Friday, April 15, 2011

America Unmanned Future

by Vladimir Shcherbakov


"Computers and the like" network-centric "Things are good at the exercises and in the war against a weak opponent - said once one of the American generals. - They give commanders the beautiful pictures and lots of information.But when enemy is distributed in the trenches: "bayonets!", It is time to turn off the monitors and take up a rifle. " 

By 2020, the number of UAVs in the U.S. military will increase by seven times.In early February, the Pentagon submitted a long-term, calculated at 30 years of combat aircraft procurement plan and supporting aviation, one of the priorities of which - the development of unmanned aircraft systems for various purposes, from tactical to strategic. It should be noted that this document is based on the provisions of the next four-year plan for defense of U.S. construction in 2010.


Stop - the balance

It must be emphasized that the U.S. military command considers it necessary to create a powerful and balanced aviation forces - composed of the types and classes of aircraft that will best and most effective way to solve a variety of combat missions. To implement the plans of military development the Pentagon has identified four key "areas for investment." It was here that will be predominantly focused primarily means that, according to U.S. military experts, will help DoD to realize the plans of military construction in the area of ​​aviation.

These trends partly taken into account in the U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2010, they are also registered in the preliminary version of the military budget for fiscal year 2011 and a 30-year plan of military development in the field of aviation during the 2011-2040 period. One of the key "destinations for investment, which in recent American military and political leadership as a whole pays much attention - the development and adoption of unmanned aircraft systems: multi-purpose, intelligence and surveillance, and reconnaissance-strike and pure shock.

Within this direction will bring the number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as Global Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1B Predator available in all military branches and the U.S. armed forces and have combined with high capabilities reconnaissance and surveillance and the ability to put more air strikes (except for the UAV, Global Hawk), with three hundred as of fiscal year 2011 to eight in 2020 fiscal year. It is assumed gradually over time to replace the U.S. Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles "Predator" more efficient UAV "Reaper", whose number is from 2011 to 2020 is expected to grow from less than 100 machines to more than 400.

According to U.S. analysts, along with the qualitative growth of technical characteristics of intelligence and surveillance all the aforesaid will significantly enhance the capability of U.S. forces to conduct exploration and solution of various problems within the intelligence and strike operations, and ensure the actions of U.S. special operations forces (MTR). For example, the command of the U.S. Air Force intends by 2013 to be able to simultaneously keep in the air up to 65 UAVs such as "Predator" / "Reaper," while in 2011 this figure is scheduled at 50 UAVs. In addition, for UAV MQ-9 Reaper, was created based on the UAV MQ-1 "Predator" in the short term will be developed and the latest encryption system link this unit with a ground command center and the means of fire damage.

Apart from the above sample, the park is unmanned aviation assets to replenish U.S. forces must also promising Army unmanned aircraft system ERM (Extended-Range/Multipurpose, translated to English - "unmanned aircraft system, multi-purpose, extended range", by 2020 they will have battle of the U.S. Air Force order of 200 machines) and naval unmanned aircraft system BAMS (Broad-Area Maritime Surveillance – (Marine reconnaissance unmanned aircraft system of long-range"). The latter is in fact adapted to the needs of the Navy and Marine Corps (ILC) of the U.S. version of the UAV, Global Hawk that can significantly add capacity to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft of the latest basic patrol aircraft P-8 Poseidon. It must be mentioned too that development in intelligence and ship-borne UAV intended for incorporation into the air groups of aircraft carriers the U.S. Navy, and future unmanned aircraft system, is in the interests of the Commission.

It should be noted that the leadership of the Pentagon predicts: in the period 2011-2020 financial years will almost sevenfold increase in the number available in the U.S. Army multi-purpose unmanned aerial systems intelligence and intelligence-impactor, which rank as already adopted by the armed UAV "Predator" and "Reaper , as well as promising UAV and UAV-based aircraft carrier for the Marine Corps - from 72 vehicles in 2011 to 476 - to 2020-m (2012th - 88 UAV 2013th - 133, 2014th - 178, 2015nd - 223, 2016nd - 268, 2017nd - 313, 2018th - 358, 2019nd - 415).


MULTI intelligence and DECK

In the multi-purpose unmanned, reconnaissance and attack aircraft systems, U.S. Air Force will concentrate their efforts on the further procurement of UAV MQ-9 Reaper, capable of both reconnaissance and surveillance, and strike with the use of controlled precision air attack weapons. Moreover, the possibility of UAVs for reconnaissance and surveillance will be substantially improved by the introduction of modern system of WAAS (Wide-Area Aerial Sensor), significantly increases the view area and the number of solutions simultaneously prepared for the challenges in the air drones is scheduled, as noted above, to finish with 50 units in 2011 to 65 in 2013. Efforts are also on the equipment and information systems, electronic warfare devices.

