearl Harbour we went to NAS Barbers Point). No one gets to be a bad carrier landing pilot - or at least for too long - otherwise they are back to the beach or dead.

As for the article making a false hue and cry about completely robotic commercial passenger flights. No way. For the foreseeable future as one commentator points out in the article a human crew/pilot is required to cater for the unexpected. So when a Hornet/Super Hornet does a completely auto landing the LSOs insist that every aspect of the approach is monitored for accuracy by the crew and of course if a problem is perceived then they go to manual or semi-manual (auto throttles or whatever).

It is clear to me that the new tech of JPALS and BEDFORD ARRAY if used by USN will make a big difference to carrier landings along with the new flight control software that will be coupled with the ship/JPALS for the Shornet/F-35B/Cs as required and on and on the development goes. In the meantime the robots will get better and better at what they do. Replace fighter pilots TODALLY? Not probably in the next many years unless there is a portable quantum computer breakthrough or some genius figures it all out. :D Ain't me babe.....

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 06:37
by neurotech
@spazsinbad: Even though the quote was from Prof. Cummings, I didn't want to give the impression that she was unusual in her landing performance vs other pilots. Very few F/A-18 pilots can maintain a "perfect" landing score. I have, however, heard a few stories about Navy pilots getting DeQual'd for a single cut pass (Dangerous) landing. The standards are that high. Either more FCLPs then another CQ attempt, or a possible FNAEB would follow. If on a cruise, a DQ'd pilot would have their callsign changed to "dodo" and not fly until back home.

The article kind of drifts off the point, especially the whole robotic commercial passenger flight part. Could a flight attendant safely land a jet? Especially do what Sully did? Highly unlikely.

We both know LSOs monitor every single landing. Some pilots like flying coupled approaches, but obviously being able to fly a full manual approach is required for CQ. Going from a problematic autothrottle approach to a manual one and not get sent around, isn't easy. I don't think the US Navy does FCLPs for port visits or disembarks the air wing, but I've heard they do FLCPs in other locations for non-embarked pilots to return to the boat without going stateside for CQ. Some of our Navy pilots did FCLPs for proficiency when assigned to the test wing. Riding backseat for that was fun.

The crash in SFO raises the possibility that excessive automation can cause crashes, and a balance between automation and manual stick/rudder flying. I can't believe a well trained Naval Aviator would make the same mistake. We used to have a rule for runway landings, if you don't get stabilized "in the slot", or have to make a missed approach (weather, fatigue etc) , then the next one is going to be an arrested landing. In reality, this didn't happen often. I think its a mindset issue, most airline pilots rarely do a missed approach due to not being in the slot. Navy pilots always power up to go-around, when on the carrier, and indeed a F/A-18 can touchdown on a runway with engines above idle thrust.

Although it hasn't been covered much in the media, its somewhat probable the operational drones will be able to be controlled by a F/A-18 WSO, and stay on the wing of a F/A-18 automatically. The currently X-47 flies lead, with 1 or 2 F/A-18s in formation for escort. The X-47 was ground(& ship) controlled the whole flight, not from the back seat of the escort jets.

I've heard many people predict fighter pilots being obsolete, but I think it'll be a long way off. I actually think they'll be a shortage of fighter pilots pretty soon, because of budget issues. Not being able to fly as many hours (or at all) will hasten retirement decisions for a lot of pilots.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 07:19
by spazsinbad
I waded through a 'pPrune' forum thread of about 36 pages on the recent crash at San Fran yesterday - there would be more pages today which I have not gone back to read. Some knowledgeable pilots (not me) made some good comments about the likely circumstances and CRM cultural issues about the crash but of course your excellent crash investigators will know all / tell all soon enough. Yesterday they released a 30 minute briefing which I actually downloaded but have not viewed yet. I should do that. However to me - with of course no information realistically except the snippets officially released - the crash pilots were not monitoring their airspeed/power enough for whatever reason and were not willing perhaps to let the 'captain' know about what to do until too late. Don't take my scrambled explanation as in any way adequate because I see it as 'by the by'. All will be revealed. Yet to be many knots below desired approach speed with engines at idle and not drawing attention to low airspeed, and then asking for a go around only seconds before the crash, is just silly IMHO.

I can only go on my own experience and then use my 'extensive' reading of some aspects of recent USN NavAv to make my comments - I'm not privy to what goes on in a USN squadron for sure. But some basics remain - such as above. Youse fly on airspeed with some power - or if at idle you must make allowance for engine spool up time. I'm told a B777 takes 8 seconds to spool up, to full go around power, in 8 seconds. Not a lot of margin if the go around is called later than before that requirement before the crash eh - especially if below ideal approach speed by a significant margin.

I read recently in a Kiwi book (which is very good) about the apparent method used by the RNZAF to get on the ground in their pre-KAHU (ordinary) A-4Ks. They flew fast around base and then went to Optimum AoA on finals for touchdown. DUH. But that is any airforce for you, wanting to change a Navy approach to their more usual way of doing things. Whereas the Navy fly the circuit downwind/base/final at OptAoA because it is safe and the aircraft is designed to do it safe. But don't tell the airforce that because - well - they always know better. :D

One would have a heart attack if at flight idle in an A4G during any kind of approach unless you had a heap of altitude and distance from touchdown. Otherwise my engine would only be at idle during a practice flameout/engine out approach and even then it was not supposed to go below 70% if I remember correctly (with speedbrakes out to simulate no engine during glide). Put the wheels down and well youse were on the DOWN elevator at around your flare (a mile from touch down so to speak) speed. But I digress. I understand there is such a thing as a 'slam dunk' approach required at San Fran where such drastic idle power approaches are required - BUT PLEASE - at the required airspeed and NOT BELOW.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 10:42
by spazsinbad
X-47B makes first carrier trap 11 Jul 2013 Dave Majumdar
"The US Navy made aviation history on 10 July when a Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system-demonstrator aircraft made a first-ever arrested landing onboard the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush, which was sailing some 70 miles (113km) of the Virginia coast.

The X-47B flew in from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, at about mid-mid. Initially, the aircraft, flanked by two Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, made a high pass over the ship as planned. Then aircraft circled the giant vessel following the carrier's normal traffic pattern to make its first carrier landing....

...One mission the USN is looking at for the aircraft is aerial refueling. Using the aircraft for that mission would free up manned aircraft like the Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for their primary strike mission, Greenert says. "Then it'll evolve as we build more payloads," he says."

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... -trap.html

BigPic: http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2013/07/11/Secondtouchdown-dm-1200.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2013, 21:51
by spazsinbad
X-47B successfully lands on aircraft carrier 10 Jul 2013 Christopher P. Cavas
"...“The biggest piece of news is that there was no news,” he [Ray Mabus US SecNav] declared. “On the whole, you saw sailors do what sailors do on a carrier at sea.”

Those, at least, were reactions after the first two landings. A planned third landing, however, was waved off after a technical problem was discovered, perhaps emphasizing the special nature of the event.

The X-47B, which had taken off from the Navy’s air test center at Patuxent River, Md., flew to the Bush flanked by a pair of Super Hornet chase planes. After one programmed pass over the ship, the aircraft circled around in the traditional race track carrier approach pattern — although seemingly a bit wider than usual — then came straight in to catch the carrier’s No. 3 wire, just as engineers had planned.

Other than the absence of a cockpit, pilots and aircrew, it all seemed rather routine, but the engineering to get to this point was anything but.

“What you saw today was a miraculous, technological feat,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, told a group of reporters flown out to the Bush. “It was astounding.”

After landing, the aircraft was positioned on a catapult, launched and came around again to repeat the feat. It was a more extensive routine than when the little tailless plane — similar to a baby B-2 stealth bomber but about the size of an F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighter — was launched for the first time at sea on May 14.

The second landing was also successful, if just a tad off the optimum — catching the No. 2, or middle wire.

After another launch, engineers from the Naval Air Systems Command planned a third landing, but it was not to be.

“On the third approach to Bush, the X-47B aircraft self-detected a navigation computer anomaly that required the air vehicle to transit to the assigned shore based divert landing site, Wallops Island Air Field,” Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, said in an e-mail Wednesday evening. “X-47B navigated to and landed without incident.”

Only two X-47B aircraft have been built, and there are no plans to acquire any more. The concept and engineering demonstrator program will likely finish its flight program and be closed down in a few months, as the Navy transitions to a new program to develop an operational unmanned carrier-based jet.

That program, the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike effort, is expected to lead an operational squadron by 2019, Mabus [US SecNav] said."

http://www.navytimes.com/article/201307 ... /307100040

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2013, 04:19
by spazsinbad
Glitch forces experimental U.S. drone ashore after historic carrier landing 11 Jul 2013 By David Alexander (Editing by Philip Barbara)
"...The aircraft refueled and then resumed testing, aiming to conduct a third landing, officials said. After a successful slingshot launch from the carrier's catapult, the X-47b lined up for its third carrier landing of the day.

"The aircraft had been catapulted, it was airborne, it was in the pattern ... it was on final approach about 4 miles (6 km) out ... hook was down, gear was down," said Rear Admiral Mat Winter, the Navy program executive officer for unmanned aviation.

"As it's supposed to do, it continues to check the health and status of all its subsystems, and that's when it identified one of its navigation computer's anomalous behavior," Winter said.

The plane, which operates with little human intervention, climbed to a pre-set altitude and reported the problem to a controller on the aircraft carrier, who looked at the information and told the plane to divert to the pre-programmed airfield.

Salty Dog 502 flew to Wallops Island Air Field, on a barrier island along the Virginia coast, where it landed itself without further incident, officials said.

Winter downplayed the incident, saying anomalies are common in test aircraft subsystems. He said the Navy expected to continue testing the X-47B aboard the USS Bush next Monday, its next scheduled availability, probably using the second X-47B.

"Based on what we know right now, we fully expect to either operate Air Vehicle 1 or Air Vehicle 2 out to the ship to continue to finalize the objectives for X-47B," Winter said.

The program calls for the aircraft to do a minimum of three carrier landings, though the operators plan to do more if possible, officials have said.

Officials said workers on the program were going over the data from the aircraft to determine what caused the anomaly, which might be fixed simply by resetting the navigation computer.

Winter said a spare navigational computer could be swapped for the one that caused the problem, if needed, and the plane then flown back to Patuxent River Naval Air Station where it could be examined further."

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/07/1 ... 7Y20130711

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2013, 04:38
by spazsinbad
X-47B Tech Could Benefit Both Manned And Unmanned Aircraft By Bill Sweetman 16 May 2013
"...It had been hoped the aircraft would conduct arrested landings during this at-sea period, but bad weather at Patuxent River prevented the completion of some tests — heavy-load arrestments and high-sink-rate landings — that were needed to earn formal Navy approval to make an arrested landing at sea. These tests should be finished in June and a carrier should be available in July-August.

This is expected to mark the end of the X-47Bs’ flying career. There are no plans for further flight tests in the UCAS-D program and, so far, no other program or agency has shown interest in using the Navy assets. Earlier plans called for an autonomous inflight refueling test to be carried out after the carrier landings, but these tests will instead be performed (for probe-and-drogue refueling only) using Calspan’s Learjet test aircraft, with flight control software that emulates the all-wing, “cranked kite” X-47B...."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 579475.xml

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2013, 08:42
by spazsinbad
Navy: Glitch in X-47B Test Only Proves Unmanned Aircraft’s Reliability 11 Jul 2013 By Sarah Sicard
"...Although this is the final phase of the demonstrator program, it was the first of three scheduled tests with the second scheduled for July 15...."

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... a2&ID=1199

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... 112013.jpg

Image

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 12 Jul 2013, 09:43
by beepa
A bit off topic, but while we are on the subject of landings this Typhoon pilot looks like he is cutting it a bit close.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=825_1373548431

And I really can't see an operational use of this jet other than the "I told you we could do it" factor.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=86f_1373493892

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2013, 03:23
by spazsinbad
Third UCAS Carrier Landing Attempt Diverted Ashore By Amy Butler 12 Jul 2013
"...This third arrested landing attempt took place only shortly after the X-47B achieved aviation history by conducting the first trap landing of a stealthy, tailless unmanned aircraft on a carrier deck.

That feat took place 10 sec. early, Engdahl says, at 1:39 p.m. and 50 sec. local time. During the first landing, the aircraft caught wire 3 at 124 kt. with a 28 kt. headwind.

After conducing a catapult launch, the aircraft then snagged wire 2 at 118 kt. This second landing is notable because while the tailhook during the first touched down almost exactly where models suggested on the centerline, the second time it did not.

The tailhook actually contacted the deck 9 vertical inches short of the programmed point (which translates to a few horizontal feet because the ship is in motion). But the aircraft still managed to catch the number 2 wire as planned.

While on the Bush, operators conducted the first-ever hot refueling of the X-47B on a deck...."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 67.xml&p=2

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Jul 2013, 04:35
by spazsinbad
Northrop’s X-47B Drones Utilize Pratt & Whitney Engines; Jimmy Reed Comments 12 Jul 2013 Elizabeth Leigh
"The Northrop Grumman X-47B drone that recently took off from the U.S. Navy‘s USS George H.W. Bush uses the F100-PW-220U engine and exhaust system from United Technologies company Pratt & Whitney.

The F100-PW-220U engine, with components and processes found in the F100-PW-229 and F119 and F135 series of engine technologies, is designed to give up to 16,000 pounds of thrust and allow low-risk spiral development, Pratt & Whitney said Thursday...."

http://www.thenewnewinternet.com/2013/0 ... -comments/

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Jul 2013, 07:25
by spazsinbad
No.2 Wire Arrest 10 July 2013, 2nd Arrest of Two

http://dmn.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-c ... -X-47B.jpg

+ Screenshots from a movie online somewhere.....

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Jul 2013, 22:39
by spazsinbad
Earlier when reading about the wire arrangements it was not clear to me what the situation was aboard USS BUSH CVN 77 (so from CVN 76 onwards three wires instead of four is the situation - the '3a' wire is the barrier - when used). I had misremembered the graphic attached as being for only the new CVNs abuildin' with AAG Advanced Arrestor Gear) which will have only three wires. Anyway I will guess that the reason no.3 wire was the target for the first X-47B arrest was to ensure good hook to ramp clearance for the first go. The second approach to catch no.2 wire is the ideal situation. I'll also guess that on Monday 15th - if possible - they will test a bolter (if one does not happen by chance).

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 16 Jul 2013, 22:37
by spazsinbad
X-47B fails fourth trap attempt 16 Jul 2013 Dave Majumdar
""Aircraft 'Salty Dog 501' was launched to the ship on July 15 to collect additional shipboard landing data," the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says. "During the flight, the aircraft experienced a minor test instrumentation issue and returned to NAS Patuxent River [Maryland], where it safely landed."

The unsuccessful fourth attempt means that the UCAS-D programme will not be able to complete its stated goal of making a minimum of three successful "traps" onboard a carrier. The X-47B made two successful traps on the Bush on 10 July, but a third attempt that day failed when aircraft "Salty Dog 502" self-detected a navigation computer anomaly that forced it to divert to Wallops Island Air Field, Virginia.

"There were no additional opportunities for testing aboard CVN 77, which returned to port today," NAVAIR says. "This was the final at sea period for UCAS-D. The objective of the demonstration was to complete a carrier landing. The programme met their objective."

NAVAIR UCAS-D programme manager Capt Jaime Engdahl says, "We accomplished the vast majority of our carrier demonstration objectives during our 11 days at sea aboard CVN 77 in May."..."

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ttemp.html
__________________

10 JULY ARREST: http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 79_137.JPG

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 Jul 2013, 07:06
by spazsinbad
Here is a 'glass half empty' statement['bolded'] if ever there was one. Neato Jet.

X-47B fails landing attempt - again Unmanned jet was trying to repeat last week's success 16 Jul 2013 Christopher P. Cavas
"...Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Northrop Grumman engineers were back on board the carrier Monday to try for a third successful “trap,” this time using the other of two X-47B aircraft.

But it didn’t happen. The aircraft developed technical issues while in flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., to the ship and officials decided to abort the attempt before the X-47B reached the vicinity of the carrier, steaming off the U.S. east coast...."

&
"...But the fact is that four times the Navy attempted to land the aircraft on the ship, and only two attempts were successful....."


I'm not sure if it is possible to HARUMPH and SPUTTER at the same time but this guy takes the cake. Probably best to read the entire article because for example it is clear that an 'instrumentation' fault caused the last 'failed attempt' when the X-47B was nowhere near the carrier. But as usual I digress...

"...Officials point out that the program’s requirements called only for one successful landing, although testers targeted three at-sea traps.

"Initial parameters for the test required three traps on board the carrier,” a Navy official said Tuesday. “However, after two successful traps and two wave-offs, the Navy is confident it has collected the data necessary to advance this program and develop the requirements for UCLASS."..."

&
"...“During its final approach to the carrier on July 10, the X-47B aircraft, "Salty Dog 502", self-detected a navigation computer anomaly that required the air vehicle to return to shore, where it landed at Wallops Island Air Field. The X-47B navigated to the facility and landed without incident. Salty Dog 502 is scheduled to fly back to Pax River later this week.

“Aircraft "Salty Dog 501" was launched to the ship on July 15 to collect additional shipboard landing data. During the flight, the aircraft experienced a minor test instrumentation issue and returned to NAS Patuxent River, where it safely landed. There were no additional opportunities for testing aboard CVN 77, which returned to port today.

“ ‘Completing the first-ever arrested landing with an autonomous, unmanned aircraft is truly a revolutionary accomplishment for the U.S. Navy," said Winter. "This demonstration has successfully matured the needed critical technologies for operations in the actual carrier environment and has set the stage for Naval Aviation to blaze the trail for relevant unmanned, carrier-based warfighting capabilities.’”"

http://www.navytimes.com/article/201307 ... ng-attempt

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 Jul 2013, 07:57
by neurotech
Oh come guys... If it wasn't for tight-a$$ budgets they'd fix the jet and try again in a day or two. I wouldn't mind betting the cause was minor, and they simply decided not to push safety limits. The main constraint is carrier availability, as typically there is a carrier available, usually on a training cruise, but due to sequestration that isn't the case.

If this had been blue-water ops, then a barricade landing could have been done with reduced precision and the jet, UCAV or not, would be safely on the carrier.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2013, 06:45
by spazsinbad
Long article - only a few parts excerpted below....

Pratt & Whitney's Jimmy Reed discusses Northrop Grumman X-47, engine needs of unmanned vehicles 18 July 2013
"The engine in the X-47 is an F100 engine, based on the 220 model that is an F-16 unique and specific model; it powers most of the F-16 aircraft around the world. We selected that engine and modified it for this airplane. The predominant modification is a different exhaust system.

How are the X-47 and its engine needs unique?
The X-47 is a subsonic airplane; it could not fly supersonically and did not need more thrust beyond the 15,000 pounds that this engine provides as military power, maximum power without an afterburner. The 220 engine is known throughout industry and through the government as one of the most reliable and safe engines, and it also has an incredible tolerance for distortion, which is important in this program.

If you stand in front of the X-47 and try to see the engine looking through that big inlet, you can’t see it. The inlet is offset and, as a result, the air that arrives at the engine is in some cases distorted, meaning it’s not a smooth column of air. The engine has to be able to accommodate that and it does.

It also has to be able to accommodate steam ingestion that you sometimes get at the end of a catapult stroke. Given the integrity of the catapult, because there’s a wide range of really tight seals to really loose seals, some airplanes can get a big puff of steam just as they are leaving the boat. If you don’t have an engine that is very tolerant of that, well, it’s the wrong time to have a stall; it makes for a short flight, to make light of a serious situation.

Picking the right engine was critical for Northrop and for us. We have been pleased because the engines have been trouble free for the entire program....

...Is it difficult designing a UAV engine to meet the needs of the U.S. Navy?
The Navy has a very unique set of requirements. They are at sea all the time, so this engine has to be able to accommodate a very harsh environment.

If you’ve seen pictures of waves pouring up over the front deck of a ship and bathing the airplanes and engines in seawater, that’s bad enough, but think about being in an airplane. We’re coming in to land on this ship, which is moving at 30 knots relative to the Earth, and we are trying to pick a spot on that deck to drop our hook. As we come in, we have to fly through something called a burble–a big air bubble that the carrier causes; it’s like the drafting behind a truck on the interstate. You’ve got that perturbation and then you’ve got to touch the deck, you’ve got to drop the hook, you’ve got three or four wires to catch–but what if you don’t? What if the hook hops or the wire is in wrong position or you landed in the wrong spot?

You’re landing at near full power, because if you don’t catch the wire, you’ve got to be ready to take off. These engines have to have thrust responses typical of fighter engines. You move the thrust from idle to full power non-afterburner, and it has to be there in a second or less; it can’t be like a commercial engine that rolls up at the end of a runway because it would still be rolling up as you enter the water.

The Navy has that unique capability, and the other one is when they land, they land very hard. In the worst-case scenarios, it is beyond the design limitations of Air Force engines normally; as we looked at the F100, we had to figure out ways to accommodate that worst-case scenario. Most of the time, the ship is sailing along on a smooth sea and this airplane with the computer control system lands, doesn’t bounce, and is not out of control; but at sea state 5, where that deck could be moving 20 to 30 feet up and down and side to side, if you get out of sequence with the airplane coming down and the ship coming up, you can have a very abrupt landing. The accommodations there are more structural and thrust response; those are not as much unmanned as much as they are Navy...."

http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articl ... ly-13.html

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2013, 21:35
by spazsinbad
Good selection of official photos all in one place about the X-47B arrests here: Three examples BIG PICs edited / cropped below.

http://www.norfolknavyflagship.com/news ... 963f4.html

BIG PICs: http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews ... .hires.jpg
&
http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews ... .hires.jpg
&
http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews ... .hires.jpg

"130710-N-MU440-109 ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 10, 2013) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), July 10. George H.W. Bush is scheduled to be the first aircraft carrier to recover an unmanned aircraft at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Lorelei R. Vander Griend/Released)"

&
"130710-N-TB177-079 ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 10, 2013) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), July 10. The landing marks the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed an arrested landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Kevin J. Steinberg/Released)"

&
"130710-N-YZ751-426 ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 10, 2013) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, observe an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator preparing to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), July 10. George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to recover an unmanned aircraft at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)"

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2013, 04:51
by F16VIPER
It may be a very simplistic comment but it appears to me that from the aerodynamic point of view the
X-47B is a a mini B-2 type of plane with the obvious advancement of incorporating unmanned
autonomous operation and carrier operation capabilities.
Where I am heading is, the questioning of whether that shape is an improvement over the 25 year old shape of the B-2 and if not,
is that the right type of plane for the second decade of this century, or is a more advanced external design needed.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2013, 07:18
by spazsinbad
The X-47B is a demonstrator - job finished. What will be next are the competitors for the real deal.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2013, 12:27
by count_to_10
F16VIPER wrote:It may be a very simplistic comment but it appears to me that from the aerodynamic point of view the
X-47B is a a mini B-2 type of plane with the obvious advancement of incorporating unmanned
autonomous operation and carrier operation capabilities.
Where I am heading is, the questioning of whether that shape is an improvement over the 25 year old shape of the B-2 and if not,
is that the right type of plane for the second decade of this century, or is a more advanced external design needed.

The shape is actually from the Northrop and Grumman proposal to the A-12 "Avenger" program that was canceled in the 90's. The Lockheed and Boeing proposals look more like the B-2.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2013, 13:30
by delvo
F16VIPER wrote:It may be a very simplistic comment but it appears to me that from the aerodynamic point of view the
X-47B is a a mini B-2 type of plane with the obvious advancement of incorporating unmanned
autonomous operation and carrier operation capabilities.
Where I am heading is, the questioning of whether that shape is an improvement over the 25 year old shape of the B-2 and if not,
is that the right type of plane for the second decade of this century, or is a more advanced external design needed.
A single big flying wedge is the ideal shape for stealth, and will be as long as the laws of physics in this universe remain as they are. For stealth airplanes, any deviation from that kind of shape only makes sense if you also have some other requirements not related to stealth, such as maneuverability for F-22 and F-35. X-47 has no such other requirements to cause it to go against the basic stealth shape. Neither does the Air Force's next new bomber.

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2013, 13:31
by neptune
Not to worry, this UCAV design was a true concept demonstrator and has now provided strong support for future technology directions. More importantly, the UCLASS designs are more likely to result in production a/c, than the J.N. flying wing design first flown almost 70 yrs. ago. Unmanned, the squishy part, is no longer a requirement for some a/c designs; interceptor, fighter, etc. The higher "G" abilities of the designs/ materials will now give a clean slate for the design not limited by the "manned" requirement. Wilbur and Orville in their early production efforts did not imagine the materials and designs would take us into the 21st century with UCLASS. :)

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2013, 23:16
by F16VIPER
Thank you for your feedback. So, the shape is as current as it needs to be to meet requirements, Do you think that there is nothing new under the sun in terms of aerodynamic design for this type of planes.
Also, would an operational version of this plane be the equivalent of the A-12 Avenger that never flew.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2013, 23:33
by neptune
F16VIPER wrote:Thank you for your feedback. So, the shape is as current as it needs to be to meet requirements, Do you think that there is nothing new under the sun in terms of aerodynamic design for this type of planes.
Also, would an operational version of this plane be the equivalent of the A-12 Avenger that never flew.


Everything is new, when they took the squishy part out of the equation a lot of equipment is no longer needed. New materials and designs to different (higher loading) can be implemented for current known tasks. Autonomous flight aided with manned over-ride will be an order of magnitude quicker, faster, harder and smarter (no excess load on the " man in the loop "). We all are waiting to see the published requirements for the UCLASS, :)

Key words for the older A-12 is never flew; the new technology in the UCLASS will be equal or better than the F-35. :wink:

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 00:28
by F16VIPER
Thank you Neptune. let's assume the UCLASS can match or outperform the F-35C in the attack role in the early 20s, what is the point of having the C perform the AG mission. I am talking about dropping smart bombs or missiles at long range.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 01:33
by spazsinbad
By the early 20s the F-35C will be upgraded also. The first carrier UAV CONOPS have been released - surveillance and possibly air refuelling ,with armament load a bit of an afterthought, with mission systems being tailorable AFAIK. Attack Role for UAVs at this stage is a bit premature. Possibly the next iteration of UAVs will be much more attack capable if all goes well with the first lot - yet to be agreed upon - let alone put into service. The F-35C is getting there. :D -

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 04:08
by neptune
UCAV and UCLASS are not the same animal. UCAV did not make 3 Arrests. UCLASS will have to make hundreds to get to IOC.UCAV did make one, near perfect arrest, therefore it is possible. One stealthy UCLASS that could transfer 5-10klbs of fuel in contested airspace could make the difference in persistence or deep strike, just a thought. :)

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 04:15
by spazsinbad
I guess it is important to have nomenclature correct. I'll use X-47B. The X-47B made two perfect arrests - according to the BUTLER account. If the X-47B is aimed at a wire and catches that wire then that is perfect. No? JPALS enables this precision. A tanker X-47B derivative circling the carrier - releasing a Hornet for ops - is a good benefit also. Having one on deck ready for catapulting is a great benefit also with no need to have a pilot on standby etc.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 04:33
by lookieloo
F16VIPER wrote:Thank you Neptune. let's assume the UCLASS can match or outperform the F-35C in the attack role in the early 20s...
Actually, we don't have to... because it won't.

http://www.informationdissemination.net ... es-up.html (<<This guy's being a real crybaby about it.)

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... st-388154/

UCLASS is already shaping up to be very-much prioritized for the ISR mission... not strike.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 04:53
by F16VIPER
great links lookieloo, I share Bryan's sentiments but still surprised at the way this is shaping up as I thought the -47B would be the precursor of a new strike weapons system. I wonder why restoring a lost long-range strike capability is not high on the agenda specially if the technology and the platform are there. Why are they sticking to short-legged planes?

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 05:33
by lookieloo
F16VIPER wrote:great links lookieloo, I share Bryan's sentiments...
I should hope not as I find them rather childish. To paraphrase an old trope: "There isn't enough processing-power in all Christendom to make UCLASS into a front-line strike-platform." And before someone starts crying about Moor's Law, I recommend Google-searching "GM's rebuttal to Bill Gates." Engineering in the real-world remains somewhat different from the digital.

F16VIPER wrote:Why are they sticking to short-legged planes?
Missions that would have once ABSOLUTELY required A-6s can now be handled by an SSN lurking just off the enemy's coast.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 06:05
by F16VIPER
I am no airborne weapon system expert but if you are just going to drop two bombs on a target or targets and then disappear, isn't that possible already with current technology?. (similar to what the f-117 did for the USAF). I am talking about a very basic air to ground mission, wouldn't that be cheaper than a multi-million dollar tomahawk missile strike.

as I was finishing writing this I found the following and answered my question.

http://www.informationdissemination.net ... siles.html

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The Cost Value of Tomahawk Cruise Missiles
From Sandra Erwin at the National Defense Magazine Blog.

In the Libya operation to enforce a no-fly zone, the Navy so far has launched 161 Tomahawk cruise missiles that, according to a senior U.S. Navy official, cost between $1.4 million and $1.5 million apiece. The Navy is so well stocked that it can fire up to 255 of these weapons a year without making a significant dent in its budget, or its capabilities to replenish supplies, said the official, who was speaking off-the-record at a private meeting. The Navy purchases 196 Tomahawks each year. In economic terms, the official said, the missiles are “sunk costs” that already have been incurred and could not be recovered.

From a military tactical standpoint, the Tomahawk is the perfect weapon to use in the initial stage of a conflict such as this one, says Eric Wertheim, military analyst and author of "Combat Fleets of the World."

“That’s where the risk is the highest” and the military wants to avoid putting airplanes in harm’s way, he says.

When million-dollar weapons were used in the past, complaints about their price tag didn’t make headlines the way they are now. That may be one reason why the Pentagon did not deploy a Navy aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya, says Wertheim. “It sends a strong message that we are not going to be dominating for the duration of this campaign and we do not want to hold the lion’s share of the burden.”
According to the Navy.mil website, a Tomahawk missile has a Unit Cost of approximately $569,000 in FY99 dollars. They are indeed "sunk costs" because of the multi-year purchase nature of the contracts that keep stores current - contracts that I have been led to believe kept costs for Tomahawks down. There is a pretty wide difference between $569,000 in FY99 dollars and between $1.4 million and $1.5 million today, in fact in FY11 dollars the difference is somewhere around $600 million a unit if my green book math is right.

Two destroyers and three submarines have put 161 Tomahawks in Libya. I'd be curious if every other nation in the coalition combined has conducted 161 strike sorties in Libya to date, because I bet the answer is no. In that context, I'd like to highlight the value of Tomahawk missiles, rather than just focus on the cost.

