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(YouTube)   Footage of first F-35B nighttime take off and landing tests looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie   (youtube.com) divider line 253
    More: Cool, F-35B, external fuel tank, goal post, F-18, nozzles, landing, hurling, sci-fi  
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19978 clicks; posted to Video » on 06 Apr 2013 at 5:09 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-09 07:22:40 PM  
mikefinch: [...]A few are master drones that the rest swarm around and these would feed info back and forth between real people in control rooms who could tell it where to head or whether or not  it should fire.

[...] Like one of those rc helicopters. No satellites needed. Just have a whack of those teamed up to every group you put on the battle field. Needs work still but the concepts are all proven and workable.


I hate to break it to you, but the bolded part is why you need the satellites.  The problem is that without satellites, the people in the control rooms, the drone swarm, and the target all need to be within 2-3 miles of each other.  The RC quadrotors in that video link have a radio range of about 500-1000 feet.  Military swarms will obviously need better gear and range, but the basic principle applies.  How are you going pass command-and-control signals from humans to the birds, and receive intel/output from them?  Satellites.  Or a string of ground antennas ringing enemy territory.  Or one hell of a long USB cable.

Even if the drone swarm is semi-autonomous and doesn't require active radio uplinks to fly, identify targets, and fight, there's a pretty good chance that your targeting information will need to be updated somewhere between wheels-up and time on target.  If you can't pass updated information to the swarm (because of, ahem, a lack of satellites or ground stations with sufficient range), then the swarm is going to miss the show.

The swarm would need to be fully autonomous, able to fly, identify targets of opportunity, and fight without human input.  And that's a whole other ballgame.
 
2013-04-09 08:13:41 PM  

Thurston Howell: I hate to break it to you, but the bolded part is why you need the satellites. The problem is that without satellites, the people in the control rooms, the drone swarm, and the target all need to be within 2-3 miles of each other. The RC quadrotors in that video link have a radio range of about 500-1000 feet. Military swarms will obviously need better gear and range, but the basic principle applies. How are you going pass command-and-control signals from humans to the birds, and receive intel/output from them? Satellites. Or a string of ground antennas ringing enemy territory. Or one hell of a long USB cable.


I agree satellites would make the whole thing much more powerful. I dunno -- what about a series of ten beach ball sized fliers that were attached to a guy within a unit. The guy would be specialized and he would have extra gear. One robot would be controlled like an rc while the rest autononomsyly fed back video and data to the special coms guy who could pass on other orders to the master. I guess thats what im saying -- the swarm would maybe have to revolve around a master drone... with redundancies in the others if the master had problems...

I figure you could pass enough stuff over radio frequencies that a guy in an APC could use them like a scout while on patrol. They could peek around corners and give the guys on the ground quick and detailed info about whats out there...

I still think its one of the directions the battlefield is headed. Even one rc copter with cameras would be useful in urban warfare. Being able to have 10 small ones that could blow shiat up at the same time would be be even better.

And you could have one of those big communications planes the military has nearby to provide a flying command centre. I know they have that ability...
 
2013-04-09 09:36:07 PM  

mikefinch: [...] The guy would be specialized and he would have extra gear. One robot would be controlled like an rc while the rest autononomsyly fed back video and data to the special coms guy who could pass on other orders to the master. I guess thats what im saying -- the swarm would maybe have to revolve around a master drone... with redundancies in the others if the master had problems...

I figure you could pass enough stuff over radio frequencies that a guy in an APC could use them like a scout while on patrol. They could peek around corners and give the guys on the ground quick and detailed info about whats out there...


This is not too far off how the existing (non-swarm) man-portable UAVs operate now.  But they are scouts, they don't carry kinetics.

In order to heft operationally significant amounts of ordnance that will last beyond a single sortie, the size of the unit has to increase a fair bit, to something Cessna [or Predator] sized.  But once you're at that size, it's no longer a man-portable/launchable unit, and needs airfield infrastructure.

This concept is probably closer to what you had in mind, and it sounds interesting, though they are single-sortie deals and don't have a "brain" drone directing them.
 
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