News story: First flight trials of Taranis aircraft

Slime

LE
Sorry, I should have been clearer.
Teranis is a tech demonstrator. What Teranis MAY become would be autonomous with folks who have no idea we are broke still wanting a fleet of UCAVs.

The nasa owned 47s have been flying for a while, and are chalk and cheese compared with UAVs like reaper and predator.

I have no idea how 'Teranis plus' will pan out as it is not a new platform and in its early thinking the targets would have been things like soviet tanks and so their signature would have been much easier to spot.

Autonomous or launch and forget platforms are already reality, and go from the 47 at one end of the scale to cargo delivery platforms. Even the Brits are starting to get in on the act with autonomous helicopters in the pipeline.

Autonomous ambulance platforms are being touted, but I don't know how practical an idea that is. They cant actually rescue someone who is unable to get themselves on board, have no medics for the flight and no crew to cover the aircraft as the injured person gets on board.
 

SOI

LE
Taranis and autonomous attack?

Yes, its one of the technology demonstration drivers.

At the moment, UCAVs Are vulnerable to 'pop up' threats in a heavily defended air space. Issues of latency will require that the systems are required to have the ability to actively and pro-actively respond to threats in a highly defended air space - waiting for the bloke in the portacabin in the UK to analyse and determine what action to take to defeat such threats will simply be too slow.
Taranis will explore this issue. All this talk of ethical issues are rather moot when split seconds to deploy a HARM at a SAM site count.
 

Slime

LE
Hopefully you are saying HARM in a general sense, as teranis would want something a bit more up to date :)

I think the ethical issue people talk of is the legal issue as to whether current UAV operators are commiting murder on some ops rather than split second choices.

When marine A shot someone deemed to be no threat (in close proximity and in a combat zone) he was found guilty.

The question I've heard asked (and has to be eventually challenged in court IMHO) is:
If a UAV operator chooses to kill someone who:
Is NO threat to the operator

Is not armed

Is not an active combatant (think driving your own private car home form church/the mosque

Is in another country to both the operator and the closest country the operators home country is engaged in combat in, but war has not been declared in that country or the country of the UAV victim

Is in a country that the UAV is flying in air space without that countries permission.

Etc etc

The argument is that unlike in Affhanstan where NATO are fighting the Taliban (and both sides seem to be 'happy' at that arrangement) a UAV operator who pops a hellfire onto an unarmed man, his wife and kids driving home from the mosque in neighbouring Pakistan may simply be murdering people who are no threat to him or NATO

The ethical issue around UAVs that seems to get some people really hot and bothered is why UAV operators still wear flying suits to sit in a portacabin :)

Current ROEs don't allow NATO to shoot people on the basis that they might be a threat in the future, but UAVs seem to be ignoring this on a regular basis.
 

SOI

LE
No, the ethical arguments centre around a computer applying a set of algorithms to a problem then deciding the correct end state is to kill people.
 

Slime

LE
No, the ethical arguments centre around a computer applying a set of algorithms to a problem then deciding the correct end state is to kill people.

We are a long way from that debate yet, as the UAV or UCAV can't even fly in most airspace yet, so can't even get to potential baddies to kill them :)

There is a reason Teranis is flying at woomera and not in the UK, and it's not security. Teranis cannot realistically fly in the UK as its unmanned and unmanned vehicles are not approved here (apart from tiny areas with no baddies in).
 
Hopefully you are saying HARM in a general sense, as teranis would want something a bit more up to date :)

I think the ethical issue people talk of is the legal issue as to whether current UAV operators are commiting murder on some ops rather than split second choices.

When marine A shot someone deemed to be no threat (in close proximity and in a combat zone) he was found guilty.

The question I've heard asked (and has to be eventually challenged in court IMHO) is:
If a UAV operator chooses to kill someone who:
Is NO threat to the operator

Is not armed

Is not an active combatant (think driving your own private car home form church/the mosque

Is in another country to both the operator and the closest country the operators home country is engaged in combat in, but war has not been declared in that country or the country of the UAV victim

Is in a country that the UAV is flying in air space without that countries permission.

Etc etc

The argument is that unlike in Affhanstan where NATO are fighting the Taliban (and both sides seem to be 'happy' at that arrangement) a UAV operator who pops a hellfire onto an unarmed man, his wife and kids driving home from the mosque in neighbouring Pakistan may simply be murdering people who are no threat to him or NATO

The ethical issue around UAVs that seems to get some people really hot and bothered is why UAV operators still wear flying suits to sit in a portacabin :)

Current ROEs don't allow NATO to shoot people on the basis that they might be a threat in the future, but UAVs seem to be ignoring this on a regular basis.

No UAVs are not ignoring this. Nor in fact are NATO as strikes in Pakistan are the sole preserve of the CIA and even here they are not firing at random, they are taking out specific targets who are a threat. The argument is that it would appear on several occasions other people killed in the attack may well have been innocent bystanders.

