Tempest Manned Unmanned Fighter Concept

#62
On the argument over control and autonomous aircraft I thought I saw this answered some time ago when news of Taranis broke. The short answer was the MOD guy said their policy was always to have a human in the loop. How I read it was the Autonomous craft would fly its self to the area, and then ask the controller if it wanted the target dead? Yes/no?
Yes, the Drone sets up the attack and gets on with it. No the drone aborts to another target.

I would guess that this makes the bandwidth costs much lower, and if the datalink gets jammed well the autonomous plane could still manoeuvre and fly to evade and return to base.

Equally there's the cost consideration. Pilots are rather expensive. Sticking a drone into a shed for a few years is much cheaper and easier. You could theoretically have a long term contract for airframe production, at a low level of units per year. This would, I think, be cheaper overall. Then you just park the spares up. After a few years you have a large stock of them, and if a big war breaks out you just trot them out, update their software and lob them at the Russians en masse. It wouldn't win the war but it'll sure slow the enemy down giving us time for other options.
 

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On ROPS
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#63
How many aircraft get lost to missiles?

I’m saying that as is the aim to ditch SEAD and improve manoeuvrability or continue with SEAD and improve manoeuvrability.

That’s a genuine question as with all of the combat sorties flown over the decades, not many aircraft have been lost and those that have have predominantly been taken out by archaic AAA.

The improvement in PGM has allowed for greater stand off? Or we looking at technology overcoming stand off PGM?

Air warfare is not my strong point, but is the desire for unmanned aircraft being driven by a technological need to an ever changing environment or is it being driven by a political need to undertake missions where zero casualty’s are needed? If the later, do we run the risk of politicians more likely to use unmanned aircraft and show less constraint?
Why do we need another drone bomber, we already have expendable TLAMs, Taranis et al, what possible use could the platform be for, other than air supremacy.
 
#67
They’ll still wear grow bags though.

A Canadian I work d with told me that their artillery units used to operate all their UAVs, then the Air Force decided that pilots had to do it. Accident rates went through the roof.
Its probably true - but not necessarily honest - for example

Comparing the previous years experienced operators (or in service average ) Canadian arty accident stats vs just learning the ropes accident rates would support his conclusions but is somewhat apples and oranges - makes a good dit though.

I imagine the RA in 5 yrs time handing over Watchkeeper to the RAF / AAC / Easy Jet would be able to spin a very similar yarn comparing current accident rates - but ignoring the early teething problems and 911 re-enacments on local schools

Edit A I see Mm has already addressed this with facts at hand.
 
#68
90% of airliner crashes are human error - unmanned would be much safer!
A drone won’t shout at the co pilot, shit up, I know what I’m doing as he CFITs into a mountain.
True however as 70% or more of that 90% involves a maintenance cock up - or other aircraft / ATC cock up - or fuel issues. IE is non pilot* related

A Drone is going to be no more capable of safely flying than a manned aircraft if Airman** Bloggs has got the crucial spirit level bubble / wheel widget / dog food in his pocket.

**Soon to be Latrine sweeper Bloggs

*Yes Technically a mid air is pilot initiated but its possible only one may be at fault - Cessna 152 and DC death interface springs to mind
 
#69
I can't argue with that view as you are correct.

My only quibble would be computers have caused accidents by giving pilots false readings, contradictory data and the pilot getting the blame.
So have mechanical instruments

In civil aviation at least its a fair bet if Pilots are blamed after an avionic system screw up* its because they also screwed the pooch either because they were inadequately trained ( Air France were looking at you -) or failed to follow procedures or even common sense to determine whats wrong.


*Theres 3 flight systems be it Flight control / Instruments if 1 disagrees with the others its hoofed - the system then tells you its degraded operation. then of course theres the independent back ups.
 
#71
Semantics.

What’s the difference between a pilot following directions and a cue to shoot from an AWACS on the end of a datalink and a drone fighter doing likewise?
Huge. Because the human doesn't just follow directions and cue to shoot.

Look up multi agent programming in relation to AI. We have some people who do AI on the board, can't remember who but willing to be they'd tell you it isn't likely soon.
 
#72
They’ll still wear grow bags though.

A Canadian I work d with told me that their artillery units used to operate all their UAVs, then the Air Force decided that pilots had to do it. Accident rates went through the roof.
Like the RA loss rate with Watchkeeper? 5 lost at how much a pop? For how much flying?
 
