F-22 making case for UAVs?

F-22 making case for UAVs?

Scientists and engineers generally agree the human pilot is the largest limiting factor in the progression of aircraft development. It appears the problems facing F-22 pilots are making that case even stronger.

F-22 pilots have been diagnosed for the past two years with hypoxia-like symptoms to include nausea, shortness of breath and feeling light headed while flying the F-22. The Air Force has repeatedly grounded the fleet, or portions of it. One pilot crashed in Alaska in 2010 after reporting hypoxia-like symptoms.

Air Force leaders had declared that they have identified the culprits causing the problems for pilots to include the breathing regulator/anti-g (BRAG) valve on the Combat Edge upper pressure garment. The Air Force is replacing the valve, installing a new back-up oxygen system and changing the oxygen schedule for the F-22’s onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS).

Gen. Mike Hostage, head of Air Combat Command, said Sept. 19 at the Air Force Association’s annual conference he isn’t so sure it’s purely a mechanical problem. He pointed his finger in another direction — the human body.

“It’s not the O-box system. It’s human physiology,” Hostage said. “Now there are things within the airplane that exacerbate this element of human physiology, and the changes we are making to the plane are to lessen our susceptibility.”

Hostage explained that Air Force investigators have tested pilots by putting them inside the centrifuge and replicated flight conditions in the F-22 in a controlled environment, and the pilots report the same symptoms.

“The bottom line is it wasn’t an element in the airplane, it was human physiology,” Hostage said.

It’s hard to tell if the adjustments made inside the F-22 cockpit will help pilots, or if the situation Hostage is describing is one that comes when flying a fifth generation fighter jet. Air Force leaders have been repeatedly asked if they should expect these sort of problems to also occur in the F-35.

Their answer is consistent: We don’t know yet.

Air Force pilots complained as the rush to build unmanned drones to fly over Iraq and Afghanistan forced many pilots out of their airborne cockpits and into ground control stations permanently planted in dark rooms in states like Nevada and California.

Plenty of manned aviation advocates have trumpeted the benefits of keeping a pilot in the cockpit suggesting unmanned drones leave the Air Force vulnerable to enemies cutting off their digital connection between pilot and aircraft. Those supporting the evolution of aerial drones in the service suggest a human pilot could not have maintained the long loiter times that ground commanders have demanded over potential targets.

The next generation bomber sits as the next major development program for the Air Force. Leaders have already said they want it to have the potential capability of flying manned and unmanned. Former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said he wanted to keep a human in the cockpit for potential nuclear missions.

It’s a wonder how  much that  human physiology could limit the engineering boundaries the next generation bomber could achieve.

Hostage made sure to follow up his description of the F-22’s affects on the human body with a full throated endorsement of the fifth generation fighter and the capabilities it brings to the Air Force.

“The best thing about it is our adversaries watch it carefully and it scares the hell out of them,” he said.

Hostage didn’t say if those same adversaries have noticed how often the Air Force has had to keep the fleet grounded as it studies how the plane is affecting a pilot’s health.

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“Hostage explained that Air Force investigators have tested pilots by putting them inside the centrifuge and replicated flight conditions in the F-22 in a controlled environment, and the pilots report the same symptoms.”

If the conditions can be duplicated, why wasn’t a report released? Put up, or shut up!

I like technology but technophiles and dronephiles may take this report too far.

There are many roles drone fill today and they will fill more tomorrow but air to air combat will be a human domain for awhile until we develop AI versatile enough to make the snal decisions a fighter pilot makes. Keep in mind we don’t put guns on drones because the lag in communications makes them inaccurate. Imagine what the costs of communication lag would do in air to air combat. Food for thought.

now I’ve heard it all. An infantry officer sticking up for the USAF senior leadership’s delusions on the future of warfare, thus justifying the investment of unlimited taxpayer dollars into developing the most technologically advanced yet operationally unsuitable weapon systems known to man that put the taxpayer & warfighter at infinite cost and schedule risk. it is also very amusing that despite all the taxpayer investment in officer PME and “strategic” eduation, US military officer leadership would joyfully continue the overinvestment in manned tactical aircraft capabilities, vs a more logical investing of resources in the variety of ways to achieve the highly esteemed “air superiority” (a delusion in itself), and, ergo, “full spectrum dominance”, in the achievement of Clauswitzian political goals as part of a nation’s “grand strategy”.

Of course, I am referring to standoff, decoying, swarming, and/or cyber tactics as a much smarter “indirect approach” a la Lidell Hart as the means to neutralize an enemy’s forces on the ground, vs strapping into the wunderkind panacea tactical aircraft to dominate in ego pumping jousts in the air. Your certitude of predictions of the future of combat is both hilarious and tragic. It’d be great professional development for you to get some more experience in high tech fubar’s so you could attain an appreciation for the uncertainty principle and Murphy’s Law. Maybe you’d learn how many technological opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the military and our national security are MISSED due to the mismanagement of tacair programs, giving us the F-22 and F-35 nightmares.

Of course, I am referring to standoff, decoying, swarming, and/or cyber tactics as a much smarter “indirect approach” a la Lidell Hart as the means to neutralize an enemy’s forces on the ground, vs strapping into the wunderkind panacea tactical aircraft to dominate in ego pumping jousts in the air. Your certitude of predictions of the future of combat is both hilarious and tragic. It’d be great professional development for you to get some more experience in high tech fubar’s so you could attain an appreciation for the uncertainty principle and Murphy’s Law. Maybe you’d learn how many technological opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the military and our national security are MISSED due to the mismanagement of tacair programs, giving us the F-22 and F-35 nightmares.

My Infantry background has nothing to do with a very valid point, the lag of communications with drones puts them at a disadvantage in air to air combat (I didn’t even discuss the lower level of situational awareness). I made no statements referring to the larger force (as you attempt to put words in my mouth) .

Must really hurt the arrogance of one who picked a name which means “expert” in Latin to be shown up by a knuckle dragger.

Feel free to continue to providing your verbose and condescending analysis of our services officers (likely never having served yourself). You’ll only reap the disdain of those you’re trying to impress.

You’re butthurt and I don’t even need to see the limp to know it hurts.

“An infantry officer sticking up for the USAF senior leadership’s delusions on the future of warfare…”

Which had nothing to do with what he said. MajRod was describing radio and satellite transmission latency which somehow put you on a tirade about the F-35 and Air Force leadership.

Can a UAV make the same maneuvers as an F-22 today? In the physical can-the-airframe-do-it sense? Probably. Can we program or control said UAV from a ground station to make those maneuvers happen? No. Will we in the future? Probably. Until that particular problem we’re having with physics is solved, then manned fighters will still be around.

Standoff and swarm strikes are possible with UAVs and are already being invested in at the same time the air services are updating the rest of the fleet. If you’re infering we should only use standoff and swarm tactics in the air then that is just shooting yourself in the foot. WVR air combat still happens.

How is air superiority a delusion? It’s a fact of warfare. My planes fight your planes and if mine are the only ones in the air at the end of the day then I have superiority.

From Joint Pub 1–02:
air superiority — That degree of dominance in the air battle by one force that permits the conduct of its operations at a given time and place without prohibitive interference from air and missile threats.

air supremacy — That degree of air superiority wherein the opposing force is incapable of
effective interference within the operational area using air and missile threats.

for all that technical know how, you could have just managed to post that once instead of button mashing. I suppose that analysis is well below your level though.

If the plane is so great why are we messing around with the f 35?

What kind of dumb scientist are we talking about. The F-22 had problems F-15s no F-18s NO. Listen to those imbacelles might as well be making Skynet now. Pilots and planes are better than UAV since they react better can quickly change in mission to circumstances and wont crsh and leave Iranians stealth tech.

Tell the UAV scientist to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

I’m still highly paranoid of drone technology and a purely unmanned fleet. Everything electronic has a back door. Hackers, jamming, scrambling technology, viruses, and a long list of things we haven’t even thought of yet have the potential to screw up UAVs in ways we haven’t even thought of yet. A pilot behind the controls ensures that the machine remains a slave to our wants and needs. I am very much against relying on UAVs to do all of our work.