In my opinion, all of these discussions on Tomahawk missile costs are missing the mark if the subject is operational costs for Libya. Just wait until Congress gets the gas bill for all the tanker sorties. I'll wager any fool who wants to bet that energy costs will be a major budget discussion in defense sooner rather than later, because the gas bill for the DoD in 2011 is going to be enormous.

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 20 Jul 2013, 06:29
by lookieloo
F16VIPER wrote:I am no airborne weapon system expert but if you are just going to drop two bombs on a target or targets and then disappear, isn't that possible already with current technology?. (similar to what the f-117 did for the USAF). I am talking about a very basic air to ground mission, wouldn't that be cheaper than a multi-million dollar tomahawk missile strike...
Well, I did specify "ABSOLUTELY" didn't I? In any case, you need to get over this idea of a battlespace delineated by tidy radii traced on a map. Life just isn't that simple for us or the enemy.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 21 Jul 2013, 07:57
by spazsinbad
Long article (refreshed several times so ignore the date) with a long excerpt here...

Navy, Northrop Score Historic First With (Mostly) Successful X-47B Drone Carrier Landings Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. and Colin Clarkon July 10, 2013
"...As of the first two landings, Winter said, the drone was performing precisely as the simulations and computer models said it would. “We knew we were going to touch down X number of inches past the second wire, the [tail] hook was going to bounce X number of feet, and that hook point was going to engage the [No.] 3 cross-deck pendant at a specific time,” Winter told reporters in the cavernous hanger of the USS Bush, describing which of the carrier’s three “arresting gear” cables the drone was supposed to catch to brake itself to a halt. ”We’re going to [analyze] the data, but my visual eyeball showed that exactly happened.”

But even if a test event didn’t proceed precisely as planned, Rear Adm. Winter said prophetically, it would put the X-47B’s failsafes through their paces in valuable ways. ”In every event there’s success,” he said. If, for instance, the drone had come in for a landing and not caught the arresting gear, he explained, “there is ‘bolter’ logic in this system, so that if you do not engage, you have to be able to keep flying and be able to go around.” The Navy actually had the X-47B perform a “touch and go” — coming in for a landing, hitting the deck with its wheels, but then zooming off again — back in May, months before trying for an actual landing today.

Even today, the first event was not a landing but a “wave-off” to test the X-47B’s ability to come in for a landing but then break off when a control officer on the flight deck hit an abort switch. (The term “wave-off” originates from the guy on deck frantically waving his arms to tell the pilot to pull up, but modern jets come in too fast from too far away to see such hand signals). Human pilots will hear hear the order “wave off, wave off!” over the radio, but a robot has to be told electronically. [Editorial note: Our thanks to Navy pilot Benjamin Kohlmann for correcting us on how the wave-off procedure works]

Only after making sure that emergency system actually worked did the X-47B come in for the actual, historic landing. Then the drone taxied to the end of the flight deck, got loaded into the carrier’s launching catapult, and shot back into the air again, at which point it came round and made its second successful landing. Only on the third try did something glitch — and that it’s possible for this evolution to go wrong only underscores how historic today’s successes were.

(One tidbit to bear in mind: the Navy has been very careful to say this is the first time ”a tailless, unmanned autonomous aircraft landed on a modern aircraft carrier.” Given the number of classified aircraft fielded over time, and the fact that other unmanned planes with tails may well have landed during classified missions, the Navy may be hinting at something here — or it could just be referring to those earlier mini-drones that crash-landed into nets strung out from the side of the ship).

Landing a drone on a carrier deck isn’t exactly rocket science: It’s actually more complicated than that. ”The engineers and our testers will go back and make sure that the signal strength, the different voltages, all the way down to the ones and zeroes, did exactly what we expected them to do,” Winter said in his press conference before the abort. “Where it didn’t, it’ll help [us] to understand.”

“There is more work to do with X-47,” Winter said. The aircraft will probably attempt more landings on and takeoffs from the USS Bush while the carrier’s at sea this week, and while no further flights are planned, only ground tests, that may change if the Navy decides it’s desirable or necessary.

The experimental X-47B itself, in fact, is only the proto-prototype for a fully armed and operational unmanned aircraft called the UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System).

“The plans are for the first [UCLASS} squadron to be at sea six years from now, 2019, as a compliment to the air wing," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters at a press conference this afternoon aboard the carrier...."

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/07/10/n ... r-landing/

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Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2013, 07:38
by spazsinbad
UCAS demo timeline: How unmanned aviation arrived to where it is today 22 Jul 2013
"...During its time at sea, the aircraft completed a total of sixteen precision approaches to the carrier flight deck, including five planned tests of X-47B wave-off functions, nine touch-and-go landings, two arrested landings and three catapult launches. The data collected at sea will be compared to the data accumulated from more than 160 precision approaches and six arrested landings at Patuxent River, as well as thousands of high fidelity simulated landings.

In order to make very tight carrier timelines in May and July, the program team accelerated their flight rate up to four times than what was originally planned, ultimately executing 48 test flights in a 90-day period before embarking aboard CVN 77 two months ago.

Sequestration impacts to the fleet and carrier operational commitments had eliminated the opportunity to conduct additional X-47B tests aboard a carrier, Engdahl said. The team had to rethink their demonstration approach to maximize execution and learning while achieving the program’s technical goals with no impact to fleet operations.

“In the end we counted our available test time in minutes,” Engdahl added. “The team executed all of their necessary tasks very rapidly and the system performed as expected from beginning to end.”

Heavy use of modeling and simulation throughout the program, extensive lab testing and up-front systems engineering produced a system that allowed engineers to accurately predict aircraft performance and validate the aircraft’s capability with limited flight testing throughout the entire program, he said....

...The X-47B approach and landing looks like any other tactical jet trap on the carrier, but the reality is that the technology inside the aircraft and ship is completely new and innovative, Engdahl said. The aircraft used precision relative GPS navigation, advanced aircraft flight controls, autonomous vehicle software, high integrity networks, digitized communications and digitized air traffic control messaging to perform its carrier operations autonomously while being directed by a mission operator aboard the ship.

“This technology leap forward for the Navy will not only benefit long endurance Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities by bringing autonomous UAS aboard aircraft carriers, but its direct application to manned aircraft promises to provide increased safety, readiness and combat capability,” Engdahl said."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5426

10Mb Pic: http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 8017_1.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2013, 08:30
by Corsair1963
Quote:

“The plans are for the first [UCLASS} squadron to be at sea six years from now, 2019, as a compliment to the air wing," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters at a press conference this afternoon aboard the carrier...."

Really, 2019............LOL

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2013, 08:34
by spazsinbad
Really? LOL? Look at this timeline: http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... line_1.jpg

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-4

Unread postPosted: 23 Jul 2013, 08:41
by spazsinbad
VIDEO: Flight Ready: UAS sensor demonstration
"Teams at Patuxent River, Md., led a demonstration June 18-20, 2013, to test technology for future unmanned aircraft system (UAS) platforms that will give warfighters the capability to access information necessary to complete their mission. The new technology will ease how manned and UAS will communicate and operate in the future."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... 4A672BC658

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 24 Jul 2013, 23:21
by spazsinbad
Some more speculation perhaps relevant to 'F16VIPER' question "...is a more advanced external design needed." bottom of page 25 of this very same thread:

How We Know America Has Another Secret Drone Evidence points to a new, radar-evading robot warplane AXE 24 Jul 2013 https://medium.com/war-is-boring/75f697142bfc

https://d233eq3e3p3cv0.cloudfront.net/m ... ObBQw.jpeg

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 25 Jul 2013, 19:53
by spazsinbad

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 25 Jul 2013, 20:09
by spazsinbad
It is obvious by now I hope that WhineSlowWheedling is the goto for negative comment - on AnYthIng. :D

U.S. Navy Gets in on Drone Action With First Real Aircraft Carrier Landing 25 Jul 2013 Allen McDuffee
...For all the questions the trial runs have answered in terms of the potential for autonomous technology in combat, it has also raised questions about standards, costs, and the ethical dimensions in carrying out such a program.

The limited and mixed landing results on the USS George H.W. Bush (while still meeting the Navy’s benchmarks) have raised questions about the Navy’s standards for success on such an unconventional program.

“Let’s see how [the X-47B] performs under difficult conditions, because its record under perfect conditions isn’t encouraging,” said Winslow T. Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight.

Wheeler said he would like to see if the X-47B can perform well as our trained pilots when it comes to night, extreme crosswinds, rain and a faster moving carrier. [IT IS A ROBOT! The person who will be tested in these conditons will be the LSO and when he will wave it off if things are going awry in his/her estimation. Otherwise the ROBOT does the same thing over and over within the limits of the technology which guides/controls it.]

So far, that’s a question the Navy hasn’t answered, but Council on Foreign Relations scholar Micah Zenko says that since the Navy hasn’t set a firm deadline for when this drone program will be put into play, “they’ve built in time to take corrective actions with successive and more realistic flight tests.”

“Since the first drone flight, one enduring lesson is that they crash,” said Zenko, adding, “I suspect the first time manned aircraft took off and landed on carrier decks, that they had difficulties as well.”

But for some observers, risk is the name of the unmanned game.

“That is part of the very appeal of an unmanned system, you can take risks that you wouldn’t with a manned craft, including in testing,” said Peter W. Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution and the author of Wired for War.

The question over who bears the cost of those risks has been at the center of some intense debate in recent years. The move to expand the military’s drone potential to include autonomous capabilities comes on the heels of President Obama’s May counterterrorism speech, in which many analysts understood the President to be advocating for a reduction in drone strikes and more stringent guidelines for when they do occur. Critics of the Obama administration’s policies have argued that there has been an overuse of drones across the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan that has caused extensive civilian deaths with little oversight.

While the president was addressing covert CIA operations in the May speech, the Navy will have to face some of the same ethical questions about combat when the potential for the loss of servicemen and women in battle is removed.

In other words, what keeps the U.S. military from acting irresponsibly when it can remove the risk of Americans? In the case of autonomous drones, not only are Americans removed from the battlefield and the air, but also the cockpit, forcing the question of who is responsible when things go wrong.

“Unmanned systems move the human role geographically, and then, as they become more autonomous, chronologically,” said Singer. “Humans are still involved, but in very different locales, times and ways.”

However, some of the enduring questions about the justification for war will remain, according to some analysts.

“We should always have the same criteria when it comes to acts of war, and we should always be asking ourselves, ‘Is the use of force justified?’” said Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress and former assistant secretary of defense under the Reagan administration.

Singer argues that the old legal values remain the same, but they will have have a tougher time in application as technology advances—and that this is nothing new.

“We have to thread not only doctrine questions, but also the legal ones,” said Singer, “Just like we did with past new technologies like the aero plane that Eugene Ely first flew off a warship a century ago.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/07/navy-drone/

RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 25 Jul 2013, 20:44
by neptune
"Critics .. have argued that there has been an overuse of drones across the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan that has caused extensive civilian deaths with little oversight." Gee, the lawyers are missing out on their fee opportunities!, how sad. :)

How sad they will be when they discover "autonomous" only means getting from point A to point B and not "CYLONS ON A RAMPAGE, KILLING AND MAIMING"! :lol:

How frustrating it will be when they learn of the ole "Human in the loop" philosophy. :shock:

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND X-47B

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2013, 01:36
by count_to_10
spazsinbad wrote:Now an oldie but a goodie: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dange ... /14586.jpg

Interesting. Do carrier jets usually pull their front wheels up before they leave the deck like that?

Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35 AND

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2013, 02:11
by lookieloo
Corsair1963 wrote:Quote:

“The plans are for the first [UCLASS} squadron to be at sea six years from now, 2019, as a compliment to the air wing," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters at a press conference this afternoon aboard the carrier...."

Really, 2019............LOL
I thought the same thing a few months back. Developing a new, full-on TACAIR platform by 2019 is indeed ridiculous. However, it has emerged that the USN's ambitions for UCLASS are much lower than the gadget magazines led everyone to believe. Think RQ-170 with a couple of SDBs instead of an unmanned A-12.

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Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2013, 03:19
by spazsinbad
Requirements for UCLASS are shown midway down the 25th page of this thread here:

UCLASS By the Numbers 26 Jun 2013 (posted 30 Jun 2013)
http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... t-345.html

'count10': The requirement for all catapulted aircraft is to have flying speed above stall speed for their weight off the catapult. You see the aircraft rotating, now separate from the catapult, to the 'climb away from catapulting angle of attack' which will ensure a 'safe initial climb airspeed for weight' whilst it cleans up and then accelerates to optimum climb speed or turns back into a carrier circuit (likely with wheels down). All catapulting aircraft rotate off the catapult - some faster than others.

The F-4K for the RN was catapulted with the nosewheel extended so that it had a good angle of attack off the catapult. Otherwise without it there may not have been enough time to rotate to required angle of attack. Without a good angle of attack aircraft may sink into the water. Aircraft tend to sink a little depending on launch circumstances. If the aircraft is flat off the catapult (not rotating) then it may just sink/fly into the rolling swell in front, if the catapult officer gets the motion of the deck wrong in the swell. It is exciting to see an aircraft (viewed from outside) skimming wheels along the top of a swell - less exciting is the view inside the aircraft; because you are busy ensuring that you are climbing away.

CarQual is the time when aircraft may be catapulted at light weight to be able to land on again ASAP. Then you may see the aircraft climbing away rapidly. At an operational launch weight - maybe not.
_______________

Just to be clear - sometime before/when the A-4 was in service the aircraft were trimmed to attain the climb away angle of attack / climb angle off the catapult. The A-4 pilot has right hand cupped in stomach waiting for the control column to slowly go back (against pressure of hydraulics holding it still otherwise) during catapult stroke so that the stick is in hand off the catapult - to adjust climb angle if required - but usually no problem if perhaps a bit slow at heavy weights. Similarly the Hornet family have the pilot 'right hand holding the towel rack' during launch because the aircraft is trimmed to attain correct.... etc. etc. etc..... But once off the cat and away you will see the pilot grab the stick; because on USN aircraft carriers he is required to make a clearing turn, so as to not interfere with any aircraft being catapulted almost simultaneously from the adjoining catapult.

In other words: the X-47B is trimmed for catapult and it will rotate as indicated.

http://www.neptunuslex.com/wp-content/u ... nggear.jpg
__________________

FantomPic is from: http://www.axfordsabode.org.uk/pdf-docs/arkroy27.pdf (1.5Mb)
____________________

The TA-4J SNA story of catapulting indicates perhaps a different right hand technique - I can check the TA-4J NATOPS whilst asserting that in my time catapulting the A4G the technique I described was used (and should be in that NATOPS). Anyhoo.... On the catapult no one can hear you scream. During first catapult you are likely not to be ready properly for what I describe as a closed punch fist to the upper chest. It hurts (or did on the 100-10 foot RAN catapult).
___________

Brazilian A-4 Catapult with Bridle Catcher: http://www.naval.com.br/blog/wp-content ... /af-11.jpg

This aircraft is rotating however the extended (more than what it would be on deck/during catapult) nosewheel down to full extension may give an erroneous impression. The A-4 has an extra long nosewheel oleo but it is not 'extended' like the F-4K for catapulting. The A-4 will compress the nosewheel as it happens for other aircraft except the F-4K (there may be others but for the sake of ending the story I'll finish here).
_____________

Last but not leastly is a .WMV video showing a series of A4G catapults onboard HMAS Melbourne. I do not know circumstances (weight/WOD) but you can see the difference between the first 'sink off' catapult and subsequent 'up and away' catapults (mostly). But I digress...

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Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2013, 06:48
by spazsinbad
TA-4F/J NATOPS SKYHAWK Seems our SNA above was having a 'purple prose' moment. :D
"9.2.4 Catapult Launches.
...9.24.1 Technique.
Prior lo launch, select the optimum trim setting for the anticipated endspeed and aircraft loading. The recommended technique is to grasp the slick lightly, allowing it to move aft during the power stroke and return to the trimmed position at shuttle release. The pilot must avoid any large longitudinal control movements as the aircraft becomes airborne, yet be prepared to make minor attitude corrections as necessary and correct any aircraft wing drop that may occur. When safely airborne after the catapult launch, adjust attitude as necessary for climbout; normally, this will be about 12deg to 14deg noseup on the attitude gyro.

An initial attitude of approximately 12deg noseup is recommended. Cross-check angle-of-attack, airspeed, and other appropriate instruments. Do not rely solely upon one instrument. Ensure that a positive rate of climb is obtained. Retract flaps at 170 KIAS minimum.
1. Optimum Trim Settings
a. Rudder - 0deg
b. Aileron - FAIRED
c. Horizontal Stabilizer:
(1) Basic trim with full flaps - 6deg
(2) Basic trim with half flaps - 6deg..."

&
A-4E/F/G NATOPS SKYHAWK
"...Catapult Launches | TECHNIQUE
Prior to launch, select the optimum trim settings for the anticipated endspeed and aircraft loading. The control stick, if unrestrained by the pilot, will move to the full aft position at the beginning of the catapult power stroke and return to the trimmed position by the end of the power stroke. The proximity of the control stick handgrip to the pilot, and pilot physical geometry, make it difficult to fully brace the arm while holding the stick in the trimmed position during high acceleration launches. The recommended technique is to cup the hand just aft of the stick and restrain as much arm movement as possible by pressing the arm against the side and/ or thigh. As soon as practicable after end of power stroke, grasp the stick in its pretrimmed position (optimum horizontal stabilizer setting) and allow aircraft to rotate to a flyaway attitude with a minimum of fore/aft stick movement. The pilot must avoid any large longitudinal control movements as the aircraft becomes airborne, yet be prepared to make minor attitude corrections as necessary and correct any aircraft wing drop that may occur. An initial attitude of approximately 12 degrees noseup is recommended. Adjust attitude as necessary for climbout; normally this will be about 12 to 14 degrees noseup on the attitude gyro. Cross-check angle of attack, airspeed, and other appropriate instruments. Do not rely soley on one instrument. Ensure a positive rate of climb. Retract flaps at 170 KIAS minimum...."

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 02:57
by neurotech
On a related point. Due to accidents with the pilot inadvertently pulling back on the stick during launch, F/A-18s are trimmed, and the pilot uses the towel rack during launch. If a pilot over-rotates on launch, the jet settles, and in some cases goes into the water. This has happened at least once in a F/A-18, and more often in earlier jets.

Lt. Meagan Varley screamed on her first F-14 cat shot. This video was from the same documentary, but not her flying the jet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XvKsCYxOk8 Remember, every mission is taped.

RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: F-35

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 03:13
by spazsinbad
Meagan and others would have been carqualled in T-45C Goshawks? No? She would have been on the cat then. Nice video of 'nugget carquals' here:

VIDEO: Angle of Attack - Excerpt 1 http://vimeo.com/31549908#

Just to complete the references here is the F'nA-EF catapult sequence from NATOPS:

...8.2.7 Catapult Launch.
When "Take Tension" and "Launch Bar Up" signals received -
9. Throttles - MIL
10. LAUNCH BAR switch - RETRACT (green LBAR light out)

WARNING
Due to the close proximity of the FLAP and LAUNCH BAR switches, ensure that the FLAP switch is not inadvertently placed to AUTO. Launching with the flaps in AUTO will result in an excessive settle.

CAUTION
Failure to place the LAUNCH BAR switch to RETRACT prior to catapult launch may result in hydraulic seal failure and possible loss of HYD 2A.

11. Controls - CYCLE and report FREE and CLEAR (Takeoff Checks complete) Wait 5 seconds and ensure all warning and caution lights are out.
12. Engine instruments - CHECK When "Select AB" signal received (MAX power launches only) -
13. Throttles - MAX When ready for launch -
14. Salute with right hand. Hold throttles firmly against the detent and place head against the
headrest.

Throttle friction may be used to help prevent inadvertent retraction of the throttles during the catapult stroke. If required, it can be overridden if afterburner is needed due to aircraft/catapult malfunction. Immediately after the end of the catapult stroke, the aircraft will rotate to capture the 12° reference AOA (hands-off). To avoid PIO with the FCS, do not restrain the stick during catapult launch or make stick inputs immediately after catapult launch. The pilot should attempt to remain out of the loop but should closely monitor the catapult sequence...."

http://info.publicintelligence.net/F18-EF-000.pdf (22Mb)

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 04:36
by neurotech
Cool video. The NATOPS information is correct on the F/A-18E/F, but there are other factors. I was well aware what the NATOPS says during launch, but some pilots (usually at night) get disoriented and attempt to manipulate controls too early. Also, the F/A-18C is different in that the flyaway characteristics were not as stabilized by the FCS. I haven't heard of a single over rotation mishap in a F/A-18E/F, and I think only one in a earlier F/A-18 that was caused by pilot misperception and early stick input.

I did say "first F-14 cat shot" but obviously Lt Varley did her initial CQ in something else. I'm not sure if she flew T-45s or T-2 Buckeyes. The TA-4J had already retired before she went through.

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 05:59
by spazsinbad
Heheh. Fair enough - first F-14 catshot - but my eye was commenting on this video title you pointed to (I'm easily distracted by that orgasmic cosmic video). :D What people will be doing is screaming into their mask. In an A4G the positive pure oxygen under pressure would drown you if you opened your mouth without some outward lung pressure to stop the rush IN. We got used to speaking in forced clipped tones. Hand signals if close and wing waggles out wide said it all. So on the catapult if your breath was knocked out of you first time by that full fist punch to the upper chest, you would open your mouth - inadvertantly - only to drown in the pure oxy under pressure flooding in for that second or so. :D Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle....

F-14 Tomcat Pilots lose catapult virginity from Speed and Angels A great movie 'Speed and Angels' well worth seeking out - seaking out. :D

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 12:11
by count_to_10
neurotech wrote:On a related point. Due to accidents with the pilot inadvertently pulling back on the stick during launch, F/A-18s are trimmed, and the pilot uses the towel rack during launch. If a pilot over-rotates on launch, the jet settles, and in some cases goes into the water. This has happened at least once in a F/A-18, and more often in earlier jets.

Lt. Meagan Varley screamed on her first F-14 cat shot. This video was from the same documentary, but not her flying the jet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XvKsCYxOk8 Remember, every mission is taped.
:wtf: :shock:

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 17:05
by neurotech
Count_to_10: Can you be more specific? Remember, "The NATOPS is written in blood", and accidents lead to changes. Just like the NTSB, the Navy Safety Center (& NAVAIR recommended changes to the NATOPS some cases) investigate every mishap, and learn from them.

Getting slightly back on topic (not really.. but), I wonder how long it will be before X-47 class drones have defensive maneuvering capability and to pop chaff/flares, break hard to avoid missiles etc. Stealth drones are not immune to IR missiles, and may be trackable on L-band radar (F-117 shoot down type incident)

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 17:11
by count_to_10
neurotech wrote:Count_to_10: Can you be more specific?

I was just commenting on the, shall we say, orgasmic sounds the female pilot was making during the catapult shot.

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 19:11
by spazsinbad
outforthetencount :D. That is what we have been trying to say here - if somewhat obliquely - that the catapult shot - particularly the first one - is memorable beyond belief. As mentioned in other threads here about this issue apparently there are theme rides in the USofA which can mimic (unintentionally) a catapult shot. I'm not there but as I recall the ride shoots the passengers forward and then up vertically to fall back down again. The first part would be similar to a catapult shot I believe (but I stress I am only imagining that for the sake of illustration).

Even more memorable would be that first arrest before that first memorable catapult. Nothing prepares one for that arrest - not even a land arrest (over a much longer stopping distance). Factor in the short deck / catapult track on HMAS Melbourne and ye have something extra. :D

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 19:25
by spazsinbad
Further to the FantomFoto on previous page here is anotherie.... RNFAA F-4K nosewheel extended on catapult BUT not for deck landings.

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 20:51
by count_to_10
spazsinbad wrote:outforthetencount :D. That is what we have been trying to say here - if somewhat obliquely - that the catapult shot - particularly the first one - is memorable beyond belief. As mentioned in other threads here about this issue apparently there are theme rides in the USofA which can mimic (unintentionally) a catapult shot. I'm not there but as I recall the ride shoots the passengers forward and then up vertically to fall back down again. The first part would be similar to a catapult shot I believe (but I stress I am only imagining that for the sake of illustration).

Even more memorable would be that first arrest before that first memorable catapult. Nothing prepares one for that arrest - not even a land arrest (over a much longer stopping distance). Factor in the short deck / catapult track on HMAS Melbourne and ye have something extra. :D

This is the one I've been on:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_ ... om_Krypton
Interestingly, it's supposed to be a linear electric motor.
The claim is 4.5 Gs, though they reconfigured it to launch you backward.

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 21:09
by count_to_10
The fastest is apparently this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_Rossa
150 mph in 5 seconds. I think that ends up being an average of 15 Gs.

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Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2013, 23:41
by spazsinbad
" claim is 4.5 Gs, though they reconfigured it to launch you backward." Cool. Probably backwards launch and subsequent forward fall more comfortable for all? Did you experience the forward facing launch up the flagpole? :D

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Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2013, 00:41
by count_to_10
spazsinbad wrote:" claim is 4.5 Gs, though they reconfigured it to launch you backward." Cool. Probably backwards launch and subsequent forward fall more comfortable for all? Did you experience the forward facing launch up the flagpole? :D

Forward. I was at the park shortly after it was opened (as a kid). Forward facing, you get pushed back into your seat twice (starting and stopping). Backward, you would get pushed into the seat-belt, which seems odd to me.

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Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2013, 00:50
by neurotech
Its not done every day but if you visit NAS Pax River or NAES Lakehurst, they have land-based cat launches and recoveries (Mk 7, 250-300ft stopping distance) but are almost never used for "training" purposes, only engineering and flight testing.

4.5Gs seated backwards would be a little uncomfortable "eyeballs" out. It's not like the average rider is training for the Mercury astronaut program.

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Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2013, 01:17
by spazsinbad
Yes. "...4.5Gs seated backwards would be a little uncomfortable "eyeballs" out...." I forgot about the 'red eye' aspect. Everyone will look like Martians when they disembark from that ride perhaps. :D

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Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2013, 02:17
by spazsinbad
Perhaps this Phantom is doing a touch and go? Otherwise this USN F-4 looks to be leaping off the catapult: "VF-41 Phantom II launches from USS Saratoga CVA-60 May 20, 1964"

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Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2013, 05:51
by spazsinbad
I did not realise JPALS (early version) was already installed on USS BUSH (and not just a version for the X-47B testing). Whatever.

Precision GPS Landing System Receives DoD Recognition November 16, 2012
"A U.S. Navy program that uses technology developed by a Raytheon-led team to land aircraft in harsh weather has been recognized with a Department of Defense (DoD) engineering award.

The Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) Increment 1A ship system received the Systems Engineering Top 5 Programs Award for "successful implementation of systems engineering best practices resulting in program success," according to the DoD.

JPALS uses GPS and two-way data links for precise area navigation and landing approaches for Navy carrier-based aircraft and helicopters.

The U.S. Navy-Raytheon team "utilized solid systems engineering practices to manage requirements, identify and mitigate risk, and manage the technical baseline, while keeping the program within cost and schedule targets," according to the evaluation team. An award ceremony was held October 24, in San Diego, California, sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association.

Raytheon is currently installing JPALS on the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, CVN-77. Government integration of the system with other ship systems was completed in the Navy's test facility, and flight testing began in May 2012.

Shipboard testing on the carrier is planned to start as early as December. Raytheon completed development activities on time — including delivery of eight ship system engineering development models and five avionics test kits on or ahead of schedule, according to the company."

http://www.insidegnss.com/node/3283

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Unread postPosted: 06 Aug 2013, 20:36
by spazsinbad
REPEATED HERE EARLIER: http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... als#254950

Now OLD but useful info on how JPALS enabled the safe X-47B landings and will be used with the F-35 fambly on CVFs and the rest of the flat decks and airfields eventually.

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter Spring/Summer 2010
"JOINT PRECISION APPROACH AND LANDING SYSTEM (JPALS) pp 28-29
Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) is a GPS based system that will be the replacement for the current ACLS/SPN-46 system. Unlike the SPN-46 that uses radar on the boat to track an aircraft, JPALS works by comparing the GPS position of the carrier and the GPS position of the aircraft. A relative navigation (Rel Nav) solution is calculated and displayed as guidance in the cockpit. Initial tests were conducted in 2000 with an F-18 to prove that the concept worked. JPALS should IOC in 2014 and will start to be retrofitted on Hornets. H-60’s and E-2D’s should start to see it in 2017. It will be the only approach guidance on NUCAS (Navy Unmanned Combat Air System) and the F-35. Every carrier will be equipped by 2024.

How is it better? It will be GPS based and is jam resistant. Instead of an operator in CATCC having to lock up an aircraft with the SPN-46 radar, only a data link between the ship and aircraft needs to be established making the system more reliable. This link will be established when the aircraft gets within 200 miles of the carrier, not at 5 miles behind the ship prior to tip over. The linked Rel Nav solution will also act like a TACAN and give ships position out to 200 miles. The link transmission, like MIDS, uses spread spectrum transmissions so it does not give away position and can be used during EMCON conditions. Mode I approaches will also be more accurate. The SPN-46 radar loses the aircraft at the round down. Past the round down glide slope guidance is basically an average of the last few seconds of the flight path. That is why during a Mode I the hornet freezes control input commands in the last 2 seconds before touchdown. The JPALS GPS guidance will be accurate all the way to touchdown. The Air Force and Army are funding a ground based JPALS system that can be easily setup at any airfield giving the Hornet an actual precision approach besides a PAR.

How will it affect me? With no need for interaction with an operator in CATCC, JPALS may be available during Case I approaches providing better gouge through the approach turn then the ICLS. Drop locks at 3 miles should not be a problem anymore; if you have JPALS in Marshall you’ll have it on final. The pickle switch on the platform will be connected to the data link and transmitted to the aircraft providing a true “W/O” discrete in the HUD and the ability to wave off a UAV. The ships final bearing will also be automatically linked to the aircraft and instantaneously updated in the cockpit, greatly enhancing SA to which direction the ship is turning while we are trying to land.

The mechanization and cockpit displays are still in the design phase. Do we want it to look just like ACLS or ICLS? Is it going to be called needles, bullseye, or _______? Should final bearing automatically be set as a course line? Is there a better way than the old way to do business? As fleet operators and LSO’s if you have any suggestions or ideas please let us know. In a few years JPALS will be a great tool to help us get the Air Wing aboard safely."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=673 (PDF 2.8Mb)

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Unread postPosted: 06 Aug 2013, 20:38
by spazsinbad
NAVAIR: X-47B to Fly Again 06 Aug 2013 USNI News Editor
"Naval Air Systems Command plans to keep flying the Northrop Grumman’s X-47B into 2014 as part of the Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration (UCAS-D) program, USNI News has learned.

The two unmanned test airframes — call signs Salty Dog 501 and Salty Dog 502 — were designated to be museum pieces after landing tests aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) concluded in mid-July.

But since the end of the landing phase of the program, NAVAIR now thinks it could put the two airframes through additional test flights, a Navy official told USNI News on Monday.

