SAS model aircraft will look into caves

Whatever next? :D

The SAS is to buy the military equivalent of a model aeroplane that can be carried in a rucksack to help fight insurgents in the hills of Afghanistan.

Troopers from the regiment have carried out trials on a 10lb American-made drone called a backpack unmanned surveillance targeting and enhanced reconnaissance or Buster.

Dragon Eye
The drone being been used by American marines in Iraq

The Special Air Service has reportedly been so impressed by the lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle that several have been ordered for deployment in the volatile southern region of Afghanistan next spring.

The portable aircraft, flown much like a radio-controlled model aeroplane, is capable of flying at up to 10,000ft for four hours at 35 knots, giving soldiers the ability to look over hills and into cave entrances.

The defence periodical Jane's Defence Weekly reported that the trials had been carried out at the SAS's base near Hereford as part of continuing efforts to improve the special forces' reconnaissance-gathering capabilities.

The Buster is launched by a small catapult and recovered by parachute. It carries a payload capacity of 3lbs for electro-optical and infra-red surveillance equipment.

According to military analysts the SAS will purchase the model within the next six months.

"They give you that ability to look over the hill without you having to climb it and expose yourself to possible ambush which you don't want to do in Afghanistan," said a defence source.
[c] torygraph
Infantry has been banging away trying to buy this this TELIC 1 when the USMC lent teams of two carrying this kit to help out on initial invasion. See previous posts. RAF to$$ers in MOD have been been putting the screws on cause it flies "and therefore must comply to aircraft flight safety rules".

Hopefully if this goes well, we may well see a bit of common sense applied (surely not from our beloved procurement bods, I hear!) and have it run out to line units as well. It is needed.
Hmmm....min and micro-UAVs and the storm of controversy they are causing across Defence is going to be the fight to watch in Main Building in the next few months and years.

Buster is an on-stream project as we speak, and has been for some time. I particularly like the way that even an esteemed and allegedly highly literate organ like the Torygraph feels the need to refer to it as a 'model aircraft'. Knobs.

The reason the RAF are getting upset (again) is not entirely due to Airspace Management - they have already lost that battle to the Gunners - but rather that they desperately want a capability similar to Predator with Hellfire - and all they can see is the Army getting control of Watchkeeper in the future. Cue lots of furrowed brows in sky blue, particularly when the next generation of micro-UAVs is being rolled out without reference to them.

Expect lots of sulking from the junior service - they've been sold a pup with Eurofighter and they know it - and are getting nothing invested back in real terms. Unfortunately, that's what you get when your entire upper echelons are jet jockeys, who couldn't care less about anything less.

Serves 'em right.
Will there now be a model aircraft hangar next to the boathouse at Hereford, in order to assist with screening Walts?
Once the MOD bean counters have trimmed the cost down, it'll probably look something like this:


Agree wholeheartedly with eurfighter and RAF roles!

The point I was making was less about airspace management than another purile point put forward by the boys in blue at the time. This UAV crashes to land. This was deemed dangerous (might hit someone... :? ) and therefore the arguement was that it would require redesign to fit parachute to it. From small price off the shelf to another made to measure costly monster in one fell swoop. Price (as told to me by DPA bod dealing with these) would have increased by a factor of 10.

It would have meant that rather than being a platoon asset (US usage) we would have been pushed to keep it below Bn.

With the battle won over Watchkeeper, the big boys should be transfering effort winning the fight for getting what was top of DINFs equip want list after debriefs of the Inf COs from TELIC 1.
Cuddles said:
Will there now be a model aircraft hangar next to the boathouse at Hereford, in order to assist with screening Walts?
Yes - but the colour of it will remain a closely guarded secret.

Although it's a fair bet it will be the same colour as all the other hangars at Hereford - paint costs money!
Are you sure o_O
I saw a lovely presentation by the Army's counter-surveillance wing (for opsec reasons I wont tell you just how big the wing is ;) )ealier this year and we seemed to be using them a fair bit
AndyPipkin said:
The UK has really missed the boat on UAV's generally.
Ummm...that's not entirely true, is it. Whilst we are nowhere near as advanced as the Israelis (who is?) or the US (use of these platforms in other roles), we have still lead the way in far more effective ways of controlling them. Phoenix is a good example of this - when it manages to clear mountains, that is.

