Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Support for UAV CAP Missions

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Support for UAV CAP Missions

Old 6th Jan 2014, 03:40
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Annapolis, MD
Age: 84
Posts: 429
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Support for UAV CAP Missions

According to the Defense Science Board (DSB), one of the unintended consequences of the rapid expansion of unmanned systems is that they require significant manpower for operations and support.

The USAF has declared that its most critical staffing problem is manning its unmanned platforms. Apparently it is not uncommon to have 170 people supporting a Predator Combat Air Patrol (CAP) missions and 300 people supporting a Global Hawk CAP.

Does anyone know if the manpower support required for current manned aircraft CAP missions is similar, more, or less?

Bob C
Robert Cooper is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 07:39
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: York
Posts: 551
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Apart from SE Fitters and LOX / Ejection Beat bays I would not think it's a lot different..........
dctyke is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 07:45
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 4,214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You need more for a manned mission because of the harmony requirements when deployed - ie. if you can only deploy for 6 months every 2 years then you need to have a pool of aircrew 4 times the size. Furthermore, depending on the mission that you are doing then unmanned tends to have a longer flight time. If you are doing CAS with a Reaper that can fly non-stop for 14hrs doing overwatch/CAS then you will only need 3 airframes (2 + 1 spare to accomplish it). If you do the same thing with Tornado GR4 then you will need at least 8 airframes, a series of tankers and a huge supply of spares! But then you don't get a supersonic reactive capability that can operate in a significantly contested environment if you use Reaper.

As ever, the choice requires comprimises as all things aviation ever did. But in answer to your first question, there are manpower savings to be had when deployed for ops.

LJ
Lima Juliet is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 08:25
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The USAF has declared that its most critical staffing problem is manning its unmanned platforms.
Manning its unmanned platforms - how very ironic.

I assume they mean 'supporting deployed drone operations'.....
BEagle is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 08:35
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: UK
Age: 52
Posts: 481
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
BEagle

The issue is that these hugely capable multi-sensor long-endurance aircraft are producing so much intelligence product to sift through that the current manpower mix doesn't cover it. In short, less pilots and more sensor operators and intelligence experts (SIGINT, MASINT and FMV/SAR interpretation is a highly skilled art) are needed.

iRaven
iRaven is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 10:24
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Nomadic
Posts: 1,343
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
...for an enduring 24/7 Op that cannot be undertaken by other ISR and NT/ISR assets....
L J R is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 12:35
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, quite so. They need sufficient numbers of people to support their deployed drone operations. 'Manning an unmanned platform' is rather a daft description though.
BEagle is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 13:38
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Exit stage right.
Posts: 289
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
But then you don't get a supersonic reactive capability that can operate in a significantly contested environment if you use Reaper.
Agree

But you can sacrifice 10 reapers while waiting for supersonic capability to get there.

I can envisage the day soon when Reaper can deploy 20-30 mini Reapers all focused on same targets when required as a defense. Thus making otherside having to focus on defense rather than offense.
racedo is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 14:25
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Darling - where are we?
Posts: 2,563
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I can envisage the day soon when Reaper can deploy 20-30 mini Reapers all focused on same targets when required as a defense. Thus making otherside having to focus on defense rather than offense
Sounds very similar to the concept of using non-radar equipped Hawks armed with gunpacks and 2x AIM-9s in the point defence role, with F3s (I think) using it's systems to provide the necessary SA.

I think the above is broadly correct - I was a mere nipper when this was pushed through - but the point I am suggesting is that racedo nicely demonstrates there are very few developments in military capability that are genuinely new, with many being a spin off or adaptation of an earlier idea. And whilst the US might have the necessary C2 and J6 capabilities to effectively command and control such missions and capabilities, I think the UK is still a long way off having the necessary architecture in place to do that.
Melchett01 is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 17:53
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 1,958
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just the same concept, melchett and doesn't have to be 20 or 30, it could be 2 or 3 thousand. These aircraft can be made very cheaply -a fraction of the cost of the missile needed to destroy one. Racedo I agree with your point but don't forget we may also have to get used to the idea of them being used offensively en masse against us!