What a bunch of hogwash. The opening line “Scientists and engineers generally agree the human pilot is the largest limiting factor in the progression of aircraft development.” is patently untrue. X-51 has not failed multiple times because it’s manned (although I’m glad it is unmanned). The environmental control system does way more work cooling electronics than pressurizing a single seat cockpit, and high gain satcom antennas on UAVs take up as much room as a person. G-limits on aircraft have a lot more to do with fatigue life than human limits. We know how to build a cockpit to keep a person alive and have been doing it for a long time. It is not the largest limiting factor.

People, combat UAVs have been a thing since the Luftwaffe deployed the Fritz-X in WWII. We just call them “guided weapons”. If you look at how a UAV is actually operated, the only difference between a UAV and something like a TV-guided Harpoon is that the Harpoon isn’t meant to return to base afterwards…

The USAF originally gave missiles F-for-Fighter codes. There’s a reason for that.

Different jets for different main missions

The cause of F-22 trouble is poor risk management and poor project management. Don’t know how a UAV will fix that. As for UAVs in war: Permissive-air, low threat, small weather… OK. — Network denial scenarios against real IADS… unlikely.

Not all our enemies are going to be living in mud huts.

Really, the manned planes won’t crash and leave stealth technology behind? You mean just like the F-117 that crashed in Serbia and the remains that got carted away?

Not to mention all these other “stealth” plane crashes (that we know about): http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​L​o​c​k​h​e​e​d​_​F​-​1​1​7​_​N​i​ghthttp://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​L​o​c​k​h​e​e​d​_​M​a​r​t​i​n​_​F​-22http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​B​-​2​_​S​p​i​r​i​t​#​A​c​c​i​d​e​nts

Do you even think before you post?

@ BlackOwl18E

“I am very much against relying on UAVs to do all of our work”.

Me too.

Regards Guest

Well said Lance.

“It appears the problems facing F-22 pilots are making that case even stronger”.

Why are you picking on the F-22 for? The failed F-35 is 50 times worse than the F-22 in a lot of respects.

Pilots and planes are better than UAV since they react better can quickly change in mission to circumstances and wont crsh and leave Iranians stealth tech, according to Lance.

Again, unmanned drones will be too impossible to replace all manned fighters. Why? Because with there poor subsonic acceleration which they’ll be putting at their disadvantage of being shot down during air to air combat by fighters like the Su-27/30 family, PAK-FA, MiG-29/35 family, J-20, J-10, J-21? also advanced SAMs, AAA sites and indeed the NNIIRT 55Zh6M Nebo M Mobile “Counter Stealth” Radar which will provide a significant detection and tracking capability against UCAV sized stealth targets as well as fighters a.k.a the F-35. A terrible strategic mistake to put all the Air Force on all drone fleet.

For ISR and CAS roles, subsonic drones are ideal for those missions.

Hello DensityDuck

I totally respect what you said that the combat UAVs have been a thing since the Luftwaffe deployed the Fritz-X in WWII. But DensityDuck don’t you reckon that the UAVs will be too vulnerable for high threat environments against all the adversary advanced fighters/SAMs/AAAs/Counter Stealth radars from Russia/China and protentially some other adversary nations could well be purchasing these equipment that will proliferate the region?

Of course there’s no aircrew onboard the UAV platform, but what I’m talking about is lack of acceleration, agility and small weapons load to compete them.

Regards Guest


Can I make a recommendation, Peritus? Tone down the multi-syllabic modifyers and obscure elitist references. It has been a long time since I had to take an SAT. My head is hurting trying to understand you.

Let me rephrase that: “I’m against relying on UAVs to a point where we couldn’t do the job without them.”

Guest, you are using the charcteristics of patrol drones when you talk these kinds of vulnerabilities. A specific design for air combat could be built that answers all those vulnerabilities. However, you’re still correct. The drone will always be inferior to the manned aircraft. The drone can’t have the situational awareness and the adaptation a pilot adds to the fight. Even with AI, the drone will always be one software release behind, and the exchange rate will favor the manned jet.

I am aware of the same physiological complaints from F-18 pilots, but these complaints have not been broadcast on “60 minutes”. I am wondering why.

Defens said: “If the conditions can be duplicated, why wasn’t a report released? Put up, or shut up!“
I can see where you get your name from. You are quite defensive. You don’t need the F-22 report. A lot of research was done back in the 60s for the space program and there is plenty of published stuff that can explain F-22 physiological phenomena without hardware malfunction involved. In any case, I fail to see the reason for broadcasting OPSEC sensitive info about an operational weapon all over the internet.

Now this is a constructive comment for which I thank you. Yes military doctrine and technology certainly are difficult to grasp for all but the most determined. My use pales in comparison to the deluge of obfuscation that comes out of the Pentago. And my use is done out of sincere desire to aid in the policy debate as opposed to a self serving agenda to keep multi billion dollar failures alive at any cost.

I’m against relying on UAVs to a point where we couldn’t do the job without them.

Sounds like someone was desperate for a sensationalist article to attract flies.

The F-35 has failed? Hmmm. You might want to inform the USAF, USN, USMC, and RN because they would disagree with you.

The RQ-171 is hundreeds of time less problematic than getting a manned fighter jet downed.

Why people keep dwelling on all drones vs. all manned fighter jet. They complete each other, none of them will replace each other nor they will make soldier outdated.

Are you talking of a problem that have been already fixed?

That’s like saying that computer can’t beat a human in chess. Big Blue is there, and so is Watson. http://​www​-03​.ibm​.com/​i​b​m​/​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​/​i​b​m​1​0​0​/​u​s​/​e​n​/ichttp://​www​.ibmwatson​.com/

It’s only a matter of improvement and appropriate modeling; I don’t quite understand why people are talking of AI, we should be talking of “adaptative software”. Computer actually react much quicker than we can, that’s precisely why command on manned fighter jet are controlled by computer as they can perform maneuver that that could not be done otherwise.

In other words, computer have the potential to outperform human but it hadn’t (officially) happened yet. Like for chess play, it’s only a matter of time. Again, fighter jet will always remain relevant, but drones will be there to complete them.

Does the Autor have ever fly a Fighter in an A2A BVR & VVR mission to write such an article?
The failure not to fix the OBOGS F22’s issue looks like having no solution with UCAV in air dominance. As soon these vulnerable are in sigth they

What about a self-serving agenda to position yourself as more knowledgeable than the rest of the readership?

You sound insecure, not intelligent.

The agenda may sound self-serving and insecure to you, but that’s a matter of ignorance on your behalf. i’ll submit the nations $15T debt, and the billions in waste and decades lost in failed programs, and their consequences to the taxpayer & the warfighter, as evidence of what I care about, which is much bigger than what anyone’s opinion of me. Check out some of the bios on Col Boyd, and you’ll understand the misunderstanding of & ostracism faced by anyone who challenges the status quo.

in previous posts Maj Rod has taken a pass on judgment of the F-35, which is tacit approval of the status quo of how DoD decides on how to invest in weapon system development. That he would use this article (& others) as an opportunity to denigrate UAV proponents gives tacit approval of the F-22. He has been a proponent of V-22 & GCV as well, and any attempt to engage with him on bigger picture decsion making in him resorting to more labeling & name calling. so he, like the USAF leadership are in support of business as usual, which ends up giving us weapons tha cost too much, are late to the battlefield, and have serious technical flaws.

“don’t you reckon that the UAVs will be too vulnerable for high threat environments”

If you have one more cruise missile than they have SAMs, you win.

Acceleration atelectasis
by William Bary, Lawrence Spinetta
Oxygen can be a pilot’s best friend when experiencing any number of inflight emergencies, including smoke in the cockpit and sudden cabin depressurization. Using oxygen for long periods of time, however, can lead to postflight symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and postflight oxygen-absorption ear block. Under some conditions, prolonged oxygen use can lead to the development of a condition known as acceleration atelectasis. Breathing 100% oxygen for an extended period, coupled with repeated high-G maneuvers while wearing a suit, may cause breathing difficulties and temporary lung injury. It’s a relatively uncommon occurrence with minimal long-term concerns, but bears mention in light of a recent physiologic occurrence here at Tyndall.

The Merck Manual of diagnosis and therapy (http://​www​.merck​.com/​p​u​b​s​/​m​m​a​n​ual) defines atelectasis as a “shrunken, airless state affecting all or part of a lung.” The most common symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, cough and chest pain. Although usually not incapacitating, military aircrew experiencing temporary lung injury from acceleration atelectasis could certainly have difficulty completing their required flight duties. Single-seat fighter pilots are at the most risk. F-15C, F-16 and A10 pilots fly high-G profiles on most training sorties. Fortunately, acceleration atlectasis doesn’t happen frequently.