News of the additional test flights follows Sunday comments from NAVAIR’s program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, Rear Adm. Mat Winter.

“I believe you will see continued operation of the X-47B — at least into the fiscal year 2014 time period,” Winter told Washington, D.C. television station WJLA on Sunday. “As we go forward we are continuing to assess its operational opportunities.”

NAVAIR would not elaborate on the type of testing the X-47B will undertake.

In July, the Navy said it would conduct aerial refueling tests of the UCAS-D test program with surrogate aircraft with the same software and guidance systems.

NAVAIR told USNI News on Monday the refueling tests are moving ahead with surrogate aircraft not with X-47B...."

http://news.usni.org/2013/08/06/navair- ... -fly-again

Navy’s Big Surprise: Carrier Drone to Make a Comeback

Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2013, 22:44
by neptune
spazsinbad wrote:[b]NAVAIR: X-47B to Fly Again[/......


https://medium.com/war-is-boring/90bf2db106b8

Navy’s Big Surprise: Carrier Drone to Make a Comeback

(not guite) Mothballed X-47Bs to resume testing for two more years After history-making autonomous landings and takeoffs on an aircraft carrier this summer, the Navy’s two X-47B jet-powered drones quietly flew into retirement in July. Publicly, the Navy and drone-maker Northrop Grumman initially said the bat-wing ‘bots were done flying. Future efforts would be focused on a new, better class of carrier-launched drone.

But information ..reveals details of the Navy’s new plan: to revive the X-47Bs in a few months and fly them for up to two more years on a fresh series of increasingly challenging tests. The apparent goal is to gather even more data in order to smooth the sailing branch’s transition to a more robotic air arm.

....
The Navy previously hinted at the revival, without going into specifics. “I believe you will see continued operation of the X-47B at least into the fiscal year 2014 time period,” Rear Adm. Mat Winter told a Washington, D.C. television station on Sunday, as reported by the U.S. Naval Institute. “As we go forward we are continuing to assess its operational opportunities.”

.. the two 62-foot-wingspan drones—..?—?will separately deploy onto carriers a combined three more times: at the end of this year, again in the fall of next year and for the final planned time from the very end of 2014 until early 2015.

They will test out modifications to potentially three more carriers on the East and West Coasts meant to make the flattops compatible with autonomous warplanes.

Candidate carriers apparently include the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Harry S. Truman from the Atlantic Fleet and the USS Carl Vinson with the Pacific Fleet. In late 2012 Truman had hosted an X-47B for non-flying deck-handling trials, but all of the drones’ at-sea launches and landings took place aboard the new carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the Maryland coast.

Eventually all of the Navy’s 10 flattops will carry drones.

The X-47Bs will also conduct the first-ever aerial refueling of a robotic aircraft in the fall of 2014 and, around the same time, fully integrate with a 70-plane carrier air wing for several weeks?—?the latter a sort of “final exam” for a new naval warplane.

..
It’s not hard to guess why the Navy is reviving its robot prototypes. Both X-47Bs were forced to abort their final planned carrier landings in July owing to internal technical problems that, to the ‘bots’ credit, they safely detected on their own.

It’s possible the Navy wants to finally complete those landings and ensure the X-47Bs’ bugs are worked out.

More broadly, the sailing branch is banking hugely on autonomous warplanes and seems eager to reduce technical risk through further experimentation before it selects a front-line model for combat use.

Northrop, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics are all competing to build the definitive carrier drone starting in 2018 or 2019?—?a program that could cost billions of dollars on top of the roughly $1 billion the Navy has already spent on the X-47Bs.

And then there’s Congress. The Navy had originally planned on testing out aerial refueling with the X-47Bs but balked at the cost and cancelled that effort this spring. Congress wants the tests restored?—?and completed no later than October 2014.

..
The X-47Bs’ renewed lease on life could prove a major windfall for Northrop, one of the world’s leading drone-manufacturers. The X-47s’ continued testing could help Northrop revise its design for the follow-on, combat-capable ‘bot, which almost certainly will be based on the X-47B, anyway.

The last time a major airframer got to run a warplane test program immediately before a competition for a production jet was in the 1980s and ‘90s. Lockheed spent years trialling radar-evading, vertical-landing fighter designs alongside Pentagon scientists.

And when it came time to pick a design for the international Joint Strike Fighter in 2001, Lockheed had a clear lead on its rival Boeing. Lockheed snagged the contract for potentially thousands of planes costing hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Navy drone program is much smaller in comparison, but arguably more important to the future of U.S. air power. With its X-47Bs set to resume flying, Northrop could lead America into a new drone era. :shock:

Not dead, yet! :)

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Unread postPosted: 07 Aug 2013, 22:45
by neptune
deleted :oops:

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 03:28
by sprstdlyscottsmn
It just isn't naval aviation without a Grumman (even a NG)

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 04:09
by neurotech
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:It just isn't naval aviation without a Grumman (even a NG)

The EA-6Bs are still in service.

I didn't really believe the Navy would retire the X-47B despite all the announcements. There is too much technology development work to be done, and without a confirmed follow-on program making the X-47Bs superseded, it didn't make any sense to retire the jets so soon. My guess is originally, the Navy lacked the budget for operating them under sequestration.

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 07:07
by spazsinbad
Va. Route 175 to Close for U.S. Navy Unmanned Aircraft Take-Off 08 Aug 2013 Laura Olson
"WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – Wallops Flight Facility officials say Virginia Route 175 will be closed Thursday morning as an unmanned aircraft takes-off.

Route 175, between Royal Farms and the NASA Visitor, will be closed for a 10 minute period between 7:20 and 8:05 a.m.

Officials say the closure is an extra safety measure. The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator will depart Wallops at 7:30 a.m. to return to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.

Wallops Flight Facility officials say the NASA Visitor Center will open at 7a.m. for the public to watch the U.S. Navy's X-47B unmanned aircraft take-off.

The X-47B landed at Wallops July 10 following aircraft carrier landing tests off the coast of Virginia."

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 14:03
by sprstdlyscottsmn
neurotech wrote:The EA-6Bs are still in service.


and they are being phased out for EF-18Gs. A few years ago I was reading the squadrons assigned to each flattop and there was one (Bush?) that only operated Hornets for fixed wing turbine roles. I suppose the E-2/C-2 is still Grumman.

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 16:12
by neptune
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
neurotech wrote:The EA-6Bs are still in service.


and they are being phased out for EF-18Gs. A few years ago I was reading the squadrons assigned to each flattop and there was one (Bush?) that only operated Hornets for fixed wing turbine roles. I suppose the E-2/C-2 is still Grumman.


The Navy is quickly phasing out the EA-6B with the EA-18G, but Corp is waiting to evaluate the F-35B for replacing their EA-6B. :)

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 19:51
by spazsinbad
X-47B Returns to Pax River after Historic Firsts 08 Aug 2013
"PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator safely returned to Naval Air Station Patuxent River Aug. 8 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia after completing a number of historic firsts for carrier-based unmanned aviation.

The X-47B, known as Salty Dog 502, was temporarily at Wallops following two successful arrested landings on USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) July 10. The unmanned aircraft diverted to the NASA facility on the third landing attempt when a minor error was detected in one of its three navigation computers.

"This was the first time the X-47B was operated at a divert site and proved to be a great real-time learning event for the test team," said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager. "Our team worked closely with NASA personnel over the past few weeks to coordinate the return flight to Pax River."

The two X-47B air vehicles will reside at Patuxent River while the Navy UCAS program continues to assess potential opportunities for additional test operations here and at-sea. These efforts will focus on reducing risks for the follow-on Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program and help the Navy to better understand how to operate unmanned systems of this size in the areas of research and development, said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.

To date, the N-UCAS program has conducted a total of sixteen precision approaches to the carrier flight deck, including five planned tests of X-47B wave-off functions, nine touch-and-go landings, two arrested landings and three catapult launches during three at-sea evolutions in an eight-month period."

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013 ... irsts.html

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 21:02
by spazsinbad
NavAir has same press release (original) as above with photos: http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5435

http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/_EAG1248_1.jpg (2.5Mb original)

CAPTION: "The Navy's unmanned X-47B [Salty Dog 502] lands at NAS Patuxent River, Md. after a 30-minute flight from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore, Aug. 8. (U.S. Navy photo)

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5435

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Unread postPosted: 08 Aug 2013, 23:01
by spazsinbad
VIDEO: NAVAIR Airwaves: 08 August 2013
"Published on Aug 8, 2013
On this edition of Airwaves, watch how the V-22 aids Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, learn about small antenna solutions that protect unmanned air vehicles, the X-47 wraps up sea testing with a historic landing aboard USS George H.W. Bush, plus we congratulate the winners of this year's NAVAIR Commander's Awards."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfP7pnzHOM8

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Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2013, 03:01
by f-22lm

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Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2013, 03:41
by spazsinbad
'f-22lm' robosprog FNG passes muster for sure. What a centreline hero. Many thanks for that gripping video. That robot needs nothing other than a regula chekup every now and then eh. I wonder if they will adjust for the consistent everso slightly left of centreline. Nothing in it though. :D

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Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2013, 05:13
by spazsinbad
Carrier, civil aviation could eventually take lessons from UCAS landing trials
Amy Butler NAS Patuxent River, Md., and Washington
...""The reliability of the aircraft to hit the spot on the deck is almost impossible to repeat with a man in the cockpit" at the controls, says one industry official.

Together with UCAS prime contractor Northrop Grumman, the Navy team proved the aircraft's ability to land safely on the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush twice on July 10. Though a significant first in aviation history, the team also demonstrated the aircraft's ability to land in all conditions up to sea state 5, including waves up to 13 ft. high, and various crosswind conditions in flight and simulated testing quietly conducted ashore at NAS Patuxent River, Md.

The two sea-based landings were seminal for the program and carrier aviation, but perhaps more revealing about the system's capabilities was a series of seven successive touch-and goes done during a single day's worth of trials on the USS Bush May 21, says Carl Johnson, Nort hrop Grumman UCAS vice president. These trials were conducted in advance of the carrier landings to prove the bolter logic-an autonomous function that kicks in to conduct a quick-safe takeoff in the event one the X-47Bs were to miss all three wires on the Bush. In a manned aircraft, the pilot engages the throttle to gain enough speed and manually directs the aircraft down the centerline of the runway.

During the bolter trials for the X-47B, engineers collected video of the landings to analyze not only how precise the touchdowns were based on predictions, but also to study how precisely the air vehicle accelerated down the centerline on its takeoff.

For the touch-and-goes, the nose gear landed all seven times with no more than 1 ft. in lateral deviation and 8 ft. in longitudinal deviation, a space slightly larger than a yoga mat. These seven landings are representative of thousands of simulations and other trials done ashore to vary the wind conditions and other factors. "Our performance at sea was equivalent to our performance on shore-based landings," Johnson says. Also notable is the consistency with which the nose gear rolls precisely along the centerline as the aircraft speeds up for its takeoff to rejoin the carrier's traffic pattern, Johnson says.

In a video of clips showing the seven touch-and-goes compiled by Northrop Grumman, the air vehicle shows a slight deviation in its sixth landing, where the nose gear touches down slightly closer to the centerline. This was a result of a shift in crosswinds, Johnson says. The aircraft, however, compensated and conducted its takeoff precisely along the centerline as shown in the video.

The precision on landing is the culmination of calculations performed by the air vehicle's software far in advance of touchdown. The X-47B uses a relative GPS system that constantly judges its position in space relative to equipment onboard the carrier, which is often moving at more than 20 kt. and rolling with the sea. By comparison, a UAV landing ashore would have a fixed GPS target point on which to home and would not require a "relative" reading.

In the case of the Bush trials, the X-47B engaged its relative GPS system a half-mile from the ship. At that point, the aircraft tracked its position relative to the precise spot on the deck it is programmed to impact. "If your eyes were good enough, you would see the airplane move like it is on water," Johnson says, noting the vehicle mirrors the carrier's motion as it rolls on the waves owing to the relative GPS readings. The aircraft then travels on a straight line, gliding to that point until touchdown. "It is never much more than a foot off of that line" during the approach, he says...."

Aviation Week & Space Technology 5/12 August 2013

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Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2013, 19:04
by lookieloo
I'm guessing the USN wasn't all that impressed with sea-trials.
Reduced capability leaves UCLASS vulnerable to budget axe

Concerns have been raised that the capabilities of the US Navy's proposed Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft have been so watered down from the original concept that the programme is now vulnerable to cancellation by a cash-strapped Pentagon.

"The less-survivable, less-endurance approach, although cheaper, is, to me, not transformational," says retired chief of naval operations Adm Gary Roughead. "With the UCAS [Unmanned Combat Air System] you really do have a transformational weapon system."

The original UCAS concept - championed by Roughead and former under-secretary of the navy Robert Work - called for a very stealthy, carrier-based, long-range bomber with a hefty payload that could be refuelled in-flight.

"The idea [of] a long-dwell, long-range, refuellable, survivable UAV coming off a carrier was extremely important," Roughead says.

By contrast, the current vision is for a modestly stealthy UCLASS that emphasises intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions over lightly contested airspace, with a light secondary strike mission...
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... xe-389305/

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Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2013, 19:42
by spazsinbad
'lookieloo' it seems you have not understood or/nor read the profusive praise heaped on the X-47B team, along with the success of the sea trials. The follow on UCLASS - not yet decided upon nor built - is the issue as the article points out. Perhaps if the USN upspecifies the capability but then that will cost more money; but the concept of landing a robot aircraft on a CVN has been proven. With the right kind of transition of that technology into UCLASS and appropriate testing of this aspect (what was tested with X-47B) should not be a problem. Proof is what happened out there for all to see and well documented to boot.

Nowhere in this same article is there any mention of disappointment in the sea trials on CVN. The problem is with the follow on air machine specifications etc.

Reduced capability leaves UCLASS vulnerable to budget axe 09 Aug 2013 Dave Majumdar
"...Originally, he says, the USN's concept was to evolve the Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS-demonstrator aircraft into an operational machine. "The whole intent was to take that form, pursue refuellability - you get long endurance - and then use that and move forward on that," Roughead says. "Do it as an evolutionary process."

Among the key requirements that were deleted by the JROC is aerial refuelling. "By not having it refuellable I think it really changes what I would consider a transformational dimension of naval aviation," Roughead says.

Aerial refuelling would have allowed the navy to move unmanned assets from shore bases to a carrier at sea from across the globe, Roughead says. That would allow a carrier strike group commander to either reconfigure the air wing as needed or replenish combat losses. "It gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility," Roughead says.

However, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says aerial refuelling capability might be added as a future goal, but it will not be required on the UCLASS initially. "OPNAV is looking to prioritise air refuelling as a future requirement pending early operational capability performance and fleet feedback," NAVAIR says.

But in addition to endurance and range, another key tenet of the USN's original vision was the low observability needed to penetrate into dense anti-access/area-denial environments, Roughead says. However, the stealth requirements have been sharply reduced.

Defence industry officials say the low-observable requirements allow for very wide margins, running from marginal stealth to Lockheed F-35-level signatures; however, the primary driver is low cost. Because stealth costs money, the requirement therefore defaults to a greatly reduced specification.

Likewise, the payload originally envisioned for a naval UCAS was much greater. Northrop officials in 2009 were expecting to develop a UCLASS that resembled a longer X-47B with weapons bays that could hold as many as 24 small diameter bombs, each weighing 113kg (250lb).

The present UCLASS requirements call for a total payload of 1,360kg, of which only 454kg would consist of air-to-ground weapons. "I would like to see us evolve into something that has greater capability," Roughead says."

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... xe-389305/

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Unread postPosted: 09 Aug 2013, 20:05
by neptune
lookieloo wrote:I'm guessing the USN wasn't all that impressed with sea-trials......


"TERRIFIED"; would be more like it; the SBUG mafia has attacked (from behind) any and all comers to their sacred "flight deck". I can only imagine their dismay when the first "Salty Dog" trap was complete. I'm sure the F-35C has suffered the same tactics.

After subverting the UCAV inflight refueling (which may soon be added back into the test sequences) to a surrogate a/c to divert the UCAV from a successful (2/2) trap& refueling tests. Hopefully, the Navy will consider adding weapons testing from the weapons bay for missles and JDAMS (with the F-35 rack tech.).

It appears the SBUG mafia may have convinced the Navy Brass to water down the UCLASS requirements to make it more "affordable and choppable". I'm not sure where they get their insights in not pressing the effort for a new hardened tool to crack the proverbial "hard nuts" when the technology is laid at their door steps? Job security is not all it is cracked up to be (in legacy aircraft) and hiding from the tactics, technology and talent is looking rather weak minded.

I support/ applaud all of the upgrades developing for the SBUG and see it flying in concert with both the F-35 and the UCLASS from those hallowed flight decks for several more decades.

Fly Navy! :salute:
Neptune

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 00:09
by count_to_10
I wonder what kind of engine they will put in the production UCLASS. F135s? F414s? Something new?

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 00:46
by neurotech
count_to_10 wrote:I wonder what kind of engine they will put in the production UCLASS. F135s? F414s? Something new?

Considering that the prototype uses F100U engines, its unlikely they'll go for dual F414 engines.

I'm thinking it could be a new variant of the GE ADVENT engine, or maybe even a F110-GE-Something initially. Relying on PW engines for the UCLASS would cause political problems, since the F136 cancellation.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 01:58
by count_to_10
neurotech wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:I wonder what kind of engine they will put in the production UCLASS. F135s? F414s? Something new?

Considering that the prototype uses F100U engines, its unlikely they'll go for dual F414 engines.

I'm thinking it could be a new variant of the GE ADVENT engine, or maybe even a F110-GE-Something initially. Relying on PW engines for the UCLASS would cause political problems, since the F136 cancellation.

I was just thinking that the Navy would want to limit the number of engines they have to carry.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 02:50
by spazsinbad
Yes - that is also the idea for a lot of commonality (with another aircraft perhaps?). Imagine the UCLASS with an F135 - Go Rocket Go! :D

Meanwhile back at the complainers ranch about the X-47B....

X-47B Belongs In The Sky, Not A Museum August 9, 2013
(REAL CLEAR DEFENSE 08 AUG 13) … Mackenzie Eaglen and Bryan McGrath
"When both Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert attended the first successful carrier landing of the service’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) in July, it was a clear signal of the Navy’s commitment to the future of unmanned carrier aviation. Getting unmanned capability to the fleet has been one of Secretary Mabus’ highest priorities during his five-year tenure, and the landing that day was a testament to his leadership and focus.

Unlike the drones flown by the other services, the Navy’s UCAS program, headlined by two X-47B models, is autonomous and pilots itself (based on a pre-loaded flight plan). This is itself a significant achievement that cuts out the need for an operator on the back end....

...Like many others today, the X-47B is capable of carrying weapons. Its twin internal weapons bays can pack a bigger payload than the MQ-9 Reaper, for example.

These capabilities are so impressive that as early as 2007, Thomas Ehrhard and Robert Work, writing for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, argued that “If the X-47B was deployed today, it would already be one of the most capable carrier aircraft ever.”...

...The UCAS-D represents a solid opportunity to further test the bounds between these tradeoffs now as the Navy weighs evolving UCLASS requirements. After all, with its relative low observability and comparatively large payload capacity, the Navy could continue experimenting with the technology and see which kinds of configurations provide the greatest military benefit. At a minimum, the Navy should concentrate heavily on inflight refueling in order to ensure that capability makes its way into future unmanned vehicles.

Consequently, it is a good sign that the Navy seems to be having second thoughts on relegating the demonstrators to the museum. Still, with the future of the X-47B in doubt past 2014 (and much sooner if sequestration sticks), the Navy should not be too quick to foreclose options. The marginal costs today of additional testing, even beyond 2014, might end up saving large sums in the future.

Unmanned aviation is poised to play a crucial role in the next chapter of the Navy’s history. The future is here now. While the UCAS-D has proved that unmanned, autonomous carrier-based aviation is possible, its mission is far from complete. Don’t cut the UCAS program short too soon, Navy."

http://hrana.org/articles/2013/08/x-47b ... -a-museum/
OR original:
http://www.aei.org/article/foreign-and- ... -a-museum/

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 03:31
by lookieloo
neptune wrote:
lookieloo wrote:I'm guessing the USN wasn't all that impressed with sea-trials......
"TERRIFIED"; would be more like it; the SBUG mafia has attacked (from behind) any and all comers to their sacred "flight deck". I can only imagine their dismay when the first "Salty Dog" trap was complete. I'm sure the F-35C has suffered the same tactics.

After subverting the UCAV inflight refueling (which may soon be added back into the test sequences) to a surrogate a/c to divert the UCAV from a successful (2/2) trap& refueling tests. Hopefully, the Navy will consider adding weapons testing from the weapons bay for missles and JDAMS (with the F-35 rack tech.).

It appears the SBUG mafia may have convinced the Navy Brass to water down the UCLASS requirements to make it more "affordable and choppable". I'm not sure where they get their insights in not pressing the effort for a new hardened tool to crack the proverbial "hard nuts" when the technology is laid at their door steps? Job security is not all it is cracked up to be (in legacy aircraft) and hiding from the tactics, technology and talent is looking rather weak minded.

I support/ applaud all of the upgrades developing for the SBUG and see it flying in concert with both the F-35 and the UCLASS from those hallowed flight decks for several more decades.
Just one problem with all that.

Drones crash... A_LOT; and the demonstrations, while groundbreaking, established that the technology is still very immature for something expected to enter service ~2019.

Ergo, it makes little since to build UCLASS as a large, high-end strike-platform from the start. I'd just as soon see the whole program chopped with efforts refocused toward putting more-capable drones on surface-combatants, where they would be more useful/needed/appreciated.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 03:34
by count_to_10
RC planes crash a lot.
We haven't really seen if flying robots crash much.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 03:45
by spazsinbad
'lookieloo' as 'count_to_10' suggests you will have to distinguish in your mind between the robotic X-47B and other less capable 'drones' as you call them. Be astonished if the two X-47Bs meet in flight for one to refuel the other (test has been on/off and now perhaps will be back on). No humans will be involved in this evolution. Similarly humans only involved for safety of other humans on the carrier for X-47B carrier landings. Did you watch the video. Probably no human pilot can replicate that excellent performance. Double KWATZ to the headline writers claiming only 'two out of four' X-47B carrier approaches were successful. NumNutsNoNuthings. :D

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 04:05
by lookieloo
count_to_10 wrote:RC planes crash a lot.
We haven't really seen if flying robots crash much.
Umm... Global Hawk (I assume that's what you're referring to) hasn't actually done that well. In fact, it's even worse than MQ-1 and MQ-9.
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-0 ... -barometer
...The Global Hawk has an accident rate of 15.16 per 100,000 flight hours, almost three times that of the aircraft it’s designed to replace, the Cold War-era U-2 spy plane.

“It’s difficult to make direct comparisons between unmanned and manned systems regarding loss” because of their age and technological differences, Randy Belote, a spokesman for Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop, said in a telephone interview. “These systems fly much longer because you don’t have to land for crew comfort and safety.”

The Predator, made by General Atomics, has had 9.26 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, while its Reaper has had 7.96.
Looks like flying for long periods (as UCLASS was supposed to do) is also an issue.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 04:29
by count_to_10
So, I could be wrong, but my understanding is that the Global Hawk is still a remotely piloted aircraft, not truly autonomous (though it has an autopilot), while most of the aircraft losses involve human piloted take-offs and landings because of a lack of situational awareness.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 04:56
by lookieloo
count_to_10 wrote:So, I could be wrong, but my understanding is that the Global Hawk is still a remotely piloted aircraft...
Nope. It's a mouse-click drone,even while taking-off and landing.
Incidentally, what drone were you referring to?

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 05:32
by spazsinbad
This is weird. The X-47B is controlled on carrier deck (ground) by humans with controls that tell it what to do. Once it is on the catapult / runway the X-47B commands itself and is itself commanded to carry out commands that may co-incide with a preplan set of commands or countermand a flight plan (such as return to the carrier). Otherwise the X-47B is in command of itself. However.... I see pilots mentioned a few times in this news story about 'Global Hawk Pilots'. I have yet to see 'pilot' mentioned in conjunction with X-47B ops (except for those ground controllers). Yes there is a supervisor who trusts that the robot is doing what it is told and may from time to time - perhaps not once on a mission - give it a single command such as 'charlie' (return to carrier). Then 4 different sets of humans will supervise the X-47B as it robotically carrier deck lands all by itself as we have seen so dramatically demonstrated.

First RQ-4 Global Hawk Pilots Graduate at Beale Air Force Base Posted on January 25, 2012
"Two members of Beale Air Force Base were recognized as the first RQ-4 Global Hawk pilots in the new 18X career field during a winging ceremony January 13th.

Second Lts. Jacob and Scott began training Oct. 3, 2011, after a decision by Air Staff officials in June 2011 established undergraduate training for remotely piloted aircraft pilots across the service...."

http://www.uasvision.com/2012/01/25/fir ... orce-base/

THEN note the use of 'guided' in this report:

“That’s Professor Global Hawk” A remote-piloted warrior starts flying for science. By Kara Platoni, Air & Space magazine, May 2011
"...NOAA commander Phil Hall was at the controls that day, although nowhere near the aircraft itself. Clad in a khaki flightsuit, he was controlling the airplane from inside a ground station housed in an ordinary-looking office building at Dryden. Using mouse and keyboard, he guided the Global Hawk on a path that would take it from off the Alaskan coast to near Hawaii....

...To train pilots on its three drones, NASA hired a pilot who had flown all of them. Tom Miller had logged some 1,500 hours flying Global Hawks, including with the flight test squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California and later as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. “It’s very cool to be asked to come back and fly them again,” he says.

Miller led training for the Pacific mission’s team and flew several of the missions himself. While some of the pilots had experience in manned high-fliers, like the U-2, none had previously flown a Global Hawk. Hall was the only one with a science flight background, having spent about 2,000 hours in NOAA’s Twin Otter.

Global Hawk pilots fly by desktop—in this case, from a brand-new ground station at Dryden dubbed the Global Hawk Operations Center. The center is divided into three compartments: a chilly lobby where air conditioners cool the giant stacks of computer hardware that keep the airplane flying, and two glass-encased rooms, both facing an enormous screen displaying a live camera feed from the aircraft. The pilots work out of the front room; in the back room sit more than a dozen payload operators, keeping their eyes on computer monitors as their instruments stream real-time data to them.

Global Hawk’s track is pre-planned; the aircraft flies on a scheduled airspeed and its bank angles are pre-set, although pilots can make mid-flight adjustments. “Typically—say, 75 percent of the time—we don’t stay on the canned mission plan because our mission objectives are usually things like weather and atmospheric phenomena, which move,” Hall says.

Pilots control the aircraft using four computer monitors, a keyboard, and a mouse. There’s no yoke—not even a joystick. Although they have a moving map that lets them track the aircraft’s progress over remote locations, there’s no feeling of motion. “You lose four of your five senses when you’re dealing with an unmanned vehicle,” says Miller. “You’re not in the airplane, so you don’t feel if the throttle comes back or you don’t feel it when it goes into a turn. Everything is based on sight, looking at the displays.” The pilots have no view out the aircraft’s window...."

http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today ... -Hawk.html

Now the X-47B can do the mission preplanned for it without any human intervention and return and land on the carrier without human intervention (except if the mission changes so that it is recalled to land at convenience of the aircraft carrier for example). Humans supervise the flight only during the outbound and inbound to carrier landing legs. Otherwise the X-47B is autonomous.

Perhaps later when air refuelling demonstrated - completely automatically - from one robot to another robot - the robot with the fuel to pass will also pass a change of mission status to the receiver (in flight longest) without any other communication from any humans. The new mission set will be passed electronically via the refuel hose/probe - not radio comms. Pretty neat huh.

In other words there is no need to monitor the X-47B (except in the close proximity test environment). I think within 50 miles of the landing spot it will be monitored, otherwise no radio comms nor monitoring is necessary when on a mission.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 06:14
by f-22lm
count_to_10 wrote:I wonder what kind of engine they will put in the production UCLASS. F135s? F414s? Something new?
I somehow doubt that it will operate with new engine because of the high-risk environment that it's going to be operating in. Something that is good enough, but a lightly risky design. Just my :2c: :)

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 06:23
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:This is weird. The X-47B is controlled on carrier deck (ground) by humans with controls that tell it what to do. Once it is on the catapult / runway the X-47B commands itself and is itself commanded to carry out commands that may co-incide with a preplan set of commands or countermand a flight plan (such as return to the carrier). Otherwise the X-47B is in command of itself. However.... I see pilots mentioned a few times in this news story about 'Global Hawk Pilots'. I have yet to see 'pilot' mentioned in conjunction with X-47B ops (except for those ground controllers). Yes there is a supervisor who trusts that the robot is doing what it is told and may from time to time - perhaps not once on a mission - give it a single command such as 'charlie' (return to carrier). Then 4 different sets of humans will supervise the X-47B as it robotically carrier deck lands all by itself as we have seen so dramatically demonstrated.
Not weird at all...
http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... rprise.pdf
Ground Station
After mission parameters are programmed into Global Hawk, it
taxis, takes off, flies its mission, and then lands autonomously...
Sound familiar?

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 07:23
by spazsinbad
Interesting what you chose to leave out. Here is the full quote from the same reference you provided. I'll contend that the X-47B can do the mission required completely autonmously once it has been catapulted until it arrests back at the or another carrier or land base. Humans monitor it only in the close airspace near the landing zone for safety purposes. Otherwise this X-47B is autonomous.

"...Ground Station
After mission parameters are programmed into Global Hawk, it taxis, takes off, flies its mission, and then lands autonomously. The pilot in the ground station can redirect Global Hawk at a moment’s notice based on data that the air vehicle’s sensors suite collects, or on new requirements from the data users.

The pilot in the Launch and Recovery Element (LRE) of the ground segment system controls the operation of the aircraft during its automatic taxi, takeoff and landing, and is assisted by the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS).


The Mission Control Element (MCE) of the Global Hawk ground segment provides management of the aircraft and its sensors. It has the ability to command and control the aircraft, data links, and payload in order to disseminate near real-time information to tactical commanders anywhere in the world. The aircrew in the MCE shelter conducts the command and control, mission planning, imagery quality control, and communications functions of the system. For operational use, Global Hawk is flown from the MCE at its main operating base in Beale Air Force Base, Calif. In 2011, Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota has become a second main operating base...."

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... rprise.pdf (1.3Mb)

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 07:44
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:Interesting what you chose to leave out.
"...Ground Station
After mission parameters are programmed into Global Hawk, it taxis, takes off, flies its mission, and then lands autonomously. The pilot in the ground station can redirect Global Hawk at a moment’s notice based on data that the air vehicle’s sensors suite collects, or on new requirements from the data users.

