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Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by CAPCadet294, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. CAPCadet294

    CAPCadet294 Member

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    Hello, can anyone please clarify what the situation is with the Air Force starting to depend more and more on UAVs rather than-manned aircraft? I am really confused about this.
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I think I'd challenge your premise. It's true the USAF is using more UAV/UAS in certain roles however...I don't see a huge presence in the mainstream flying mission. It's true that in some ISR missions, a UAS is a fine choice; think Global Hawk. However...I don't see an air interceptor, an attack aircraft (yes, and MQ-9 reaper can carry up to 3,000 pounds of weapons) with multiple mission capability, airlift, bomber, etc., losing their missions anytime soon to UAS.

    I think you will see continued movement towards UAS; makes sense, if I could send in a four-ship of UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicles) to strike a very high value, highly defended target and only risk maybe $20M in aircraft versus $250M and four pilots or more...which would you choose?

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  3. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Hey the OV- 10 is back maybe the O-1 next.
     
  4. CAPCadet294

    CAPCadet294 Member

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    Well, a UAS is cost-effective, and it does eliminate the human error element, but I would rather have a pilot in the sky because if a man is actually up there in the combat airspace, then he knows what is going on at all times.
     
  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    UH, no....it doesn't eliminate the human error as UAS are flown by humans. They're programmed by humans and in the case of the MQ-1 (Predator) and MQ-9 (Reaper) they're flown by a pilot/sensor operator team.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    The Air Force is buying/developing a bunch of UAVs, 1700+ F-35s, new Tankers, looking at new bombers, new helicopters, etc.
    The average capability of any strike asset has increased compared to 30 years ago, as has the cost per unit. Thus, the AF is using fewer, more expensive/capable aircraft, in general.
     
  7. CAPCadet294

    CAPCadet294 Member

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    Thanks, that really helps, I was seeing a lot of articles about the military replacing manned aircraft altogether. And it was very confusing to look through.
     
  8. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    As a fire supporter on the ground trained deal with air assets, UAV's are great to have around. Think about the end user, those on the ground, not just the pilot. A UAV can sit on station for long periods of time and provide constant updates to people on the ground among other things, whereas a plane in the area might have 20 minutes of playtime and then have to go home. I still love planes, but UAVs are providing a good service to end users
     
  9. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    Right now at UPT each class has to have 2 UAV pilots. My son graduated recently, he and his buddies were glad 2 people volunteered for those assignments. If they did not have volunteers, they would havve been voluntold. I do not know what the Navy or Marines are doing.
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    "Flown."

    The only people who think UAS pilots are actually pilots are UAS pilots. Oh, sorry, the USAF calls them "RPAs" now to make the BarcaLounger Yeagers feel better.
     
  11. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    about a year ago, I was told by a Navy Admiral in charge if personnel, that right now they are only using actual pilots with real flight time to fly the unmanned stuff. The theory being that you cannot understand the winds and forces if you have not actually flown an aircraft.

    My only question to that is how long they can afford to do it that way?

    My Husband was instrumental in setting up Training Simulators for the Army Helicopters, so it is hard for me to imagine that simulators win't win out due to cost constraints of real flight time.
     
  12. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Simulators are good, but do not accurately perform certain functions like an aircraft. UH-1 hovers and autorotations are quite different in the sim.
     
  13. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    I was thinking about the unmanned crafts, but I guess the same thought holds true. Never gave a thought to Simulators completely replacing flight time for manned aircraft. Maybe the compromise would end up lying in the amount of actual flight time the Unmanned pilots receive.

    BTW we don't think simulators are better, just a necessary evil due to expenses. It is not just the fuel etc, I think it is more the age of all the air frames and cost of maintenance.

    My husband only used the old simulator at Rucker. He was more of the seat of your pants school.

    I talked to a young aviator at a USMA Meeting who was admissions Rep. He hates the helmet simulators, gives him motion sickness.
     
  14. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    I don't think anyone that is not in the Rotor world realizes how incredibly old many of these Helicopters are. Help me out here, some of them are what 3X's (Maybe more?) as old as the pilots flying them?

    How do fixed wing compare, I don't really know.

    I know I am straying from the original thread, but in the end it all comes back to the $
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That is generally no longer the case.

    The oldest Apches in the Army date to the mid-80s but have been heavily modified and rebuilt into newer versions.

    The oldest UH-60s are the same. With the arrival of the UH-60M the oldest Hawks have been divested and Ls from the early 90s are being slowly phased out. The 60Ms are new airframes.

    The same goes for the F model Chinooks which are all-new milled aluminum airframes.

    Even the old TH-67s are going and being replaced by the new Airbus UH-72.
     
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  16. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    of course as I think on it a lot of the older air frames are troop carriers not fighters, can't see troop carriers being replaced by unmanned aircraft. Scouts yes. Simulators also serve well for these non-flying aviators who keep current for years after they are actually flying.
     
  17. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Very good, I can see that once again I need to be mindful of my facts. The times they are a changing.

    Still How of us are driving cars made in the 80's and 90's (well we have a few, but they are not our main transportation)
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That's a poor comparison. If your car had its engine swapped for a new one after 600 hours of driving time and received full daily inspections and extensive powertrain services after 25 hours of driving, we'd all be driving cars from the 90s if we wanted to because they'd be in top nick.
     
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  19. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    That might be the case for the Navy but the Army uses enlisted, E-3 and above, to operate UAVs.
     
  20. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Guess that's my point seems like using Jet Pilots to fly UAV's seems like overkill not to offend anyone. These days these computer techie kids are so fast on keyboard and simulation games seems like they wouldn't have much trouble.

    BTW the online games they play and get for free or little of nothing are way more advanced than what the military spent Millions on.

    Oh boy am I gonna get slammed now :argue1::rolleyes:
     

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