In addition, we have never seen the need for them in the past, which all changed with Afghanistan - strangely enough about the same time as Buster was identified as a suitable project for development.
D_D ,

Yes we all know about how good the Israelis are(I remember the SA losing a Israelis UAV (marked with the old yiddish stock number) over Porkers in the mid 80ies.

Still seen or read the reports from Paris this year ?

lots of new UAV's with allsorts of dingles and dangles even a "Morphing UAV" changing from a high wing to low wing to helicopter to secret stelth baby blue plane.
Phoenix ! Effective ! It's the biggest pile of cr@p to come down the river since the sewage farm blew up ! Compared to other kit (US or Israeli) it's embarassingly awful. One of the reasons the UK is so behind in UAVs is the corrosive and destructive influence of the gunners who wish to keep hold of the train set despite their patent unsuitability for the job. They can bleat about their ability to perform airspace (or should I say battlespace) management all they like, they man they need to convince is the USAF n-star in charge at theatre level (coalition warfare and all that). Think he'll trust a gunner to keep clear of his train set ? Dream on. He'll demand the same standards as for US UAVs.

Predator is a far larger air vehicle then Watchkeeper is currently planned to be so they don't conflict - certainly the USAF get Predator while the US Army/USMC get WK450 class airframes.

That said, micro vehicles are best in the hands of the infantry - just keep an eye out for the helos ...
OOTS - I've been waiting for precisely this comment all day! ;)

Of course it's utterly bonk - but the manner in which it is controlled is truly innovative. I thought I had made that point reasonably clear. Note to self - assume nothing - this is ARRSE after all! ;)

As for your comments about who should own what...are you suggesting the Infantry should? Or the crabs? :)
I've seen the manner in which it's controlled - technically it's old hat and organisationally it's a farce, placing cap badge concerns and job creation over operational utility. I'm genuinely interested as to what possible part of it can be innovative - although perhaps one mans innovation is another mans daft idea.

As to ownership, depends on the size. Give the handheld stuff to the user, limit range and ceiling so as to keep the helo collision risk down.

Larger stuff needs aviators to control them - not necessarily pilots mind, but someone who can talk credibly to ATC, other air users and fit into the complicated, busy and dynamic airspace that characterises todays ops. Otherwise you'll get shunted off into a corner where the action isn't - and what use is that to anyone ? AAC are good to get that aviation outside hotels vibe going, but their helos don't have the altitude performance that UAVs do so you also need RAF/FAA input - Nimrod/Sentry/AEW Sea King are the obvious sources.

And payload ops should come from all three services dependent on tasking, so whoever drives the sensor can speak the customer's language.
We have some of the very best large scale aeromodellers in the world right here in the UK. You'd think MoD would pick up the phone to them wouldn't you?

Or am I just tickled at the image of a 1/6th Lancaster doing lazy 8's over Tora Bora :)
Saw them in use on Telic and think it's a bloody good idea to get them.

Wish we had the money to buy nore and let the inf have a crack as well
Darth_Doctrinus said:
PartTimePongo said:
Or am I just tickled at the image of a 1/6th Lancaster doing lazy 8's over Tora Bora )
Ummm...let's wait to be dazzled by the miracle of Watchkeeper! D
Why wait? The task that mini-UAVs are used for are not the same. Horses for courses. Inf ground hog don't need v expensive platform that needs a runway and flies at 10000'. He just wants to see over the next wood/hill.

We are in danger of drawing false lessons if we try and compare Watchkeeper to Dragoneye.

Buy now. We saw the benefit on Telic. They are a force multipler.
Spot on ! The use of the term UAV to describe anything from hand launched up to Global Hawk results in an awful lot of garbage being talked. We wouldn't dream of referring to our vehicle fleet as a homogenous entity, of using the same term and same approach to everything from a pushbike to a CR2. But we try and do that to UAVs.
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