RAF to get 3 reapers in Afganistan?

#1
#6
rickshaw-major said:
Ant ideas on why we only went for the Recon version - cost?
Aircrew job protection?

Cost I believe, the plan ultimately is to employ weapons equipped UAVs, but it may be a while before we can afford them. At present Reaper is enabling us to develop a capability, once that is done we can decide whether we have a gap to be filled by arming UAVs or whether we can rely on the Spams' kit instead.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Ruddy marvelous if you ask me.

If this works well in real time, despite the 7,000 mile comms gap, the possibilities are endless.

The next evolutionary step for these types of aircraft is going to be a big one. No pilots, no issues with g-force or cockpits. I imagine that before long, there will be full-on air-to-air versions that can out-fly anything currently in service.

There is a limit to what two people in cockpits can do in an aircraft whilst in the thick of it - 5 or 6 people at a desk with wrap-around screens can do a lot more, and quicker potentially. It may follow that to get real-time flying, that the septics use control rooms nearer the action, perhaps from mobile units.

A good deal of weight and space of a modern aircraft is taken up by people and the components necessary to allow them to be in the aircraft. Also, pilots get tired after a few hours in the cockpit, whereas shift-working desk-jockeys do not.

As for the UK only using recce versions at this time, I'm assuming that the septics wish to retain control of the technology, and even though these aircraft are 'british owned', the work done to run and fly them will still be done by septics. That's just a guess mind you.
 
#8
Biped said:
Ruddy marvelous if you ask me.

If this works well in real time, despite the 7,000 mile comms gap, the possibilities are endless.

The next evolutionary step for these types of aircraft is going to be a big one. No pilots, no issues with g-force or cockpits. I imagine that before long, there will be full-on air-to-air versions that can out-fly anything currently in service.

There is a limit to what two people in cockpits can do in an aircraft whilst in the thick of it - 5 or 6 people at a desk with wrap-around screens can do a lot more, and quicker potentially. It may follow that to get real-time flying, that the septics use control rooms nearer the action, perhaps from mobile units.

A good deal of weight and space of a modern aircraft is taken up by people and the components necessary to allow them to be in the aircraft. Also, pilots get tired after a few hours in the cockpit, whereas shift-working desk-jockeys do not.

As for the UK only using recce versions at this time, I'm assuming that the septics wish to retain control of the technology, and even though these aircraft are 'british owned', the work done to run and fly them will still be done by septics. That's just a guess mind you.
UCAVs are certainly the way forward, but there is still a long way to go before they can handle air-to-air combat. What you will lack in air-to-air is the unpredictability of human actions which outwits opponents. That said if we can produce them cheap enough then all we need is a missile platform rather than a dogfighting machine.
 
#9
Also, pilots get tired after a few hours in the cockpit, whereas shift-working desk-jockeys do not.
Not true, unfortunately. Don't want to go into details, but am reliably informed by several chaps who know that the available evidence suggests otherwise....
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
Bat-Crab - not sure about that one, after all, these fighters would still be human controlled, albeit remotely, and thus, just as unpredictable.

Archimedes - interesting. I can play computer games for days on end . . . hat, coat, gone. Having said that, the fact of being 'live' in a cockpit probably has advantages in terms of alertness that sitting at a desk in a quiet room does not.
 
#11
Biped said:
Bat-Crab - not sure about that one, after all, these fighters would still be human controlled, albeit remotely, and thus, just as unpredictable.
A reasonable point, as long as they are given the situational awareness equivalent to a pilot sat in the cockpit. That will be very difficult to do IMHO. I am prepared to accept that the increased performance of a UCAV might give it an edge over manned aircraft, but sitational awareness is everything.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
Bat_Crab said:
Biped said:
Bat-Crab - not sure about that one, after all, these fighters would still be human controlled, albeit remotely, and thus, just as unpredictable.
A reasonable point, as long as they are given the situational awareness equivalent to a pilot sat in the cockpit. That will be very difficult to do IMHO. I am prepared to accept that the increased performance of a UCAV might give it an edge over manned aircraft, but sitational awareness is everything.
I was thinking about wrap-around screens, or a wall of them giving 360deg. views for example. With CGI, the screens could enhance certain colour frequencies, such as anything not matching the surrounding sky. As I've said, there are a great number of possibilities, though that's not to say that helmet eyepieces could not do the same.
 
#14
Archimedes said:
Also, pilots get tired after a few hours in the cockpit, whereas shift-working desk-jockeys do not.
Not true, unfortunately. Don't want to go into details, but am reliably informed by several chaps who know that the available evidence suggests otherwise....
Do UCAV's have the advantage of switching the operator, limiting the OP to fuel / maintenance?
 
#16
Biped said:
Bat_Crab said:
Biped said:
Bat-Crab - not sure about that one, after all, these fighters would still be human controlled, albeit remotely, and thus, just as unpredictable.
A reasonable point, as long as they are given the situational awareness equivalent to a pilot sat in the cockpit. That will be very difficult to do IMHO. I am prepared to accept that the increased performance of a UCAV might give it an edge over manned aircraft, but sitational awareness is everything.
I was thinking about wrap-around screens, or a wall of them giving 360deg. views for example. With CGI, the screens could enhance certain colour frequencies, such as anything not matching the surrounding sky. As I've said, there are a great number of possibilities, though that's not to say that helmet eyepieces could not do the same.
But can you recreate the sensitivity of the Human senses? Or do you need to? Changing coulour frequencies to amke othe aircraft stand out certainly seems a good idea, but if you can do that, then you already know it's there...
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
armr617 said:
So we'll be recruiting kids based on their microsoft flight simulator scores next then??
We don't know just how TRUE that may yet be!?!?
 
#18
Why not, armr617? It's already been proved (as far as you can prove these things) that young people today who have spent time flying in flight sims are more aware of the basics of flight etc. and so find some of the aptitude tests easier.
 
#19
I'm quite good at Flight Sim, but the situational awareness is the crunch. Even if you had 360 degree screens ... that's only covering the horizontal aspect. If the bogey pulls vertical, you're looking at ceiling tiles. So you would need to sit in the centre of a ball of video displays. I don't see that working, somehow.
 

diplomat

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#20
rickshaw-major said:
Ant ideas on why we only went for the Recon version - cost?
Probably Pilot's egos! Bit difficult to justify been awarded wings and getting flying pay for sitting at a computer console somewhere! They don't want to open Pandora's Box.
 

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