Friday, May 22, 2009

USAF Looks To Next-Gen UAV

USAF Looks To Next-Gen UAV: "

The USAF's next-generation unmanned air system could be a 'lightweight-fighter sized, 20,000 pound' aircraft with 'minimally stealthy' characteristics, according to the service's chief procurement officer for UAVs.

Col. William Bridges, chief of the airborne reconnaissance division in the office of the assistant secretary of the air force for acquisition, says that an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for what the service calls the Next Generation UAV or MQ-X could get under way in 2010, with a program start (budgets permitting) in 2012. The goal is a fielded capability in 2020. Bridges was speaking at a London conference organized by Hanson Wade.'

The service's views of MQ-X have changed since it issued a request for information in 2008. 'Two years ago we thought it would be the next improvement on the Predator - now we're thinking of something brand new.' Almost twice the size of the MQ-9A Reaper, the new aircraft would have turbofan power for higher response speeds and would be designed as 'a truck' for new and emerging sensors and weapons.'

The aircraft would be 'minimally stealthy', Bridges says, with some stealth-related shaping but few if any special materials. The rationale is that for a high-altitude, long-loiter vehicle to evade detection would require a level of stealth that's not affordable in the numbers that the USAF wants. It would probably use an off-the-shelf engine to reduce development costs.'

In what might be a sign of a new trend, Bridges also prefers to use the term 'remotely piloted aircraft' or RPA for UAVs. 'They have a pilot in the loop, and to me 'unmanned aircraft' sounds like 'horseless carriage',' Bridges says.'


(Via Ares.)

V-22 Faces Mission Capable Rates Issues

V-22 Faces Mission Capable Rates Issues: "An aircraft is usually deployed only after it has passed its Material Support date; the V-22 was deployed a year prior"

(Via Defense Channel.)

WOOPS: Wrong Video of the Sejil-2 Launch

WOOPS: Wrong Video of the Sejil-2 Launch: "

You can't blame the US-based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and some news outlets too much for the small snafu. The Iranians have had a bad track record in the area of truth in advertising.

MDAA posted this video, allegedly of the Sejil-2 launch May 20 by Iran. But, as you can see, the plume is quite erratic, denoting a problem in the missile's flight.'

The May 20 test, by contrast, has been hailed as a success, even by US defense officials, who say the missile was produced in Iran. This is a significant step in Tehran's ballistic missile ambitions, they say.

Below is what really should be a pic of the Sejil-2 launch May 20.


blog post photo


source: UPI/Landov Photos


(Via Ares.)


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