UK uses robotic aircraft to bomb Taliban

#1
Unmanned drones controlled from the U.S. to drop bombs on Taliban for first time
By MATTHEW HICKLEY - More by this author »

Last updated at 17:20pm on 9th March 2008

Britain's armed forces are sending pilotless "robot" strike aircraft into battle for the first time, allowing controllers sitting at a computer outside Las Vegas to drop guided bombs on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The "Reaper" unmanned aerial vehicle marks a major watershed for the Royal Air Force and has been rushed into service after senior defence chiefs identified it as a vital weapon in the fight against Taliban insurgents.

Analysts believe that armed drones such as the £10million Reaper are the beginning of the end for human bomber and fighter pilots, and that increasingly sophisticated UAVs represent the future of aerial warfare.
More on the link
http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages...ews.html?in_article_id=528858&in_page_id=1811
 
#3
Good to see the daily hate is up to date, I mean its not like this was announced in the press last year........................
 
#5
Excellent then we can let the Crabs be what they always where
"Trash haulers"
john
or as Paraphrasing is fashionable amongst the crabs on this board
'Ya Crab, finest Trash hauler since the donkey'
Bill Slim, THE General of WW II.
 
#6
glad to see a new bit of kit thats not 'utterly utterly useless'.
 
#7
Last time we were reading about the Reaper, we were reading about a watered down neutered version of it.

If the news is (god forbid!) accurate, using actual real high velocity explosive weapons instead of feasability and technicality studies as weapons, is a major departure from the normal RAF way of doing things.
Good news indeed, tho why they're being piloted from the US escapes me.
 
#8
I think I saw something written a year or so ago that suggested that the only way we could descretely get access to the new UAV technology a few years ago was to send people to the USA to learn in the same way and in the same place where the US folks were doing it. This is very much an immature technology in terms of tactical usage of UAV's so there are probable synergies if we sit alongside the Americans and each learn from the others successes or indeed mistakes. There will also be technical reasons in terms of the control network and ground stations etc for folks to be based there.

There aren't that many countries who are using this kind of stuff yet and even fewer in an active theatre so the rule book is still being written. The UK has some UAV's of its own in development so it would be nice if we knew how to drive them already, when or if they arrive :D
 
#9
All well and goo, but it sort of removes the phrase "back in time for tea and medals!!!" from use. More "pass my tea and medals, I'm up to level 3!!!!!!"

That said, good on 'em.

With these sort of planes, they can be on station for hours, (as long as the fuel lasts, not the pilot).
 
#10
They are piloted from the US as the US setup runs from just outside Las Vegas. The RAF are totally integrated into the setup over there and are playing a really useful role.
 
#11
The RAF has been using weapons off UAVs for more than 12 months now. The Daily Hate has failed to notice that 1415 flt (now 39 Sqn) was using Predator to release weapons onto AQ, Taleban and a variety of Iraqi insurgents prior to receiving Reaper.

There are a variety of reasons for piloting them from the US - datalinks, etc, etc, rather than the quality of hotels...
 
#12
These guys have the greatest collection of snuff movies on the planet...

Funny that all the jet jockies who used to visit the ground station would leave in an unusually thoughtful mode (if such a state of grace is actually achievable by a pilot...). Typical duty crew was largish "pilot" with triple strength glasses and lots of pens and a girlie "sensor and weapons officer" in their twenties!

Writing on the wall for the Jocks m'thinks....
 
#13
remote control combat aircraft will eventually became the norm.

they will not need any life support systems and can therefore be armed more effectively and even made a lot smaller and cheaper.

It will be the job of the airforce to refuel these aicraft and wash their windscreens
 
#14
jonwilly said:
Excellent then we can let the Crabs be what they always where
"Trash haulers"
john
or as Paraphrasing is fashionable amongst the crabs on this board
'Ya Crab, finest Trash hauler since the donkey'
Bill Slim, THE General of WW II.
I wouldn't do your self down like that.
 
#15
Skynet said:
Britain's armed forces are sending pilotless "robot" strike aircraft into battle for the first time, allowing controllers sitting at a computer outside Las Vegas to drop guided bombs on the Taliban in Afghanistan.
All good except they may well not be British Reapers.

"Reaper the latest MoD budget victim"

http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_story.asp?id=5367
 
#16
It amuses me that the MoD think its more expensive to run these things than it is to run a bomber with a pilot, a pliot who may get shot down, and killed or captured.
 
#19
These aircraft aren't really "robotic". They have a pilot and a sensor operator - who happen to be offboard. A pilot based in-theatre performs the take-off and landing manoeuvres, but the mission is flown from a US Air Force Base in Nevada. It would certainly be more expensive and less efficient at present for the UK to build it's own control centre and the present arrangement adds greatly to interoperability.

The UK has decided that the crew will be from aircrew trades, as that is where the existing expertise lays - not only in flying skills but also sensor and weapons employment. The safe and eficient operation of medium and large UAVs also requires an in-depth understanding of airspace utilization and rules of-the-air. For example, a Predator/TriStar mid-air would be extremely nasty.

The value of the UAV at present is not that it is a cheaper option than the manned bomber, but rather that it's much longer endurance gives it tremendous persistence. However, endurance comes at the expense of speed, so a fair number of them are needed to cover a large area -adding to the cost. They are certianly not throw-away items and paradoxically, if there is a threat, they will be protected by manned aircraft.

As for the £500m - I guess that is the cost of buying the weapons and also training people to maintain and to use them. Unless of course it is the difference between the Govt trumpeting the aquisition of 3 Reapers (armed) and then only stumping up the money for 3 Predators (unarmed) - which they would never do, would they?
 
#20
AlfieNoakes said:
These aircraft aren't really "robotic". They have a pilot and a sensor operator - who happen to be offboard. A pilot based in-theatre performs the take-off and landing manoeuvres, but the mission is flown from a US Air Force Base in Nevada. It would certainly be more expensive and less efficient at present for the UK to build it's own control centre and the present arrangement adds greatly to interoperability.

The UK has decided that the crew will be from aircrew trades, as that is where the existing expertise lays - not only in flying skills but also sensor and weapons employment. The safe and eficient operation of medium and large UAVs also requires an in-depth understanding of airspace utilization and rules of-the-air. For example, a Predator/TriStar mid-air would be extremely nasty.

The value of the UAV at present is not that it is a cheaper option than the manned bomber, but rather that it's much longer endurance gives it tremendous persistence. However, endurance comes at the expense of speed, so a fair number of them are needed to cover a large area -adding to the cost. They are certianly not throw-away items and paradoxically, if there is a threat, they will be protected by manned aircraft.

As for the £500m - I guess that is the cost of buying the weapons and also training people to maintain and to use them. Unless of course it is the difference between the Govt trumpeting the aquisition of 3 Reapers (armed) and then only stumping up the money for 3 Predators (unarmed) - which they would never do, would they?
For this read "RAF Pilots are trying to persuade folk..."

The savings on dry cleaning alone will make this a dead argument. I hear the sound of nails being driven into coffins, and funds being reallocated as we speak...

Seen any Battleship Captains recently?


Thought not!



Though they may keep on Fat Albert drivers for a bit... I understand robot bus concepts do not go down well with the punters...
 

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