Worth noting though that Pakistan complains repeatedly about these strikes yet has never shot a predator down. That is something they could do easily. In reality Pakistan approves these strikes and assists in gathering the intelligence, it jumps up and down yelling and screaming simply for domestic consumption.
 

Slime

LE
No UAVs are not ignoring this. Nor in fact are NATO as strikes in Pakistan are the sole preserve of the CIA and even here they are not firing at random, they are taking out specific targets who are a threat. The argument is that it would appear on several occasions other people killed in the attack may well have been innocent bystanders.

Worth noting though that Pakistan complains repeatedly about these strikes yet has never shot a predator down. That is something they could do easily. In reality Pakistan approves these strikes and assists in gathering the intelligence, it jumps up and down yelling and screaming simply for domestic consumption.
So, if I read you correct, you say UAVs are NOT ignoring this, then say YES they are !!! Hmmm unless you are of course saying that the CIA UAVs are not UAVs, but then that would be stupid. Plus, would you care to explain the immediate threat of someone driving a car in Pakistan to NATO forces in a neighbouring country (remembering the threat would need to be present there and then).

Well done though on the bystanders bit. I'm sure the family and friends will feel sooooooooo much better knowing their live ones were killed by accident by a UAV operating in their country operated by one of their supposed allies.

Oh, yes I do know that US UAVs fly from bases inpakistan, but that changes nothing. Frankly your argument (if you had one) is frankly weak at best.

Out of interest, why would the Pak Air Force bother to shoot down a predator. Predators are unarmed. Much more worthwhile going after a reaper :)

Yes. Know I'm being a pedant and you could shout back.......predator B, but then I let you get away with saying only the CIA operate UAVs over Pakistan, which is correct, but the US operate other unmanned systems in the form of NASa x47s :)
 
No UAVS are not ignoring this Tee UAV makes no decision.

The argument is the operator is ignoring this. This is not just a semantic point it has real legal and moral implications. The media and campaigners Using terms like robot planes is emotive.

My argument is sound in that the attacks are not by NATO (ie military its the CIA so a different set of rules)

The attacks aren't on a innocent man driving from a mosque, they are on a high value target. so I disagreed with your statement about killing people who may be a threat.

Ref bystanders I included that to avoid accusation of denial that innocents do die. How this is justified is above my pay grade, but needless to say not something im comfortable with.

Ref Pakistan my point was they are playing both ends any facts and figures from that source bear close scrutiny.

Ref Predator I thought it was armed and reaper was a bigger better armed cousin, but I stand to be corrected.
 
Lindy,

No you're correct.

Preds have been armed for many years.

Slime,

May I suggest you revise your knowledge of RPAS.

NASA do not operate X-47. This is a USN and Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) project related to the former's Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) Programme.

Indeed, X-47 do not and have never operated in Afghanistan. I suspect you are mistaking them for the unarmed USAF RQ-170 Sentinel.

You are also mistaken with many of your comments about RoE. However, this is not really the forum to debate that further.

Regards,
MM
 

Slime

LE
Reaper was originally predator B, but needed a snazzy corporate name IMHO.

I do need to add that I don't care that much where these unmanned systems are flown,and I'm not the one challenging the legality of people being killed, but do know many operators are increasing aware that future repercussions may come, and although the Taliban may not be able to make a challenge in the courts, a wealthy/influential Pakistani may be able to.

As per one of my initial posts (from memory) these things all depend on whom is doing the shooting and to whom. I'm sure that the world would hear a lot more if a Muslin fundamentalist UAV (from a group of nutters rather than a sovereign state) bomb a political leader driving a car in downtown Washington DC.

It would be exactly the same act, but I'm sure US congressmen and women would be jumping up and down in anger at 'an illegal act'

If the CIA decided to pop a hellfire on someone in my own local high street in the UK I don't think it would be legal, and would class it as murder, as this country (just as Pakistan does on paper lol) has a judicial system to take cars of criminals, and we use our own laws and not US laws.

I am old enough to know that countries just make things up as they go along and they couldn't care less what I think, but I still enjoy a good internet debate :) :)

While typing this (its nothing to do with the thread) I suddenly remembered one of the Rambo films where Rambo is on the same side as the mujahideen and the credits at the end (of a film from the USA) pay tribute to the brave freedom fighters of Afghanistan. I guess that highlights that countries shout or stay quiet and change at the drop of a hat.
 
Personally, I always feel the quality of an internet debate is enhanced when contributors' arguments are factually correct Slime.

Similarly, if the 'CIA decided to pop a Hellfire...[in a]...local high street' it does not make all RPAS illegal.

