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Old 05-15-2010, 01:12 PM   #11
BloodBane611
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Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

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Originally Posted by CastleBravo View Post
You would have to jam the satellites since you wouldn't know where the drone is. Jamming a sat shouldn't be too hard, but the question is how many sats can you jam vs how many do we have that can be used for communication. Also you have to ask yourself how easily we will be able to locate the source of the jamming to send a manned aircraft to shut it down manually with a few smartbombs.
No, you simply have to put high powered jammers near anything you dont want bombed. Then as soon as they try to put a UAV over it the signal gets distorted enough to get the UAV into its return home pattern. If you're then going to have to hit jammers with a manned fighter bomber, what is the point of the UAV in the first place?

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The problem with autonomous drones is letting them decide if a target needs to be fired upon. If you reprogram a target for the drones and send it out we shouldn't have a problem with autonomous weapons release since it is really no different than a cruise missile that flies back home after hitting the target.
So why not just use a cruise missile? This isn't meant for static targets, it's the next generation predator - a human targeted fighter bomber with a very long loiter time. This is just a stealthy predator set up for different armament.



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Old 05-15-2010, 04:43 PM   #12
CastleBravo
Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

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No, you simply have to put high powered jammers near anything you dont want bombed. Then as soon as they try to put a UAV over it the signal gets distorted enough to get the UAV into its return home pattern. If you're then going to have to hit jammers with a manned fighter bomber, what is the point of the UAV in the first place?
You can't easily jam a sat dish mounted on top of an aircraft looking up at the sky with an emitter that is 30k feet below the aircraft. These links are line-of-sight and the dish won't see any of the emissions from the jamming gear. Your only real option is directional jamming targeted on the satellites. Also, any omni-directional jamming like you propose would light up every piece of ELINT gear we have. That jamming source would be dead shortly after it started to emit.
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Old 05-15-2010, 04:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

TBH, if they can jam communications and our electronic packages, we're screwed whether there's a pilot or not.
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:19 PM   #14
CastleBravo
Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

I don't doubt that it is possible to jam communications, but I know that anything that does jam us will be easily located and a world of hurt will descend upon it.
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Old 05-15-2010, 06:10 PM   #15
Pariel
Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

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I don't doubt that it is possible to jam communications, but I know that anything that does jam us will be easily located and a world of hurt will descend upon it.
That's simply not the case in all situations. For example, in Iran, we can send in all the spy planes we want, but the reality is that we're not going to be dropping any weapons. As I said, the X-45 is simply not meant to replace our spy drones (which, regardless of what you think, are controlled by satellite, and the controls of which are available to anyone who can brute force their way into the system vie telecommunications).

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TBH, if they can jam communications and our electronic packages, we're screwed whether there's a pilot or not.
Not really. The reality is that we can't and shouldn't trust robots to make decisions about when to fire on their own. Pilots, on the other hand, can be trusted. Doesn't matter if he can't talk to home base, he can still laser designate his target and drop bombs on it (no one's figured out how to stop that one, conveniently enough).

Now, the US armed forces have not had to face any sort of significant jamming threat, and the reality is that the only serious jamming environments we could possibly face would be in a war with Russia and China, when we'd be facing serious AA missile and artillery fire in order to take out their jamming sites. At this point in time, there's not really any technology that would prevent controllers from talking with their aircraft, but as UCAVs advance, we will be facing threats to our control and data flow to and from the aircraft. That is exactly the kind of situation where autonomous attack aircraft come in handy.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:44 PM   #16
CastleBravo
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As I said, the X-45 is simply not meant to replace our spy drones (which, regardless of what you think, are controlled by satellite, and the controls of which are available to anyone who can brute force their way into the system vie telecommunications).
You can't just hijack a drone and take control of it assuming the people who made the drone are not utterly incompetent. At best you can brute force a video down-link that the drone is sending directly down to the troops without going through the sat which will let you watch what the drone is looking at. Even that is only possible when the down-link uses weak or no encryption.

