Academy’s latest airmanship program takes flight

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by scraper, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. scraper

    scraper Member

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  2. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    :thumbdown: I am not a UAV fan…
     
  3. Ryno23

    Ryno23 USMMA Class of '15

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    Second that!
     
  4. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    UAV's aren't a bad thing. Just a new type of aircraft. The Air Force is purchasing more unmanned than manned aircraft nowadays...think of it as another option coming out of AFA.

    Of course, as Bullet and Pima would tell you UAV's won't be replacing fighters for a long time....
     
  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Having worked with the UCAV team at Edwards in the past several years...and being a fighter pilot...I hate the idea....but...

    Don't think that "long time" is that far off...the "start" will begin not that long in the future...

    They won't completely "replace" but they will become the dominant force...in the Class of 2015's career time.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  6. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    ah okay....so perhaps we'll have a piloted craft lead a formation of UAV fighters that are remotely controlled by others? Or perhaps even autonomous UAV's.
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Completely "autonomous" flights?

    Only when SKYNET is operational; but that's HIGHLY CLASSIFIED. :rolleyes:

    Seriously though...you have operators on the ground now flying the MQ-9 Reaper armed with 4 Hellfire and 2 "mini" JDAM's. You put four of them in a "kill box" and you have an armed strike force.

    Now "force multiply" that to shrink the kill boxes such that you have aircraft overhead of ALL ground forces...and remember...these "guys" can stay up there for 12+ hours loaded this way...

    Not autonomous but...no pilot fatigue as the operators can change shifts "routinely" at 4 hours or ??

    Now...fast forward a few years and instead of turboprops, make these turbofan aircraft...with a heavier payload, stealthy capability, loiter times WAY over that of a '16 or '15...and air refuelable...

    Why not deploy 20 in kill boxes and not risk the aircrew?

    Or...why not a few hundred...with some manned aircraft but mostly unmanned?

    Yes, I'm a "stick shaker" but...I can see the benefits in both cost and manpower...and I can see the direction we're heading.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  8. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Very interesting ideas for sure...I can see how that type of capability would be useful for patrols and reconnaissance missions. Too bad the Coast Guard is really behind on UAV technology compared to the other services. I can see that being a real asset for drug and migrant patrols.

    Do you think that exchangers who go to Air Force could take this airmanship class? I'd definitely be interested if I went on exchange to AFA
     
  9. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    I think there are obvious benefits, nobody can deny that there are. I just personally don’t like robots flying over the war zone. I’d rather a manned aircraft protect me.

    And I do feel bad for aspiring pilots stuck in a UAV.
     
  10. chjorg

    chjorg Member

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    UAV degree

    There is also a certain University with a brand new UAV degree program. They tell you it is there, but you cannot see it on a campus visit. Someone thinks it is important!:wink:
     
  11. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    You should meet with some of the folks that DO this mission...they show the same stress, same emotions, that folks in the cockpit do. The only thing missing is the sore butt...

    When speaking with them...they're "right there" in the fight...the stress, the concern for the folks on the ground, etc...it's VERY real.

    I truly didn't realize that until I was afforded the opportunity to "sit" in a pod recently.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    USCG was going to have some heavy investments in UAVs. The cancellation/restructure of the DEEPWATER program nixed it and they have priorities elsewhere in fixing/replacing all the OLD cutters. UAVs dropped way down the list of priorities.

    Ask most ground thumpers in Iraq/Afghanistan and they are quite happy knowing there is a Pred/Reaper above them. F-xx is useful for a show of force sometimes, but (from the ones I've met) they like the UAVs better since they loiter with them more than manned.

    Arguably, I'd say the pred/reaper is more capable of spotting and interdicting a ground threat just due to the sensor set-up and firing mechanisms. I say that from a relatively ignorant point of view though.

    Caveat - I'm primarily comparing to fighters. AC-130 is a bit of a different story. At the same time, UAVs still have the loiter advantage.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  13. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    AC-130s have the firepower to take a bite out of an infantry brigade, so they definitely have their upsides!
     
  14. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    For sure. lol. :D
     
  15. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    I wish we had more funding. :thumbdown: when you say OLD you're right about that one. The Hamilton Class cutters (378') are almost 50 years old, and the Medium Endurance Cutters (210' and 270') are getting up there in age too. Luckily the FRC's are replacing all of the older Island class 110'. I wonder why it takes so long to get the NSC's...perhaps funding?

    I think UAV's have a lot of potential. As a career track, they could be appealing to those who are not pilot qualified.
     
  16. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Too many reasons to keep a manned force for the foreseeable future. Most I can not and will not discuss here. I will just say a few things instead:

    1) Flieger's assessment? Awesome, as usual. There ARE very logicical reasons to expand our Unmanned fleet and increase their capabilities. Cost is one of them, if not the primary one in this fiscally constrained environment.

    ALL the services will be seeing a heavy push to increase unmanned capability.

    2) Preds, Reapers, etc. in today's fight? OUTSTANDING asset, just ask anyone there. UAVs in tomorrow's fight? Who knows? Because who knows where tomorrow's fight may be and whom it will be against. As much as we like having Preds and Reapers flying over the battlespace protecting our troops while killing the enemy, the enemy doesn't like it. We've been fortunate up to this point that we've been fighting an enemy that can't do anything about it. That won't always be the case.

    3) AF fighter force structure over the next 40+ years? Well, again that is all gonna be dependent on the cost and how much the US is willing to spend. I know what is required (I work the issue). The numbers of manned fighters we are planning for over the next 40+ years remains pretty signifcant (more than double the Navy and Marines COMBINED). The numbers may come down due to cost, but MANNED FIGHTERS WILL BE IN THE AF INVENTORY FOR A WHILE.

    4) I'm working on the F-22 replacement (that's right, we're already looking at that!). Manned vs Unmanned? I can tell you which way we're leaning, but I'd have to kill you afterwards. JK! Seriously, don't be planning to fly one from a van in Nevada.

    Overall? The AF will need fighter pilots for a while. You wanna fly one? Well, the opportunity will be there (all dependent on YOU!) Wanna fly a UAV? Well, I also know the folks who do this, and Flieger is correct yet again, they have TREMENDOUS pride and job satisfaction because they know how important they are to the fight and what they contribute. The opportunities to fly an UAV are there as well. Again, all up to YOU!
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    If anyone askes "which ones are old cutters".....

    The vast majority.


    Deepwater wasn't cancelled.

    I had the chance to be part of an exercise that involved 2 AC-130s lobbing 105 mm, 40mm and 25mm rounds a quarter of a mile from our location in Florida......WOW. I'm a huge fan. I'm very happy to not be on the receiving end of that fire power!
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    210's (1964-1969) are older than 378's (1967-1972). 270's are roughly the same age as 110's (mid-1980s-1992). Alex Haley was 1972.

    With the decommissioning of the Acushnet (1946), the new "Queen of the Fleet" is a contruction tender....don't know what I think about that.

    So we'll have 8 NSC replacing 12 WHECs and a smaller number of FRCs replacing the 28 WMECs and 41 island class cutters. I wouldn't put too much thought into seeing any OPCs either.

    Do I think the U.S. Coast Guard fleet, and the Coast Guard in general is in serious trouble? I would say I have my fears.
     
  19. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Parts of it were if memory serves me right. That's why I had cancelled/restructured since they nixed the LSI model of the contract in favor of the old style prime contractor set-up to acquire the individual pieces.
     

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