Likewise, when that unhinged individual recently clubbed his poor son to death in Australia with a cricket bat, It does not necessarily follow that said sporting implements are morally reprehensible and should be challenged in court.

Finally, you're Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK and I claim my £5.

Regards,

Regards,
MM
 

Slime

LE
Lindy,

No you're correct.

Preds have been armed for many years.

Slime,

May I suggest you revise your knowledge of RPAS.

NASA do not operate X-47. This is a USN and Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) project related to the former's Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) Programme.

Indeed, X-47 do not and have never operated in Afghanistan. I suspect you are mistaking them for the unarmed USAF RQ-170 Sentinel.

You are also mistaken with many of your comments about RoE. However, this is not really the forum to debate that further.

Regards,
MM
Bugger, you are right.

Not confusing x47 with sentinel, as I know the difference, just a total error with my brain here. Yes the sentinel (which I wasn't referring to the x47 as being armed over Pakistan) has been operating over Pakistan, not x47.

As for nasa operating platforms then I stand by that, and bizarrely there is a fair bit of public info in that if you search hard enough. None of which stops the x47 being a USN project (but which would be under different roe as you point out, hence NASA sponsored).

So, going by your avatar, who's magic mushroom are you on? UK, USAF, NATO, FRENCH or other?

Expand on how I'm wrong on my comments on ROE as I am referring to a possible legal challenge....which will define what was right and wrong if and when it happens. I.e. you and me CANT know yet as it hasn't happened :)

Bloody Sunday was right on the day, but subsequent legal challenges thought otherwise, as were the findings on many other actions that were reviewed later........which is why people make the challenges.

Before you jump to the keyboard, cast your mind back to various Uk court cases and remember how some things that seemed common sense ended up with service people being jailed. private Lee Clegg (ignoring the totally made up parts of his statement) would have loved to be able to have ROEs like you suggest, so that ALL of his rounds would have been legal (as he could claim the cars occupants to be a threat without concrete or immediate proof), but he couldn't do that and went inside.

As per above though, I don't actually care what the UAVs are doing, but am reflecting on comments from USAF/RAF operators actually making the choices right now.
 

Slime

LE
Personally, I always feel the quality of an internet debate is enhanced when contributors' arguments are factually correct Slime.

Similarly, if the 'CIA decided to pop a Hellfire...[in a]...local high street' it does not make all RPAS illegal.

Likewise, when that unhinged individual recently clubbed his poor son to death in Australia with a cricket bat, It does not necessarily follow that said sporting implements are morally reprehensible and should be challenged in court.

Finally, you're Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK and I claim my £5.

Regards,

Regards,
MM
I was pretty surprised when I saw the news item on the bloke in Australia, in that it took a while to do and lots of people stood by and watched.

Back to the fun of internet debates. No one here (until you suggested it) has said an RPAS of any flavour would be illegal. What would be challenged is the action of the operator. Its a simple concept, and explains why LeeHarvey Oswald (clever link there :) ) was charged and not his rifle :)
 

SOI

LE
Tarannis not Predator with a sexy shape.
Tarannis is designed to explore the use of UCAVs as proper strategic level strike assets - the RAF's future long range big stick.
Its the 'next step' its looking at, and what that 'next step' will be.

Can you use a UCAV to strike a command and control centre in a heavily defended and contested airspace on the end of a long tether?
The thinking is no, a high level of autonomy of action will be required to use UCAVs in that sort of environment. And the flight system is designed with such a high level of autonomous capability built in to test concepts.

Tarannis is not exploring how to kill Achmed riding into town on his donkey, its exploring how such aircraft could be flown into say, downtown Damascus to take out the Syrian AD command HQ. To do so will require the aircraft to deal with fast emerging threats in real time.
 
Slime,

Is English your first language?

Not confusing x47 with sentinel, as I know the difference…

Really?

As for nasa operating platforms then I stand by that, and bizarrely there is a fair bit of public info in that if you search hard enough. None of which stops the x47 being a USN project (but which would be under different roe as you point out, hence NASA sponsored).

I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say here Slime. Yes NASA operate RPAS. However, the few aircraft they operate over Afghanistan are manned WB-57s (open source).

So, going by your avatar, who's magic mushroom are you on? UK, USAF, NATO, FRENCH or other?

Err…try reading my profile!

Expand on how I'm wrong on my comments on ROE as I am referring to a possible legal challenge....which will define what was right and wrong if and when it happens. I.e. you and me CANT know yet as it hasn't happened

This is not the place to debate RoE although some of you assumptions are incorrect. However, the RoE used by UK aircrew have been examined and endorsed by independent, international lawyers. Moreover, they are identical to those employed by manned assets.

Ultimately, in a COIN environment, if I wish to minimise the risk of civilian casualties, I require understanding of the environment. One way of achieving that is with persistence.

