Future of aviation

wizard96

New Member
Be forewarned. Military and aerospace companies are putting large $$$ to fund research and development of autonomous UAV/UCAV's. UAV are Unmanned Air Vehicle and UCAV is Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle. Keep in mind the military with its UAV/UCAV is in its infancy but all technologies developed from the military and space transition to the commercial sector. IMO, once the military has ironed out the software issues and start seeing operational squadrons of UAV/UCAV, you can bet your dollar that someone on the commercial side will try to transition that technology for commercial transportation.
 

pilot602

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IMO, once the military has ironed out the software issues and start seeing operational squadrons of UAV/UCAV, you can bet your dollar that someone on the commercial side will try to transition that technology for commercial transportation.

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The problem is UAV/UCAVs are expendable. The military would rather put 10 UCAVs into battle and loose all of them as compared to sending 5 manned aircraft and loosing 1 or 2 aircraft and pilots. The only reason UAV/UCAVs are gaining popularity with the "brass" is they are cheap and expendable.

In the civilian sector nothing is expendable. Every flight that takes off is supposed to land.
 

wizard96

New Member
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The problem is UAV/UCAVs are expendable. The military would rather put 10 UCAVs into battle and loose all of them as compared to sending 5 manned aircraft and loosing 1 or 2 aircraft and pilots. The only reason UAV/UCAVs are gaining popularity with the "brass" is they are cheap and expendable.

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VERY INCORRECT ASSESSMENT!

I am actively engaged and working with two large aerospace companies that are trying to supply UAV/UCAV to the Air Force and Navy. The Air Force would like to store their UCAV until they are needed. The Navy on the other hand intends to fly their UCAV just like their operational manned aircrafts. Keep in mind the UCAV and ISR (Intelligence, Survaillence, Reconnaisance) vehicle are not your Predator size aircraft nor will they cost $2M/vehicle.

I had the chance to visit to see the Pegasus aircraft in person and it has a wing span of 27.8 ft, total length of 27.9 ft, with a height of 6.1 ft. Keep in mind its just little smaller from the F-16 which has a wing span of 32.8ft, total length of 49.3 ft, and a height of 16.7 ft (because of the vertical tail). To see the predator link below:

http://biz.yahoo.com/pz/030223/37039.html

I attendied an aerospace symposium and an Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin and the Director of Northrop Grumman's Advanced Systems both stated that UCAV and larger UAV costs will not be inexpensive and the cost will be similiar to a Block 50 F-16. Keep in mind the avionics are the most expensive system on the airframe. Yes you are correct that some brass in the DOD and congress may see these as expendable vehicles but the designers do not because they design to the requirements! Anybody in a technical field or flies for the military will know what I am talking about. We are building survivable systems that can jam electronics, have reduced RCS and IR detection, and carry direct energy weapons for SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense). These vehicles are ment to survive and carry the battle on a higher tempo than manned aircraft. They are to go into places that you wouldn't send a pilot to risk his life.

So they are not what you say they are. My post said "IMO" I believed the military/space programs would fix any software and hardware issues involve with total autonomous flight (i.e. no pilot flying a joystick behind a TV tube). The military will fix these because they do not want an unmanned vehicle to fall down into someones backyard. With that said if commercial aviation will ever go unmanned it won't happen for quite sometime.
 

Mahesh

New Member
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The last thing I want in a cockpit is:

"Error 2668: Rundll error occured. The program must shut down. Hit enter to crash-land..."

... and who's gonna come up with auto flight computers that replace pilots? Mircosoft ??? Ha.



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Of course Microsoft will ask the passengers if they would like to "Send a Report" as the plane plummets down.
 

pilot602

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Yes you are correct that some brass in the DOD and congress may see these as expendable vehicles but the designers do not because they design to the requirements!

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Ah, but, if the brass sees them as expendable - they are. Because it's the brass that will determine how they are used - not the designers.

And in any event, they are expendable on some level because there is less money/risk involved in loosing an unmanned vehicle as opposed to a manned vehicle. You said it yourself:

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They are to go into places that you wouldn't send a pilot to risk his life.

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That is the definition of expenable!


Just my stupid opinion, that's all.
 

wizard96

New Member
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If you're not the enduser, so are you.

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Today's unmanned aircraft are remotely piloted. Next generation UAV/UCAV are autonomous.

The end user as you are saying is the warfighter. The warfighter relays their requirements through the AFRL/PO, which in turns relays the desired usage and life cycle cost to the companies. I am just one of the many individuals who works at a major aerospace company designing to their requirements for unmanned systems. I hope nobody was taking my post as a personal attack. My intentions were to enlighten others for those who have no involvement with unmanned research and design. Hundreds of millions soon to be billions of your tax dollars is being spent in this field. NASA, DARPA, Air Force, Navy, and Army are all spending money to advanced the development of unmanned systems.

Everyone has their own opinions and that is the great thing about this site.
 
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