#73
In the future design world it's obvious people with more brain power than us have decided a pilot can fly a plane whether on board or not, more likely not. Decisions will in that case still be made by a human and executed by machine.

Nothing changes except the pilot will remain in his/her top class hotel with no fear of being shot down.
Top class ISO container you mean?
 
#74
#75
How many aircraft get lost to missiles?

I’m saying that as is the aim to ditch SEAD and improve manoeuvrability or continue with SEAD and improve manoeuvrability.

That’s a genuine question as with all of the combat sorties flown over the decades, not many aircraft have been lost and those that have have predominantly been taken out by archaic AAA.

The improvement in PGM has allowed for greater stand off? Or we looking at technology overcoming stand off PGM?

Air warfare is not my strong point, but is the desire for unmanned aircraft being driven by a technological need to an ever changing environment or is it being driven by a political need to undertake missions where zero casualty’s are needed? If the later, do we run the risk of politicians more likely to use unmanned aircraft and show less constraint?
Our kit hasn't flown against the high end Russian missiles on ops yet, which is why we're still investing in countermeasures like BriteCloud.
 
#76
Why do we need another drone bomber, we already have expendable TLAMs, Taranis et al, what possible use could the platform be for, other than air supremacy.
Taranis isn't in service and was never intended to be, it's a tech demonstrator.
 

Echo On

On ROPS
On ROPs
#79
So have mechanical instruments

In civil aviation at least its a fair bet if Pilots are blamed after an avionic system screw up* its because they also screwed the pooch either because they were inadequately trained ( Air France were looking at you -) or failed to follow procedures or even common sense to determine whats wrong.


*Theres 3 flight systems be it Flight control / Instruments if 1 disagrees with the others its hoofed - the system then tells you its degraded operation. then of course theres the independent back ups.
Operating in the UK, I still think it would meet a lot of opposition and as others have said the coding will be immense. But I suppose an unmanned fighter could get around safety concerns, by been tested over the sea and explicitly designed to only operate over opposing airspace.

I think the cost of doing both manned and unmanned operations looks very costly and not sure we can afford it. Would it not be simpler to build something as small, lightweight, cheap and nasty as possible, with the AI been the main cost and maybe go for quantity over quality.
 
#80
Dead ones.... directed energy weapons will remove ‘thinking time’. When weapons can kill instantly across miles, the decision to engage will need to be instant.
Speed is relative.

A Vietnam era AIM-7 would kill faster than closing for a guns kill...if it guided.

A modern AIM-120D will kill faster than an AIM-7.

A Meteor will probably kill faster than an AIM-120.

A DE weapon will kill faster than a Meteor...if cloud, moisture and other atmospheric obscurants don’t prevent a shot.

Ultimately however, human decision making in combat will remain difficult to beat for the foreseeable future unless you wish to ignore frat and collateral.

...A piloted jet simply can't compete with a pilotless one for manoeuvrability, in avoiding missiles.
Manoeuvre is not the only way to defeat a missile. Moreover, a manned aircraft will still be able to comprehensively out-think artificial intelligence for several decades to come.

How many aircraft get lost to missiles?...
The vast majority during ops in the last 30 years.

...I’m saying that as is the aim to ditch SEAD and improve manoeuvrability or continue with SEAD and improve manoeuvrability...
You effectively need both when dealing with peer threats unless you can stay outside the threat area (either via EW, LO or stand-off weapons). However, SEAD is no longer necessarily restricted to Anti-Radar Missiles, jamming and spoofing.

...That’s a genuine question as with all of the combat sorties flown over the decades, not many aircraft have been lost and those that have have predominantly been taken out by archaic AAA...
Sorry, that’s absolutely incorrect when considered over the last 40 years. A (very) quick bit of research suggests the following stats:

Falkland Campaign, 1982: 4 of 5 Sea Harrier and Harrier GR3 combat losses were due to SAMs or radar laid AAA.
Lebanon, 1983: 2 of 2 USN jets (1 x A-6E, 1 x A-7E).
Libya, 1986: Unknown but most likely a SAM or radar laid AAA (1 x F-111).
GW1, 1991: 23 coalition aircraft were lost to SAMs from our total losses of 40. In contrast, AAA only killed 10, a single USN FA-18C was shot down by a MiG-25 and other losses were due to a variety of factors such as CFIT and operating hazards.
Op DENY FLIGHT, 1991-99: 4 of 4 (1 x G222, 1 x F-16CG, 1 x Mirage 2000K, 1 x Sea Harrier).
Op ALLIED FORCE, 1999: 2 of 2 (1 x F-117 to SA-3, 1 x F-16CG to SA-6).