The pilot in the Launch and Recovery Element (LRE) of the ground segment system controls the operation of the aircraft during its automatic taxi, takeoff and landing, and is assisted by the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS).


The Mission Control Element (MCE) of the Global Hawk ground segment provides management of the aircraft and its sensors. It has the ability to command and control the aircraft, data links, and payload in order to disseminate near real-time information to tactical commanders anywhere in the world. The aircrew in the MCE shelter conducts the command and control, mission planning, imagery quality control, and communications functions of the system. For operational use, Global Hawk is flown from the MCE at its main operating base in Beale Air Force Base, Calif. In 2011, Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota has become a second main operating base...."

http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabili ... rprise.pdf (1.3Mb)
That's no more a "pilot" than what an X-47 has (just a guy tapping instructions on a laptop), so I'm not really getting your point.

Try not to be so over-enamored with the autonomous-trap feature; the fact remains that autonomous drones have a worse mishap rate than their RC cousins. Computers don't care if they crash expensive platforms, which is why it's best to keep the airframes as low-cost as possible until the tech matures. In any case, I'd rather see MALE ISR/light-strike pushed out to ships other than carriers, so I don't really care if UCLASS survives or not.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 08:44
by spazsinbad
Ah but the different missions are not the same. So the X-47B equivalent can go do the mission without any other intervention from any so called pilot tapping out instructions. And return.

Where is your reference for your statement that: "...fact remains that autonomous drones have a worse mishap rate than their RC cousins."?

If humans care about crashes why do they also crash? Puzzling indeed. I note your lack of caring - it shows.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 09:19
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:Ah but the different missions are not the same. So the X-47B equivalent can go do the mission without any other intervention from any so called pilot tapping out instructions. And return.
So how does it receive instructions? Smoke signals? ESP?
spazsinbad wrote:If humans care about crashes why do they also crash?
Well, they sure as hell don't crash so often as computers now, do they?

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 09:30
by spazsinbad
Only in the carrier/airfield air traffic control zone does the X-47B require monitoring and / or receiving safety instruction (such as waveoff from a carrier approach due deck obstruction for example). Other than that no radio signals from the X-47B required although of course it can receive instructions (if that is possible) and as mentioned it can receive instructions via the robotic refuel (under development).

So still no reference to your claim about: "...fact remains that autonomous drones have a worse mishap rate than their RC cousins."?

And how do you support your contention that: "Well, they sure as hell don't crash so often as computers now, do they?" What is the context / parameters for this statement?

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 09:50
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:Only in the carrier/airfield air traffic control zone does the X-47B require monitoring and / or receiving safety instruction (such as waveoff from a carrier approach due deck obstruction for example). Other than that no radio signals from the X-47B required although of course it can receive instructions (if that is possible) and as mentioned it can receive instructions via the robotic refuel (under development).

So still no reference to your claim about: "...fact remains that autonomous drones have a worse mishap rate than their RC cousins."?

And how do you support your contention that: "Well, they sure as hell don't crash so often as computers now, do they?" What is the context / parameters for this statement?
I've already provided requisite sources. Since you refuse to acknowledge that autonomous capability already exists and has serious reliability problems, there's no point in further conversation on the matter.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 10:29
by spazsinbad
Fair enough. I missed this entry / quote you made on previous page: it was not a part of my discussion at that time. But whatever.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-18/drones-most-accident-prone-u-dot-s-dot-air-force-craft-bgov-barometer

"...The Global Hawk has an accident rate of 15.16 per 100,000 flight hours, almost three times that of the aircraft it’s designed to replace, the Cold War-era U-2 spy plane.

“It’s difficult to make direct comparisons between unmanned and manned systems regarding loss” because of their age and technological differences, Randy Belote, a spokesman for Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop, said in a telephone interview. “These systems fly much longer because you don’t have to land for crew comfort and safety.”

The Predator, made by General Atomics, has had 9.26 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, while its Reaper has had 7.96."


I'll contend that the reliability problems for the X-47B and follow on UCLASS have yet to be determined. Have we not seen the X-47B twice refuse mission completion to return to base safely? The X-47Bs decided for themselves that they were faulty and recovered appropriately.

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 10:57
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:I'll contend that the reliability problems for the X-47B and follow on UCLASS have yet to be determined.
I guess we can at least agree on that. :cheers:

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 11:15
by spazsinbad
What is interesting to me is that the Global Hawk still requires pilots whereas redundant computers in the X-47B have produced an outstanding result so far. The 'autonomous-trap' as you call it is an outstanding achievement replicated effortlessly as seen in the video earlier. No need to train that sucker once capability proven. Yes the support safety four will need to be trained / familiarised whilst the robot will go on day/night/fog and rain to arrest on a specified wire in weather states up to 5. Not bad - not bad at all. [See Butler post bottom page 29.]

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Unread postPosted: 10 Aug 2013, 15:11
by count_to_10
Do we have a description of the Global Hawk accidents? I've heard that most of the Predator losses involved pilots miss-judging landings because of lag and restricted fields of view.

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Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2013, 07:31
by spazsinbad
Uclass: How Much LO is Enough? 12 Aug 2013 Amy Butler
"...The draft Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (Uclass) RFP was slated for release this month, but it is now expected to be out by the end of September, says Jamie Cosgrove, a service spokeswoman....

...Winter says the Navy expects to field the first Uclass air vehicle within three to six years of contract award; the service could be allowing for so much time so that the competition can be as inclusive as possible for bidders.

The Navy will likely select a cost-plus contract to minimize the amount of risk put on the contractor while developing the system, but it is unclear how the Navy will grade the bids, including prioritization of technology readiness for a set of basic, or threshold, requirements and objectives....

...So, the outcome of the Uclass – whether the Navy opts for a more or less survivable system – could be an indicator of whether the Pentagon considers this program to be its frontrunner intelligence collector in an A2AD environment or whether this mission is being handled by other – perhaps classified – programs."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... 696efc5dd8

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Unread postPosted: 13 Aug 2013, 10:05
by spazsinbad
Official denies White House link to UCLASS revision 12 Aug 2013 Dave Majumdar Washington DC
"A senior military official denies that Adm James "Sandy" Winnefeld, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS) watered down the requirements for the US Navy's unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft on behalf of the White House.

"The vice chairman had no contact with the White House on the UCLASS requirements," says the official. "And I would not characterise as 'relaxing' those requirements."

The official was responding to charges by a number of sources that the Pentagon's Joint Requirement Oversight Council (JROC) had diluted the requirements for the new unmanned aircraft programme at the behest of the White House. The JROC is chaired by the VCJCS and consists of voting members from the US Army, USN, US Marine Corps and the US Air Force, as well as senior advisors from the Office of the Secretary of Defense....

...The Pentagon says that the requirements were modified by the JROC during an 18 December, 2012 meeting. According to the Department of Defense, the UCLASS requirements were considered "within the broader unmanned aircraft portfolio and included an assessment of the platform's performance, capability, survivability and basing."

The official argues that the UCLASS requirements were not simply reduced. "The requirements were shifted for UCLASS by actually increasing them in some areas and decreasing them in others to get a different mix. Everyone seems to be in agreement with the direction the programme is heading, which should put an affordable, capable platform on carrier flight decks that will expand the navy's ability to project power within the full joint portfolio of unmanned systems."...

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... on-389375/

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Unread postPosted: 14 Aug 2013, 06:25
by spazsinbad
Interesting article about one former NavAver (now working for Grumman) [NOT USN now] ideas about how the USN should proceed with 'piloting' UAVs. Not all the article quoted so best read it all at source - and only USN philosophy excerpted rather than 'former NavAver' ideas.

AUVSI 2013: Who Should Operate the Navy’s Unmanned Aircraft? USNI News Editor 13 Aug 2013
"As the Navy prepares to train operators for the bevy of planned unmanned aerial the service should consider creating an officer class specific to the unmanned aerial systems (UAS), said an analyst with Northrop Grumman at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday....

...The Navy is still developing the career path for UAS operators and still hasn’t determined if enlisted or officers should operate the major UAS in the service’s pipeline.

However, the Navy has expressed an interest in creating a common control system for its unmanned aerial vehicles that look closer to a mouse and keyboard setup rather than the simulated cockpits used by the Air Force.

The Navy’s UAS differs from Air Force systems in their command and control philosophy. The Navy relies on a greater degree of autonomy with its UAS while the Air Force has their aircraft under direct control.

Capt. Jamie Engdahl, Naval Air Systems Command Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program manager, said UCAS-D’s control scheme could echo the future of the Navy’s efforts in a conference call with reporters in May.

“It is an autonomous vehicle,” Engdahl said. “It will be under direct control by the mission operator but there’s no stick or throttle or break pedal inside the mission operator station… You have a man in the loop who can direct the airplane and that can tell it what to do but the execution is on the air vehicle.”"

http://news.usni.org/2013/08/13/auvsi-2 ... d-aircraft

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Unread postPosted: 14 Aug 2013, 21:26
by spazsinbad
Adm. Winter: X-47 Aborted Bush Carrier Landing Not A Problem 14 Aug 2013 Colin Clark
"AUVSI: The Navy’s experimental carrier stealth drone, the X-47B, would have made a third landing on the USS George H.W. Bush last month but for the fact the plane knew it was doing a test and decided to waive[sic] itself off, Adm. Mathias Winter said here this morning.

Think about that. This is a plane that essentially flies itself and made a decision based on its mission requirements and the state of its instruments and redirected itself to its base, just as a pilot might have — if he was prudent enough.

Winter told me the Navy had found no systemic problem with the aircraft and is still examining the faulty circuit board that was removed from the plane after it landed at Patuxent River, where it is based. But he made clear Northrop Grumman’s X-47B would have landed on the carrier if it had not been engaged in a test flight.

“Absolutely. If it had not been a test environment it would have landed,” he said. The plane’s backup systems were operating normally and the plane could have made a safe landing on the carrier, he said.

In terms of the X-47B’s operational successor, now known as UCLASS, Winter said the Navy is ”in the process of preparing” a draft RFP that will be released in September, followed by an industry day in October. Then the Navy should issue a full RFP in the second quarter of fiscal 2014. However, this RFP is not for the full system. It is only for the aircraft. The aircraft contract should be issued in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

One interesting facet to this competition. The Navy is the lead system integrator for all control systems and software, Winter noted. But the companies likely to bid – Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop — will still design and provide the software that flies each aircraft and provide weapons software."

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/08/14/a ... a-problem/

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Unread postPosted: 14 Aug 2013, 22:05
by sprstdlyscottsmn
I love the progress this plane has made.

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Unread postPosted: 15 Aug 2013, 04:11
by spazsinbad
Us Navy Moves Ahead To Develop Unmanned Carrier Aircraft 14 Aug 2013 CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS
"WASHINGTON — As expected, the US Navy has awarded four development contracts to develop designs to compete for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) Air Vehicle.

The contracts — each for $15 million — went to the Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo.; General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Poway, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Corp., Palmdale, Calif.; and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., El Segundo, Calif.

According to the contract announcements, the preliminary design review assessment is to support UCLASS, a system “to enhance aircraft carrier/air wing operations by providing a responsive, world-wide presence via an organic, sea-based unmanned aerial system, with persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting, and strike capabilities.”

A presolicitation for the Aug. 14 awards was announced on March 26, with a request for proposals being issued on June 10.

Officials for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) have said a competition for a final airframe design is expected to begin sometime after January.

The UCLASS is to be an operational, jet-powered aircraft, able to carry out persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and engage in strike missions at ranges up to 2,000 nautical miles....

...“Upon further review of the successful UCAS-D demonstration efforts, the Navy has decided to postpone the retirement of the X-47B system as it assesses potential opportunities for further land- and sea-based testing and verification efforts,” NAVAIR said in a statement.

“These efforts would focus on continuing risk reduction for the follow-on UCLASS program, developing unmanned aircraft carrier fleet concept of operations and assessing potential incorporation of the X-47B system into the NAVAIR research and development infrastructure.”

Navy aviation officials are planning for the UCLASS to become operational with the fleet by 2020.
"

http://www.defensenews.com/article/2013 ... /308140022

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Unread postPosted: 15 Aug 2013, 10:05
by lookieloo
...And there's the official starting gun... 7 years to IOC. Can hardly wait to see how long the DOT&E manages to drag this one out.

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Unread postPosted: 16 Aug 2013, 21:10
by f-22lm
Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems have each received a $15 million fixed-price contract for a preliminary design review (PDR) assessment for the US Navy's Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike aircraft.

The service is expected to release a draft request for proposal (RFP) in September, according to Rear Adm Mat Winter, the Naval Air Systems Command programme manager for unmanned aircraft, speaking at the AUVSI show in Washington DC on 14 August.

An industry day will be held in October where companies will be able to give the navy their feedback on the draft requirement. A final RFP will be released in the second quarter of 2014.

Once the navy receives the proposals from potential contractors, it hopes to select an "air vehicle segment" by the first quarter of 2015, Winter says.

Once the contractor is selected, it will take between three and six years to get the UCLASS to early operational capability.

Exactly how long it will take depends on the particular contractor proposal and exactly how mature the proposed aircraft design is, Winter adds.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ts-389561/

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Unread postPosted: 16 Aug 2013, 21:58
by spazsinbad
U.S. Navy Aims For Carrier-Based UCAV in 2018 16 Aug 2013 Bill Carey, AIN Defense Perspective
"The U.S. Navy says that the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike system (UClass) could be operational as early as Fiscal Year 2018. On August 14, the Department of Defense announced the award of $15 million contracts to Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for preliminary design reviews (PDR) of the UClass air vehicle. A draft request for proposals (RFP) will be issued next month. A final RFP will follow early next year, leading to contract award by the end of next year.

At the Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C. this week, Rear Adm. Mathias Winter, the Navy’s program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, listed these milestones for what he described as a “traditional yet accelerated source selection process” for the UClass program. The four OEMs are pursuing the air vehicle requirement with varying unmanned designs. The quantity of vehicles the Navy will procure will depend on the capabilities of the chosen aircraft. The command and control and carrier segments of the program will be developed separately.

“I’m not buying aircraft; I’m buying systems,” Winter said. “My requirement from the CNO [Chief of Naval Operations] is to provide a varying spectrum of 24/7-capable orbits from an aircraft carrier.... What we’re going forward with in budget documents is the number of orbits we will procure.” Added Charlie Nava, UClass program manager with the Naval Air Systems Command: “The PDRs are intended to inform the Navy of technical risk, cost and design maturity of the air segment, and allow the industry teams to better understand the program’s requirements across the entire UClass system,”

Knowledge gained from developing the command and control and “carrier digitization” components of the Northrop Grumman X-47B demonstration will be applied to the UClass program, Winter said. The Navy accomplished the first carrier launch of the X-47B from the USS George H.W. Bush on May 14, and the first arrested landing on July 10. The tailless, fighter-sized aircraft performed two arrested landings on the carrier; on its third attempt, the aircraft was diverted to the NASA space launch facility at Wallops Island, Virginia, when a navigation error was detected.

“On the third attempt, we were four miles out,” Winter said. “Our system identified a degrading navigation computer, one of three [navigation computers]. The voting algorithm said, ‘We now have a degraded navigation solution’ and notified the mission operator.... There was no physics-based reason why we couldn’t have continued with that air vehicle and do that third trap. But we’re in an ‘X’ test environment, and so we took it back to the beach.”"

http://ainonline.com/aviation-news/ain- ... -ucav-2018

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Unread postPosted: 17 Aug 2013, 03:23
by spazsinbad
Long splooge about whys and wherefores for follow on to X-47B specs here: (short answer - tight budget and get it done)

AUVSI 2013: UCLASS Requirements Modified Due to Budget Pressure 14 Aug 2013 USNI News Editor
"The reduction in strike capability of the Navy’s next generation carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle was born of fiscal realities, said Dyke Weatherington, the Pentagon’s director of unmanned warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Initial requirements for the aircraft indicated a more robust strike capability, but a set of revised parameters paint the picture of a platform that places more emphasis on providing a carrier strike group (CSG) with aerial ISR after the air wing stops operations....

http://news.usni.org/2013/08/14/auvsi-2 ... t-pressure
&
JROC Revises UCLASS Requirements, Calls For Relook Of Analysis Of Alternatives 26 Mar 2013
"...The intent of the December JROC guidance, according to Winnefeld, "is to establish a stable requirement for an affordable, adaptable platform that supports missions ranging from permissive counter-terrorism operations, to missions in the low-end contested environments, to providing enabling capabilities for high-end denied operations, as well as supporting organic naval missions."

The JROC directed the Navy to provide UCLASS capabilities to at least one carrier wing "within total program budget within three to six years." The council also set out "a goal of providing UCLASS capability to four or more" carrier air wings within the same time and budget constraints, according to the memo.

"The JROC envisions the UCLASS program setting a benchmark for timely, affordable fielding of a versatile platform enabled by a streamlined acquisition process, requirements discipline, modest performance requirements, use of proven technology and payload agility," the memo states.

The December memo sets persistence as a key UCLASS attribute, calling for each deployed system to be able to operate from a single aircraft carrier strike group in three ways. First, to provide two unrefueled orbits -- defined as "24/7 constant coverage" at 600 nautical miles; second, the ability to surge for one unrefueled orbit at 1,200 nautical miles; and third, the ability to fly out and back 2,000 nautical miles without being refueled to execute a strike mission, according to the memo...."

http://insidedefense.com/index.php?opti ... kwLmh0bWw=

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Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2013, 21:10
by spazsinbad
Story about the future of USN 'drones' (yes virginia weez are not supposed to use that word) highlighting autonomous nature of them Tritons (and X-47Bs (compared to the others).

The future of Navy spy tech 19 Aug 2013 By Clay Dillow
"A surveillance drone that covers 2 million square miles at a time means that around-the-clock maritime surveillance isn't far off....

...the Navy's MQ-4C Triton completed its fourth successful test flight earlier this week. Autonomous aircraft plying the skies over the world's oceans are closer than many might think.

The differences between the Navy's long-term plan to field semi-stealthy combat drones and its far more immediate initiative to field a persistent reconnaissance capability over the world's oceans are myriad, but the reason they're worth mentioning in the same sentence is that both platforms demonstrate the absolutely massive impact that autonomous flight will have on civilian and military aviation in the years ahead....

...Once fully fielded in 2017, the idea is that the Navy's Tritons will always be in the sky, observing and tracking every military and civilian vessel within 2,000 nautical miles of each aircraft -- or across 2 million nautical square miles per each 24-hour flight.

If the Triton aircraft looks familiar, it should. The MQ-4C is built on the back of Northrop Grumman's (NOC) RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft that is used by everyone from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy to NASA for various surveillance and data collection tasks. (NASA uses them to track hurricanes over the Atlantic.) But the Triton is distinctly different from its predecessors, optimized for long-endurance flights in maritime environments via a strengthened airframe and a novel de-icing system that allows it to rapidly ascend and descend from high altitude. Critically, the MQ-4C will also operate autonomously, piloting itself along a route chosen by its mission handlers and notifying them when its sensor suite detects something interesting, cutting down on the number of personnel needed to operate the platform and the complexity of operations....

...For its $13 billion, the Navy believes Triton will be able to operate at lower cost in the future, as it will gather more and better intelligence at a lower cost per flight hour than manned aircraft. It will so with fewer operators on the ground than many other unmanned platforms require. Moreover, Triton is designed to eventually interface with the P-8 Poseidon, the manned maritime reconnaissance and strike aircraft that will replace the Navy's current fleet of P-3 Orion recon aircraft. Eventually, Capt. Hoke says, the Titan[sic] [I guess TRITON is meant] will be operated by crews aboard the P-8s, moving naval aviation operations toward a future in which unmanned aerial vehicles and manned aircraft interface to work together seamlessly in-theater...."

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/08/19/ ... technology

Best to read entire article at source.

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Unread postPosted: 19 Aug 2013, 22:10
by spazsinbad
Lotsa US Mil Jargon has me puzzled and I thought that 'orbit' would eventually be revealed as indicated below....

We Now Know EXACTLY How Much a$$ the Navy’s New Killer Drone Will Kick 05 Jul 2013 David Axe
"1,000 pounds over 2,000 miles, is how much...

...thanks to an internal Navy document obtained by the U.S. Naval Institute’s news blog. The requirements document lays out what are called “key performance parameters” that the UCLASS drone is supposed to meet.

For starters, UCLASS will be deployed aboard the Navy’s flattops in groups called “orbits.” By Air Force standards, a drone orbit includes three or four aircraft plus the control station and 100 or more human operators. The Navy expects each orbit to cost $150 million, according to the leaked document.

That works out to between $37 million and $50 million per drone — slightly less than the Navy’s current F/A-18E/F Super Hornet manned fighter and cheaper by far than the $200-million F-35C Joint Strike Fighter still in development for the sailing branch.

The new killer drone must be able to fly 2,000 miles without in-air refueling in a “lightly contested” environment — that is, against modest enemy defenses — and destroy a target on land or sea using two 500-pound GPS-guided bombs.

By comparison, the Super Hornet can carry 4,000 pounds worth of bombs plus self-defense missiles only 500 miles without refueling, but is able to fight its way through heavily contested air space. The F-35C also carries two tons of weapons plus missiles but can fly 600 miles on internal fuel and through heavy defenses.

In short, the UCLASS will more than triple the striking range of the carrier more cheaply than current planes — although with fewer bombs and with less ability to survive against a determined foe.

Plus the new killer drone will be designed to loiter, in contrast to manned planes whose pilots wear out after only a few hours’ flying. UCLASS will be able to throttle back and slowly orbit at altitude, keeping watch for enemy forces for at least 12 hours at a time before refueling either back at the ship or from an aerial tanker.

The Maryland-based USNI’s summary of the leaked document implies that a single orbit of three to four UCLASS robots will be able to keep one drone on station 1,200 miles from the carrier, or two at 600 miles. The extra two or three aircraft will presumably be in maintenance or going to or from the patrol station...."

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/85b3bdabf14b

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Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2013, 03:58
by neurotech
I know this point comes up time and time again.
That works out to between $37 million and $50 million per drone — slightly less than the Navy’s current F/A-18E/F Super Hornet manned fighter and cheaper by far than the $200-million F-35C Joint Strike Fighter still in development for the sailing branch.
If $50m is "slightly less" than a F/A-18F, a F-35C is about $120m (FRP) not $200m when unit costs are compared. Consider a fully kitted out EA-18G isn't exactly a cheap aircraft, maybe Axe should recommend the Navy buy $120m F-22s from 2005 :D

The RQ-4s don't cost $50m each, when delivered with ground stations etc. I actually suspect the MQ-4Cs will end up costing just as much as a FY2014 WSUC F/A-18F Block II jet, if not more.

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Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2013, 04:26
by spazsinbad
'neurotech' there is 'the side' that goes for the wayout figures for sure. Axe would be one of 'em. Ain't gonna change anytime soon. Still it is good to be reminded of a fair comparison (whatever that is at the time and not old figures trotted out endlessly as though nothing changes).

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Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2013, 05:48
by neurotech
Theres only two times the real cost a jet is confirmed:
When a customer(DoD etc) orders them and writes a check (cheque?)

...and.. in a mishap report after a very expensive jet becomes a smoking hole in the ground. This is an example from last year.
The aircraft involved in the mishap was procured by the Air Force in fiscal year 2011 for $45.9M. In summer 2011, the Air Force transferred this asset at no cost to the Navy as the service was phasing out its RQ-4A Global Hawk Block 10 aircraft.

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Unread postPosted: 20 Aug 2013, 20:37
by spazsinbad
More on this 'orbit' thingo - who knew....

The Navy's MQ-4C Triton By Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) - July-September 2012
"The MQ-4C “Triton” BAMS UAS will provide persistent maritime and littoral intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data collection and dissemination capability to fleet and combatant commanders.

The MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is a key component of the Navy’s future Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. Its persistent sensor dwell, combined with networked sensors, will enable it to effectively meet ISR requirements in support of the Navy’s Maritime Strategy. The MQ-4C BAMS UAS will support a wide range of military operations such as maritime surveillance, intelligence preparation of the operational environment, battle damage assessment, and targeting for maritime and littoral strike. The processing, exploitation and dissemination architecture will allow tactical level data analysis in real-time at shore-based mission control sites connected to the aircraft, as well as additional intelligence exploitation conducted at shore-based analysis sites, aircraft carriers and other ships in the sea base. The MQ-4C BAMS UAS will enhance battlespace awareness, shortening the sensor-to-shooter kill chain for joint forces and fleet commanders.

A single MQ-4C BAMS UAS orbit consists of four aircraft, a Mission Control System (with an embedded Mission System Trainer), Launch and Recovery Element and associated communication and maintenance support equipment. The aircraft will launch from OCONUS and CONUS Forward Operating Bases (FOB) and mission control will be executed from CONUS-based Main Operating Bases (MOB) once airborne. BAMS will provide near worldwide coverage through a network of airborne orbits operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week...."

http://www.doncio.navy.mil/CHIPS/Articl ... px?id=4043

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Unread postPosted: 21 Aug 2013, 21:57
by f-22lm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC8U5_4 ... ata_player

Just a recap and a few new footage of the X-47b.

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Unread postPosted: 21 Aug 2013, 22:33
by spazsinbad
'f-22lm' Thanks - lots of new video bits I have not seen in this pro edited video including shots of the personnel inside the steel making it all work.

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Unread postPosted: 30 Aug 2013, 07:17
by spazsinbad
Long Post best read at source - only one illustration shown below:

Pentagon Altered UCLASS Requirements for Counterterrorism Mission 29 Aug 2013 USNI News Editor

http://news.usni.org/2013/08/29/pentago ... sm-mission

http://i0.wp.com/news.usni.org/wp-conte ... .22-PM.png

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Unread postPosted: 01 Sep 2013, 02:34
by F16VIPER
Pretty disappointing to see that the such a potentially brilliant weapons system (a production version of the X-47B) appears to be setup for failure.
I still think this would had been the 21 century version of the A-12.

http://flightglobal.rbiblogs.co.uk/flig ... r-suicide/

Extreme range stand-off capability was considered a vital attribute of the system because enemy anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles are posing an ever-increasing threat to carriers.

If the programme is not being created simply to fail, then its limited operational abilities – the short range, the low payload, the lack of stealth – all appear to point towards an aircraft that has been designed by committee. As it stands, the navy appears to be acquiring little more than an off-white elephant.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... xe-389305/

"The less-survivable, less-endurance approach, although cheaper, is, to me, not transformational," says retired chief of naval operations Adm Gary Roughead. "With the UCAS [Unmanned Combat Air System] you really do have a transformational weapon system."

The original UCAS concept - championed by Roughead and former under-secretary of the navy Robert Work - called for a very stealthy, carrier-based, long-range bomber with a hefty payload that could be refuelled in-flight.

"The idea [of] a long-dwell, long-range, refuellable, survivable UAV coming off a carrier was extremely important," Roughead says.

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Unread postPosted: 01 Sep 2013, 03:11
by lookieloo
So much hipster sniveling about their favorite RC toy. The USN/DoD took a step back and had a hard look at what drones can actually do and their loss-rates. Conclusion? While the basic technology is well-worth developing (shouldn't be totally dependent on land-bases for MALE ops), investing big money in big platforms that are likely crash with alarming frequency isn't very smart. Even with the reduced requirements, the USN is still looking at a unit-cost of ~$150 million. God only knows what the price would have been otherwise, and to assume such a monster would be ready by 2018 was utterly laughable.

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Unread postPosted: 01 Sep 2013, 03:16
by count_to_10
If I had to guess, I would say that the reduction in requirements is probably part of the "payloads over platforms" idea. Area denial is probably going to be more challenging than previously predicted, particularly with respect to unmanned platforms, but the navy still needs a persistent ISR asset at a reasonable price.

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Unread postPosted: 01 Sep 2013, 19:59
by FlightDreamz
That would seem to favor the Sea Avenger see http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... ke-341500/ over the Northrop Grumman X-47B if the Navy is leaning towards the counter terrorism mission to me.

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Unread postPosted: 05 Sep 2013, 01:42
by spazsinbad
Navy On Track For UCLASS Program Draft Request In September 30 Aug 2013 Olga Belogolova
"The Navy is on track to release a draft request for proposals for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program this month, with an industry day expected in October and a final RFP release in fiscal year 2014, according to Charlie Nava, UCLASS program manager at Naval Air Systems Command.

Last month, the Pentagon announced $15 million "preliminary design review assessment" contract awards to Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Atomics for the Navy's UCLASS....

..."I want to stress that there's two other parts of the program, the [aircraft carrier] piece and the mission connectivity, where the Navy organically is developing changes to the carrier, changes to our connectivity pieces to ensure that as a system -- because UCLASS is a system, it's not just an air vehicle -- that all those pieces work together," he told ITN. "Since 2011, when we started, we are actually endeavoring to change program of records to ensure that when the air vehicle shows up, that all the other pieces are ready to go."

Part of this integration will include the common control system for the Navy's unmanned aerial vehicles, an effort largely focused on the UCLASS program, as the Navy has said it would be the lead platform for this system.

"We will integrate what's called the common control system as part of our control station. It will become the software that we use that allows for what is best akin to the services that you get on your iPhone or Android phone so we can continue to enhance and get more capability to the system, but once we have that baseline software installed on the control station," Nava explained....

...The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) late last year revised earlier guidance to the Navy for the UCLASS capability, initially issued in 2011, calling for a focus on developing an "orbit" concept of operations and directing the Navy to "complete an update of the analysis of alternatives" by March 31 that reflects those changes. The original UCLASS initial capability document was approved in June 2011, and "change 1" was approved this April...."

http://insidedefense.com/Inside-the-Nav ... september/

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Unread postPosted: 07 Sep 2013, 11:52
by lookieloo
More hipster crying: Check out the wording on this one... almost as if Axe has gone on the march for UCAV civil rights. :lmao:

A Couple Nerds Are Trying to Save the Navy’s Killer Drones
https://medium.com/war-is-boring/e87e38618188

Odd how these guys harp on F-35 issues, yet are ready to take any risks when it comes to a new drone.

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Unread postPosted: 09 Sep 2013, 08:23
by spazsinbad
Navy Plans for Poseidon Crew Control of Triton UAV 13 Aug 2013 RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
"WASHINGTON – The Navy is planning toward a future capability of a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft crew exercising in-flight control of an MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The P-8 and MQ-4C “are going to be sharing real-time information back and forth, and when you get into the later generations of P-8 capability and Triton capability, we’re actually going to get to a point where crews on [the] P-8 will operate, fly, [and] handle the sensors on Triton,” said Capt. James Hoke, the Navy’s Triton program manager, in an Aug. 13 briefing to reporters at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Unmanned Systems 2013 conference.

Hoke said the P-8A and the MQ-4C represent the first time in naval aviation history that a manned platform — the P-3 Orion — is being replaced by a manned and an unmanned aircraft combination.

The Navy expects to fly the first Triton from Palmdale, Calif., to Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., in March, for the remainder of its test program. Operational assessment is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014. Initial operational capability is scheduled for 2017.