Tactical Navy and Marine Corps jets are configured to deliver 100% oxygen (95% oxygen and 5% argon for on-board oxygen generating systems [OBOGS]) at all times. They fly with 100% oxygen for protection against rapid decompression and to ensure a closed oxygen system in case of water entry (e.g., the catapult doesn’t work properly on a carrier launch and they’re thrown into the ocean). Navy and Marine aviators rarely experience anything more than mild symptoms. Navy Lieutenant Will Gotten, a former F18 pilot and exchange F-is pilot, referred to his experience with atelectasis as the “G cough.”

I don’t think that the problem will be developing software that can make decisions fast enough (just look at modern flight simulators), but the problem is providing that software with the inputs that we take for granted in piloted aircraft. How do you supply the “AI Pilot” with the information a human gathers just by looking outside? Radar? DAS-esque IR Imaging? Both of those probably would work, but they have some limitations compared to the human eye.

For example, when a person looks at an airplane that is flying, they can tell just by looking at it which way it is flying. Can a computer do that from an image? Maybe, but will it be fast enough to figure it out and make the right call in real time after picking the airplane out from the background? I don’t think we’re quite there yet. There are alot of visual cues that are very important in visual air combat, that I don’t think a computer can determine right now.

Perhaps a future F-22B two-seat model could be used to control an F-22C unmanned variant?

Don’t discount the plausibility of unmanned air-superiority aviation before long however. Think of the Phalanx or RIM-116 CIW system of the Navy when set on ‘automatic’ mode, eg. If any target suddenly appears in a certain point of air-space around the host ship, it will be autonomously engaged by the defensive gun/missile system.

The same concept could apply with airborne platforms integrated with self-contained, self-sufficient targeting and fire-control capabilities too.

It would seem to be fairly straight forward to be able to plop in say, an avionics suite of digital passive receivers and frontal-aspect EODAS, both of which could cue a large-aperture IRST, if said IRST did not first track a target itself. Fly that unmanned-ship(s) semi-autonomously, leading a manned-ship formation. Manually set UCAV on auto-hunt. When any identified foe target is detected and tracked, said alert could be sent rearward to manned ships along with request to engage. An affirmative signal could then simply be relayed for UCAV to auto-engage accordingly.

“Fleet does the flying! Mobile Infantry does the dying!” ;-)

The uncertainty principle is about the physics of an electron orbiting an atomic nucleus. Liddell Hart’s “indirect approach” was about strategy, not tactics. Some expert you are.

I agree with those who believe UAVs are a disruptive technology, but we’ve got a long way to go before we’ve conquered the AI technical challenges and the challenges of C2 in a non-permissive EW environment that would be necessary for drones to move into the air-to-air mission space, even assuming radically different tactics from manned fighters. In fact, the tactical innovation may take longer than the technical innovation, if past history is a reliable guide.

Wow. Condescend much?

Not all who “challenge the status quo” are of John Boyd’s quality. Some are just loons.

What would be the point otherwise?

That was hilarious! Snorted beer through my nose! Good one!

Wonder if there is anything unique in your concern about drone technology that wouldn’t have applied to previous technology innovations? The airplane, aircraft carrier, guided missile, etc. All revolutionary new technologies come with unknown employment caveats and vulnerabilities. It just takes time and experimentation to identify them and adapt either the technology or the tactics. The initial introduction of the F-4 Phantom II with only AAMs and no gun comes to mind. Once it became clear that AAMs didn’t render airborne guns obsolete, the USAF and USN quickly figured out how to get one back onboard.

UAVs started with the dull, dirty, and dangerous missions…as with most disruptive technologies, they will eventually replace a wide range of other platforms as their capabilities grow and their employment is better understood. But just as the aerial gun has had an enduring role, there will be some missions which will likely always require manned air platforms.

You’re assigning political beliefs to him based on his technological and tactical observations. Just because he likes a piece of technology means he agrees with the manner in which it was procured? Seriously? “Denigrate UAV proponents?” We were discussing radio and satellite technology. You’re somewhat new here, and we’ve had similar discussions on here and DT about these subjects which you weren’t a part of. MajRod likes UAVs just fine, but we’ve both had to correct individuals in previous discussions who believed UAVs could outright replace manned fighters and helicopters without qualification. You knock him on his “big picture decision making.” His last Army assignment was in the Battle Lab — it doesn’t get more big picture than that for Army future plans.

Your arrogance (Mr “Expert” in Latin) is only rivaled by your persistence in making a fool out of yourself.

Tacit approval of how DoD invests in equipment because I don’t have a position on the F35? “Denigrating” UAV proponents? Tacit approval of the F22 (I do like the plane if they can work though the bugs that seem to be part of every new weapons system). I see ESP is another of your nonexistent skills since I didn’t say any those things. You’re even keeping track of what I say about the V22 and GCV! Keep it up, you might learn ya sumthin ;)

I must have really tweaked your cheeks! It’s not all bad, looks like you’re setting new records in negatives in one thread. Fifty, last count. :)

Correction (I blinked) Sixty One! I bet you can break a hundred :D

Joe, you’re absolutely wrong. The 7-g (Navy) and 9-g (Air Force) load limits are design drivers, not material limitiations. We have materials and structural design concepts to build flight vehicles that can exceed 9g loads by many times. It’s the limitations of human pilots that keep us to 9g. Consider also the weight, sizing, and volume penalties paid to accommodate human crewmembers and life support systems. If we can eliminate the pilot, we can significantly improve flight vehicle performance (as long as the mission is not transporting human passengers). Any undergraduate Aerospace Engineering student is taught this.

Col. Boyd and his friends revolutionized the manner in which we study manuever tactics and military decision making in air and ground combat. They didn’t just challenge the status quo — they set a new standard that few men our profession have been able to achieve. I have yet to see anywhere close to that level of academic analysis from you.

Guest, there is no reason a UCAV should inherently have poor aerodynamic performance. It’s just a matter of choosing the design parameters. Big engine + lightweight airframe + no pilot = fast jet.

But then what would be the point of having them?

Why on Earth would we start from an F-22 airframe to build a stealthy UCAV? The whole point of developing UCAVs is that we can build them smaller, cheaper, in order-of-magnitude greater numbers, and without the performance limitations of human-crewed flight vehicles. Makes no sense to adopt the baggage of a high-priced manned design from day one. Much better starting with a clean sheet.

That’s why Starship Troopers is still on the CNO’s recommended reading list. RIP, Robert Heinlein — a onetime naval officer, BTW.

not sure what you mean by political beliefs. you can be for/against a certain weapon system and philosophy towards technology acquisition regardless of where one lies on the political spectrum. when military officers can get beyond “liking” a piece of technology to understanding it’s proper place in an enterprise & effectively managing it through the lifecycle, we may actually do the taxpayer & the warfighter a good service. and yes he denigrates others. it doesn’t get more evident than name calling and the multitude of fights he picks on the blogs. yes it certainly does get bigger than battle lab. actually managing the financing at a macom/hq level and system development in a pmo, when you don’t have the luxury of a pcs in a few years and actually have to live with people’s mistakes, gives you a much bigger picture.

The excessive costs are a result of attempting to create a weapon that is expert at all things. Combine this with the idea that we only build one aircraft at a time and have effectively only one aircraft manufacturer is a guarantee of high costs. This should have been remembered from the development costs of the F-111. Then combine this with the fact that changing the rate of production on a regular basis is a guarantee that costs will increase. Air superiority means that we do not have to have outstanding fighter ability in an aircraft designed for ground attack.

What we have really proven with the current losing method of procurement is the complete incompetence of the Congress as a business management organization. It is also a very good reason to limit the total service time of all legislators to a maximum of ten years, possibly less. As they learn that they can always steal money from us with taxes they have no reason to keep things affordable. STEALING is taking from one by the use of FORCE. TAXES ARE A FORCE.

Another cost increasing factor is the continual changes in the design of the aircraft, followed by a retrofit of the “improvement”. It is entirely possible to utilize one airframe for multiple purposes, but trying to keep all of the purposes available with a “quick change” system is very costly.

As designed, the F-35 will make a great replacement for the A-10, although it does cost much more and will most likely be less accurate as a ground support weapon because of the speed at which it functions.