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Now, the US armed forces have not had to face any sort of significant jamming threat, and the reality is that the only serious jamming environments we could possibly face would be in a war with Russia and China, when we'd be facing serious AA missile and artillery fire in order to take out their jamming sites.
Baring extreme advances in sensor technology and directed energy weapons, Aircraft will always have the upper-hand compared to air defenses simply because of the energy advantage. An F-22 can drop a SDB from 50k feet up doing Mach 1.5 and the unpowered bomb will travel farther than than the effective range of most SAM systems assuming they would magically be able to detect said F-22. At the same time any missile that wants to shoot down that F-22 will have to gain 50k ft in altitude and chase down an aircraft running away at high speed. The energy advantage means that a fighter will always out reach defenses. Add that to the fact that you have to spread your air defenses out whereas fighters playing offense can strike in mass anywhere along your IADS.

Just the energy advantage and the fact that SAMs are stuck on the ground and not very mobile means that aircraft have the advantage, but when you add very low observable aircraft to the equation the advantage is skewed so badly in favor of the aircraft that a modern IADS is merely a momentary annoyance for a force like the USAF.

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At this point in time, there's not really any technology that would prevent controllers from talking with their aircraft, but as UCAVs advance, we will be facing threats to our control and data flow to and from the aircraft.
By the time any threat nation had the capability to degrade our comms that much we will have deployed aircraft using something like MADL where all the aircraft are networked in flight using directional phased-array antennas with frequency hoping burst transmissions. Such a system would be so immensely difficult to jam that you might as well call it impossible.

With VLO aircraft you can't use directional jamming since you don't know where the aircraft is, so you are stuck sending out an omnidirectional signal that needs to be so massively powerful and needs to emit on such a large range of frequencies to jam something like MADL, that even if it was possible the device would likely be the size of the JORN OTH radar sites.
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:14 AM   #17
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Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

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You can't just hijack a drone and take control of it assuming the people who made the drone are not utterly incompetent. At best you can brute force a video down-link that the drone is sending directly down to the troops without going through the sat which will let you watch what the drone is looking at. Even that is only possible when the down-link uses weak or no encryption.
Can't find a source right now, will look again later, but I am fairly certain that laptops have been found in Iraq or Afghanistan with footage hi-jacked from UAVs. It wouldn't be a far stretch to imagine that they got this technology from Iran.


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Old 05-16-2010, 04:14 AM   #18
[R-DEV]motherdear
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Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

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Can't find a source right now, will look again later, but I am fairly certain that laptops have been found in Iraq or Afghanistan with footage hi-jacked from UAVs. It wouldn't be a far stretch to imagine that they got this technology from Iran.
that was due to a very weak/no encryption on the video feed.

still there's miles of differences between gaining access to a video feed and gaining access to the controls of a UAV. also said video feed encryption was fixed pretty darn quick, but shouldn't have been there in the first place.


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Old 05-16-2010, 06:43 AM   #19
Jonny
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Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

If a laser target marker counts as a human selecting the target, then these kinds of bombers can come in VERY useful.

You can send out a few hundred on automated routes, following the terrain that they see. They dont need a satelite uplink, they dont need any pilots to contol them, and they will continue on their mission regardless of any attempt to jam comms. They know how to evade missiles, they know where they are and where they are heading just from LIDAR data and a digital elevation map.

All it does is fly around a pre-set target area and wait for a target to be marked. Then it attempts to bomb that target as long as the mark remains. This is much better than a cruise missile for the kind of situation where you are expecting several targets to be marked and where the marks could come at any time.

Now that you dont need humans to pilot your bombers, you can put human pilots in more fighters to protect the UCAVs. The human pilots can basically hunt down and target any new threats that happen to pop up, like aircraft, without fear of being accused of having an autonomous robot selecting targets.

As for the costs, you dont have to pay to train a human pilot and give them a place to sleep. Thats a big saving right there.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:03 AM   #20
Masaq
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Default Re: New Stealth UAV for the US Military

The energy advantage of aerial forces over ground defences that you're claiming, CB, is missing the other important factors at play - like the fact that the ground defences don't have to trade off between payload, fuel and range. You can pile almost as much weight into a static defence as you want, to gain a large a maximum range as you desire. The S-400 is reported to have a range of up to 400km - because it's not getting lifted through the air on a plane, it can be as big as it damn well wants. And it's big.

No gravity-based system coming the other way is ever going to get a range that pushes 200 miles - at that range you're going to require a powered system.


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