The grim Reaper

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Richard_North, Nov 8, 2007.

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  1. Unpublished pics of the new Reaper UAV in Afghanistan here.

    Link now correct - sorry!
  2. Bet the Taliban are just shittin' themselves.
  3. is that web site run by the labour party?

  4. Extremely innaccurate article. Wrong sqn number. Incorrect endurance. Incorrect assumptions about Nimrod.

    However, Reaper is an exceptionally good bit of kit and we will hopefully be getting the funds for a few more.

    One interesting fact: RAF Reapers had to be flown to Afghanistan in a C-17 across the Pacific to avoid routing them through UK airspace and therefore being charged VAT by the Treasury.

    You couldn't make it up!

  5. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    Is that true?

    Fuck me; is there a good reason why we shouldn't quit now?

    Jeeeezus flipping Christ!
  6. Typo on the Squadron - now corrected. Endurance is quoted with 2 x 1000lb auxiliary tanks, in surveillance mode.


    As to the assumptions on the Nimrod, accoding to the articles I cited, the Nimrods are fitted with MX-15 electro-optical turrets to provide "real time video feed" to ground commanders. The Reaper is tasked with exactly the same function. Why are the assumptions wrong?
  7. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Endurance is such a difficult thing to quote and actually get anyone to agree on because it is a function of total fuel load, payload carried, drag if carrying external stores, speeds and altitudes etc

    Suffice it to say, its a long time.
  8. CP amigo - one of many reasons why some of us have quit ..........
  9. Why doesn't that surprise me? Well done to the bugger who worked out that scam! I hope they paid at $2.10/£ as well!

  10. Good effort i say! In these days of penny pinching then every little thing helps!
  11. Absolutely true I'm afraid. HM Treasury seems to relish making everything as difficult as possible for HM Forces.

    Ah, it's on a website, so it must be true! :roll:

    Without wishing to sound patronising, I'm afraid if you don't know the answer to that, you don't need to know. However, as a basic point of physics, a Reaper transits at about 200kts. An MR2 can transit considerably faster. Afghanistan meanwhile is a big country. Think about it. Reaper can most certainly not take 'most' of the load from the MR2s.

    While we're at it, ISTAR has been an accepted acronym now for well over 10 years. Oh and an MQ-9 does a very different role to a Canberra PR9. Other than that, a top article! :tp:

  12. Is this website run by Air Cadets or something?!!! There are some priceless gems in there. I especially like their suggestion that a defender can do the job of an MR2 over Afghanistan! :toilet:

  13. Wait till you get to the bit about Support Helicopters.... (see PM)
  14. Why stop when you're on a roll?

    There is another law of physics you may have heard of - that a material object cannot be in two places at the same time. Thus, if the requirement is to provide real time video feed to support ground operations, then it can only do so when it is actually orbiting that area. Endurance, rather than speed of transit then may be the more important issue.

    And, while we're about it, since the Reaper does not have to transit from Oman, it does not have to waste time getting there in the first place.

    As to ISTAR - you know that .. I know that. But I'm writing for a general audience, many of whom will not have met the term before. What's the big deal?
  15. Mr North,

    When I first read the article, I didn't look at the name of the editor, and therefore didn't associate it with yourself. I perhaps therefore would have gone a bit easier on you at first, and I never seek to patronise. However, I will seek to counter such inaccurate articles robustly.

    As a serving RAF aircrew officer who's flown operationally over Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, I have first hand knowledge of the pros and cons of all of the assets you speak of. Last year, I also deployed as an LO with the Army in Iraq during which I flew on several MR2 trips. Having now trawled through some of you other articles, it is evident that you have a negligible understanding of the operational factors in the types of conflict we currently find ourselves embroiled.

    This is true of the object in question, but not necessarily true of the effects which can be applied. The dynamic nature of modern operations dictates that speed of transit and endurance are of similar importance. Afghanistan is a very big country and UAVs such as Predator and Reaper, whilst being supremely useful in specific scenarios, are inflexible due to their very slow transit speed. They are also far more likely to be grounded, or be unable to maintain over the target area, due to weather in comparison to manned assets. Other issues surrounding UAVs are that they are manpower intensive to operate, and use precious bandwidth which is not always available.

    Certainly in Iraq, the MR2 and manned FMV assets generally were the most sought after. Fast jet assets such as GR4, F-15E and Typhoon are particularly useful in this respect due to their ability to move around the battlespace rapidly and descend into threat envelopes for SoF or kinetic effects although they lack persistence. They will also often be conducting several tasks other than FMV. This and their agility around the battlespace bring benefits generally lacking with a UAV.

    I notice elsewhere you advocate the use of light aircraft and D4K in place of assets such as the MR2. Whilst there will be other assets appearing soon to offset MR2s workload, this suggestion demonstrates a fundamental lack of appreciation regarding aircraft performance in 'hot and high' environments and the roles which such types conduct.

    You also suggest we procure UH-1 or Mi-8 helos as a cheaper option to Merlin. Although in this respect an Mi-17 would be more realistic you obviously have no idea of the actual performance (as opposed to load) of such assets when compared with typical tasking in Iraq or Afghanistan. Disingenuously, you also state the cost merely for a basic airframe.

    However, may I suggest you go and research the typical costs for such items as a MAWS, DIRCM, IRCM, secure comms and NVG/EO compatibility. These items are absolutely essential for a modern BH. Without them your helos, your helos crews, and the loads and personnel being carried by the helos will be vulnerable to attack or be unable to operate when required. Once you've added those essential systems, the price of an Mi-17 would not be much different to a Merlin, even less so when one considers whole life cycle costs of the more modern rotary assets such as Merlin and NH90.

    Sadly Mr North, you appear to be one of those journalists who effectively demonstrate the old adage 'a little knowledge is dangerous'. With all due respect, there are quite literally 14 year old Air Cadets who I've seen demonstrate a better understanding of aircraft performance and modern operations than you do - consistently - in your articles. That is not meant to be a patronising comment. That is fact.

    Therefore, it could be argued that you are part of the problem in engendering the very poor appreciation of what our Nation's military are currently engaged in. Your suggestions would reduce the effectiveness of our military. Your suggestions would hamper current Joint campaigns. Most importantly, your suggestions would cost lives.

    I believe that you describe yourself as a political journalist in your profile. May I suggest that you therefore do one of 2 things:

    a. Focus upon political issues.
    b. Be professional enough to conduct research prior to writing on military subjects.

    Best wishes,