The Navy’s first Triton squadron, Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 (VUP-19), will stand up at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., in late 2014, Hoke said. The squadron eventually will operate three of the five Triton orbits worldwide. VUP-19 will be manned by 520 Sailors, many of whom will staff rotational detachments at forward operating bases. A second squadron, VUP-11, will stand up a year later.

In March, the Navy completed construction of a hangar for the Triton test fleet at NAS Patuxent River, the first Navy hangar constructed from the ground up for a UAV. The Navy also has begun construction of a Triton mission control center at NAS Jacksonville, scheduled for completion in 2014.

Hoke said that on Aug. 1, the U.S. and Australian governments signed an agreement to begin planning for Australian acquisition of the Triton."

http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/201 ... riton.html

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Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2013, 00:07
by spazsinbad
How to Make Your Learjet Go Farther 11 Sep 2013 Graham Warwick
"Add an in-flight refueling probe. Sadly, this is just an inert probe, fitted to a Calspan Aerospace-operated Learjet acting as a surrogate for a US Navy unmanned combat aircraft to demonstrate autonomous aerial refueling.

The flight tests were completed on September 6 in Niagara Falls as part of the Navy's unmanned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D) program. UCAS-D includes a pair of Northrop Grumman X-47B demonstrators, one of which made the first unmanned carrier take-offs and landings earlier this year.

For the latest tests, the inert probe and X-47B command, control and navigation hardware and software were installed on Calpan's Learjet in-flight simulator, which then flew autonomously behind an Omega K-707 tanker trailing a refueling drogue. Dry plug-ins are planned for later this year, again using the Learjet."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... 4830cf94dd

Photo: CTSi, via Navair: http://sitelife.aviationweek.com/ver1.0 ... c.Full.jpg

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Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2013, 10:17
by neurotech
I haven't seen any photos of a Navy P-8 refueling from a boom equipped tanker, although they could probably qualify a "civilian" Boeing BBJ for tanker refueling if the Learjet can't make the distance.

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Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2013, 10:29
by spazsinbad
Another refueller story with a good photo:

NAVAIR Flight Tests Autonomous Aerial Refueling 11 Sep 2013 Woodrow Bellamy III
"The Navy is continuing the development of its Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program, recently completing another phase of its Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) tests with an optionally piloted Learjet.

On Sept. 6, in Niagra Falls, N.Y., Northrop Grumman assisted the Navy with AAR test flight using a Calspan Learjet equipped with navigation and vision processor software from the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft. The Calspan Learjet was used as a "surrogate" aircraft, and flew autonomously with a pilot onboard, behind an Omega K-707 aerial refueling tanker equipped with a refueling interface system and tanker operator station.

“The AAR segment of the UCAS-D program is intended to demonstrate technologies, representative systems, and procedures that will enable unmanned systems to safely approach and maneuver around tanker aircraft. We are demonstrating both Navy and Air Force style refueling techniques,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy Unmanned Combat Air System program manager.

NAVAIR is using the AAR test flights to assess the capabilities of X-47B AAR navigation systems, for possible future use aboard aircraft carriers. Engdahl said the test flights are proving that the concept of of the distributed control of UAS systems launched from aircraft carriers can be transferred to the airborne refueling environment.

The government-industry team used the systems architecture for the AAR test flights that it did for its carrier launched X-47B trials earlier this summer.

“By demonstrating that we can add an automated aerial refueling capability to unmanned or optionally manned aircraft, we can significantly increase their range, persistence and flexibility,” said Engdahl. “This is a game-changer for unmanned carrier aviation.”

Later this fall the Navy will resume aerial refueling testing using a completely autonomous setup."

http://www.aviationtoday.com/av/topstor ... 80124.html

http://www.aviationtoday.com/Assets/Ima ... earjet.jpg

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Unread postPosted: 27 Sep 2013, 10:18
by spazsinbad
GAO cites concerns on Navy unmanned aircraft program 26 Sep 2013 Hugh Lessig
"A government watchdog report issued Thursday calls for greater congressional oversight of the Navy's carrier-based unmanned aircraft program, and cites other "programmatic risks" related to the budget and schedule.

The Navy is pursuing the program in a way that will limit the ability of Congress to hold it accountable for meeting goals on cost, schedule and performance, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said....

...In fiscal year 2014, the Navy plans to commit $3.7 billion to develop, build and field anywhere from six to 24 aircraft as an initial complement in UCLASS. However, it does not plan to initiate a key review of the program until 2020, when UCLASS has been fielded.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel should direct the Navy to hold the review in fiscal year 2015, GAO says, because that will trigger key oversight measures.

The Navy is sticking by its approach. It sees UCLASS as a technology development program. Instead of starting a formal review early on, it plans to take advantage of Defense Department flexibility to gather data so the program is ultimately successful. The Navy says its approach conforms to requirements set forth in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

However, GAO says the Navy's early work goes "well beyond technology development... and thus warrants oversight commensurate with a major weapon system development program."..."

http://www.dailypress.com/news/military ... 0831.story

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Unread postPosted: 12 Oct 2013, 21:20
by spazsinbad
For some reason there is a 'long running script' on this page? Anyhoo further to the various discussions about catapulting on this thread (one example on page 28] here is a great SLOW MOTION Video of A4G catapult shots (I think made to show how the new strop/bridle catcher worked) aboard HMAS Melbourne. The strop retrievers are keen eh. :D

SLOW MOTION Catapults A4Gs 886 & 889

http://youtu.be/i2UbG7aWrHc

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Unread postPosted: 13 Oct 2013, 20:13
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:GAO cites concerns on Navy unmanned aircraft program 26 Sep 2013 Hugh Lessig
Well, that it for any chance of a quietly-punctual, cost-effective program. Every petty bureaucrat for every monitoring agency in Washington will now want a say in this project and massive resources must now be diverted to at least keeping them all sanguine.

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Unread postPosted: 11 Nov 2013, 13:37
by spazsinbad
Photo: X-47B lands on USS Theodore Roosevelt
"USS Theodore Roosevelt became the third aircraft carrier to trap and launch the X-47B on Nov. 10."

http://alert5.com/wp-content/uploads/20 ... ee1_o1.jpg

Unread postPosted: 11 Nov 2013, 17:42
by maus92
Navy Tests X-47B on Another Carrier
by KRIS OSBORN / DefenceTech

"The U.S. Navy is increasing the rigor of its Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator aircraft by conducting flight exercises and take-off-and-landing drills aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, service officials said...."

"As opposed to the initial flights this past summer which first demonstrated take-off and landing ability for the UCAS, these technical risk tests are designed to assess the air vehicle’s performance and technological integration in more difficult sea conditions, Winter added...."

"The main goal of this phase of testing is to obtain navigation and air system performance data in more stressful conditions than were experienced previously, according to Capt. Beau Duarte, who manages the Unmanned Carrier Aviation Program Office.
“We’re going to be looking at higher winds and winds of varying directions that will create more dynamic conditions and tower interactions with the carrier,” he said. “This will be a little more stressful on the navigation system and the air data system in the vehicle.”
Duarte said the assessments are also looking at touch-down and landing points of the air vehicle in relation to planned touch-down point in the landing area right in front of the wires..."


Read more: http://defensetech.org/2013/11/11/navy- ... z2kM8Tiqt7
Defense.org

Unread postPosted: 11 Nov 2013, 22:10
by spazsinbad
An old arresting photo from the May? 2013 Bush Arrests (that is the date on the photo page - Shirley not correct as it was 10 Jul 2013).

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo ... 392536.htm
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo ... 36_11n.jpg USS BUSH X-47B hand signal Arrest on 10 Jul 2013

NOW 2 pic from current ROOSEVELT testing:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo ... 878633.htm
http://news.xinhuanet.com/photo/2013-11 ... 2_341n.jpg 3rd cat X-47B 09 Nov 2013

Notable lack of 'goofers/lollygaggers/spectators' on this ROOSEVELT arrest:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo ... 8633_4.htm
http://news.xinhuanet.com/photo/2013-11 ... 32_71n.jpg TR about Arrest 09 Nov 2013

Unread postPosted: 11 Nov 2013, 22:31
by spazsinbad
Pilotless Aircraft Performs US Carrier 'Touch & Go' Landings
"The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) has conducted flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The aircraft performed precise touch and go maneuvers on the ship and In addition took part in flight deck handling drills, completed arrested landings and catapult launches.

Mission operators monitored the aircraft's autonomous flight from a portable command and control unit from Theodore Roosevelt's flight deck during each of its 45-minute flights.

"It is a tremendous opportunity for the 'Big Stick' to be a part of the development and testing of the future of Naval Aviation," said Capt. Daniel Grieco, Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer. The UCAS is an impressive system that gives us all a glimpse into the support and strike capabilities we can expect to join the fleet in the years to come. The tactical and support possibilities for such platforms are endless, and I know the crew of TR are proud to be able to be a part of that development."

Carrier-based tests of the X-47B began in December 2012 with flight deck operations aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Carrier testing resumed in May 2013 aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), where the X-47B completed its first carrier-based catapult launch, followed by its first carrier-based arrested landing in July 2013."

http://maritimeglobalnews.com/news/pilo ... ier-ar26a1

Unread postPosted: 12 Nov 2013, 00:07
by neptune
http://news.usni.org/2013/11/11/navy-re ... er-testing

Navy Restarts X-47B Carrier Testing

By: Dave Majumdar
Monday, November 11, 2013

The U.S. Navy has a begun a second set of sea-trials for its Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator (UCAS-D) aircraft onboard the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) about 60 nautical miles off the Virginia coast.

USNI News was onboard the carrier to observe testing on Sunday.

The day was off to an inauspicious start when aircraft — Salty Dog 502 — suffered from a communications malfunction during what was supposed to be its first test sortie of the day. The malfunction, the cause of which must still be determined, prevented the controllers from advancing the aircraft’s engine throttle settings past idle.

“What is important here is to understand that an X-aircraft is an experimental aircraft,” said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVSEA) program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons. Glitches are all but unavoidable with developmental systems.

However, after about two hours, the NAVSEA and Northrop testers decided to try again—this time successfully launching the X-47B from the Roosevelt’s port catapult at around 3 p.m.

As a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet chase aircraft roared overhead, the unmanned aircraft climbed to 1000ft above the sea, making a left-turn about four to five miles upwind of the ship to enter the carrier’s traffic pattern. Effectively flying in large oval pattern, the X-47B then came around for a “wave-off” overflying the ship. Later during the same sortie, it made a successful trap onboard the ship at 3:46.

The X-47B had a better day on Nov. 9, when it made two wave-offs, two traps and six “touch-and-go” landings onboard the carrier, Winter said.

In any case, NAVAIR has 11 days at sea during this period onboard the Roosevelt, Winter said. While Nov. 11 is a non-flying day, the rest of the week is open for further testing.

“The priority goal of this period is to obtain both navigation and air system performance data in more stressing conditions than were experienced in the last AIRDET on the George Bush last summer,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, Naval Air Systems Command’s program manager for Unmanned Carrier Aviation program during a press conference on Nov. 7.

One of the changes from the previous set of tests is that it will not just be the flight deck crew and landing signals officers who will be able to command the X-47B via digital messages, the carrier’s tower will also be able to use digital signals to wave-off the unmanned aircraft. Duarte said that the capability has always been resident in the X-4B’s software, but was not used previously. Other changes to the aircraft are various minor software tweaks, he added.

Wind speeds—between 28 and 36 knots — were higher than on the original July 10 tests where the X-47B made the two first-ever successful arrested landings onboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). Additionally, the winds were varied along the ship’s axial line, Duarte said. Particular attention is being paid to how the X-47 deals with winds have interacted with the carrier’s island superstructure—known in naval parlance as a burble. “We’re very interested in the touchdown landing points of the vehicle compared to the planned touchdown points,” he said.

The (UCAS-D) unmanned carriers program is designed to explore the feasibility of operating an unmanned aircraft in the harsh carrier environment as a risk reduction effort for the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) effort.

“Our focus through the next Fiscal Year 2014 is to continue to operate the X-47 focused on that technical risk reduction and maturation of technologies and exploration of CONOP [concept of operations]—understanding how our sailors are going to use this,” Winter said.

There is funding in the fiscal year 2014 budget to keep the carrier digitization and X-47B control hardware installed onboard the Roosevelt active for the duration of the fiscal year, Winter said. That would allow the Navy to take advantage of any further availabilities the Roosevelt might have later in the year. “That will all be driven by the availability of that aircraft carrier, which has a lot of other demands outside of the test domain,” Winter said. “So we have the resources to do this again if it’s available.”

Winter said that the Navy would probably undertake no more than two further carrier trials for the X-47B this fiscal year. Overall the Navy has allocated about $20 to 25 million to keep X-47 operations funded this year. NAVAIR is working with the service’s leadership to identify further “funding opportunities” for the remainder of the fiscal year—but nothing is definite just yet. The service will have to make a decision in the summer of 2014 as to whether the X-47B will continue to fly in fiscal year 2015.

Originally, the Navy had intended to retire the two X-47B demonstrators after the July 10 carrier landings, however after an outcry from many on Capitol Hill and within the defense community, the service has changed course. “There was an appreciation for the continued value in technical terms, in CONOPS maturity terms, to keep utilizing the X-47 on how we go forward,” Winter said. “What we have is an opportunity to tackle some of the technology concerns for our UCLASS program of record.”

Those technology concerns are not on the air vehicle itself, but rather the digitization of the carrier and the technical specifications of the control systems—the network, algorithms, hardware and software that actually operate the entire system. Winter said that the Navy also wants to learn more about how sailors will operate an unmanned vehicle at sea.

The Navy is also reconsidering its decision to not use the X-47B to test autonomous aerial refueling capability. “That is an objective,” Duarte said. “We are working within our funding possibilities that we are identifying for the remainder of this year and for the future to see if there is the resources to support achieving those objectives with the air vehicle.” The Navy had earlier decided to use a substitute business jet instead of using the X-47 for the air-to-air refueling tests—but the priority is future carrier detachment, Duarte said.

...a bit more detail. :)

Unread postPosted: 12 Nov 2013, 02:54
by spazsinbad
Dave Majumdar "...is a student of naval history...". COOL
"Caption: A X-47B ['Salty Dog 502'] lands on Nov. 10, 2013 onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). US Navy Photo"

http://i1.wp.com/news.usni.org/wp-conte ... =625%2C416

Unread postPosted: 12 Nov 2013, 20:31
by maus92
Navy Shifts Plans to Acquire a Tougher UCLASS
Dave Majumdar / USNI News

"The U.S. Navy appears to have shifted its position on the requirements for its next generation carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Navy officials told USNI News.

Instead of developing the planned Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) to only conduct operations in uncontested airspace, the service will instead pursue a design that can be adapted over time to operating against higher threat levels...."

"The Navy is open to suggestions from the four contenders on the UCLASS survivability requirements. The four potential contractors—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems—each have their own concepts on how to achieve the Navy’s “crawl, walk, run” growth path for the UCLASS low observability goals...."

"The Navy’s immediate goal is to get at least some UCLASS aircraft onto the carrier deck as soon as possible. The top level requirements call for the a UCLASS system to operate two orbits at a tactically significant distance from a carrier at 24 hours a day for seven days a week and to provide a light strike capability, Winter said. At this point, those top-level requirements are “solid”.

“The plan here is to provide an early operational capability that will be verified and validated for a light strike permissive environment,” Winter said. “What we will ensure is that the design of the system does not preclude what we call capability growth to be able to operate in contested environments.”...."

http://news.usni.org/2013/11/12/navy-sh ... her-uclass

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2013, 22:02
by spazsinbad
More about shifting requirements from Mabus: [below - somehow a double post when it was just being edited for quotes?]

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2013, 22:03
by spazsinbad
More about shifting requirements from Mabus:

Mabus: Expand Strike Missions for Carrier Drones Nov 15, 2013 Kris Osborn
"The Navy plans to add weapons and precision strike mission sets to its aircraft carrier-based drone platform -- the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike -- following support from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus....

..."[Mabus] agreed that the UCLASS program was the next major step in naval aviation and that it had to be designed and developed as a key part of a carrier wing," said Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, Mabus' spokesperson....

...The letter's [from Congressmen] position centers on the importance of establishing broad requirements so that the platform can evolve over time as technologies mature. Advocates for a wider set of mission roles for the UCLASS argued that the core ISR function will not be lessened but increased even with the focus on precision strike.

Mabus agreed with this position and wants the UCLASS platform to be able to accommodate technological change as it emerges, Lawrence explained....

...Emphasizing that unmanned systems are among Mabus' priorities, Lawrence said the secretary also agrees that the UCLASS should be an integral part of the carrier wing.

"When you put together a strike plan, your UCLASS will be discussed in the same vein that you talk about your fighter aircraft," Lawrence added."

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013 ... rones.html

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2013, 08:03
by spazsinbad
Debate Continues Over UCLASS Requirements 18 Nov 2013 Dave Majumdar
"...The debate goes deeper than merely the fate of the UCLASS program, the real battle is over the shape of the future carrier air wing and if the service will ever develop another manned fighter to replace the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. “There are huge equities involved for the aviation community,” the source said....

...The draft RFP is currently scheduled for a mid-December release with the final version anticipated for the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. A contact award is anticipated in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, while the UCLASS early operational capability date is expected somewhere between 2019 and 2021. But that would depend upon the technical maturity of the design that is ultimately selected....

...“This could include updating/refreshing the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) to determine if UCLASS would really be the best or lowest cost solution to augment carrier-based aerial refueling capabilities that are currently performed by Super Hornets,” according to an industry source.

The Navy has been contemplating using the UCLASS as an aerial refueling platform to take-over some of the tanker role from the Boeing F/A-18E/F strike fighter. The Super Hornets are wearing out much faster than anticipated due to the high stresses that are imposed on the airframe during those missions.

The industry source suggested that if the Navy were to refresh the UCLASS AOA, the Lockheed Martin S-3B Viking and Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey should be considered for the tanker role. There has already been some informal work done within the Navy on a proposal to return some retired S-3Bs to service for the aerial refueling mission."

http://news.usni.org/2013/11/18/debate- ... quirements

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2013, 04:25
by spazsinbad
Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System completes carrier tests 20 Nov 2013 PEO(U&W) Public Affairs
"NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Navy concluded another round of carrier testing Nov. 19 to further demonstrate and evaluate the X-47B unmanned air system integration within the aircraft carrier environment.

Tests aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) included deck handling, carrier approaches and landings in off-nominal wind conditions, digitized ship systems interfaces, and concept of operations development.

“The X-47 was tested in winds of higher magnitude and differing directions than seen in previous detachments,” said Program Manager for Unmanned Carrier Aviation Capt. Beau Duarte. “This resulted in more stimulus provided to the aircraft’s guidance and control algorithms and a more robust verification of its GPS autoland capability.”

This test phase, which began Nov. 9, also provided an opportunity for the second X-47B to make an appearance, marking the first time both aircraft appeared together in a carrier environment.

Over the flight test period, the X-47Bs performed 26 total deck touchdowns: 21 precise touch-and-goes and five arrested landings; as well as five catapults, five commanded and two autonomous wave-offs. While one X-47B operated in the vicinity of CVN 71, the second air vehicle conducted flight operations between ship and shore. Both X-47Bs are assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

“The Navy and industry team once again conducted productive flight operations in the CVN environment,” said Barbara Weathers, Unmanned Combat Air System deputy program manager. “The carrier systems installation and system checkouts were performed in record time, quite an amazing feat.”

The Navy will operate the X-47B throughout FY14 to conduct further land and carrier based testing to mature unmanned technologies and refine concept of operations to further inform future unmanned carrier requirements.

“The Navy is committed to developing, maturing, and fielding unmanned carrier aviation capabilities into our carrier air wings and carrier environments. This week’s successful carrier operations demonstrated the feasibility and realistic path to achieving the manned/unmanned air wing of the future,” said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO(U&W)), which oversees the UCAS program."


BIG PIC: http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 68_025.jpg (2Mb)

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 22 Nov 2013, 05:42
by spazsinbad
Missing URL for article immediately above:
http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5495

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2013, 03:46
by spazsinbad
X-47B Stealth (UCAS-D) USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) HD Published on Nov 20, 2013
"The future of Navy aviation has arrived and was aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Sailors worked alongside the most technologically advanced aircraft to take to the skies. Take a look at the historical flight of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D)"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... QNGU5Qeolg

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cQNGU5Qeolg[/youtube]

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2013, 07:48
by neurotech
Any reports of a hook-down bolter? Everything I've heard is that touchdown has been pretty much within the intended touchdown point. After all the issues with the F-35C hook, its surprising how well things have been on the boat.

Even the best carrier pilots sometimes bolter for a variety reasons, and not always from overshooting onto a pitching deck. A hook-skip can cause a bolter as well.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2013, 10:36
by spazsinbad
'neurotech' I have seen some naysayers claim 'some bolters' (I could get the quote) but not as far as I have read. The X-47B does waveoffs and [hook up] touch and goes deliberately because that is the nature of the testing. If it has actually boltered I have not seen such reports apart from aforesaid misinformation / outright ignorance. You name it and naysayers just say anything. Some just lose the plot. I would rather rely on info from good sources meself.

Already I think it was Amy Butler who outlined the accuracy of the touchdown point on one day very well. Also you would have seen the nosegear camera video (both reports/videos on this thread) for seven approaches where the X-47B was on the centreline everytime. Probably NO pilot could achieve that - with such accuracy - ever.

Just for the heck of it here is the repeated info about the approach video: [No.3 is the best - exactly on centreline]

X-47B Program Update Published on Aug 6, 2013
"The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) program demonstrated an acute level of precision and repeatability during at-sea trials this spring/summer. On May 21 2013, the nose gear of the X-47B landed on the same relative spot on the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush seven times consecutively. The success of this at-sea trial, and the proceeding shore-based arrestments were key milestones that led to the X-47B UCAS first-ever carrier arrestment on 10 July."


Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2013, 11:51
by spazsinbad
Navy Plans to Arm UCLASS with JDAMs 21 Nov 2013 Kris Osborn
"The Navy plans to load their next generation carrier drone with a wide range of weapons, including GPS-guided precision-strike air-to-ground weapons called Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, service officials said.

The Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike aircraft is being designed as a carrier-launched Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting, or IRS&T, technology, will also be designed to accomodate a next-generation Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, or AESA.

The exact weapons payload to be engineered on the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike aircraft is still a work-in-progress and something that will be influenced by the competing vendors offering designs, said Capt. Beau Duarte, program manager, unmanned carrier aviation program office.

While weaponization for the UCLASS is not planned as an immediate step, it is considered by developers to be an integral part of the platform’s future capabilities. It is expected the UCLASS will be able to draw from most of the weapons currently being used on the Navy’s carrier wings.

“Weapons requirements will be defined in the final proposals. It is up to the vendors to come back with proposals and leverage what is available,” Cmdr. Pete Yelle, UCLASS/UCAS-D requirements officer.

While adding weapons will be a significant future development for the UCLASS platform, the technology is still primarily intended as an ISR platform, Navy officials said.

“The UCLASS is primarily an ISR platform. The future strike capability is important but not the main reason for this system,” said Navy official familiar with the program.

In fact, there are fears inside the Defense Department that piling too many requirements onto the UCLASS could make the aircraft too expensive and possibly kill it.

As for the sensors, the Navy plans a wide array of intelligence-gathering capabilities for the UCLASS, he added.

The UCLASS has a threshold capability requirement for “multi-int” or multiple intelligence sensors. The UCLASS will be able to work operations over land and water using EO/IR , or electro-optical/infrared sensors, FMV or full-motion video and eventually a fifth-generation AESA radar, Yelle said.

Yelle said that the integrated suite of sensors will also have what’s called “moving target indicator” sensors able to detect threats in maritime and land environments.

“It will have a persistent strike capability. That is what we intend this to be. It is not going to replace the Joint Strike Fighter. It is going to augment and enhance the air wing,” Yelle said.

A demonstrator air vehicle engineered as a test-bed aircraft to inform the UCLASS effort called the X-47B has been undergoing technical testing aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier off the coast of Virginia. Some of the testing is intended to assess the air vehicle’s ability to land in stressful environmental conditions such as high winds.

As the first UAS of its kind to land on a carrier, the X-47B made history last summer upon first landing aboard the USS Bush. The ongoing tests are an effort to refine and improve the technology for the future UCLASS program of record.

“We’ve had great success of our evaluation of an unmanned system which is much more than just an air vehicle. The approach has been digitized and we’ve accumulated some great knowledge regarding how to take off and land consistently at the same point,” Duarte added.

The testing is in part designed to assess technical integration of the control systems, electronics on the ship, data links and connection to the air vehicle itself. This is designed to inform development of the concepts of operation, or CONOPS, for the UCLASS.

The Navy plans to release a draft request for proposal, or RFP, for UCLASS to industry next month and then formally submit a final technology-development phase RFP by the Spring of next year, Duarte said.

“We’re excited about moving forward with UCLASS with a draft request for proposal. This will get us proposals for the air vehicle. We are also developing a carrier segment and a control system and connectivity segment. This is a very complex integration challenge — to provide the capability that will revolutionize Naval warfare,” he explained.

Initial delivery of the UCLASS system, which includes the air vehicle, network and control systems, will take place three to six years after the contract award, he added.

In the meantime, the UCLASS program is making progress with preliminary design review contracts awarded this past summer; the Navy awarded four contracts valued at $15 million to Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

“The preliminary design reviews are going well. We’re half way through. The point is to inform the final proposals for the technology development phase. They will get a chance to get feedback on their designs so what they submit for their proposals will have a degree of maturity,” Duarte said.

Overall, Navy program developers and leaders are enthusiastic about the advantages they feel UCLASS will bring to the fleet.

“We really need an organic ISR&T platform inherent to the air wing. Currently that does not exist and we rely on a lot of external sources. The capability will significantly enhance and force multiply the air wing and the strike group as a whole,” said Yelle."

http://defensetech.org/2013/11/21/navy- ... ith-jdams/

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2013, 12:29
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:Navy Plans to Arm UCLASS with JDAMs 21 Nov 2013 Kris Osborn
Here's an idea for the Navy. Instead of attempting to birth UCLASS from Zeus's head fully-armed (as was once attempted with another program of note), why not plan is to accept basic ISR/light-strike capability as the threshold for IOC? That could make their 2020 goal doable while leaving them some room to breath vs the alphabet-soup of monitoring agencies looking to appear useful. Heavy weapons and aerial-refueling could come later as "bonus capabilities" for an existing system after the GAO and its ilk have lost interest and moved on to other things. Making big promises so early in the program will only invite more of the same crying over spilled-milk we've seen with the JSF when the inevitable delays and overruns happen due to an inability to control the program's ambition.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2013, 18:50
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:'neurotech' I have seen some naysayers claim 'some bolters' (I could get the quote) but not as far as I have read. The X-47B does waveoffs and [hook up] touch and goes deliberately because that is the nature of the testing. If it has actually boltered I have not seen such reports apart from aforesaid misinformation / outright ignorance. You name it and naysayers just say anything. Some just lose the plot. I would rather rely on info from good sources meself.

Already I think it was Amy Butler who outlined the accuracy of the touchdown point on one day very well. Also you would have seen the nosegear camera video (both reports/videos on this thread) for seven approaches where the X-47B was on the centreline everytime. Probably NO pilot could achieve that - with such accuracy - ever.

In windy gusting conditions, getting exactly on centerline for a manual approach is hard. Even ACLS coupled approaches sometimes deviate from centerline during gusting conditions. This round of tests was more about landing in cross-wind conditions, last time they had close to ideal deck conditions.

One inaccuracy I noticed was the Navy PAO apparently ID'd the chase jet as a F/A-18C. http://news.usni.org/2013/11/22/navy-co ... ing-system
The one shown is a F/A-18E with at least one other F/A-18F doing inflight chase/monitoring. Scuttlebutt was that one VX-23 Rhinos did bolter on a manual approach at some point. Most of the JPALS testing was done in Rhinos.

For others reference, a touch-and-go is planned whereas a bolter is intended to grab the wire but doesn't.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Nov 2013, 19:26
by spazsinbad
A touch and go has the hook UP aboard; whilst the bolter is as described by 'neurotech' an unintended "touch and go" BUT with hook down as the approach was an intended arrest (hook misses for many reasons). 'Hook Skip Bolter' (hook lands in the wires but bounces to skip over them all) - Landed beyond with wires due to bad approach (which must go very bad right near touchdown because usually an LSO will WAVE OFF a bad approach, in the Wave Off window, so that it is safe to do so). Then bad weather / deck conditions can cause bolters, similarly the LSO may anticipate a deck movement problem and wave off the aircraft before touchdown - safely. Then you have the emergency situations when the aircraft is waved off deliberately so that firstly it does not hit the ramp; but is able to clear same for a touchdown/bolter perhaps or an odd arrest; and probably will be sent home if enough fuel etc. The beat goes on.... :drool: ...all kinds of odd things can happen - in bad weather/night especially - for carrier deck landers. :oops:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Nov 2013, 00:34
by spazsinbad
New Videos: X-47B Continues Sea Trials on the USS Theodore Roosevelt 26 Nov 2013 Amy Butler
"The USS Theodore Roosevelt returned to port last week after hosting the X-47B for more at-sea trials.

The goal was to test the aircraft's interaction with the ship in off-nominal wind conditions. Nominal conditions are winds up to 25 kt. right down the runway on deck. Testers were looking for 35 kt. of relative winds and crosswinds up to 7kt.

Here are a few statistics from the tests:

26 total deck touchdowns

21 of those were touch and gos

five catapult launchs and five trap landings

five wave offs (two planned and three owing to software logic [that?] automatically conducted a wave off owing to extreme wind conditions).

Below are some videos from the deck that I took while on assignment."

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... 482a15c1c0




Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 Dec 2013, 21:36
by spazsinbad
Tis a pity this teen canna land on a carrier. HMOG what a spooky set of fillums! :mrgreen:

Boeing’s QF-16 Goes Unmanned 26 Sep 2013 Steven Hoarn

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/vide ... -unmanned/

Boeing's QF-16 makes its first unmanned flight



GoPro: Boeing's QF-16 goes unmanned


Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Dec 2013, 21:36
by spazsinbad
A complicated situation which will be clarified eventually - when the damn BILL is signed. Get on with it all CONGRESS for fsake! What a shmozzle it all becomes when two sides go to war without compromise otherwise as has been the case in recent past. Perhaps this BILL is the beginning of compromise for the Rep/Dems? Yeah right.

New Defense Bill Could Force Navy To Revamp UCLASS Program 13 Dec 2013 Dave Majumdar

http://news.usni.org/2013/12/13/new-def ... ss-program

TOMCAT Sized UCLASS Now

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2013, 20:10
by spazsinbad
Navy: UCLASS Will be Stealthy and ‘Tomcat Size’ 23 Dec 2013 Dave Majumdar and Sam LaGrone
"The U.S Navy’s unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) program has evolved to call for a jet that is much larger and much more capable than what was envisioned just six months ago, Navy officials told USNI News.