Beagle you're right to highlight the "unmanned manning" irony but that's why they now designate them "remotely piloted"
ShotOne is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 19:18
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 4,214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sounds a bit like the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) which is designed to drag missiles off the rails of fighters and SAM systems...



LJ
Lima Juliet is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 19:21
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Exit stage right.
Posts: 289
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Racedo I agree with your point but don't forget we may also have to get used to the idea of them being used offensively en masse against us!
Thats when he who has developed [email protected] best wins or shutting down / taking control of uplink either via jamming or shooting satellite out of sky or EMT burst.

Think we can assume all are in play.
racedo is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 19:52
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 4,214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Racedo

A few problems with some of that:

1. As an EMP is indiscriminate then you are likely to frag either your own or your allies' satellites. Furthermore, the devastating effect of EMP could trigger a nuclear response. Therefore, I would say it is unlikely unless in 'Total War' and then an exo-atmospheric nuke will be joined by one of many going off in the atmosphere.

2. ASAT is also likely to frag and deny orbits and other satellites. Look at the recent US and Chinese ASAT shots - they caused a huge array of problems in Near Earth Orbit (NEO). Most ASAT capabilities are NEO capable only. Furthermore, the main satellites for UAV/RPAS control are in Geostationary Earth Orbit and that is a long way out. Most satellites get out there via a Hohmann transfer orbit and take several hours to get out there. All the satellite driver has to do is wait for the ASAT weapon to start the Hohmann transfer orbit manoeuvre and then move a few hundred metres to the left or right and the ASAT weapon sails right past unless EMP capable and then you're back to the same above - fragging every GEO satellite put there. Also, you need a serious space program to perform this manoeuvre.

3. Taking control or jamming the up-link. The up-link starts at the control cabin and goes via fibre-optic to the satellite uplink. All uplinks use parabolic antennae that are high-gain along a narrow azimuth with minimal sidelobes and so are hard to jam unless you happen to be in the sweet-spot that the actual antenna is positioned in. If you happen to be even 10 degrees outside the main beam then you will need 100s of times more energy and also a significant sized antenna - guess what? That capability would quickly go to the top of the strike target list!

4. Free Space Path Loss (FSPL) is massive over the distance involved in beyond line of sight control. So jamming is quite tricky and needs lots of effort. You'd better off spending time and effort trying to shoot them down rather than trying to jam/spoof the UAV/RPAS.

5. [email protected] use has the same problem. Aiming it accurately and tracking the target that is moving around. Again, probably better to throw up walls of lead with AAA - cheaper and likely to be more successful.

Just my two-penneth, but they aren't that easy a target as some would have you believe (unless you're a Georgian operator flying a Hermes 450 and doing nothing to react to the threat that you've been watching!).

LJ

Sometimes the most obvious way is best - Occam's Razor...
Lima Juliet is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 20:33
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Simple example of drone-plinking....

When the opposition is armed with rather more than kiwi fruit and dry guava halves, or even a sharpened mango or two, you can expect drones to be swatted without too much difficulty.
BEagle is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 20:43
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Zummerset
Posts: 1,024
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Beags,
Quite - which is why some of the next generation of UAVs are higher performing, and incorporate a degree of LO technology. These (RQ-170 / X-47) are just the ones we know about - doubtless there are 'Black' projects with even more capability under development.
Evalu8ter is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2014, 22:08
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 1,958
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Or alternatively, send a lot of them. The Israelis for instance swatted one a couple of years ago with a python AAM...at probably twenty times the cost of the UAV.
ShotOne is offline  
Old 8th Jan 2014, 01:59
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: UK
Age: 40
Posts: 581
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yeah - seems very lopsided doesn't it when the missiles you need to use to shoot down UAVs are hugely more expensive than the UAVs themselves.

Maybe the UAVs can be used to fight a war of attrition. How many short range AAMs would a potential adversary have readily available?
unmanned_droid is offline  
Old 8th Jan 2014, 10:47
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: The Roman Empire
Posts: 2,343
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Use "cheap" UAVs to fight "cheap" UAVs....... simples!!

"Ramming speed......"!!!
Biggus is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.