Plainly and clearly, the F-35 is Obama’s decision to weaken the U.S.A.F. capabilities and our defense capability. The F-35 is slower than and less maneuverable than a 1975 F-4E. It carries fewer weapons and has a shorter range, and from any angle has a radar signature that is at least 10 times greater than the F-22.

He managed to get it through congress as a cost reduction and in the process ignored the capability losses. It has proven since then that the cost reductions came mostly from ignoring the components needed to make the F-35 work at all. A much better by would be the Lockheed F-15 Silent Eagle. Little if any stealth loss and retention of all of the F-15’s aerodynamic capabilities speed and weapon capacity.

Fair arguments and I was not intending the F-22C to be an end-all and be-all concept. Perhaps just something which could fit within the same logistical footprint of the F-22 as well as tag along for the ride at similar performances and envelope.

And your 20+ G air-dominance UCAV which you are hinting at would NOT be cheap, nor an easy ‘clean sheet’.

And an F-22 UCAV could most likely pull 12G+, let alone not need to worry about faulty life support, which would not necessarily be such inferior performance as you imply.

You misunderstand. I didn’t say that you couldn’t design an unmanned aircraft to exceed 9 Gs, just that it is not the “largest limiting factor.” We can design vehicles to exceed 9Gs, but can we do it for 9000 hours with carrier landings thrown in while carrying a meaningful ordnance load and sensor suite? Last I checked X-47 (and pretty much every current UAV) is something like a 2G aircraft. Several FMS FA-18 customers use a 9G limit, because they want to be in the 9G club. Navy needs to keep it’s airplanes around a few years, plus carrier landings. The 9G airplanes like the F-16 can’t really sustain that G load for more than a few seconds at the altitude that airplanes actually fly and fight (vice at sea level for airshows). If it’s a human limit, give me an engine that can keep me at 9Gs forever. Airplanes are sized more to carry the radar and weapons they need to carry as they are the human. Why is a Su-30 twice the weight of an F-16? The extra 20,000lbs isn’t to carry a bigger pilot. G-limit is a total red herring. Plus there is no UAV control system that could do anything useful with 10, 12, 15 Gs anyway. Eliminating the pilot means adding a control link, and probably a big high gain antenna, that sits on a gimbal that is either really heavy and robust, or only good for about 3 Gs. Sure humans impose limits, but making an aircraft unmanned simply changes us to different limits.

At the expense of being picky –and pushing my knowledge to its limit– processor does not determine, nor it can analyze data; it execute commands, which are equivalent to “taking decision” or analyzing data. You might want to look at Turing equivalence. The problem you describe still remain a problem of software, even by supposing that it’s something that a machine could not compute, though it would be against the Turing machine. Even better, the problem of computing power is very unlikely to really be unsolvable, at worst it could delay some advanced functionality. At some point, having a computerized system identifying targets is quite possible, and radar have already proved that it’s can be done beyond visual range. Yes there will be situation where human eyes will be more effective, and I believe it would be a mistake to create a detection system that try to behave like a human; better to push where it can yield better benefits. http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~celiasmi/Papers/Tur

Don’t forget that human eye is not perfect either. Though it’s hypothetical, it is entirely possible that some form of optical stealth technology could be able to fool human eye (i.e. modern uniform) while being more detectable by machines, since they are not bounded to biological limitation and its sensors be upgraded accordingly. Would you expect machines to be fooled by this optical illusion? http://​tywkiwdbi​.blogspot​.ca/​2​0​1​1​/​1​0​/​s​h​a​d​e​s​-​o​f​-gr

I strongly believe that the biggest problematic with autonomous machines (call it AI or adaptative software or else) is the very problem that it’s impossible to have the absolute guarantee that the program will always run correctly, since they are unpredictable. And since we are talking of weapons and not of toasters, an execution failure can have grave consequence. Most of all, this is an implementation issue that can be addressed. There are already a lot of software performing critical task and the jobs gets done. It’s not something easy, there are BIG homework before it can perform its duties. http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​H​a​l​t​i​n​g​_​p​r​o​b​lem http://​www​.iol​.co​.za/​n​e​w​s​/​s​o​u​t​h​-​a​f​r​i​c​a​/​a​r​m​y​-​b​l​ame

I don’t understand why people tend to crystallize their vision of drones, their vision of software and processor. Once again, by Turing equivalence, hardware adapted to the task can be built, while it’s extremely complex that’s going to be the easiest parts. That mean hardware that is designed to be fault-resistant (think space shuttle computer system) and that can detect presence of virus; like by getting constant signature checking of the code by the hardware and it can be designed to be completely invisible to make sure that it can’t be halted, and will guaranteed an action beyond the reach of any code (i.e. reboot from ROM, return to home base by using a back-up system, auto-destruction, or the use of weaponry) since we are talking of hard-coded or invisible code or both, designed in a way that it can’t be altered, stopped or detected. Naturally, co-design can be used to drasticly improve throughput, like having complex mathematical function being handled as easily as an addition on a PC. A single specialized function can replace thousands of line of codes, and do this in less than 100cycles. For a co-desing running at 100mhz, it mean getting the result in less than 1ns.

There is always the risk of an EMP-like attack where the whole system could be made ineffective; at some point auto-destruction might be the only thing to do. Once again, it would be a mistake to not use it because of an hypothetical alien attack that would make our technology ineffective. Its limitation has to be known and understood, to make sure it’s used appropriately.

Hi sferrin

“The F-35 has failed? Hmmm. You might want to inform the USAF, USN, USMC, and RN because they would disagree with you”.

Yeah they would disagree with me if I or anyone inform the F-35 is a failed project, but they are very foolish of still committing to this lemon and don’t have a clue what they are doing. Unfortunately we have lost very experienced technical engineers were purged a decade ago and replaced by semi-skilled or even unskilled business managers/administrators e.g. Michael Donley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Norton A. Schwartz, Tom Burbage F-35 Program Integration, LM Aeronautics etc.

@ Chuck L

“the F-35 will make a great replacement for the A-10″.

With all due to respect, the US Air Force doesn’t understand the fact why supersonic fighters are illsuited for CAS. It’s a mission that’s a service to the Army, which holds a mirror up to them and reflects back onto them that they cannot win wars by themselves.

For me I like an aircraft that is simple, very reliable, very lethal, very survivable, longer range, two engines and affordable, which I rather have and is exactly what you need in the theatre. Not an super expensive, less capable, maintenance entensive, unreliable, small weapons load, vulnerable, single engine and short range platform like the F-35 for instance which is totally unacceptable. I indeed scrap the F-35 at the Davis Monthan AB.

@ Chuck L

Background History

Criticism that the U.S. Air Force did not take CAS (close air support) seriously prompted a few service members to seek a specialized attack aircraft. In the Vietnam War, large numbers of ground-attack aircraft were shot down by small arms, SAMs (surface-to-air missiles), and low-level anti-aircraft gunfire, prompting the development of an aircraft better able to survive such weapons. In addition, the UH-1 Iroquois and AH-1 Cobra helicopters of the day, which USAF commanders had said should handle close air support, were ill-suited for use against armour, carrying only anti-personnel machine guns and unguided rockets meant for soft targets.

@ Chuck L

Continued Background History

Fast jets such as the F-100 Super Sabre, F-105 Thunderchief and F-4 Phantom II proved for the most part to be ineffective for close air support, because their high speed did not allow pilots enough time to get an accurate fix on ground targets, they lacked sufficient loiter time and also they are wrapped with fuel around the engine which can easily be penetrated through the skin of the aeroplane and causes to catch on fire. At the time the effective, but aging A-1 Skyraider aircraft was the USAF’s primary close air support aircraft proved to be a fantastic aircraft to support the ground troops which the US Army loved the A-1. That’s why the A-10 was developed to fulfill the CAS requirements.

@ Chuck L

“With all due to respect, the US Air Force doesn’t understand the fact why supersonic fighters are illsuited for CAS”.

Supersonic fighters can perform CAS role, but not as effective as the A-10, as mentioned before high speed didn’t allow pilots enough time to get an accurate fix on ground targets and they lacked sufficient loiter time and they’ll likely be shot down if they fly very low AGL of presents of small arms, SAMs (surface-to-air missiles), and low-level anti-aircraft gunfire. Indeed, they are wrapped with fuel around the engine which can easily be penetrated through the skin of the aeroplane and causes to catch on fire and only armed with 20mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon which is not as powerful to discriminate tanks etc that previous fighters didn’t perform CAS well back in Vietnam War.