“We’re talking about a 70,000- to 80,000-pound airplane,” Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, the Navy’s director of air warfare said in a 20 December interview. “We’re talking [Grumman F-14] Tomcat size.”....

...“The concepts have moved around. They’ve been: You want unmanned off the carrier to do some off-cycle ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] — we’re more than that now,” Manazir said. “We have heavy-end ISR and strike capability with some growth in the ability to carry weapons and some growth in the sensor package.”...

...The Navy’s current thinking about the UCLASS concept calls for an aircraft much larger than even the 44,000-lb. Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system-demonstrator (UCAS-D).

In fact, the UCLASS could be considerably larger than even the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, with some of the proposed UCLASS designs being 68 ft. long—eight feet longer than a Super Hornet, Manazir said.

The UCLASS size and weight numbers suggest that engineers might have to adopt either a twin-engine design or potentially an unaugmented version of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, which delivers about 28,000 lbs. of dry thrust, to meet the Navy’s requirements.

“They’re big airplanes, they’re not [General Atomics MQ-1] Predators,” Manazir said. “They’re big, heavy, capable airplanes that will fly for 14 hours, that can give away gas.”

The Navy hopes to use the UCLASS as an aerial refueling tanker to extend the range of the tactical fighter fleet—particularly the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. “We’re going to put a refueling capability into them and they’ll have an endurance package in them,” Manazir said. “They’ll be able to give away something like 20,000 lbs. of gas and still stay up for seven-and-a-half hours.”

The Navy is still looking at what the UCLASS might be able to do for a combat identification role inside contested airspace — which is the mission the Navy currently envisions for it future F-35C fleet.

“If you take that UCLASS and you send it downrange, is it the sensor that gets the combat ID?” Manazir said. “I think with the designs that we’re moving toward to have initial operational capability in the 2018 to 2020 timeframe, you’re going to have an unmanned airframe that can operate in a non-permissive environment.”

But Manazir cautioned that the UCLASS will not be nearly as stealthy as the F-35C.

“We’re not going have JSF-like stealth,” Manazir said. “You’re not going to have somebody that can go right over the top — you know — of the threat capital city, but you’re going to have something that can stand in somewhat.”

Alternatively, the UCLASS might be useful as a flying missile magazine to supplement the firepower of the F/A-18 and F-35C in air-to-air combat as a robotic wingman of sorts.

“Maybe we put a whole bunch of AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) on it and that thing is the truck,” Manazir said. “So this unmanned truck goes downtown with—as far as it can go—with a decision-maker.”

In those situations, Manazir said, a Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye or a F-35C flight leader might command the UCLASS.


But the concepts for what missions the Navy might offload from manned aircraft to the UCLASS are still evolving.

Manazir said that by 2030, once the Navy has some operational experience with the UCLASS, it will have a better institutional understanding of what unmanned aircraft bring to the carrier air wing.

The change in the focus in the UCLASS program described by Manazir is a marked shift from stances the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) took on the program earlier this year.

The nature of the program shifted from a high-end system based on a 2006 concept to a lower end system designed to be inexpensive and allow the U.S. to have a system to conduct counter terrorism missions from aircraft carriers."

http://news.usni.org/2013/12/23/navy-uc ... omcat-size

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Dec 2013, 23:00
by neurotech
F/A-18E/F has an Max. Launch Weight of 66,000 Lb. of a carrier deck. Jets have launched operationally at that load.

UAVs are not flown nearly as aggressively as a fighter is. If a UAV turns sharply away from the satellite the datalink can break lock and cause a crash, or worse end up captured. I suspect the new UCLASS will have multiple antenna streams, much like 802.11n WiFi does. They may allow higher maneuverability for the UCLASS but I doubt it will be like a modern fighter pulling 9Gs.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2013, 01:58
by popcorn
Must be fun brainstorming new roles and capabilities for the UCLASS tender e.g. aerial tanker and missile sled,,etc. All very nice but they will raise the price at a,time when funding is tight. Anyway, go for it Navy!

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2013, 16:13
by maus92
The new UCLASS design specs are much different than those proposed just last year. They are being carefully crafted to address the need for long range strike, payload, and endurance, while not overtly threatening the F-35C program and its proponents in OSD. UCLASS will be a revolution for carrier borne aviation, not only because it is unmanned, but because it will stress payload/mission flexibility and range.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 24 Dec 2013, 17:48
by count_to_10
Get the most demanding requirements right, and work out the more permissive missions later.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 30 Dec 2013, 06:20
by KamenRiderBlade
Maybe Kelly Johnson was right, the Navy doesn't know what they want.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 30 Dec 2013, 07:12
by lookieloo
kamenriderblade wrote:Maybe Kelly Johnson was right, the Navy doesn't know what they want.
In the matter of big-UCLASS vs small-UCLASS, I thing everyone would "want" a larger, more-capable platform; but I really doubt the all-out TACAIR program will survive long enough to produce flying prototypes (has more in common with the A-12 than the F-35C ever did). Those pushing the more-basic (and more-doable) model understand that building a culture/institution around carrier-based UCAVs is probably more important than pandering to shrill JSF critics and their wails for an F-35C alternative.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2014, 08:55
by spazsinbad
UAVs and the F-35: Partners in Air Power? What role will drones play in planning for high intensity war in the Pacific?
03 Jan 2014 Robert Farley
"What role will drones play in planning for high intensity war in the Pacific? A recent report from the USNI indicates that the Navy is planning to use the UCLASS UAV, an F-14-sized piece of equipment with some stealth characteristics, as a potential missile truck. Although knowledge that drones had a role to play in air superiority had become more or less widespread within the national security community, this is one of the best descriptions of how, specifically, the Navy envisions integrating its drones into its air defense system.

The question of how UAVs will contribute to air superiority goes to the core of the utility not just of the UCLASS, but also of the F-35C. If we envision the JSF as the centerpiece of a networked system-of-systems that includes subsurface, surface, and unmanned aerial assets, part of a chain of capabilities between see-er and shooter, it begins to look like a much more formidable weapon, its drawbacks as a fighter notwithstanding.

The practical objections to the use of UAVs for air superiority are well known. UAVs lack the situational awareness of piloted aircraft, and are extremely vulnerable to electronic counter-measures that can disrupt communications with their operators. Even a few seconds delay in relaying commands can prove fatal for a UAV. At the same time, developing drones sufficiently autonomous to manage themselves in air-to-air combat is genuinely scary; no one wants a drone that can kill on its own.

But if we evaluate the contribution of the drone not in isolation, but rather as part of a system-of-systems for air dominance, its utility becomes clearer. Stealthy F-35s operate in contested environments, identifying and tracking targets, with the UAVs supplying the missiles that the JSFs can’t carry on their own. Even the payload challenged F-35B can contribute in this context; having as many F-35s in the air as possible increases the clarity of the picture offered to pilots and commanders.

Indeed, this is precisely the type of aerial warfare that the developers of the F-35 envisioned. Although this vision has been part of the Joint Strike Fighter program for some time, it has not, for whatever reason, been articulated clearly to the public. Our public conversation still struggles to conceptualize specific weapons as part of a larger system, rather than with respect to their individual characteristics. This hardly means that programs such as the F-35 or the UCLASS should be above criticism, but it does suggest ways to add nuance to the critique.

It’s not a stretch to argue that the F-35C and the UCLASS UAV will structure American naval aviation for the foreseeable future. These reports give us a better indication of how the capabilities can be expected to work together, and help illuminate the utility of both programs."

http://thediplomat.com/2014/01/uavs-and ... air-power/

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2014, 15:59
by blindpilot
Great article Spaz,

Thanks. This line of thinking is why I keep pointing to Massive multi player quest games, as applicable above joy stick simulator games in preparing for this systems approach.

Example. When my 14 year old grandson finds "friends to play" in his "group." one of the first questions asked is "which character are you playing?" and then the answer is, "ok then I will be this character," followed by "but we neeed to find someone to play a "this," They virtually ( :) That was a joke) build a task force/strike package.

More than this, as they play, the in-play dialog (C&C) is exactly what is being talked about. ex: " OK, I need you to take point with your , tank, and I'll paralyze them from back here, as the wizard brings the kill shot from the right .... go ... good good, ... Wiz! shoot!, Shoot! we are gonna die here if you don't shoot !" That is a dynamic systems approach to a strike package. The ISR, Replenishment, C4, Strike and defense functions have close to direct parallels, in real time, coordinated responses.

This is not Kansas any more Toto. Even "first see, first shoot" paradigms miss the point somewhat. Superior Situational Awareness integrated in system management and response is a totally new game. Why would I I send my weak little wizard into to fist fight your swordsman, if I have the superior SA? I wouldn't! I'll rain lightening bolts on your head from a hiding place in the rocks. It's as simple as that. I'll throw distractions across the canyon and hit you in the back when you turn to see what that was. I'll return to a "recharge" outpost when the odds are not in my favor, and come back fully loaded for bear.

The F-35C/UCLASS strike package is just the tip of this ice berg. Throw in Satellites, Subs and ships, even cheap old cargo hulls being a lily pad. One thing is certain however. Hardened communications are not optional, although there can be creative backup approaches that might work. ( smoke signals ? :) )

When testing massive systems with Verizon as Test director, I would work on a 100 person voice conference call but have 15 chat windows open, some of those group chats. These with folks from India to Argentina all in the same loop, coordinating specific events from all places at the same time. Throw in today's texting, voxering, tweet following etc. and the options become endless.

This is NOT F-14/F117s on steroids. This is a totally different beast altogether. If the PAK-FA/J-20/4.5 Gen fanboys don't get this. it will become clear some day in a hurry.

MHO
BP

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2014, 18:31
by maus92
kamenriderblade wrote:Maybe Kelly Johnson was right, the Navy doesn't know what they want.


I think the Navy knows what it needs, but forces outside the Navy are trying to dictate what it gets.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 04 Jan 2014, 11:24
by spazsinbad
Pentagon ‘roadmap’ unveils deadlier US drones with chemical, nuke warfare! 03 Jan 2014
"The Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap, released last week, marks out several milestones which will see the US armed forces increasingly reliant on unmanned aircraft as well as water and ground-based robots in the coming decades.

The Department of Defense is looking to enhance the precision navigation, swarming munitions and increased autonomy of future drones, according to the document.

The satellite signals behind the Global Positioning System (GPS) which unmanned aircraft currently depend on for navigation are often weak and easily jammed. The Pentagon therefore has tasked the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to address the problem and work on the so-called pinpoint inertial guidance systems that are jam-proof.

The Pentagon also wants to see drone-carried munitions deliver much more powerful explosions through the use of energetic nano-particles" as drone ammunition.

Even though drone-based missions have proven significantly cheaper in a monetary sense compared to more traditional manpower intensive missions, the Pentagon says they are still expensive and seeks to slash costs even further by developing more autonomous robots and offloading as many human tasks as possible onto machines.

The “roadmap” also references “nano” drones, insect-sized robots designed for land and air, as well as robotic wingmen" to provide unmanned help to ground-based troops.

While drones in the air are more widely used and familiar, the document says ground-based robots too have proven their worth in Iraq and Afghanistan across a spectrum of mission areas."

The roadmap" also includes a plan to develop water-based drones for mine-hunting and maritime security."

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2014/1/ ... drones.htm

Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap http://www.defense.gov/pubs/DOD-USRM-2013.pdf (4.5Mb)

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 04 Jan 2014, 14:10
by popcorn
Interestingly, the operational vignette described in the roadmap features the F-35 as airborne command ship overseeing various aerial robots configured for strike and jamming roles. The times are definitely a-changin' and the future vision is compelling.



Launched from the off-shore aircraft carrier, the strike package comprises of manned tactical aircraft with numerous combat support UAS providing tactical intelligence communication relay, jamming support, and strike support. The joint strike fighter operates as a command ship and works in concert with its supporting unmanned systems as a seamless network of strike and jamming aircraft. The strike package penetrates Norachi airspace and intercepts, strikes, and stops the convoy. An extraction team follows shortly behind, secures the area, and locates the WMD. The extraction team loads the cargo on unmanned vertical-lift transports and departs the area. The operation stands down while maintaining a continuing presence of air, sea, and land systems to maintain situational awareness as the Norachi situation evolves. As illustrated by this vignette, many new capabilities might be possible utilizing today’s emerging technologies and applying those technologies on unmanned systems.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2014, 01:19
by spazsinbad
Your UCLASSy just not so CLASSy just yet.... Long Post Best Read at Source.

Navy Delays UCLASS Request for Proposal Amidst Requirement Evaluation 22 Jan 2014 Dave Majumdar and Sam LaGrone
"...Still, the service seems committed to a high-end capability for UCLASS.

“It will be a warfighting machine,” wrote Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in an editorial posted on the War on the Rocks blog on Tuesday.

http://warontherocks.com/2014/01/future ... perations/ [see next post]

“The end state is an autonomous aircraft capable of precision strike in a contested environment, and it is expected to grow and expand its missions so that it is capable of extended range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, tanking, and maritime domain awareness.”..."

http://news.usni.org/2014/01/22/navy-de ... evaluation

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2014, 01:22
by spazsinbad
Future Platforms: Unmanned Naval Operations Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus 21 Jan 2014
"This past summer, Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert and I stood on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier GEORGE H.W. BUSH, at sea off the coast of Virginia. We watched as the X-47B unmanned aircraft, a sixty-two foot wingspan demonstrator, made its first arrested landing onboard an aircraft carrier. It was a historic moment for naval aviation.

Every Naval Aviator knows landing on an aircraft carrier is about the most difficult thing you can do as a pilot. Recovering the X-47B safely aboard the ship, with the autonomous system landing independent of its human operators, was a vital step toward our future vision of a Carrier Air Wing. In less than a decade, this future air wing will be made up of today’s F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters, MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, and advanced future platforms like the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and our next generation unmanned carrier aircraft.

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are America’s “Away Team.” We provide presence. We are where it counts when it counts, not just at the right time but all the time. We give the President and Combatant Commanders the flexibility they need to respond to any challenge. The platforms we buy to make up our fleet are an important part of our future. Unmanned systems are vital to our ability to be present; they lessen the risk to our Sailors and Marines and allow us to conduct missions that are longer, go farther, and take us beyond the physical limits of pilots and crews. Launching and recovering unmanned aircraft as large and capable as our manned fighters from the rolling decks of aircraft carriers is just one element of the future of maritime presence and naval warfare....

...The Future Airwing
The X-47B is the culmination of an experimental program to prove that unmanned systems can launch and recover from the aircraft carrier. The program that follows this demonstrator will radically change the way presence and combat power is delivered as an integral part of the future carrier air wing. Known by the acronym UCLASS, for Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system, it will conduct its missions over very long periods of time and at extreme distances while contributing to a wide variety of missions. It will make the carrier strike group more lethal, effective, and survivable. The end state is an autonomous aircraft capable of precision strike in a contested environment, and it is expected to grow and expand its missions so that it is capable of extended range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, tanking, and maritime domain awareness. It will be a warfighting machine that complements and enhances the capabilities already resident in our carrier strike groups.

Operating these platforms independently of a pilot, and with growing autonomy, greatly increases the possibilities for what we can do with them in the future. Unmanned carrier aircraft don’t require flights to maintain pilot proficiency; the operators can maintain their skills in the simulator. The planes will be employed only for operational missions, saving fuel costs and extending the service life of the aircraft. They also create the opportunity to advance new ways to use our aircraft, like developing new concepts for swarm tactics.

We are finalizing the requirements that will lead to a design for the UCLASS. We aren’t building them yet. We want to ensure we get the requirements and design set right before we start production in order to avoid the mistakes and cost overruns which have plagued some past programs. Meanwhile our other unmanned systems like the Fire Scout and Triton continue their success.

The Future of Naval Operations
Across the entire spectrum of military operations, an integrated force of manned and unmanned platforms is the future. The X-47B’s arrested landing aboard USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH showed that the Navy and Marine Corps are riding the bow wave of technological advances to create this 21st century force. But it is our Sailors and Marines that will provide the innovative thinking and develop the new ideas that are crucial to our success. The unmanned systems and platforms we are developing today, and our integrated manned and unmanned employment methods, will become a central part of the Navy and Marine Corps of tomorrow. They will help ensure we continue to be the most powerful expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known."

http://warontherocks.com/2014/01/future ... perations/

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2014, 01:36
by popcorn
Can't they resolve the UCLASS quandary via block upgrades? Build the basic airframe, making sure it's design is sufficiently stealthy an can accommodate projected growth Start off with basic ISR package then add on the other capabilities e.g. ta aerial tanking, strike, etc. down the road when funding allows? Or is Navy in such a hurry and it wants all the goodies immediately? That will cost money which they are hard-pressed to find.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2014, 08:37
by lookieloo
popcorn wrote:Can't they resolve the UCLASS quandary via block upgrades? Build the basic airframe, making sure it's design is sufficiently stealthy an can accommodate projected growth Start off with basic ISR package then add on the other capabilities e.g. ta aerial tanking, strike, etc. down the road when funding allows? Or is Navy in such a hurry and it wants all the goodies immediately? That will cost money which they are hard-pressed to find.
That would be the logical roadmap for getting operational UCAV technology onto the decks and building a requisite institutional/cultural structure around said capability. Unfortunately, someone pandered to the idiots braying for an F-35C alternative. Surprise-surprise... their plan for a full-on TACAIR UCLASS by 2019 is proving unworkable, delaying an already laughable schedule further.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 24 Jan 2014, 13:06
by neptune
lookieloo wrote:[.... Unfortunately, someone pandered to the idiots braying for an F-35C alternative. Surprise-surprise... their plan for a full-on TACAIR UCLASS by 2019 is proving unworkable, delaying an already laughable schedule further.


Unman the F-35C; revise the cockpit area for additional fuel capacity (ER-ISR), maintenance shops compatibility, production line compatibility, upgrade mission systems for UCAV (drive "HAPPY" Gilmore & Company even nuttier :) ), Stealth pods for NGJ, etc.....might be a little irritant to the SBug crowd.... :devil:

This is an optional F-35C UCAV design in addition to the "manned" design, not a replacement. :lol:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 24 Jan 2014, 20:51
by cantaz
Unman the F-35C


Interesting, though in all seriousness the UCLASS program needs to sort out whether it needs Big Strike or little strike on what was suppose to primarily be a persistent ISR platform.

The last tail hook suggested the USN was all for little strike, but someone somewhere seems damned determined to gold plate the UCLASS into a LRS-B-lite.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 24 Jan 2014, 20:57
by gtx
neptune wrote:Unman the F-35C


Yes! :D

Image

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 25 Jan 2014, 00:52
by archeman
gtx wrote:
neptune wrote:Unman the F-35C


Yes! :D

Image


At last.

A final solution to the Helmet Issues.
Kind of solves the issues related to looking over the shoulder too!

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 25 Jan 2014, 02:23
by spazsinbad
WOT? NO HOOK?! :devil: No Hook Worries Then. :doh:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 26 Jan 2014, 12:50
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:WOT? NO HOOK?! :devil: No Hook Worries Then. :doh:

A barricade landing tends to result in damage to the aircraft.

The test pilots used to tell us that these jets have tailhooks, and when in doubt, put the hook down and grab the wire. Or go-around, and grab the wire on the next approach.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2014, 02:33
by spazsinbad
My joke about NO HOOK above referred to the distinct possibility we were not looking at a carrier variant of whatever was on display in the CGI shown. But who knows what was on display except some CGI? Anyway here is the crawl - walk - run scenario. I'll look forward to the fantasy autonomous robots replacing F-35Cs forward in the far future. Talk to the hand - roll on SkyNet and 'all your base are mine'. :devil:

X-47B Will Pair With Manned Aircraft in Testing Later This Year 31 Jan 2014 Dave Majumdar
"The U.S. Navy plans to take the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator (UCAS-D) aircraft out to sea onboard an aircraft carrier this summer to test how well it operates together with manned aircraft around the ship and on the flight deck.

“We also plan later this summer — later this year — to do dedicated blending and what we call cooperative operations of manned carrier aircraft and the X-47B,” Rear Adm. Mat Winter, Naval Air Systems Command’s program executive officer for unmanned aviation, told USNI News during a Jan. 30 interview in Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md....

...The testing would cover how the X-47B would integrate with manned aircraft both in the marshal stack in the airspace around the carrier and on the flight deck.

However, the 2014 summer at-sea period will not involve a full carrier air wing, because the Navy plans to use a crawl, walk, run approach to integrating unmanned aircraft onto the flight deck. Initially, the service will test the X-47B with the F/A-18, Winter said.

The plan is for fleet operators to understand exactly how an unmanned aircraft would work around the carrier flight deck and develops standard operating procedures, Winter said....

...Meanwhile, the X-47B will continue to fly at Patuxent River to refine the aircraft’s precision navigation technology, landing algorithms, ground handling and the bandwidth of its data-links, Winter said.

The Navy will keep the X-47B flying over the next two to three years to mature and verify technologies for the UCLASS program. Among the most important of those technologies are the line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight data-links for the UCLASS program. “We need to make sure we perfect beyond line-of sight control,” Winter said...."

http://news.usni.org/2014/01/31/x-47b-w ... later-year

Always more at the jump - but youse knew that - right?

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2014, 04:30
by aaam
cantaz wrote:
Unman the F-35C


Interesting, though in all seriousness the UCLASS program needs to sort out whether it needs Big Strike or little strike on what was suppose to primarily be a persistent ISR platform.

The last tail hook suggested the USN was all for little strike, but someone somewhere seems damned determined to gold plate the UCLASS into a LRS-B-lite.



There is actually a big controversy going on in the middle to upper levels of NAVAIR over this. Everyone was expecting the specifications for the operational model to be such that the Navy would regain the long range all-weather strike capability lost when the A-6 was prematurely retired and the A/FX was canceled. When the number came out in 2013 for the 600 mile radius with loiter, a lot of people were disappointed and a lot of people were upset at this surprising turn of events, saying, "Why bother"?

There have been a number of theories going around why this happened, here are the three most common I've come across, in no particular order. I've got no vested interest in any of them, BTW.

1. USAF, in a "roles and missions" funk, did not want Navy to be able to get back into the tactical long range strike game and lobbied at the DoD level to get the range reduced.

2. F-35 champions perceived the system as a threat to F-35 numbers so lobied so that the range was only a bit more than the F-35C.

3. The current Administration is happy to use UAVs on short to range missions to blow away terrorists. However, the kind of ranges they were talking about for UCLASS were clearly power projection ranges and it's not comfortable with the concept of power projection.

As I said, I've got no dog in this hunt.


BTW, these two aircraft do illustrate some of the problems with joint development programs. It hasn't gotten that much publicity, but the X-47B in 2012 had the exact same problem: the tailhook couldn't catch the wire. The flight profile was fine, it was strictly the hook. The X-47B only had to deal with the Navy bureaucracy and there was no concern about how any redesign might affect other versions or reduce commonality or need to clear it with anyone else. The problem was identified and the redesign accomplished in a few weeks, the formal work order for the redesigned hooks was signed July 10, and the first two needed for the X-47B shipped August 2 and 8, and carrier traps were accomplished on schedule in 2013.

Also in 2012, the F-35's tailhook design also proved unable to catch a wire. Again, no problem with the flight profile or the aircraft itself, it was the hook. In this case, though, the redesign and approval took much longer. Roll-in tests (not arrested landings) of a new hook did not take place until January of 2014, landbased arrested landings have not yet been attempted and shipboard trials, provided the new design is certified, won't begin until October 2104.

Just sayin...

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2014, 04:44
by spazsinbad
No need to get 'hookie/hinky' on us in this thread. :twisted: The F-35C hook gyrations & perturbations are well documented in the 'Lakehurst' thread. You have left out a lot of INTERIM testing of the interim hook designs from your description of the F-35 hook issues 'aaam'. Notwithstanding the issues about the difference between redesigning & testing for a robot and a manned fighter are quite different - notwithstanding the different test schedules not only ashore but afloat with warm bodies involved and not just robots in the aircraft. I will wager the X-47B has not been through the exhaustive testing for carrier landings as described for the Super Hornet over three years on the Lakehurst thread for example. And why should it. We see the accuracy of the robot so no need to account for the inaccuracies of the wetware robos. But we still luv 'em dearly (those comparatively inaccurate pilots that is). :devil:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2014, 05:25
by aaam
spazsinbad wrote:No need to get 'hookie/hinky' on us in this thread. :twisted: The F-35C hook gyrations & perturbations are well documented in the 'Lakehurst' thread. You have left out a lot of INTERIM testing of the interim hook designs from your description of the F-35 hook issues 'aaam'. Notwithstanding the issues about the difference between redesigning & testing for a robot and a manned fighter are quite different - notwithstanding the different test schedules not only ashore but afloat with warm bodies involved and not just robots in the aircraft. I will wager the X-47B has not been through the exhaustive testing for carrier landings as described for the Super Hornet over three years on the Lakehurst thread for example. And why should it. We see the accuracy of the robot so no need to account for the inaccuracies of the wetware robos. But we still luv 'em dearly (those comparatively inaccurate pilots that is). :devil:



Wasn't getting "Hookie Hiney". Remember, the problem was in the hook design, not the aircraft. A hook desinged to stop a certain aircraft of a certain size of a certiain weight at a certain speed is going to be pretty much the same whether the aircraft is manned or not. Remember, we know the F-35C can fly the profile, we're talking just about the hook itself. I am aware of the interim testing; I'm not talking about all that went on, just how long it took the two programs to accomplish the same task. At this point afloat scheduling has nothng to do with it, because the F-35C is not at the point where the shipboard testing could begin even if a carrier was available.

Once again, I'm talking strictly about how long it took the two programs to redesign a hook.

Sheesh, it seems F-35 folks get sensitive even with other people who support the program when anything less than effusive praise is forthcoming.

Again, my appearances here may be intermittent for a time.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2014, 06:20
by spazsinbad
I still regard your assumptions as erroneous - whether you like my opinion or not. I believe the situation / comparison you describe was discussed on the Lakehurst thread - I'm guessing because the scenario you describe has come up elsewhere. I find the time comparison useless. So what. Are you aware of all the factors involved. You seem to think the hook was the only thing 'apparently redesigned'. Who says that in either case? Only you seem to take the view that somehow only the hook was involved. OR that somehow only the two hooks for two different aircraft can somehow be compared. The F-35C has an AHS - an Arresting Hook System. I do not know what the X-47B has but probably due the American habit of renaming ordinary things again in some meaningless way it will also have an AHS. :devil:

AFAIK, more or less straightaway after the failure of the first F-35C hook, it was surmised it need to be 'sharper' - more like an A-4 hook. This is well documented as well as the other obvious factors such as the so called 'dampener' (see the Lakehurst thread). However there was more to it believe it or not - and this is well documented. Do we have the same level of detail for the X-47B as the enormous amount of often erroneous bumpf generated by the ridiculous naysayers with their ne'er do well scenarios for fixing the same non-arrest problem for the F-35C? If so then please point me towards the X-47B material because I am interested. Think what you like but provide some evidence for it. Thanks.

IF the F-35C production AHS Arrest Hook System works as intended then what about all the naysayer theories? Do they invent new ones? Sure they do - now there is a conspiracy about the AHS weight gain of some 139 pounds. Wowee.... Is that what you will be concerned about next? IF SO then when you return how about going to the more appropriate 'Lakehurst' thread. Thanks.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2014, 10:00
by aaam
This isn't worth getting that much worked up over...

I, for one, was not one of the naysayers who thought the hook/cable problem was the End of the Navy as We Know It. I always knew they'd fix it, just like they fixed it on the X-47B, which also couldn't catch a wire. BTW, I was wrong when I said they hadn't done a fly-in arrestment yet, they did do one at PAX. As for who said it was the shape of the hook, it was those interested parties, Lockheed and the Joint Strike Fighter Project Office. Regardiing that it was just the hook, let me quote an USNI article of this very week (the link is ungodly long, but the title is, "Navy’s F-35C Completes Landing Tests Ahead of October Sea Trials") on 1/28/14: "Lockheed and the Joint Strike Fighter program office ultimately traced the problem back to the shape of the hook. The solution was to reshape the hook point and adjust the system’s hold-down damper, which helps prevent the hook from bouncing around upon touchdown". There are lots of other sources that say the same thing.

Here's one story on the X-47B and its hook resolution: http://lexleader.net/navy-rapidly-redes ... t-failure/

I'm simply positing that because the X-47B only has to serve one master, they could do it quicker.

The reason I posted it here is because the title of the thread is "F-35 and X-47B".

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 Feb 2014, 10:17
by spazsinbad
'aaam' this is what you said on previous page of this thread:
"...BTW, these two aircraft do illustrate some of the problems with joint development programs. It hasn't gotten that much publicity, but the X-47B in 2012 had the exact same problem: the tailhook couldn't catch the wire. The flight profile was fine, it was strictly the hook. The X-47B only had to deal with the Navy bureaucracy and there was no concern about how any redesign might affect other versions or reduce commonality or need to clear it with anyone else. The problem was identified and the redesign accomplished in a few weeks, the formal work order for the redesigned hooks was signed July 10, and the first two needed for the X-47B shipped August 2 and 8, and carrier traps were accomplished on schedule in 2013.

Also in 2012, the F-35's tailhook design also proved unable to catch a wire. Again, no problem with the flight profile or the aircraft itself, it was the hook. In this case, though, the redesign and approval took much longer. Roll-in tests (not arrested landings) of a new hook did not take place until January of 2014, landbased arrested landings have not yet been attempted and shipboard trials, provided the new design is certified, won't begin until October 2104"

Your above comments are what started my remarks. I have highlighted words/phrases in bold.

You claim the X-47B problems were entirely due to the hook - no mention of the bad data supplied by the USN [see Majumdar quote below], apparently a misplaced decimal point was the problem; so the X-47B issues were not entirely due to the hook. Apart from this I have no other information about what ailed the X-47B - please tell us any more if you know more.

Then you went on to claim about the F-35C "...no problem with... the aircraft itself, it was the hook...." Trouble is the F-35C has an AHS Arrestor Hook System that is composed of NOT JUST THE HOOK. Sure the hook point needed to be sharpened - that was clear by all accounts from the beginning. Then the rest of the AHS needed to be tweaked - including the damper (dampener) and apparently the ability of the AHS to take the strain (hence I believe the cause for the AHS weight gain) with more heavyweight attachments or whatever was required (not clear to me). However I do not know more than that. Also the hook shank was lengthened slightly as I recall.

Then you went on to claim that no tests (of the interim hook or the production hook now in place) occurred before the date you mention. That is not correct. May I claim that land based arrests were carried out much earlier on the interim hook design (which did not include the damper but what else not included I do not know) and there is a slomo video to prove it?