RPAS are an excellent way of achieving persistence. They are most certainly not a panacea, however, they bring very real benefits to operations and have saved a great many lives in Afghanistan (both military and civilian).

Ultimately, an individual’s morality is not affected by his lat/long. Most of the aircrew operating these platforms are former fast jet and ISR guys who have flown over the same territory previously in other aircraft. They all state that weapons engagements are no different whether you're 10 000 ft above or 10 000 miles distant from an engagement.

In fact, many feel more comfortable with the morality of the latter because it can be more discerning.

As per above though, I don't actually care what the UAVs are doing, but am reflecting on comments from USAF/RAF operators actually making the choices right now.

And your involvement with current RPAS aircrew and support staff is?

Getting back onto the thread, ultimately, we should not get too carried away with Teranis. It is undoubtedly a big step forward for the UK and brings offers new capabilities in certain niche areas. Likewise, the capability to operate RPAS in contested environments will be (and arguably already is) essential. However, there is NO desire to deploy fully autonomous weapons engagements and X-47 and Teranis all rely on human in the loop ops.

The autonomy will come with specific mission aspects such as sensor configuration and package coordination.

Meanwhile, we should perhaps not necessarily believe all the BAeS spin!

Regards,

MM
 

Slime

LE
Mm
I'll try to fly through your points........ In English.

Yes I do know the difference, which was how I managed to make the mistake in names!........it wouldn't be a mistake if I didn't know the difference :) who knows, maybe you will make a mental error one day.....even if only one :)

I fully realise you don't know the point I was making. As for the canberras, I was pleased to see the extra airframe brought into play. The Canberra (in its RAF PR9 form) was the first recce aircraft I was involved with in my army career, and I've always had a soft spot for it in all forms.

I can't be bothered to read your profile on my ipad. Maybe later on a PC

I wasn't debating current ROE, and especially not RAF ROE's (and wouldn't expect you to know CIA/NSA ROEs for various ops in Pakistan, but my posts referred to future legal challenges of the current ROEs legality, which I pointed out before you questioned it the second time.

No 'involvement' with current aircrew (to use your words) other than speaking to them and hearing what they say. That and old habits dying hard (I was clearly never in the RAF) and following current thinking on NATOs adversaries, and in this instance how a very simple legal challenge may possibly change NATO ROE's (this of course would be likely to follow the usual course whereby someone needs to make a political point, or distance themselves for political profit)

I won't ask you what your involvement with the CIA is, even though you inferred a knowledge of their ops :) :) as I realise you don't need to be in something to know what's going on...........just like I don't have an 'involvement' with RPAS operators.

Anyhow, have a good day. That went on a bit too long as I was watching TV and tying at the same time :)


How was that? :)

I do have to add that I fully agree with your last line. The bungling baron doesn't really have the best track record in living up to his promises......................but until recently HMG have willingly coughed up the cash every time regardless.
 
No 'involvement' with current aircrew (to use your words) other than speaking to them and hearing what they say...a very simple legal challenge may possibly change NATO ROE's

Bring on the challenge.

The RoE employed by Coalition RPAS are identical to those of manned platforms. They've stood the test of time and continue to survive unprecedented levels of scrutiny. All RPAS do is provide the flexibility to add greater assurance (despite what the lobbyists may claim) in the avoidance of collateral damage and civilian casualties. Sadly, such tragic consequences are inevitable in conflicts and RPAS are no more a perfect solution thank anything else.

However, I've personally yet to meet anyone involved in RPAS who believe they are anything but a positive factor in avoiding collateral and CIVCAS. Used correctly they also have the potential (indeed, I suspect they already have been) to reduce international tensions, raise the threshold for conflicts and lower that of deniable humanitarian abuse.

Regards,
MM
 

Slime

LE
I'm not sure you understand where I'm coming from at all.
I'm just being a messenger for something, and seem to have been shot for it :)

We live in odd times where funny things happen that maybe shouldn't.

Not long ago in the UK someone was shot by police who suspected he was carrying a firearm. I don't recall the police breaking from their SOPs, but it seem seem to stir up a bit of trouble. Nothing changed with SOPs, but then a bit later there was an in depth public look at what happened. An odd outcome (perhaps due to media exposure and senior police needing to be 'in touch') was that the SOPs may well change and future strategy will have an input from the deceased family............that has to be a case of the tail wagging the dog. I can't see how it will be of great use to the police to have input from people with no experience of stopping armed people in the safest manner, but it surely made some politicians feel all warm inside.
Something doesn't have to be wrong to get changed. It just has to look good for politicos or provide a nice sound bite............even if some poor bugger gets hung out to dry.

Be careful what you wish for in relation to a legal challenge. If some politician sees an opportunity to come out smelling of roses, then it may not matter too much if an action followed protocol or not. It would be nice to think that would never happen, but entire wars have been started to gain a few votes or keep someone in their job :(
 

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