They (supersonic fighters) can only perform two roles interdiction strike and air superiority.

@ sferrin

You might also want to inform to the Air Power Australia, Repsim Pty Ltd, retired fighter pilots/generals/engineers/ aircraft builders etc — which they’ll agree with you.

This article is ridiculous.

What pilot crashed in Alaska after reporting hypoxia-like symptoms? I’m not aware of one.

The BRAG valve is not on the UPG.

General Hostage said “It’s not the O-box [sic] system”? I doubt it.

“It’s a wonder how much that human physiology could limit the engineering boundaries the next generation bomber could achieve”? What does that even mean?

“…his description of the F-22’s affects [sic] on the human body…”? A basic spelling and grammar check would have eliminated this error.

Right, all that 1960’s astronaut stuff is OPSEC. Obviously that’s why we can’t go back to the Moon anymore. Apparently it keeps us from writing peer reviewed articles too, which is why we had to have a congressional hearing on this topic at great expense to the US taxpayer.

They have fighter aircraft as UAV’s now. It is not a difficult modification. They’re called practice targets — for a reason!

“to this lemon and don’t have a clue what they are doing. ”

Well you’re obviously much smarter than LM, BAE, the USAF, USN, USMC, RN, etc. Maybe you should be building their fighter plane. Then again, maybe not.

So you do like the F-22 so my intuition, not ESP, was right. Thank you for making explicit what I previously inferred as your tacit approval. So of course you “didn’t say any those things”. that’s what tacit means. It’s ironic that you first link “dronephiles” with “technophiles” when in fact, the mistakes of the “technophiles” is what has given us the F-22, F-35, V-22, and GCV failures. So let’s try to be constructive — what exactly are your views on the F-22 and F-35 in particular? My view is that both programs are failures that were predictably so. Senior military officers commit us to programs that depend on immature technology, giving us the cost overruns, schedule delays, and flawed products we experience. Before DoD bet the farm on the F-22, F-35, a more balanced approach would have resulted in both programs maturing more properly, a better recapitalized force strucutre of continually improving F-15s, –16s and –18s, and enough remaining resources to address a host of plagues, including improvement in intratheater lift capability (C-27).

and since all matter is made up of electrons and atoms, you can extrapolate the uncertainty principle to system made up of electrons and atoms, and systems composed of them, ie, weapon systems. Boyd integrated the uncertainty principle, Godel’s incompleteness theorem, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics, into a much appreciated philosophy of military & grand strategy, simplified into the OODA loop. Appreciating the uncertainty principle leads into appreciation for measurement error & uncertainty in general, which conflicts directly with the deterministic claims used to justify weapon systems like the F-22 & F-35. On strategy & tactics there is a useful adage “amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics”. The whole point is the senior defense leadership of the country has poured and continues to pour excessive billions in systems that may dominte a limited tactical sense (operational excellence), but are strategic blunders. the “long way to go” you identify is made longer by the perpetuation of DoD’s continued flawed technology strategy..

you haven’t seen enough of a sample.

Boyd started with tactics and moved to greater accomplishments in strategy that are applied on many levels besides air & ground combat, including business. and analysis doesn’t have to be academic to be either right or useful. A lot of Boyd’s work did not meet established academic publishing standards and was even intentionally left unfinished, if the bios are correct (Coram, Hammond, and Osinga)

To make our ISR jobs easier, but the fighting and killing part of combat should be able to be conducted without them.

The f-22 is completely a different animal, it’s just that I wouldn’t call it a 8th wonder of the mankind. Solve the hypoxia-related problem and what have you left, except a higher operating cost than expected. The exercises at Red flag shown that it doesn’t perform completely as expected either.

At the end of the day, its biggest problem is that it have been managed like a big corporation by screwing up basic security and put the blame elsewhere, like corporation do so well; it still remain a ultra-high performance, very lethal air superiority fighter jet. It’s just that it’s claim that it’s the greatest fighter jet in the history may be a little over-inflated, or short lived.

In other words, there were warning signal coming from the f-22 that seems to have been ignored, which could have save a lot of problem from the f-35 development, like doubting of the ridiculous concurrent development, or doubting of Lockheed’s ability to estimate operating cost.

Very smug. I think I’ve seen plenty.

Dude, Reaper strikes constitutes the sum total of the Obama Administration’s National Defense Strategy.

You should look at the design load limits on AAMs. Upward of 15, 20+ g’s. Not sure where Ratheon’s AIM-9X and Vympel’s R-73 (AA-11 ARCHER) are, but they probably still set the current state of the art.

Better off starting from an AAM and engineering up than starting from F-22 and engineering down!

I don’t have a problem with Reaper strikes. That’s small stuff for a poorly armed enemy. If we went to war with a well armed country we wouldn’t be relying entirely on UAVs to do the job of the fighting. A vast majority of the fighting and killing should be done by manned aircraft.

not really, Dude. if you really want smug (as well as wrong) judgment, you should take a look in the mirror: “Dude, Reaper strikes constitutes the sum total of the Obama Administration’s National Defense Strategy.”

One out of three is ESP Mr. Expert? Who’da thunk?

What does the F35 have to do with this story?

My point was and remains the article. The F22 isn’t making the case for drones. Drones have demonstrated no where near the capability of the F22 and they have a host of issues to overcome. You want to be constructive and change the subject? Go right ahead.

BTW, as you denigrate service members because they have the “luxury of a PCS” (funny, moving my home every couple of years never seemed like a luxury to me) out of an office let me assure you sitting in an office “living with mistakes” pales in comparison to being in the field living with them. You don’t even have a clue how offensive and condescending you are, Mr. Expert. You can’t even stop yourself. Keep talking, 76 negs and counting… :)

No question that the CAS role drives very different performance requirements than air superiority or interdiction. However, almost all of your analysis is about lessons learned from Vietnam. The fast jet platform you cite (F-100, F-105, F-4) predate the large-scale use of PGMs. The helo platforms you cite predate today’s Hellfire and TOW armed AH-1 and AH-64. You’ve skipped entirely the years from Desert Storm to OEF/OIF. Attack helos have become much more lethal to armor, and PGMs have turned F-16s into very good tank plinkers.

The Marines seem to do quite well with the AV-8B Harrier II as their CAS platform of choice, despite its multiple shortcomings, many of which will be addressed by F-35.

And though A-10 is a venerable CAS platform, it is also vulnerable unless you’re operating in a highly permissive threat environment.

No question there’s still a need for low and slow CAS platforms like A-10 and AC-130, but fast jets and helos are eating big chunks of that mission space.

And speed has virtue for the CAS role, too. Grunts on the ground get grumpy when they have to wait for air support from slow jets.

Sorry, Expert. You lost me at “extrapolate.” A clever person I once knew calls this “junk-o-logic.”

I’m pretty sure that line is from the horrible movie, not the good book.

Then there’s John Steakley’s Armor…which is strangely not as popular as SST.

“since all matter is made up of electrons and atoms, you can extrapolate the uncertainty principle to system made up of electrons and atoms”

More accurately, the uncertainly principle suggests that with maximal knowledge of a particle’s velocity, the error on the position is larger that the electron itself.

Not sure what this has to do with extrapolating not knowing a single electron’s position and velocity simultaneously to weapon systems.

Sometimes a vegetable and a fruit are different, even if both are edible.

How much UAV work is being done in Afghanistan versus being done in places we really aren’t, like Pakistan or Yemen?

Seems we still do plenty of killing with manned platforms.

Joe, thanks for your clarification. With your very thoughtful explanation, I see that we agree on more things than not.

No question that we are YEARS and $B’s away from the AI necessary to make high-g supermaneuverability useful on UCAVs. There’s a world of difference between the kind of G&C intelligence required to make a homing missile perform a high-g terminal dive on a maneuvering target and the higher-order intelligence required to perform ACM against an intelligent and trained human pilot.

At this early stage in the development of UCAVs, it is questionable whether there will ever be benefit for supermaneuverability in a platform (manned or unmanned) if instead we invest in intelligent, supermaneuverable standoff weapons. Maybe 2 g is all we’ll ever need in a UCAV platform, but I suspect not.

Also, great point on airframe life–most of our high-g (>9) design experience to date is in throwaway flight vehicles–AAMs and SAMs. Seems to me that these throwaways are a big part of what’s driving interest in supermaneuverability in platforms, which is an interesting cost asymmetry.