The new production design AHS is on the test F-35C and unless problems arise the same AHS will be on future/current F-35Cs eventually.

So what is your problem again?

AND just to be pedantic (what else is there) you claim the flight profile of the X-47B was fine when this is the first paragraph of the X-47B article you linked:
"The Fleet Readiness Center South West (FRCSW) in California rapidly manufactured a new tail hook for the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) this summer after its original test failed roll-in arrestment tests...."

What flying is involved in roll-in arrestments?

Then I guess you did not bother to read some recent Majumdar articles about either the X-47B or F-35C bad data from USN is in the scenarios for 'failed to catch a wire' for both aircraft. Want links? The relevant ones are on this thread or the 'Lakehurst thread' however I can use my own resources to link to them soon.....

Meanwhile....

International backing for F-35 hasn’t been stronger, says Lockheed official Craig Hoyle 19 Oct 2012
“...Recent test activities with a new tailhook design for the US Navy's carrier variant F-35C have, meanwhile, involved 76 ground and five "fly-in" arrestments at NAS Lakehurst in New Jersey, Lockheed says....”

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... al-377810/
___________________

Back to the X-47B....
The day of the unmanned aircraft. 15 May 2013 Dave Majumdar
“...However, the X-47B did not carry out an arrested landing upon returning to Pax River.

That could be because the unmanned jet was having difficulty making even that first trap it did the week before where the Navy showed off a video of the aircraft snagging a wire. Sources told the DEW Line, at the time of the earlier trap, the aircraft now had a 10 percent field boarding rate... So hopefully, this isn't an indication of a major problem. The X-47B guys have had to redesign their tail hook a number of times now due to the same inaccurate Navy-supplied wire dynamics model that was partly responsible for the F-35C's woes....”

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-d ... ircra.html
____________________

Interesting how the X-47B testing was made up as they went along (I have no problem with that) yet it points to the long history of AHS testing for manned aircraft requiring a lot of checks and balances before the rigourous actual testing of the AHS begins. And it is thorough. I repeat the Super Hornet testing took three years with blah blah blah number of arrests under all kinds of conditions. We do not see that - yet - with the X-47B however it is apparently so reliable that it will be tested in real conditions more challenging than the first CVN tests. And yes the X-47B has an AHS.

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter, 2013 Issue
"...The UCAS-D test team planned and developed a comprehensive, safe, and efficient test program for the X-47B and all of its surrogate test activities. Currently, formalized and standardized ground and flight test procedures do not exist for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Taking lessons learned directly from other unmanned test efforts and adapting procedures from manned aircraft testing, the team developed over 1,200 pages of detailed test plans and procedures, specifically tailored to the X-47B that evaluate all design requirements and ensured all testing is thorough, safe, and efficient. As a result of this thorough planning, the team conducted a successful ground and flight test program of over 500 separate test events, effectively managing a high level of technical and operational risk of an immature, developmental unmanned aircraft....

...These efforts culminated in the UCAS-D team making Naval Aviation history, with the first shipboard catapult and arrested landing of an unmanned aircraft aboard the USS GEORGE H W BUSH (CVN 77). In preparation for this event, landing gear and arresting hook system structural load testing was conducted at NAS Patuxent River during the achievement period. The aircraft was tested up to 100 percent Design Limit Load (DLL) for the arresting hook system and up to 18.5 feet per second (fps) sink rate. These tests were the foundation for Aircraft Recover Bulletin (ARB) issuance...."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=767

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2014, 02:50
by neptune
http://news.usni.org/2014/01/31/x-47b-w ... later-year


X-47B Will Pair With Manned Aircraft in Testing Later This Year

By: Dave Majumdar


The U.S. Navy plans to take the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator (UCAS-D) aircraft out to sea onboard an aircraft carrier this summer to test how well it operates together with manned aircraft around the ship and on the flight deck.

“We also plan later this summer—later this year—to do dedicated blending and what we call cooperative operations of manned carrier aircraft and the X-47B,” Rear Adm. Mat Winter, Naval Air Systems Command’s program executive officer for unmanned aviation, told USNI News during a Jan. 30 interview in Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

During the two previous X-47B at-sea periods onboard USS George HW Bush (CVN-77) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in 2013, while the unmanned demonstrator had a Boeing F/A-18 chase aircraft, the two types did not operate together on the carrier flight deck. This time around the manned F/A-18 and X-47B will operate from the carrier together cooperatively.

“We are going to do that, we are going to start to mature and discover and understand the best way to do what we call CONOPs—concept of operations—of manned and unmanned aviation in the carrier environment,” Winter said. “That’s very important.”

The testing would cover how the X-47B would integrate with manned aircraft both in the marshal stack in the airspace around the carrier and on the flight deck.

However, the 2014 summer at-sea period will not involve a full carrier air wing, because the Navy plans to use a crawl, walk, run approach to integrating unmanned aircraft onto the flight deck. Initially, the service will test the X-47B with the F/A-18, Winter said.

The plan is for fleet operators to understand exactly how an unmanned aircraft would work around the carrier flight deck and develops standard operating procedures, Winter said.

The idea is to reduce the risk for the operational follow-on to the X-47B called the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft, which is slated to arrive on the flight deck around 2020. “And when we do start doing flight tests with the UCLASS, it is not the first time that they have done that and we’re already ahead of the game,” Winter said.

Meanwhile, the X-47B will continue to fly at Patuxent River to refine the aircraft’s precision navigation technology, landing algorithms, ground handling and the bandwidth of its data-links, Winter said.

The Navy will keep the X-47B flying over the next two to three years to mature and verify technologies for the UCLASS program. Among the most important of those technologies are the line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight data-links for the UCLASS program. “We need to make sure we perfect beyond line-of sight control,” Winter said.

Beyond that, there might eventually be further technology maturation endeavors the X-47B program might be tasked with—the data from which will be transferred to the UCLASS program. “We will identify other elements that we want to use this for, and we will have the flexibility to do that,” Winter said.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 Feb 2014, 02:58
by spazsinbad
Already posted - near btm of page - this article on previous page on 31 Jan or thereabouts:

viewtopic.php?f=55&t=20468&start=525

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2014, 04:08
by aaam
spazsinbad wrote:'aaam' this is what you said on previous page of this thread:
(much removed here)
http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=767



What we have here is , "... a fail-ure to comm-u-ni-cate", as the fella said.

There seems to be semantic confusion between the two of us. I am using the word like we did when I was involved, as slang to refer to the entire system. As in, "...the tailhook on landbased designs is less robust than that on naval aircraft because it is not intended for routine operations". I appears you are referring just to the little curvy hook itself. To me, "tailhook" refers to the entire arresting mechanism, which naturally include would include dampers, attachment to the keel, and what have you. Take out where ever I said "tailhook" and substitute "arresting system" and you'll see we're not so far apart.

Regarding the bad data supplied by USN, that is true. Using that data, though, is why there were problems with the X-47B hook, I mean, arresting system. As to why I said the X-47B flight profile was fine, that's because the flight profile was not indentified as a causal factor in the problem. The problem was in the arresting system, due to Navy-supplied data. Yes, the problem was first found in roll-in tests. There was no point in going on with flight tests at sea if you can't even catch the wire on a roll-in. Same thing applies to F-35C or any other [non-STOVL] aircraft intended for carrier use.

Regarding no arrested landing on return to PAX, not surprising that. Those are always more stressful, which is why Navy jets ashore don't routinely catch the wire when you've got 10,000 feet of runway on which to stop. It's their only flying copy, there would be no new data to be gained from hooking the wire, so they didn't bother.

My only point was that when you have a joint program one of the downsides is that you have to jump through more hoops than if it's totally your own program. It's just one of the prices you pay for a joint development program, and everyone knows that going in. The hope is that savings elsewhere outweigh that. BTW, by "joint", I'm referring to a plane being developed jointly, not something one service develops and then another service adopts (F-4, A-7, UH-1, etc.).


Intermittently Here Guy

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 04 Feb 2014, 04:25
by spazsinbad
Fair enough about clarifying about what you mean by your use of 'hook'. However I was making the point from the beginning about the AHS. Your point otherwise is taken care of I believe in a practical way (not withstanding any other effects you may conjure) in the quote from the VX-23 X-47B test program fellas having to 'make it up as they went along'. Thrown in with that - and as perhaps one can imagine - the 'no need to worry about pilots' effects when designing an X-47B hook, is much simpler. Throw in other variables, too numerous to mention, such as weight of the aircraft involved having to stay below the maximum arrest speed of the arrestor gear (does the X-47B come close?) and on and on; but I guess it doesn't matter that much in the light of what you say you are concerned about:
"...My only point was that when you have a joint program one of the downsides is that you have to jump through more hoops than if it's totally your own program. It's just one of the prices you pay for a joint development program, and everyone knows that going in. The hope is that savings elsewhere outweigh that...."

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 05 Feb 2014, 02:41
by XanderCrews
aaam wrote:
My only point was that when you have a joint program one of the downsides is that you have to jump through more hoops than if it's totally your own program. It's just one of the prices you pay for a joint development program, and everyone knows that going in.


One of the reasons the X-47 was able to get aboard faster was that it doesn't have a human in it. That simplified matters from a safety stand point and allowed more progress, faster. They also finally got a design that worked....which took a lot of effort and the final answer would never be allowed on an operational plane (life of the hook point is short so it won't work for the JSF). You'll also note the lack of video showing the hook coming up and the air vehicle taxiing out of the wires as it became a long process with the new design.

X-47B is also about the equivalent of the X-35. its a proof of concept. The X-35 did just fine proving itself in trials.

as for how the X-47 got here as well, It started way back in the late '90's as a DARPA project to demonstrate autonomous, unmanned strike. That effort was overcome by events with the arming of the MQ-1 and since it was no longer "DARPA hard", the project and the airframes that were in work morphed in an USAF/USN "J-UCAS" project to demonstrate unmanned strike, LO relevant shapes, carrier suitability and air-to-air refueling. The X-45 (Boeing) got the strike part, X-47 (NGC) got the CV/AR work Boeing got the strike part done and the AF bailed (think RQ-170 from here so....) ...NGC realized they got in over their heads and that dragged the project way out with the USN as the sole sponsor. In the end, most of the CV suitability development/software work was done by the government and given to NGC.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 05 Feb 2014, 04:56
by lookieloo
http://news.usni.org/2014/02/04/navy-co ... #more-6305
Navy: Congressional Oversight Will Not Slow UCLASS Program

...well, they say that... funny how development cycles for all-new TACAIR platforms have quadrupled in length since 1983. 2019 (which used to be 2018) remains a hopeless timeline.

Bob Work Tapped to be Next Deputy Secretary of Defense

Unread postPosted: 07 Feb 2014, 22:59
by spazsinbad
Updated: It’s Official, Bob Work Tapped to be Next Deputy Secretary of Defense 07 Feb 2014 Dave Majumdar & Sam LaGrone
"Bob Work, former Marine and second highest ranking civilian in the Department of the Navy, has been selected by President Obama to be the next Deputy Secretary of Defense, the number two job at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Pentagon reporters on Friday....

...Before becoming the undersecretary of the Navy, Work wrote extensively about naval and maritime strategy at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).

Work was among the first to recognize that the Pentagon would have to contend with a rising anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) challenges in the 2003 paper Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge, which he co-wrote with Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts.

Work has been a staunch advocate for carrier-based long-range unmanned strike capabilities and developing technologies that would enable giant vessels to operate in highly contested environments.

Prior to joining the CSBA, Work served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 27 years as an artillery officer...."

http://news.usni.org/2014/02/07/bob-wor ... #more-6334

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 11:54
by spazsinbad
Just because I found this info again and because it explains a lot about why with the new AHS the F-35C is heavier (rather than some conspiracy posited by some elsewhere) I'll repost this info about what happened in 2012 in regards to the AHS of the F-35C etc. I'll guess this same info is on the Lakehurst thread.

DOD Programs | F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
“...F-35C Flight Sciences
Flight Test Activity with CF-1, CF-2, and CF-3 Test Aircraft [2012]...
...-- Testing of arresting hook system modifications
-- Preparing for executing carrier landings in the simulated carrier environment at Lakehurst Naval Test Facility, New Jersey, including handling qualities at approach speeds at carrier landing weights...
...F-35C
• A redesign of the arresting hook system for the F-35C to correct the inability to consistently catch cables and compensate for greater than predicted loads took place in 2012. The redesign includes modified hook point shape to catch the wire, one-inch longer shank to improve point of entry, addition of damper for end-of-stroke loads, increased size of upswing damper and impact plate, addition of end‑of‑stroke snubber. In 2012, the following occurred:
-- Initial loads and sizing study completed showed higher than predicted loads, impacting the upper portion of the arresting hook system (referred to as the “Y frame,” where loads are translated from the hook point to the aircraft) and hold down damper (January 2012)
-- Risk reduction activities, including cable rollover dynamics testing at Patuxent River (March 2012), deck obstruction loads tests at Lakehurst (April 2012)
-- Flight tests with CF-3 using new hook point and new hold down damper design at Lakehurst (August 2012)
-- 72 of 72 successful roll-in tests with MK-7 and E-28 gear
-- 5 of 8 successful fly-in tests; 3 of 8 bolters (missed wire) [pilot did not land accurately enough]
-- Preliminary design review of updated design completed (August 15, 2012)...”

http://www.dote.osd.mil/pub/reports/fy2 ... f35jsf.pdf

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 12:17
by popcorn
Just out of curiosity, anyone know what percentage of Hornet/SH landings aboard ship are bolters?

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 12:59
by spazsinbad
Here is a nice GREENIE BOARD to look at: One would have to know the code - I can post a possibility but will not know for sure. The top is the CO and the last one is the FNG. From the code in museum greenie board I would guess that the royal blue dots are bolters with a black dot in any colour circle being night time?

VFA-213 Black Lions Greenie Board Screen Shot right at the end of this two minute movie as described:

All hands on deck By Katie Perdaris http://www.boeing.com/boeing/Features/2 ... 28_14.page
“Crew members in Flight Deck Control alter the Ouija board, a waist-high replica of the flight deck at 1/16 scale, showing the status of the deck in real time.

In December a group of Boeing employees visited the USS George H.W. Bush at sea to get a feel for what life is like aboard an aircraft carrier, and to see F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets in action and meet the sailors who fly and maintain them. The ship’s crew of 5,000 worked together seamlessly to keep the ship operating around the clock.

Capt. Dan Cheever, Commander Carrier Air Wing 8, said communication and teamwork is essential. “It’s much like a football team or any other team. You have to work together, you have to communicate and you have to have mutual respect and demand the performance out of your team.”

Watch the video to hear more from the crew about teamwork and life aboard.”

VIDEO: http://bcove.me/9o8b4n6y

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 20:39
by neurotech
Ahh.. The Greenie board :D

If a pilot uses a coupled ACLS approach, then it doesn't count on their landing average, but does count on the squadron boarding rate etc. It would be kind of ironic if Navy UAV pilots have to sign out a F/A-18 to bag some traps, but I don't think that would happen in the fleet because they are considered "operators" not "aviators". The X-47B is the first Navy jet to go 100% coupled for carrier landings and doesn't even have pilot controls. Some of the NAVAIR X-47B program pilots did go out for pilot CQ in F/A-18s, but that was for JPALS test/currency/chase/chase recovery and not for the X-47B aircraft operators.

As an aside, the Navy MQ-4C Triton is a land-based autonomous UAV but has fallback to remote pilot control. The autonomous control is a major shift between the "Air Force" RQ-4B to the "Navy" MQ-4C.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 21:45
by spazsinbad
'neurotech' what 'navy UAV pilots' are you referring to in your post?
"...Navy UAV pilots... Some of the NAVAIR X-47B program pilots did go out for pilot CQ in F/A-18s, but that was for JPALS test/currency/chase/chase recovery and not for the X-47B aircraft operators...."

These 'X-47B aircraft operators' are not piloting the X-47B - they send it commands and that is about it. No?

The X-47B is a robot. Send it commands and it will carry them out. Send 'Land' and it will land all by itself unless commanded otherwise to 'wave off' or abort at some point. No 'pilot' required.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 23:08
by neurotech
spazsinbad wrote:'neurotech' what 'navy UAV pilots' are you referring to in your post?
"...Navy UAV pilots... Some of the NAVAIR X-47B program pilots did go out for pilot CQ in F/A-18s, but that was for JPALS test/currency/chase/chase recovery and not for the X-47B aircraft operators...."

These 'X-47B aircraft operators' are not piloting the X-47B - they send it commands and that is about it. No?

The X-47B is a robot. Send it commands and it will carry them out. Send 'Land' and it will land all by itself unless commanded otherwise to 'wave off' or abort at some point. No 'pilot' required.

Basically, yes. The X-47B is the first Navy jet to be autonomous without any pilot, remote or otherwise. The operator sends commands with mouse clicks only.

I was referring to the part where Naval Aviators have to CQ to remain current. There is also talk of deploying Navy UCLASS jets in a composite squadron with F/A-18F FAC(A) crew operating the UCLASS. If they (hypothetically) decide to use Naval Aviators with UAV/UCAV platforms like the USAF RPV Pilots, then they'll have to come up with another plan to remain current. That assumes that they are in fact "Naval Aviators" whereas current Navy UAVs (RQ-8s and RQ-21s) are flown by enlisted operators. In composite RQ-8 squadrons like HSM-35, the MH-60s are flown by Naval Aviators who are deck qualified.

Some of the NAVAIR UAV/UCAV program team members are Naval Aviators or NFO/WSO/FTEs but except for the X-47B, there was no requirement for the chase pilot to CQ for the program itself.

Its not unusual for flight test crews in the back seat of F/A-18s to monitor a UAV/UCAV via telemetry, and in some cases actively control the UAV sensors or flight control systems.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 23:21
by spazsinbad
I'm not following your logic about 'Navy Pilots' remaining DL current if their backseaters or they themselves may operate the UCLASS (yet to be determined) in the air. IF the UCLASS future is going to be robotically autonomous - as is the X-47B - then all the UCLASS airborne operators need to do is remain deck qualified? No? Simples. Just like any other Navy FJ pilot onboard. These potential 'operators of UCLASS - when UCLASS is airborne' - will have other things to do if/when no UCLASS is with them at the time; or during a non-UCLASS sortie.

I'll imagine if the UCLASS is run out of stores/fuel, or not required, it will be sent back to mother; whilst the HUMANS tank up and get on with it perhaps? Maybe the UCLASS will go tank robotically with another UCLASS tanker - there are a lot of possibilities eh.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 13 Feb 2014, 23:54
by neurotech
For the "logic" explanation. I was really making reference to the part where the "Greenie Board" being a great part of Navy tradition, won't be part of a UCLASS squadron/det operations because coupled ACLS landings are not graded for the pilots, and JPALS coupled landings won't be graded either. Having an UCLASS Operator instead of a Naval Aviator confirms the lack of landing grades.

Most Naval Aviators I've met strive to be "top hook" or "King of the Greenie Board" or in a some cases "Queen of the Greenie Board" :D

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 14 Feb 2014, 00:02
by spazsinbad
That seems a torturous logic indeed. :devil: IF you do not land the aircraft - you get no grade. Simple?

However the 'UCLASS operator' as you term the person somewhere in the ship who sends commands every now and then perhaps to the robots has no input into anything really during the X-47B approach/landing except to wave it off if there is a noticeable (to the operator) glitch in what he sees via the dials/gizmos on display. The ROBOT should wave off if there is a problem and then it gets sorted somehow (too complicated). The ROBOT has demonstrated that ability already.

I reckon the LSO should get some kind of award for standing near this 'dangerous' robot. :D :doh: No - Just Kidding. It is clear to me that in regards to the carrier landing part the X-47B is OUTstanding. And so it should be and for any successors to follow. Not that anyone should be complacent. The ROBOTs will be monitored and NOT allowed to become active - until I say so. :devil: :drool:

AND I take exception to your claim that 'most Naval Aviators....' strive to be best on the Greenie Board. They all strive - however some are better than others at feigning indifference. It is a tough life and a tough school. Everyone is doing their best in the circumstances - otherwise they would not be there.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 21 Feb 2014, 04:52
by spazsinbad
Best X-47B 'approaching' the carrier photo with the best view of the SHARP (looks to me) HOOK: then Zoom, Zoom, Zoom...

http://theaviationist.com/wp-content/up ... r-hook.jpg

X-47B & LSO - Talking to No One

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2014, 19:55
by spazsinbad
Talking to No One 5 August 2013 By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Christopher E. Tucker, Defense Media Activity
"The story of one naval aviator who helped land the first autonomous unmanned aircraft aboard a carrier...

...As the X-47B approached the flight deck, a couple of people still had the ability to tell the aircraft to wave off, but there quickly became a point where the LSO was in sole control of the decision to either let the aircraft land or wave off and try again.

"So, all the other sources that could generate a wave off, even internal to the aircraft - all those automatic wave offs are inhibited inside of three and a half seconds, and the LSO is effectively the only one who can command a wave off at that point," said Reynolds.

It's All In the Pickle Switch

So, how exactly does an LSO talk to an unmanned aircraft that doesn't have a pilot?

LSOs have a "pickle switch," or handheld remote, that controls what "the ball" displays. LSOs also have a handheld radio to communicate with pilots, and when an LSO calls out "Roger, ball," it signals to everyone listening that he is in control of the approach and the pilot is cleared to continue to land.

The pickle controls what lights are displayed on the ship's optical landing system. In a manned aircraft, the green lights signal the "cut lights," which signals the pilot to continue the approach. They are also used to tell a pilot to add power during the landing. Red lights signal a "wave off," which tells the pilot to abandon the landing, add throttle and go around for another attempt.

"When you're calling 'Roger, ball' for a manned aircraft, it's about 18 seconds from that point when the airplane touches down," said Cmdr. Matt Pothier, the officer in charge of the Navy's landing signal officer school at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. "So, really what's critical about that three and a half seconds is, probably about 10 to 12 seconds into your approach, you're getting into a precarious position. You're not quite safe enough to land, but you still have some time to change your parameters."

It's during this time that an LSO has the sole responsibility to decide if a pilot, or an unmanned system like the X-47B, is safe enough to land or it should wave off and try again.

For the X-47B, the same trigger and switch on the pickle that controls the lights on deck also send the digital permission signal to the aircraft.

"As the [X-47B] starts the approach, there's a couple of extra checks I have to do to make sure that the messaging between the pickle switch that we use to wave the aircraft off or give it the cut lights - to make sure that when I hit those buttons the correct messages are sent to the aircraft," said Reynolds. "As it comes in, the mission operator calls the ball, just like in other aircraft. The LSO rogers the ball up. I hit the cut lights, and that's kind of the digital consent for the aircraft to land."

Reynolds said if the X-47B doesn't get any signal at all, it's programmed to wave off at 200 feet above the water and come around to try again....

..."On a standard aircraft carrier, the targeted hook touch down point, meaning the place where you're supposed to land from the back of the ship, is only 230 feet away," said Pothier. "On the Bush ... it's 205 feet down. Then that also corresponds to a safe height.... On the Bush, [that's] 12 and a half feet from the back of the ramp. So, if you're exactly 12 and a half feet and you're flying exactly three and a half degree glide slope angle, your hook will land 205 feed down from the landing area. So, when we teach pilots how to do this, if they have just a slight margin of error, so say they are one foot high or one foot low, they're going to miss that optimum targeted hook touchdown point."..."

http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/deptStory ... 3&id=75777

Plenty more at the URL above....

http://www.navy.mil/media/aho/860/0813LSO_860_lead.jpg
&
http://www.navy.mil/media/aho/860/13071 ... 81-006.jpg
"...On July 10, 2013, he got a chance to put his training to the test aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). With the secretary of the Navy, the chief of naval operations and the media all standing behind him on the LSO platform, he landed the X-47B twice...."

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Mar 2014, 19:02
by spazsinbad
X-47B Program Honored with Laureate Award 07 Mar 2014
"WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS), built by Northrop Grumman Corp., has won a Laureate Award for “extraordinary achievements” in aeronautics and propulsion, the company announced in a March 7 release....

...In 2013, the X-47B UCAS program made history by being the first tailless, unmanned aircraft to land on and takeoff from an aircraft carrier. The Navy-Northrop Grumman team has been repeatedly recognized for its technology developments in the field of unmanned carrier aviation. To date, the X-47B has completed eight catapult launches off a carrier, 30 touch-and-goes, and seven arrested landings. ..."

SOURCE: http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories ... -x47b.html

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 09 Apr 2014, 17:25
by spazsinbad
Gone in 90 seconds - sheesh - that is SLOW! :doh:
New X-47B Ship Goal: Clear Deck In 90 Sec. 07 Apr 2014 Amy Butler

"The U.S. Navy is preparing to conduct a new round of sea trials this summer with its X-47B stealthy aircraft to prove the unmanned system can clear the busy aircraft carrier deck in 90 sec. or less, just like its piloted counterparts.

This would allow for a more seamless flow of manned and unmanned launches and recoveries on deck, a key step toward earning unmanned aircraft a coveted parking space on American carriers in 2020....

...The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) flight trials in midsummer are designed to prove “integration” of the aircraft into carrier air wing operations, meaning its takeoff, landing and ability to hold in a pattern could be sandwiched between traditional, manned platforms without disruption to the operations tempo. The threshold is to clear the deck 90 sec. after landing, but Navy X-47B program manager Capt. Beau Duarte says ideally the UCAS will do so in 60 sec.

Performance of the $1.8 billion program thus far prompted the Navy to add two more years of trials; it was slated to be shelved last summer.

Testing on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt will demonstrate a new automated wing-folding capability—today wing folding is manually commanded—and an automatic tailhook retractor. Both are needed to clear the deck hastily.

The X-47B has been to three different carriers already for testing in a “crawl, walk, run” demonstration strategy. “We are done crawling,” Duarte says.

The aircraft will also for the first time operate with a jet-blast deflector on the deck. This is critical to allow the X-47B to take off without disrupting operations behind the launch area.

Following the summer air wing integration tests, the program is requesting time on a carrier deck in 2015 for further integration testing. If no carrier is available, Duarte says he will instead focus on automated aerial-refueling testing of the X-47B. This requirement was sidelined earlier. Officials also are considering whether to test transiting through clouds as well as night deck handling and landing, although firm plans have not been set...."

SOURCE: http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 676684.xml

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2014, 04:44
by spazsinbad
I guess it matters to the ground crew - the X-47B doesn't care. :devil:
X-47B Completes Night Flights 11 Apr 2014

"The unmanned X-47B conducts its first night flight April 10 over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Night flights are the next incremental step in developing the operations concept for more routine UAS flight activity. The Navy will continue to execute X-47B test events to mature standard operating procedures for cooperative use of the airspace with manned aircraft."

http://www.aerotechnews.com/wp-content/ ... r-x47a.jpg

SOURCE: http://www.aerotechnews.com/news/2014/0 ... t-flights/

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2014, 01:37
by spazsinbad
Confusion Surrounds Navy’s Carrier-Based Drone May 2014 Valerie Insinna

"...The UAS made headlines last year when it accomplished arrested and touch-and-go landings from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush.

The UCAS-D program was scheduled to end after those demonstrations, but the Navy extended the program in order to reduce risk and further mature air traffic control procedures. Since then, the X-47B has completed additional trials on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The two X-47B aircraft are currently conducting shore-based flight testing and will go out to sea later this year for continued carrier-based demonstrations, said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s program manager.

The exercises, which will be held on the Roosevelt, will focus on integrating the X-47B with manned aircraft such as the F/A-18 Super Hornet and handling the aircraft on the ship’s deck, he said.

“Up until now … we’ve had exclusive use of airspace on the ship. We’ve had X-47 basically owning the flight deck,” Duarte said. In the next phase, “there will be test aircraft with test pilots as part of a scripted plan to demonstrate how efficiently we can operate the X-47 on the deck with external stimuli.”

Tests will compare the X-47B’s ability to take off, land and clear the landing area with that of a manned aircraft. The UAS will also demonstrate its automatic wing fold capability.

Incorporating lessons learned from the UCAS-D program will be essential to successfully operating UCLASS from an aircraft carrier, Nash said. He advocated deploying both X-47Bs as a detachment to a carrier’s air wing while UCLASS is developed.

“Let’s see what they can do,” he said. “The question is, when it’s time to land these things [and] take them off, what’s going on with the rest of the air wing? Can you mix them in, or do you have to have the rest of the air wing already on board? Or do you want to recover them first so that if the thing does crash, it doesn’t crash into a packed flight deck?” ..."

SOURCE: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... Drone.aspx

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 22 Apr 2014, 06:16
by spazsinbad
US Navy Carrier-Borne Drones Uploaded on Apr 20, 2014

"This video is part of Defense-Update post covering the US Navy newly released request for proposal for Carrier-Operable Drones - Following almost a year of delay, and gathering more confidence with drone operations from carriers, the US Navy is moving forward with Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) - the future carrier operated drones."



Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 22 Apr 2014, 06:32
by spazsinbad
US Navy Requests Industry Proposals for Carrier-Operable Drones 18 Apr 2014 Tamir Eshel

"...Following a year-long delay the U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft on April 17, 2014. The draft release was delayed due to disagreements within the Navy, about the technical specifications for the future unmanned aircraft. The final RFP is expected later this year. The new carrier-operated drone is scheduled to enter service in the early 2021....

...The Navy has budgeted the UCLASS capability at a $150 million per orbit. Assuming that two air vehicles can cover one orbit (if that aircraft is capable of flying for 14 hours), that means the maximum price point for a UCLASS air vehicle is about $75 million, USNI said, quoting industry sources. According to preliminary specifications released in June 2013 the goal for UCLASS was to conduct two unrefueled orbits at 600 nautical miles (1,111 km) or one unrefueled orbit at 1,200 nautical miles (2,222 km).

UCLASS drones will also have moderate stealth characteristics and internal payload carrying capacity to conduct light strike missions to eliminate targets of opportunity. Additional roles for the UCLASS could also be aerial refueling, albeit, given their limited payload capacity, such missions could be relevant primarily for other UAS.

The original spec called for a minimum payload capacity of 3,000-pound (1,360 kg), to include electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) surveillance and signals intelligence capability similar to the current MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9B Reaper. The Navy would also like to have a modular radar payload to include synthetic aperture radar and moving target indicator (SAR/GMTI) as well as maritime area search radar capability. In addition, the aircraft will be able to carry 1,000 lbs (454 kg) of external load, primarily weapons."