Now, in fairness, many of the above losses were down to MANPADS where SEAD is of less relevance. However, we should remember that a common tactic of adversaries is to barrage fire SAMs (granted sometimes ballistically) to force aircraft into defensive manoeuvres which place them in the MANPADS and AAA envelope. Moreover, SEAD is still equally relevant when countering radar-guided AAA.

During OIF and OEF, definitive figures are difficult to break out but I suspect that MANPADS and operating hazards (eg CFIT) were more of a factor than AAA and even SMARMS/RPG due to the predominance of rotary assets.

As has been mentioned however, we’re increasingly facing very advanced Russian ‘double-digit’ SAM threats which are game-changers to the assumptions of many. They’re already a factor on ops and it’s only a matter of time before we face them for real.

The improvement in PGM has allowed for greater stand off? Or we looking at technology overcoming stand off PGM?...
Both. As ever, it’s measure and counter-measure although LO, EW and other factors are also relevant.

...Air warfare is not my strong point, but is the desire for unmanned aircraft being driven by a technological need to an ever changing environment or is it being driven by a political need to undertake missions where zero casualty’s are needed? If the later, do we run the risk of politicians more likely to use unmanned aircraft and show less constraint?
RPAS are merely another club in the golf bag offering both pros and cons over manned types.

It could be argued they run the risk of lowering constraint. Equally, the ability to operate remotely over some nations has - I suspect - already allowed the US to avoid punitive air strikes which may have led to a regional conflagration.

On the argument over control and autonomous aircraft I thought I saw this answered some time ago when news of Taranis broke. The short answer was the MOD guy said their policy was always to have a human in the loop. How I read it was the Autonomous craft would fly its self to the area, and then ask the controller if it wanted the target dead? Yes/no?
Yes, the Drone sets up the attack and gets on with it. No the drone aborts to another target.

I would guess that this makes the bandwidth costs much lower, and if the datalink gets jammed well the autonomous plane could still manoeuvre and fly to evade and return to base...
If only things were that simple!

...Equally there's the cost consideration. Pilots are rather expensive. Sticking a drone into a shed for a few years is much cheaper and easier. You could theoretically have a long term contract for airframe production, at a low level of units per year. This would, I think, be cheaper overall. Then you just park the spares up. After a few years you have a large stock of them, and if a big war breaks out you just trot them out, update their software and lob them at the Russians en masse. It wouldn't win the war but it'll sure slow the enemy down giving us time for other options.
If only things were that simple 2!

Why do we need another drone bomber, we already have expendable TLAMs, Taranis et al, what possible use could the platform be for, other than air supremacy.
For all the roles we need them now.

TLAMs are bugger all use for CAS, ISR and any number of other roles. Teranis is just bugger all use.

Are we actually going to purchase Taranis?
As has already been mentioned, Teranis was only ever a technology demonstrator. In essence, it’s an unmanned Hawk which managed to fly some circuits and a handful of routes in permissive and sanitised airspace.

Even if it was anything like mature enough for ops, Teranis would only equate to something like the USAF RQ-170.

Operating in the UK, I still think it would meet a lot of opposition and as others have said the coding will be immense. But I suppose an unmanned fighter could get around safety concerns, by been tested over the sea and explicitly designed to only operate over opposing airspace...
Which would be Utterly pointless to UK Defence!

Moreover, Protector will be certified for flight in non-segregated UK airspace on a routine basis.

...I think the cost of doing both manned and unmanned operations looks very costly and not sure we can afford it. Would it not be simpler to build something as small, lightweight, cheap and nasty as possible, with the AI been the main cost and maybe go for quantity over quality.
Optionally manned isn’t necessarily costly and arguably de-risks some aspects of a new type.

In terms of large numbers of something ‘...small, lightweight, cheap and nasty...’, that rather dictates something being able to get in close and deliver said small nasties which, given the advent of modern ‘double-digit’ threats would still require something rather more expensive to dispense them.

Regards,
MM
 
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