Still, there’s a difference between sizing an aircraft up to increase range or payload (the difference between the F-16 and the Su-30 is mostly a second engine) and rethinking aircraft design to remove the fragile and irreplaceable human pilot and reduce the penalty weight of human life support. After all, what we really want in the “cockpit” is the replaceable silicon version of the 3-lb brain without the other 200 lbs of skin, bones, and soft tissue, and the accompanying thousands of lbs. of human-machine integration.

But the slow jets tend to be more accurate. We can be such irksome customers :)

Hope our cruise missiles are cheaper than their SAMs.

I suspect that in some dark back room there is a Geek working developing software to provide human intelligence to the next generation combat guidance system. Now here is a challenge. worth taking.

Why? I presume you’ve heard of Reaper? For missions requiring covert penetration of denied airspace, it’s much better to risk losing a drone than having the pilot of your nonexistent air mission paraded through Moscow, Tehran, or Beijing.

What about the Wild Weasel SEAD mission? Why should we put a pilot at risk to kill SAMs?

If you think very hard about it, I suspect you’ll find lots of “fighting and killing” combat missions where UCAVs offer advantages.

What is so special about UCAVs? Why shouldn’t we just think of them as a reusable booster stage on a cruise missile?

As JoeFriday suggested in his comments above, if you flew the 9 g rated F-22 airframe through 12 g maneuvers, you would not get very many flying hours out if it, assuming the UCAV makes it back in one peice.

So how many 1960’s astronauts flew in supermaneuverable fighters with TVC nozzles and FBL control systems?

Future stealthy combat UCAV’s you are referring to will most likely replace Bombers, not Tactical multi-role / air-superiority fighters. At least not starting to replace manned Tactical fighters in an autonomous capacity for probably 20–30 yrs.

Strafing, sure. But we’ve also got weapons like SDB with under 10m CEP even from fast jets. I’m not a grunt, but it seems to me that’s good enough even for “Danger Close.”

OK, I thought you were against UAVs doing ANY of the “fighting and killing” part.

What about maritime strike? The Chinese are planning to use a high-speed, long-range unmanned vehicle that we call an ASBM for the maritime strike mission. From the perspective of RoEs and strike/no-strike decisions, what would be the difference in using a reusable UCAV platform and using an ASBM?

It sounds like your problem is with the idea that machine logic might be used to make target selection, target ID, and strike/no-strike decisions.

Machine logic is only as good as the intel that feeds to it, same is true with manned platforms. We struck a bomb shelter in GW1 because we had intel it might’ve been converted to military use. The weapons were laser-guided and on manned aircraft, but in the end you’re only as good as the information that guides the weapons. I’m not sure how a man in the loop would have improved situations like that…or is it a fear that unmanned weapons can be jammed, whereas a pilot cannot be jammed, only killed. (until we discover death rays, of course)

Thought taking down cruise missiles would require a different kind of missile?

Then again, your HVTs are sam radar and sam launchers for those cruise missiles. You’ll inevitably have more TLAMs in VLS tubes than your opponent has available radar and launcher systems…unless they practice effective decoying like the Serbs did.

Now there’s an excellent question. Why did you ask me?

Looks like a lot of scared and disgruntled fighter pilots are commenting here. Its all fun and games until the pilot’s jobs are put in jeopardy.… Change is coming. There re technological obstacles but they will most likely be quickly overcome. I predict once they are overcome that there will be a lot of resistance from the people who currently control the Air Force. Controlling classes have never given up control easily.

When it comes to releasing guided weapons the aircraft doesn’t seem to matter that much. It starts to matter when the weapons are unguided like rockets and guns.

Find me a ground attack aircraft that can get to the battle at Mach 2 and then drop to first gear and hang out overhead for an hour at near-stalling speeds. That’ll be a crowd pleaser.

Another rerun of rhe B-58 story of killing pilots. Too much technology

You’re on drugs. The F22 cannot be deployed from a carrier. The F22 is not a front line fighter that is STOL capable to provide rapid close-in support for ground troops.
The F-15, while undefeated in A/A combat requires a long runway for take off and landing, isn’t carrier capable, nor was it designed with STOL in mind.
The F-35 is replacement for the Harrier & Hornet.

By your logic, the Air Force should have never purchased the F-16 because the F-15 is a larger, faster air craft with a larger payload capacity and longer range…

It’s amazing how many idiots open their mouth before thinking…

And as our intelligence community failed because we started relying more on electronic and sat assets, the military is about to do the same by relying too much on the same instead of boots on board and boots on the ground.

Who the hell is running our military anymore?

Looks like a bunch of fighter pilots have made comments here. I get the fact that the people who have controlled the Air Force don’t want to endanger their future control and status as 1st class citizens in the Air Force. However, change is inevitable. The technological obstacles will soon be overcome and the naysayers will continue to try and convince everybody that drones simply cannot do the mission. The fact is, technology will not be stopped and its only a matter of a short time before the factors that keep pilots in the cockpit will cease to be a factor. COMACC should be commended for recognizing there will be a point in which the pilot will be more of a limiting factor than benefit to the mission. We are starting to see our Air Force approach that point.

If the fabulous fighter community isn’t man enough to fly their fancy toys perhaps it’s time for them to learn from those that have been flying HIGHER and doing it LONGER for years. There are those of us that have been risking DCS for years. Better yet — give that F-22 money to a program that can use it!

A basic “google — F-22 crash in Alaska” would probably catch you up to last year, then all you have to catch up on is last year till now and you might know a little about the F-22. Homework is great for not looking like you have woken up from a ten year comma, and blogged about something you know little about. …just saying.…

Take the human out of the cockpit and build a fleet of UFAVs (unmanned fighter air vehicles) or what ever you want to call them and then when your Enemy takes out your satalites, and you are going to wish to hell you have something with a man ( human ) and a gun in it . CYA !

They always want to write-off dogfighting, now they want to write-off pilots. Every war PROVES that they are wrong and they will be proven wrong again. But we should not wait to find out that they are wrong, we should continue to build F-22s and train pilots, always.

“On 22 April 2010, the first F-16 to be converted to an aerial target arrived at Boeing’s facility at Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida. Six F-16s will be modified during the development phase, as prototypes for engineering tests and evaluation. From 2014, up to 126 QF-16 drones will be created. The prototype QF-16 took its maiden flight in May 2012. Starting in January 2013, the 576th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Squadron refit team will begin modification work on the QF-16 program. Davis-Monthan has 210 F-16s stocked for conversion. From that pool, the Air Force will draw airframes for its 126 planned QF-16 drones.”

The internet — so easy, even you could use it.

OK, so we’re talking QF-22s now?

F-35 is repeating the mistakes of the F-22 program. The technical challenges in those programs are as daunting and costing way more billions than have ever been invested in UAV air to air capabilities. You are also too focused on the capabilities of the end item vs the variety of ways that the air supremacy, and the even bigger picture mission of the JFC, can be accomplished. One of the main benefits of the UAV is they are cheaper than manned fighters (something that would be lost if we were to pursue the AI capable of making snap judgments you mention) therefore we would be able to field them in greater numbers, bringing us all the way back to rediscoverying the military pinciple of mass on the battlefield. For the equal or less cost of the F-22/F-35, we could/should have produced a much better integrated force of improved legacy fighters and swarms of UAVs and apply TTP’s such as decoying and suppresion of enemy air defenses to greater extent that would give our enemies more headaches than they could cope with, as well as slowing the development & maturing the F-22/F-35 technology more properly. as is, we are giving more headaches to ourselves.

Finally I did not “denigrate service members” in general as you may like to attribute to me. We are talking acquisitions here. The Defense Business Board backs up my position see Findings, pg 2 ” For years, the Office of the USD(AT&L) has attempted to reform and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its procurement process. The civilian program managers within DoD are well trained and remain with their program longer than the military program managers, who are often released before the recommended tour length and are sent back to the field or to Senior Service College. These frequent changes negatively affect the program. For example, short tours lead to short-term decision making and risk avoidance, which is detrimental to the program in the long-term.” http://​dbb​.defense​.gov/​p​d​f​/​F​Y​1​1​-​0​3​_​P​r​o​g​r​a​m​_​M​a​n​age

Agreed. And most of the potential adversaries we really care about have very sophisticated tactical denial & deception programs–inflatable or field expedient decoy, shoot & scoot tactics, etc.