CAPTION: "Part of the Demonstrator Unmanned Combat Air System - Demonstrator (UCAS-D) testing was to demonstrate how an unmanned aircraft can operate within the crowded and complex carrier environment. In this photo the Northrop Grumman X-47B is seen towed into the hangar bay on board the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) which was one of three carriers that participated in the evaluation. Key design parameters of the UCLASS program will be based on the lessons learned through the UCAS-D evaluations. (U.S. Navy photo by Timothy Walter)"

http://defense-update.com/wp-content/up ... hangar.jpg

SOURCE: http://defense-update.com/20140418_uclass.html

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 22 Apr 2014, 13:27
by sferrin
So, the X-47B would be out. Too much capability. :bang:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 22 Apr 2014, 14:57
by popcorn
First the AF classifies LRS-B as a black program, now Navy is seemingly of the same mind being very stingy with the UCLASS specs. Do black programs progress more smoothly by staying out of the spotlight and unburdened by incessant public distractions and controversies that characterized the F-22 and F-35 programs?

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Apr 2014, 15:11
by spazsinbad
Oldie but Goodie explanation about who does what where....

STRIKE TEST NEWS Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 Newsletter 2011 Issue Page 25

N-UCAS CARRIER SYSTEMS TEAM LT Jon “Buddy” Slager & LT Ben “Flanders” Carter

"...With these systems installed, commands could be sent to the aircraft from multiple test team operators onboard the ship. For example, the LSO has the ability to send a “roger ball” or “waveoff” command by using the standard pickle switch, which is responded to electronically by the X-47B airborne test systems. The Air Boss could send commands to the surrogate aircraft such as “Charlie”, “Turn Downwind”, “Spin”, or “Break” by using a touch screen display installed in PriFly. Similarly, CATCC controllers could send electronic marshal instructions or any other CASE I, II or III commands to the airborne test system via their displays. All of this is done using pre-set sequences and flight profiles.

All of the “classic” flight control and throttle manipulations, navigation, and aircraft configuration changes are determined and executed automatically by the air vehicle based on the instructions sent from the ship...."

SOURCE: http://www.navair.navy.mil/nawcad/index ... oad&id=769 (PDF 3Mb)

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2014, 21:25
by spazsinbad
:devil: Never Ending Story of UCLASS is like Canuckians Buying Something - Anything - Buehler! :devil: Just the Top nTail of the long article below....
House Committee Seeks to Stall UCLASS Program Pending New Pentagon Unmanned Aviation Study 29 Apr 2014 Dave Majumdar & Sam LaGrone

"The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) seeks to put on hold the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft program and directs the Pentagon to fund a study for a future carrier-borne unmanned strike aircraft, according to language in the HASC’s Seapower and Projections Forces Committee’s mark of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Bill.

The legislation would stop spending on the UCLASS program until the Secretary of Defense conducts a study — due to Congress at the end of the year — on, “requirements for a carrier-based [Unmanned Aerial System] to extend the [information, reconnaissance and surveillance] and precision strike reach of the carrier air wing in [anti-access/ area denial] threat environments projected for 2025-2035,” reads the bill.

The Navy’s FY 2015 budget submission included $403 million to develop the UCLASS program, which the service plans to field by 2020. If the bill is signed, ULCASS funds would be in limbo until the conclusion of the new study.

The bill also included harsh language — directed at the Navy — claiming the service did not comply with 2012 strategic guidance in the development of the current UCLASS concept....

...The debate on the UCLASS requirements continued even after the Navy awarded UCLASS PDR contracts to Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Atomics in August of that same year. Advocates for a deep penetrating unmanned carrier-based stealth bomber continue to press hard to modify the UCLASS specifications to allow operations inside high-threat environments.

By the time the draft RFP for the main body of the UCLASS program was issued to the contractors in April 2014, it was apparent those advocates had lost the fight.

The Navy would insist on pursuing a UCLASS only suited for operations over permissive airspace that would be operational by 2020.

For members of Congress who have long advocated for a more robust UCLASS, it was apparently the last straw."

SOURCE: http://news.usni.org/2014/04/29/house-c ... tion-study

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 29 Apr 2014, 22:52
by lookieloo
Was it this bad when JSF requirements were being determined? Seriously, that was with three different service-branches; but the Naval establishment can't even settle on the basic nature of an in-house project.

Maybe it's time to throw in the towel and start over with a different set of actors (adults this time please), perhaps with a classified program.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2014, 23:17
by spazsinbad
Navy's X-47B program ramps up flight test, readying for summer sea trials 01 May 2014 PEO(U&W) Public Affairs

"NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The X-47B unmanned combat air system is gearing up for shore-based flight test activities in preparation for the next round of sea trials this summer.

The program’s test team will conduct various test events with the X-47B over the next few months in an effort to mature air traffic control and ground support standard operating procedures for co-use of airspace between unmanned and manned aircraft during day and nighttime operations.

“Continuing to fly the X-47B in the Patuxent River air space will further exercise the research, test, development and evaluation (RDT&E) infrastructure with an unmanned air system,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, program manager for Unmanned Carrier Aviation at Patuxent River. “These tests are a build-up for the next carrier event this summer.”

As the first unmanned aircraft to take off and land from a modern aircraft carrier, X-47B will once again embark on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the August timeframe. This time, the test team will focus on perfecting flight deck operations and integrating the X-47B with manned carrier aircraft.

“We are working toward a new set of firsts for the X-47B,” said Matt Funk, X-47B lead test engineer. “We’ll test the new capabilities of the X-47B wing-fold and tailhook retract system, and will demonstrate compatibility with a carrier jet-blast deflector on the flight deck for the first time.”

The proven use of these functions will allow the air vehicle to take off, land, and hold in the same pattern as manned aircraft, the next step toward UAS operations aboard aircraft carriers without disruption to normal carrier flight deck operations, he said.

“This at-sea period will mark the first time manned aircraft and the X-47B will operate together on the flight deck,” Duarte said. The goal is to clear the deck within 90 seconds after landing and demonstrate deck handling on par with manned aircraft.

The Navy will conduct X-47B flight operations over the next year to mature technologies for the future Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system and refine the concept of operations to demonstrate the integration of unmanned carrier-based aircraft within the carrier environment, Duarte said."

http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 48_299.jpg "The Navy's unmanned X-47B flies over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. during its first nighttime flight in April 2014. (U.S. Navy photo)"

SOURCE: http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5613

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2014, 20:57
by gtx
Watch out Spaz'…Sol' is getting all 'tough talking' against you here: F-35 News. X-47 heading back to sea for sea trials ... :doh:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2014, 21:06
by spazsinbad
I'm just waiting for a choozcruzlike e-mail from the SNAFu so I can report the clown. Otherwise no point to respond. If those complainers cannot understand the kindergarten primer about arrestor wires, navav and quotes from 'the boss' then there is nothing else to say. I was going to post a link to this 4 wire/3 wire CVN setup but thought again 'why bother'.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 22 May 2014, 01:15
by spazsinbad
This is a long article and it seems to offer a good compromise for the way ahead for the UCLASS and UCLASS 'lite'. Only last paragraphs will be posted - article best read at site.

Grounded: What the UCLASS RFP Fight Really Means 20 May 2014 Andrew Metrick

"...Instead of choosing one capability set over the other, the Navy should rewrite the RFP to reflect a unified acquisition program for two distinct airframes sharing common core technologies acquired on a staggered timeline. The two aircraft would be a high-end, penetrating Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) with a robust strike capability and a workhorse Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Refueling (UCLAS-R) aircraft with robust ISR and limited strike capabilities. This aircraft would also be able to refuel other manned and unmanned platforms. By procuring a smaller number UCAS aircraft and a larger number of UCLAS-R platforms, the Navy will properly align itself with the future security environment.

The Navy needs a stealthy, penetrating unmanned aircraft if the fleet is to successfully execute the future high-end fight as envisioned by the Joint Operational Access Concept and Air-Sea Battle. A UCAS platform will enable the F-35 to maximize its time on station (and potentially extend its engagement range) by providing prompt targeting information. A penetrating unmanned aircraft with strike capability will also enable commanders to engage fleeting targets of opportunity such as road mobile anti-ship missile launchers when other assets may be unavailable or unsuitable. In this instance, Brimley’s assertions about power projection and certain future threats are completely correct and underscore why the Navy needs a penetrating unmanned aircraft.

However by focusing on the high-end, Brimley and others seemingly ignore the more likely and numerous low-end conflicts and crises that characterize the future security environment. While the Navy must stand ready to fight and win against all aggressors, it is prudent to best align ways and means in this period of fiscal constraint. The Marine Corps concluded in its recently published Expeditionary Force 21 that “it is more likely that the next 10 years will be largely characterized by the need to address small-scale crises and limited contingencies.” A UCLAS-R platform offers long loiter ISR capabilities in permissive spaces to support maritime security, humanitarian assistance, stability, and counter-terror missions helping meet the insatiable joint demand for more ISR capacity. An aircraft with limited strike capability such as that offered by the MQ-9 Reaper, would be ideal for a “low threat” world of hybrid missions.

This approach may seem cost prohibitive, but it does not have to be. In fact, the two airframe, two timeline approach may be beneficial. Many of the necessary technologies such as airborne sense and avoid, autonomous deck handling, data links, and autonomous recovery could and should be shared between the two platforms. The staggered timelines will defer the more expensive and complex UCAS until key technology maturation. In addition, the entire program encompassing the UCAS and UCLAS-R should be closely integrated with ongoing Navy efforts to develop an interoperable, scalable, and modular control system for its unmanned aircraft. This will further increase synergies and can help drive down costs across the entire range of systems. The acquisition program should be prioritized in the fiscal year 2016 Navy budget request with a target operational date for the UCLAS-R of 2018–2019 and 2022–2023 for the UCAS.

This is a “walk before you run” approach. It does not sacrifice the high-end capabilities of the UCAS by solely committing to an aircraft that cannot operate in contested zones. The current draft UCLASS RFP continues a troubling trend of the U.S. in ceding its unmanned advantage. It also jettisons almost 15 years of work on the X-47 airframe; an airframe that is well-suited to support the high-end requirement set. The Navy and the United States cannot fall behind or else we will lose a vital technological superiority. In this instance, both sides of the debate are only partially correct. By issuing an RFP encompassing both the UCAS and UCLAS-R, the Navy could demonstrate its understanding of the broad spectrum of future operations and commitment to ensuring that the U.S. maintains its vital edge in key military technologies."

SOURCE: http://hrana.org/articles/2014/05/groun ... lly-means/

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jun 2014, 09:56
by spazsinbad
Navy Contract Extends Service Lives of Northrop's Experimental Drones
26 Jun 2014 Brad Graves

"The experimental, carrier-based drones that Northrop Grumman Corp. built for the U.S. Navy are getting an extension of what was to be short service lives.

The Navy said on June 26 that it awarded Northrop Grumman a $63.1 million contract to support its two X-47B aircraft through March.

Among other things, the funds will pay for maintenance support and continued flight test opportunities.

Seventy percent of the work will be carried out in Rancho Bernardo — the center for Northrop Grumman’s unmanned aircraft work — while 30 percent will be carried out in Patuxent River, Md., which is the headquarters of Navy aviation. The Naval Air Systems Command of Patuxent River awarded the contract...."

Source: http://sdbj.com/news/2014/jun/26/navy-c ... rops-expe/

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jun 2014, 18:54
by sferrin
It boggles my mind that the USN isn't moving heaven and earth to try to get an X-47 based UCAV operational. :doh:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jun 2014, 19:15
by bring_it_on
A major Stealth UCAV program that resembles what is being spoken about like the F-14 sized vehicle is going to be many times more expensive then what the Navy plans to spend on this program from now till 2020, and is going to be so capable where they would be forced to stand up and take notice of actually increasing the no. of vehicles per carrier to a number that would begin to compete for $$ with the other Budgetary programs that are likely to show up, starting with the FA-XX Analysis of Alternatives that begins early next year. At the moment the AOA is likely to offload the Refueling mission to the UCLASS (maybe), add stealth ISR and strike and the Navy may just loose the FA-XX altogether to just an F-35C and a F-35C+

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2014, 17:43
by spazsinbad
Pentagon Reviews UCLASS Strike Capabilities
10 Jul 2014 Kris Osborn

"Congressional leaders have asked the defense secretary to review existing plans for the Navy’s carrier-launched drone program, expressing concerns that the written requirements are too narrowly configured and do not meet the threats and mission demands of the future....

...The Subcommittee language, which was adopted by the entire House and awaits conference with the Senate, specifies that the UCLASS will need to be able to operate in high-threat or “contested” environment.

The thrust of the debate centers around the platform can adapt over time or whether features like stealth and electronic attack need to be engineered into the original design at from the start. Forbes wants those capabilities from the beginning even though it will increase the drone’s initial price tag.

“These requirements will lock in payloads and other types of things, including potential stealth that you will never be able to go back and revisit,” Forbes added.

Navy officials said they could not comment on the proposed mark-up language, indicating they plan to wait for the results of the Congressional conference later this year, which will determine the final language of the defense bill.

Focusing more narrowly on ISR missions for the Navy restricts the technological ability of the platform and creates some redundancies as well, the Subcommittee states.

“The disproportionate emphasis in the requirements on unrefueled endurance to enable continuous intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to the carrier strike group, a capability need presumably satisfied by the planned acquisition of 68 MQ-4C Tritons, would result in an aircraft with serious deficiencies in both survivability and internal weapons payload capacity and flexibility,” the language states.

While not willing to comment publically on plans for stealth or low-observability for UCLASS, Navy program officials have consistently maintained that the program’s requirements do call for a weaponized strike platform as well as an ISR vehicle. However, the weapons capability is something that is described as incremental, meaning it will be engineered into the platform over time, Navy officials explained."

Source: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/07/10/penta ... abilities/


TONs of more text to explain at the URL....

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2014, 01:36
by spazsinbad
The argey-bargey is never ending. But hey - something good should come of it all eh. A long article with only the last paragraphs below so go to the URL to read titall.
Latest UCLASS Concept Emphasizes Maritime Roles
17 Jul 2014 Dave Majumdar & Sam LaGrone

"...“The whole [concept of operations] for this aircraft is that it will operate as part of the carrier strike group, it may also be tasked by the combatant commander… for other missions,” Grosklags said.

“It is not designed to operate lone and unafraid particularly in a hostile environment.”

One of the problems of operating in a highly contested environment is that the enemy will jam the communication between the unmanned aircraft and those who are controlling it. The Navy believes it has a handle on that problem—but cannot discuss the specifics.

“We have taken into account operations into the current threat environment in terms of jamming or loss of communications,” Grosklags said. “We’ve not only looked at the current environment but we’ve also looked at what we expect to see in the future environment.”

The Navy plans to field UCLASS by 2020."

Source: http://news.usni.org/2014/07/17/latest- ... time-roles
&
MORE READIN' HERE: http://news.usni.org/2014/07/17/senate- ... nts-uclass

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 18 Jul 2014, 02:58
by bring_it_on
The Navy talk about the FA-XX is also very significant in determining what the UCLASS ultimately becomes. I have a feeling that the Navy is itching to be the big boss on a major fighter program and be the service that dictates all the requirements to the prime, holds a competition and what not. There was talks about its AOA beginning this year and how they are looking at individual mission sets and seeing what is the right balance going forward (What missions to dump onto the F-35 and UCLASS and what missions to put on the FA-XX). They cannot embark on a Broadband stealth, UCAV with a significant penetrating and strike power without seriously jeopardizing the FA-XX prospects. On the other hand they also know that they haven't run a program like a FA-XX in a long long time. Ultimately someone needs to put them out of their misery. DARPA is working on the Air defense initiative and plans to develop 10 or 12 broad areas for the next generation. They are obviously going to closely align the VCAT and other R&D efforts with the largely air force funded NG engine programs. I think Boeing and Lockheed need to collaborate and just develop a F-22 NG and give them a 5.5 generation aircraft that is lower risk then a full fledged 6th generation effort.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2014, 21:19
by spazsinbad
ANOTHER LONG ARTICKLE best read at source:
Carrier-based drone offers way forward for US navy – subject to squabbling
25 Jul 2014 Spencer Ackerman

"...Last year, the navy launched and, more significantly, landed a demonstrator vehicle called the X-47B – known colloquially as the Dorito, for its shape – from the USS George HW Bush. "One small step for man and one significant technical leap for unmanned-kind," Rear Admiral Mat Winter, who managed the program and has since been tapped to be the navy's chief futurist, said at the time....

...The navy says its plan is to stagger the capabilities of UCLASS. Once the navy selects a company's design – a process that the request for proposals will formally kick off – future iterations of the drone will allow for greater weapons storage, and for a more expansive conception of UCLASS missions.

In testimony last week to Forbes' skeptical House subcommittee, navy and Pentagon officials also suggested that larding UCLASS with premium requirements could render the system unaffordable – seemingly a major factor in downscaling initial UCLASS capabilities.

The navy wants "an affordable persistent intelligence surveillance reconnaissance and targeting, or ISR&T system, with a precision strike capability," said Vice Admiral Paul Grosklags, the sea service's research and acquisitions chief. Scaling back its unrefueled flight time to add weaponry or improve durability created an "enormous" cost risk of "more than four times" when accounting for the logistics of refueling, said senior navy official Mark Andress.

Navy futurists are skeptical that the service, once it selects a design from four competing defense giants, will be able to scale up the UCLASS. Designing an aircraft requires tradeoffs: its shape will influence how much fuel, weapons and sensors it can carry and, largely, how resistant to radar it will be.

"You need to get the shape and the propulsion path right or you're stuck forever in terms of the payload and the survivability. You can't undo those things," testified former navy official Robert Martinage, who warned that the navy's requirements for UCLASS were moving into a "permanent aircraft design trade that reduce[s] survivability and payload carriage and flexibility, the exact same attributes that are needed to perform ISR and precision strike in an Anti- Access/Area-Denial environment".

Translated from the wonk, Martinage's point is that UCLASS will be a far-ranging robotic aerial scout, increasing the situational awareness of an aircraft carrier across large swaths of ocean. But it will not significantly add combat power – and, accordingly, the ability to deter potential adversaries – against well-defended targets like mainland China, whose development of advanced anti-ship missiles has sparked enormous debate within the navy about the enduring relevance of aircraft carriers.

That has several naval analysts worried that the navy is setting itself up to miss an enormous opportunity. Some argue that the service will end up spending more on a less-ambitious drone – as it has seen ballooning costs in priorities like the Littoral Combat Ship and F-35 fighter jet – that takes what drones already do and plops it on a carrier deck....

...Pentagon officials are stepping into the process. Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense and a leading seapower wonk, will hold a meeting with navy officials to discuss UCLASS requirements and other major "power projection" questions. That meeting, expected next month, will precede the issuance of the request for proposal, sparking speculation about yet another re-adjustment in Pentagon expectations for the drone.

Forbes said he doesn't know when the actual proposal request is expected. He inserted a provision in this year's defense authorization bill, which has yet to pass the Senate, requiring a Pentagon re-look at the program – something the navy criticized for a delay, but which Forbes defends as a prudent measure on a technology with tremendous implication for US naval power.

"When all the history's written on this, the UCLASS is going to play a significant role in the relevance of our aircraft carriers 20 years from today," said Forbes.

"If we get this right, it's going to go a long way in making sure we have the kind of balanced air wing that's going to be necessary to continue to keep that great capability that our aircraft carriers provide operable for the national defense of this country.""

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/j ... ft-carrier

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2014, 22:56
by popcorn
It seems like the kid is getting ready for his first romp in the playground with the bigger kids. Mom wants to buy a pair of kids' sneakers. Let the kid stumble around, fall on his face and learn to get along with his playmates, Dad's obsession with Nike contracts can wait. :D

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 26 Jul 2014, 23:15
by spazsinbad
I want my kid to tie his own shoe laces and win! :devil:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2014, 01:10
by lookieloo
spazsinbad wrote:ANOTHER LONG ARTICKLE best read at source:
Carrier-based drone offers way forward for US navy – subject to squabbling
25 Jul 2014 Spencer Ackerman
Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/j ... ft-carrier
Well look where Ackerman turned up! Flipping through his content, he seems to have grown-up a bit since the days when he and Axe were snarking it up at Wired on matters in which they had little-to-no understanding. I'd still characterize him as an internationalist-crybaby, but at least he appears to have figured out how to stay in his journalistic lane... the article is actually quite good.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2014, 02:20
by popcorn
lookieloo wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:ANOTHER LONG ARTICKLE best read at source:
Carrier-based drone offers way forward for US navy – subject to squabbling
25 Jul 2014 Spencer Ackerman
Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/j ... ft-carrier
Well look where Ackerman turned up! Flipping through his content, he seems to have grown-up a bit since the days when he and Axe were snarking it up at Wired on matters in which they had little-to-no understanding. I'd still characterize him as an internationalist-crybaby, but at least he appears to have figured out how to stay in his journalistic lane... the article is actually quite good.

Usually get good results when one sticks to reporting the facts and refrains from injecting personal commentary.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2014, 04:10
by smsgtmac
I'd trust Ackerman only as far as I could throw him --Which would be pretty far and most satisfying, but unfortunately still within observation range.
One of the original 'Journolistas', he can never have any credibility as far as I'm concerned.
BTW: The first indication someone has no clue as to what they are talking about when it comes to advanced UAV/UAS hardware and operations is that they call the part that flies a 'Drone'. Freakin' Idjiits.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2014, 04:39
by lookieloo
popcorn wrote:Usually get good results when one sticks to reporting the facts and refrains from injecting personal commentary.
Which is why one has an actual reporting job whilst the other has regressed into punk-blogging. When it comes to UCLASS not being an all-out TACAIR platform, Axe blindly follows his hipster instincts and goes on the march for drone civil-rights as it were, blaming the F-35 whilst at it. Ackerman, on the other hand, has learned to stick with the facts he knows... UCLASS-heavy represents an opportunity to secure a lead in drone capability and secure the relevance of aircraft carriers well into the future; unfortunately, budget limitations mean that being over-ambitious could result the the Navy getting nothing at all.


My personal opinion is that both routes should be pursued. Get the bare-bones capability on flight-decks ASAP so they can get started developing a community and operational profile. While everyone is busy learning how to do the no-pilot thing on carriers, let the UCLASS-heavy advocates have just enough rope (funding) to hang themselves with. Who knows? Maybe they'll surprise us and develop an entirely new TACAIR plane in about half the F-35's development cycle. :roll:

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 27 Jul 2014, 15:05
by count_to_10
smsgtmac wrote:BTW: The first indication someone has no clue as to what they are talking about when it comes to advanced UAV/UAS hardware and operations is that they call the part that flies a 'Drone'. Freakin' Idjiits.

Actually, what do you mean by that? At this point, "drone" seems to be an accepted term for any aircraft (or sometimes any vehicle) that doesn't carry a human pilot.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2014, 03:40
by smsgtmac
count_to_10 wrote:
smsgtmac wrote:BTW: The first indication someone has no clue as to what they are talking about when it comes to advanced UAV/UAS hardware and operations is that they call the part that flies a 'Drone'. Freakin' Idjiits.

Actually, what do you mean by that? At this point, "drone" seems to be an accepted term for any aircraft (or sometimes any vehicle) that doesn't carry a human pilot.

It only appears to be an 'accepted' term because of the widespread misuse of the word 'drone'--some of it intentional for the 'scary' feel of the term-- in the media.
A (flying) 'drone' is a simple air vehicle that flies a pre-programmed route with a flight profile covered at predetermined speeds and altitudes with at most only a limited ability to be redirected remotely via one-way communications to perform pre-programmed variations to same. It is typically capable of performing only a single mission: attack, reconnaissance, or target at one time and would have to be significantly reconfigured between missions. It is often recoverable by parachute and is invariably designed with low-redundancy and to be low cost. It is considered to be 'expendable' and expected to survive only one to a few missions.
A UCLASS or similar vehicle is far more sophisticated, more capable, and more expensive: designed for a longer operational life.
The use of UAV/UAS terminology BTW has been a point of contention among the unmanned systems community for decades. We were arguing about it as a hot topic at the 1984 AUVS (before it was AUVSI) symposium. Some people chaff at the 'unmanned' part because of the implication the UAVs are 'lesser' systems because of the 'Un' in unmanned. I've never had a problem with the term because until Strong AI makes itself known, I won't believe (My faith is limited to religious matters) there IS such a thing as Strong AI.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 28 Jul 2014, 05:39
by neptune
[quote="smsgtmac"][...
A (flying) 'drone' is a simple air vehicle that flies a pre-programmed route with a flight profile covered at predetermined speeds and altitudes with at most only a limited ability to be redirected remotely via one-way communications to perform pre-programmed variations to same. It is typically capable of performing only a single mission: attack, reconnaissance, or target at one time and would have to be significantly reconfigured between missions. It is often recoverable by parachute and is invariably designed with low-redundancy and to be low cost....We were arguing about it as a hot topic at the 1984 AUVS (before it was AUVSI) symposium. ...quote]

The term drone was forever attached when the USAF started flying Firebee recon-missions in 1963, (they did it to themselves). The Firebees were also controlled (mission program interdicted/ damaged and could be flown manually by a controller) by the DC-130 Hercules controller aircraft and others (Monkey Mountain/ DaNang).

- In 1959, Ryan Aeronautical performed a study to investigate how the company's Firebee target drone (In 1963, it was redesignated the BQM-34A.) could be used for long-range reconnaissance missions.
- The Firebee has a low radar cross section, making it hard to detect.
- The Air Force went for the cheapest option, a reconnaissance drone based on a Firebee with minimal changes. A $1.1 million USD contract was issued on 2 February 1962, requesting four Firebee drones modified for photo-reconnaissance.
- The first Lightning Bug mission flown from Bien Hoa took place on October 11, 1964.
- Last known mission for the last 5 Firebees was GWII (2003), circuit programmed to fly to Baghdad, on to Tikrit and back to Baghdad till exhausted fuel. Iraq showed an early GW II victory of a downed Firebee, with parachute extended (ps, ran-out-of-fuel). :)

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 29 Jul 2014, 02:34
by smsgtmac
neptune wrote:The term drone was forever attached when the USAF started flying Firebee recon-missions in 1963, (they did it to themselves).

Oh Puhleezzz. :roll:
99.9% of the general public AND military still has never heard of the Firebee. And 99% of the rest only knew of it as a target drone only years after Vietnam. I crewed with guys who were with the DC-130s from Davis-Monthan to SEA to Davis-Monthan to AFFTC (Edwards then Hill AFB). Though perhaps dozens of programs and UAVs big and small passed through our shops between the early AQMs and the last sustained operation of A/BQMs where we flew 'modified' hard-to detect versions against OTHB and AEGIS Radars, one program in particular, 'Project Amber' was most relevant to bringing UAVs into the public consciousness. Project Amber was the granddaddy of what became the 'Predator'. The Predator is THE singular and semi-autonomous RPV that the media and anti-war types insist on mislabeling as a 'drone' and hammering the 'drone' meme to death. IMHO it is about two orders of magnitude below the X-47B in sophistication and autonomy (and about one order of magnitude less autonomous than the Global Hawk).
neptune wrote:The Firebees were also controlled (mission program interdicted/ damaged and could be flown manually by a controller) by the DC-130 Hercules controller aircraft and others (Monkey Mountain/ DaNang).

Command and Control via MCGS was iffy and crude by today's standards, but it was part and parcel with the transitioning of the BQM 'Drone' capability to AQM 'RPV' operations and capabilities. A BQM is very much NOT an AQM.

Some related trivia. I've flown on both the aircraft shown on the Wiki DC-130 page, and for sure have logged flight test hours on the DC-130 shown over the USS CHOSIN (A "Cyrano" with the MCGS no less!). The 'Navy' A model was (is?) operated by a contractor at Pt Mugu. It was brought out of mothballs and re-winged--- after we broke the wing doing some 'hard stuff' that sent it to DM in the first place. The Firebee in OIF anecdote is all the more special because running up to DS we were locked and loaded to bring all kinds of strange and wonderful hurt down on Saddam's head if the going got tough, including bringing the AQM's we had brought out of mothballs for OTHB/AEGIS testing. Teledyne was apoplectic when DoD turned down their offer to support, not knowing that the AF had already put the Northrop Chukar drones in place to trigger the AD radars for the shooters that would follow on day one.
Ah, Good Times.

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 29 Jul 2014, 19:28
by spazsinbad
I'll post pointers to this article here because the penultimate paragraph is the kicker....
Chinese and Russian Radars On Track To See Through U.S. Stealth
29 Jul 2014 Dave Majumdar

"A growing trend in Russian and Chinese radar could make U.S. stealth fighters easier to see and — more importantly — easier to target for potential adversaries, a former senior U.S. Navy official told USNI News.

U.S. fighters — like the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) — are protected by stealth technology optimized for higher frequency targeting radars but not for lower frequency radars....

...Moreover, in certain parts of the world potential adversaries —China and Russia— are developing long-range anti-radiation missiles that could target the central node of the NIFC-CA network—the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

“I think the anti-radiation homing weapons that are passive and go long-range are very, very difficult for the NIFC-CA concept to contend with,” the former official said.

Fundamentally, the Navy’s lack of an all-aspect broadband stealth jet on the carrier flight deck is giving fuel to advocates of a high-end Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft that can tackle the toughest enemy air defenses.

Without such capability, the Navy’s carrier fleet will fade into irrelevance, the former official said."

Source: http://news.usni.org/2014/07/29/chinese ... -s-stealth

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 29 Jul 2014, 20:09
by KamenRiderBlade
spazsinbad wrote:I'll post pointers to this article here because the penultimate paragraph is the kicker....
Chinese and Russian Radars On Track To See Through U.S. Stealth
29 Jul 2014 Dave Majumdar

"A growing trend in Russian and Chinese radar could make U.S. stealth fighters easier to see and — more importantly — easier to target for potential adversaries, a former senior U.S. Navy official told USNI News.

U.S. fighters — like the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) — are protected by stealth technology optimized for higher frequency targeting radars but not for lower frequency radars....

...Moreover, in certain parts of the world potential adversaries —China and Russia— are developing long-range anti-radiation missiles that could target the central node of the NIFC-CA network—the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

“I think the anti-radiation homing weapons that are passive and go long-range are very, very difficult for the NIFC-CA concept to contend with,” the former official said.

Fundamentally, the Navy’s lack of an all-aspect broadband stealth jet on the carrier flight deck is giving fuel to advocates of a high-end Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft that can tackle the toughest enemy air defenses.

Without such capability, the Navy’s carrier fleet will fade into irrelevance, the former official said."

Source: http://news.usni.org/2014/07/29/chinese ... -s-stealth


And what design elements must you use to defend against low frequency radar?

Re: F-35 and X-47B

Unread postPosted: 29 Jul 2014, 22:21
by maus92
KamenRiderBlade wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:I'll post pointers to this article here because the penultimate paragraph is the kicker....
Chinese and Russian Radars On Track To See Through U.S. Stealth
29 Jul 2014 Dave Majumdar

"A growing trend in Russian and Chinese radar could make U.S. stealth fighters easier to see and — more importantly — easier to target for potential adversaries, a former senior U.S. Navy official told USNI News.

U.S. fighters — like the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) — are protected by stealth technology optimized for higher frequency targeting radars but not for lower frequency radars....