Good point. I was going in a different direction. There are a lot of ways to box the risks of bad machine logic in the targeting & engagement decision loop. There should always be a human in the loop at some point in the targetingand engagement process, but the question is at what point does the human commit the weapon to its own target engagement logic? This is more an issue of working out CONOPS and RoE than a reason to forego UCAVs entirely. I could envision future “air superiority” UCAVs operating in predesignated kill zones, effectively serving as intelligent airborne mines in no-fly zones.

It’s getting here fast. In the last few years, the Air Force has trained more UAV operators than traditional pilots. In about 15 years, many of these folks will be wearing stars.

majr0d, the latency issue only exist because it’s being almost entirely remote-controlled, where each command literally come from the other side of earth. Make it controlled by a nearby fighter jet and latency is gone; give it the capability to engage target and it became pilot’s arm.

Drones could be equipped for performing the EW part, or active scan the sky…without directly compromising the manned fleet around. Drones could also act as a backup network for satellite. There are tons of comment here suggesting viable use for drones, I think the point is to use their characteristic where it make the most sense, like the capability to fly non stop for days and I see no reason for which they could not be designed differently for filling other needs.

Still, the f-22 as it is will not make case for UAV pretty well, it’s too fancy and too costly, It could be nicely completed by UAV; I believe that its only chance of success would be a dumber version, with less performance but with the same stealth envelope, only if such platform would be more affordable, or significantly more capable or stealthy than a RQ-171 or else.

The way drones have been introduced on the field is a good example of risk management. They started with subsonic flight, powered by snowmobile engine. They started by only carrying camera for intel gathering. Now they use hellfire. Should they had for objective to make a flying terminator, entirely autonomous and capable to outperform a f-15, drones would remain a lab fantasy sucking more and more money, with little practical use.

Mike, great points. Though the article was suggesting replacement vs complementing. Pilot operators fix latency problems but introduce a host of others (e.g. operator overload, pilots/plane cost & vulnerability).

Then we can’t forget the of the data link vulnerability as the article suggested, situational awareness (reapers and global hawks have numerous operators and still have huge situational awareness gaps), AI to automate and reduce the operator load etc. I’m sure with time we’ll get there. There’s just a pretty large tech gap to cross in the meantime. Certain roles will be filled (or created) by drones faster than others. Air to air fighters will likely be among the last.

Mr. Expert (Peritus), your words, “actually managing the financing at a macom/hq level and system development in a pmo, when you don’t have the luxury of a pcs in a few years and actually have to live with people’s mistakes,”

MACOMs mostly consist of military, PMOs are primarily military, service members primarily use the PCS term. You may want to convince folks you were talking about “civilians” There are your words and folks can go look at the rest of your posts reference your attitude and make up their mind.

BTW, as you pooh pooh the battle labs and my meager experience in them, where do you think the PMOs go for the analytic data to make decisions and who do you think is the primary adviser to branch commandants on whether a program does what its PMO says it does?

82 negs in one thread, impressive! Thanks for playing! :)

Agree with Squid (and you).

Love both books.

I invite you to read the reply starting with ‘At the expense of being picky’ or better, the whole thread started by Guest starting with ‘Again, unmanned drones will be too impossible to replace all manned fighters.’.

Hummm, I forgot to refresh the page before posting this.

I’m not saying there aren’t missions where UAVs can be useful, but would you think I’m crazy for saying that there are definitely times when we should rely on a pilot putting his life at risk instead of relying on machines?

What is special about UCAVs? Because they aren’t just a reusable booster stage on a cruise missile. They are killing machines designed to replace humans and they are sent into the field of battle in place of humans without a conscious and without human senses and with the potential to be entirely screwed up by enemy hacking programs, viruses, and other things. Anything electronic has a back door. It’s true that we have integrated other forms of technology that are automated ways of killing a target (cruise missiles and others), but that doesn’t mean the threat of hacking is going to disappear. Enemy hackers have instead tried to adapt and have gotten better and better. There is no garantee that we will always keep our cyber edge nore that there will be a cyber attack that can cause some extremely penetrating damage or take control of our UCAVs and turn them against us. Of all the projected futures of different types of warfare, hacking is the most dangerous and most unclear. It is for this reason that we shouldn’t replace our manned machines with UCAVs.

You need some more facts, knowledge, and experience in the right organizations & programs. From the DoD 2009 human capital fact sheet, % of defense acquisition workforce: % Civ = 65%, % Mil = 35%. This doesn’t count the contractor manpower equivalents. Having worked in several PMO’s, I assure you the workforce is heavily weighted towards contractors. Often you have a military 0–5/O-6 in charge, and guess what — a lot of the time they are not career acquisition officers. Why would someon want to be a career acquisition officer, after all, when you have to deal with the elitist view of the operators that you are a remf and non-existent promotion opportunities. But hey don’t take my word for it. http://​www​.army​.mil/​d​o​c​s​/​G​a​n​s​l​e​r​_​C​o​m​m​i​s​s​i​o​n​_​R​e​por

I didn’t expect you to address the report on Mil PM’s. Thinking and dealing with the truth hurts, eh? “Where do PMO’s go for analytic data to make decisions” oh no! how about their PMO staff. I don’t know where these branch commandants fall organizationally, but there is or shouldn’t be anything stopping user representatives, indepentent test community, E-BCT, etc from participating in the program IPT’s. There is no reason the battlelab function cannot be performed through other means. JFCOM closed, and the USAF closed their battlelabs, and the world hasn’t ended — http://​www​.airforcetimes​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​2​0​0​7​/​0​2​/​A​F​l​a​bsc

Peritus (“expert” in Latin) The “O” in PMO stands for Office and Officer. How many PMs are civilians? You did not address the Civilian makeup of MACOMs. Contractors don’t “PCS”. But ALL of that is obfuscation. You WERE denigrating the military. Your words (again)…

“… when you don’t have the luxury of a pcs in a few years and actually have to live with people’s mistakes”

Again, I can tell you that PCSing isn’t a “luxury” for servicemembers and “living with mistakes” at a desk is infinitely easier than dying with them in the field you arrogant twit..

As for the analysis, maybe the USAF closing their labs wasn’t such a good idea? The fact is the analysis has to be done (which is where my experience lies along with actually having to use the stuff in combat, talk about living with other people’s mistakes…) Not suprising that you think the all knowing, all wise PMO is where it’s at where budgetary and “big picture wisdom” trump where the rubber meets the road.

There are good reasons for battlelabs in the warfighter commands. It prevents geeks running amuck and it a powerful BS flag when a PM wants program success more so than providing a substandard solution that will enhance one’s resume or eval. You should do some reading up on how they are organized. You might learn something.

You “feel” the PM Office can provide the analytics to support decision making. Sure, when it comes to BUDGET. PMs do not have analytic tools like engineering quality simulations (micro and macro level), prototype testing facilities, ranges and most importantly the hand picked experienced warfighters to kick the tires and evaluate (based on their combat experience) the utility of a given weapon system.

Your inability to fathom how infinitely important that analysis is, is the best example demonstrating you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about and don’t have the good sense to listen instead of talking.

Like I said, keep talking. You can’t help but show who you are…

My words: “actually managing the financing at a macom/hq level and system development in a PMO, when you don’t have the luxury of a pcs in a few years” — I was not denigrating “the military”, you’re overgeneralization a bit, eh? The DBB report states the civilians have better experience, training, and continuinty, and that the prevalence of military PM’s frequently go to their PME before their PM tour is up, negatively affecting the programs. Why would you put in quotes what I “feel” the PMO can or cannot do? Is it because you have a habit of putting words in people’s mouths because you can’t debate the actual points they are making? Your position on the capabilities of the PMO to provide Budget but not “engineering quaity simulations” is hilarious. Why don’t you look up a few PMO TDA’s? They have engineering divisions & branches — there is no reason why the resources, including the overhead, expended in the battlelabs, cannot be reprogrammed into the PMO’s to perform the services you list.

And testing facilities & ranges are provided by independent test organizations, such as ATEC, not battlelabs. The “experienced warfighters” would be of better utility within the PMO, as opposed to an external organization, with the increased risk of additional players giving thumbs downs on programs through the acquisition process. Additional oversight is provided by MACOM, HQ, and OSD representation at various IPT’s as part of the milestone decision making process, and there is/should not be anything blocking full stakeholder participation in the meetings & design reviews as a program moves through the acquisition life cycle. You think I think PMO’s are “all knowing, all wise”?? Hilarious, but not surprising given your judgment. You simply have not shown how the battle lab services cannot be performed through other means, without the additional overhead duplication. BTW I never said the analysis isn’t “important”, can you discern the difference?

also BTW PMO = Program Management Office is the vernacular for defense acquisition, PM = Program Manager. You sure do make discussion tedious. I could look up the TDA’s for the @30 Army MACOMs and give you the breakouts, but then next you’d make me have to give you the dictionary definition of “most”.

Drones or piloted planes is the question — First let’s dispel the remarks about what a pilot can do. Any fighter aircraft with a pilot is twice as big and twice as heavy as any “F-22 Drone” would be. Why ? Because all that size and weight is for maintaining human life. Drones can be made to take G-force way beyond any piloted plane in a “dog fight”. Drones don’t “have to come back”. No ParaRescuer needs to risk life and limb either. If a drone takes some sort of hit it can self-destruct. Drones can be programmed once. They don’t need any academy or flight school, check-rides or re-training. Yes, drones will need reprogamming but that could be done on a base or “on-the-fly’ ! Drones would have to be maintained, but would require significantly less man-hours — again, a lot of those “man-hours” is devoted to human pilots. Any “ememy” interference to a drone, such as a virus or some sort of “Pulse Gun” would bring down a piloted craft as well. Does anyone out here think pilots can “fix” something in their aircraft at Mach-1 ?

I know I’m not nearly as aware as most of the non-aviator types who blather here, but I do know that this ain’t a video game. For starters, there is no way an idiot autonomous model can have the SA ( that’s situational awareness, for the non-knowers) that an aircrew member can develop. SA is the basic mode for flying and is indispensable for survival. With toys, boy “pilots” are sent to do a man’s job. It is apparent to me that the main reason models are used is they are expendable. If it absolutely has to be killed, send a man to do it. Add: the reason for “Raptor Cough” is likely too much oxygen and dry air. I had a symptom of “RC” for twenty– seven years while flying tankers, but that was before we knew what “RC” was. In my view, the F-22 is the killingest machine out there ever developed for a specific mission. I also think that in the right hands the F-15 can do the same. F-35 is designed as a mulit-purpose AV and has a separate role to play in the war fighting scenario. Without air superior fighters there can be no no-fly zones and so-called UAV’s will be ” sporting clays”. So, all you geniuses, “cleared in hot”.

I don’t really like analogies, because everyone has one that “proves” their point. Playing chess is not air combat. For instance, chess has strict rules of engagement. It is not possible to sneak up on your opponent and shoot him in the back, shoot him in the face before he sees you, or outperform your opponent’s equivalent piece until you can shoot him in the back.

Never said there won’t be a role for manned aircraft in the future. To the contrary, I’ve asserted many times in this thread and others that I believe there will always be roles and missions that required manned aircraft.

Cruise missiles are killing machines, too, so again, why are they any different than UCAVs in this respect? All the UCAV does is to extend the range of the munition. UCAVs need not replace the human in the role of targeting and engagement. Reaper is a UCAV, but there is always a human in the loop to make decisions about weapons release.

At the same time, on Navy ships at sea, the Phalanx CIWS has operational modes where the weapon will engage a target automatically based on machine logic if it enters an engagement zone. Is there a human in the loop in this case? Yes, but the human effectively preauthorizes an automated response in a carefully prescribed zone based on very simple conditions.

These are CONOPS and RoE issues, not necessarily UCAV show-stoppers.

As to the problem that “anything electronic has a back door,” I’m not sure how there are any differences here between manned aircraft, cruise missiles, and UCAVs. They are all “electronic.”

Enemies can hack manned systems as well as unmanned ones. We’re already concerned today about adversaries placing trojans and malicious code in F-35 flight software. And guided weapons are just as vulnerable to hacking whether they are launched by a manned platform or an unmanned one.

Protecting the system from unauthorized C2 intrusion has nothing to do with whether the platform is manned or unmanned. Both types are vulnerable.

Maybe it would help if you change the way you think about this. Unmanned platforms are not about replacing humans–it is about relocating humans out of the “bomb trucks.” They still remain in the C2 loop, they are just not transported kinetically halfway to the target along with the munition.

Again, it is useful to think of them as a reusable booster stage.

More likely than not, an aircraft that flies out to do battle will not be able to compile and execute hostile malicious code. It may even use Read-Only-Memory in crucial parts to prevent virus override.

Of course, there could still be backdoors to intercept or spoof communications, but…

Okay, I think you’re missing my point. I’m not saying that cruise missiles are very different from UCAVs. To be honest I don’t see much a difference between UCAVs and cruise missiles either, but does that mean that we should rely entirely on cruise missiles? The long distance from the killing machine to the man requires an electronic communication that takes our reliance on electronics to a whole new level. This is what makes having a force of only unmanned strike planes extremely risky. The man should be in the bomb truck to reduce risk, at least for a while.

Let me ask you this: if a Tomahawk cruise missile was hacked and sent hurdling back into the ship that launched it, would that change your mind about UCAVs?

Hello Michael — are you still around?

This might interest you.

I just found out Retired Major General Lewis MacKenzie talks about reviving the CF-105 Avro Arrow as an alternative to the F-35 Just So Failed program as a replacement for the CF-18A/B Hornets.

FYI, the BRAG valve is connected to the UPG, not on it, yes, but it is under the seat on the cockpit floor.…

There will never be a “B model” F-22, the single seat model is so technologically advanced as to not require 2 pilots. Not only that, but using one just to have the back-seater fly another unmanned vehicle while also pulling high G maneuvers would be difficult for that pilot to do…

What a beautiful dream that would be. If only Canada had an aerospace industry capable of supporting it!
(No irony intended. The “might have beens” like the Arrow and the TSR.2 fascinate me.)

re:Su-30 (or F-15 or any of a number of other big 2 engine airplanes). They are that size to carry around the stuff they need to carry. They have 2 engines to have the performance they need while carrying around a really big radar, a bunch of missiles and/or bombs, an extensive EP system, and enough fuel to go somewhere with it. The Su-30 isn’t bigger than an F-16 because it has two engines, it has two engines to push around a big airplane required to haul all that equipment. Crew size is the same. Regarding the entire “largest limiting factor” comment, we have lot’s of limiting factors other than the pilot. The only ones I can think of the pilot brings are instantaneous G (as discussed), size and endurance.

The size of the airplane has a lot more to do with the mission than having a man in it or not. An MQ-9 is pretty close to the same size/weight of an Ahrlac although the former has an onboard crew of two, and the latter has a crew of zero. If you wanted a drone that could carry a powerful radar, a lot of missiles and bombs, supercruise, and carry a lot of gas it is probably going to come out about the size of an F-15/F-22/SU-30. Those airplanes are not that size because of the cockpit. Building airplanes to take unlimited G’s is not a cost free proposition. Current fighters are often “overstressed” by their pilots and have to undergo extensive inspections when G-limits are exceeded. Sure you could build a 10 or 12G FA-18 (instead of a 7.5G) but then you would have to strengthen various components, which increases weight, which increases required thrust, which increases fuel required, which increases weight which then reduces available G.…..you get the idea. G ain’t free.

Digital communicatons can be jammed.

Well put BtheB. I’m with ya.

ROTFL! Blaming the human physiology for problems with the F-22 is just a tiny bit ingenuous! Roughly equivalent for blaming “shortcomings” of Bernoulli’s Law for aerodynamic performance problems. Aircraft MUST be designed within the physical constraints of reality, some of those constraints are laws of physics others are the very real limitations of the human pilots! For at least 30 years, aircraft have been physically capable of exceeding the physical limitations of pilots (Remember all of the concern over GLOC with the advent of the F-15 and F-16 back in the late 70’s?) Sorry, sir, if you feel that you must justify and support UAVs, and, by the way, you might have a very hard time of that, don’t blame the pilots and the fact that they breathe air, even under G’s or at high altitude. IMHO, supported by congressional testimony by DHS and the USAF, UAVs are considerably more expensive to operate than the equivalent manned platforms. Again IMHO, UAVs only make sense in a tactical arena for a ground attack or ISR role and even then only when operating in a seriously contested airspace.

what an incredibly stupid thing for you to say!

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