Command of the U.S. Navy during the next decade, plans to give priority to the creation of the UAV-based aircraft carrier, capable of reconnaissance and strike aircraft, using various weapons. Conduct the first demonstration of such a test UAVs yet received the designation UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Aircraft System - Demonstration, «unmanned combat aircraft system - the demonstrator"), scheduled in 2013 - at this stage must be confirmed by the very possibility of basing aircraft carriers in the perspective of UAVs U.S. Navy.

In addition, by 2020 financial year is planned substantial increase in the cost of a program to develop multi-purpose aircraft carrier-based BAS, which has been working designation CVN UAS – “unmanned aircraft system based aircraft carrier." Should be specially emphasized that while the command and intelligence the U.S. Navy still undecided with what specifically they need drones and what characteristics and abilities he must possess. There are currently actively go elaboration appearance promising unmanned aircraft system, we study various schemes of the UAV and its payload. Basic requirements for the admirals to this UAS, - a large range, low visibility in various ranges, high ability to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance, as well as the ability to strike with precision-guided air weapons.

Marines are the same in 2018, expects to adopt its multi-purpose unmanned aircraft systems operational-tactical, designed primarily to ensure action expeditionary forces USMC. The main requirement for this system - it must have the capability of long range by application in remote areas of the planet, away from the places of their permanent home and location of supply bases. The objectives of this promising ALS initially included as a reconnaissance, and application of air strikes on enemy targets.

According to the Pentagon a 30-year plan for military construction in the field of aviation during the 2011-2020 fiscal years for the purchase of multipurpose unmanned reconnaissance and reconnaissance-strike systems in the budget of the Department of Defense funding will continue to grow and by 2020 to reach just a huge amount by our standards - nearly $ 7 billion.


For Strategic

In respect of aircraft reconnaissance systems operational-tactical and strategic command of the U.S. Air Force, of course, again, relies on the creation of a balanced fleet of manned and unmanned aircraft. In this regard, during the period until 2018 is planned to acquire at least 39 UAV RQ-4 Global Hawk, equipped with synthetic aperture radar beam and a powerful optical-electronic/infrared complex of reconnaissance complex intelligence, but in the long term - by 2040, when the work out their resources such aircraft as the E-3 AWACS, RC-135 Rivet Joint "and E-8 JSTARS, planned to create a new aviation system - it is quite possible that they be even unmanned!!

Command of the U.S. Navy, appreciating the high efficiency of the strategic reconnaissance UAV, Global Hawk, took regular decision to adopt a system similar purpose. Prospective system, as mentioned above, will be designed based on the UAV, Global Hawk and has received the designation BAMS. On the other hand, the Admirals did not plan to leave it in "splendid isolation": new drones are designed to complement the multi-purpose maritime patrol aircraft P-8A Poseidon, who in turn must replace the fleet of PAD P-3C (Adopted in 1969 year), as well as AWACS aircraft ship-based E-2D «Hawkeye, gradually replacing the same machine model E-2C. In the longer term, according to the authors' 30-year plan for military construction in the area of ​​aviation, the Navy will have to either upgrade the fleet of these aircraft, or build a replacement. With priority given to long-term yet, as you can see the intelligence of unmanned aircraft systems type.

And one of the promising directions of development of fighter-attack aircraft U.S. military, analysts say the Pentagon - is the development of unmanned combat AVIACOMPLEX different purpose, which should reduce potential casualties among military personnel and significantly improve the operational effort and resources in peacetime and wartime . These machines are supposed by American experts have over time come to replace the current F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-35 of various modifications.

Plans deserve special mention in plans of the U.S. Air Force to establish a strategic bomber, the new generation. According to Pentagon analysts who are now in service with the U.S. Air Force strategic bombers will be renovated and remain in service until 2040, but the arsenal of long-range aircraft have to be replenished unmanned. What exactly - not yet specified, but it can be assumed on the basis of published information about current research, it can be managed with some of manned strategic bombers will be replaced by unmanned aerial; which means "first strike". In addition, by the turn of 2040 has already come complete clarity about what the aircraft will replace the current strategic bombers. Moreover, it is likely that the next plane, which will be adopted for the U.S. Strategic Air Command, will also be unmanned.


The problem of "controllability"

However, not all so is smooth in our overseas partners, it is as it may seem at first glance. In the field of military construction for unmanned aircraft systems for various purposes, there are many problems and unresolved questions of different nature. Moreover, among the older and even senior officers of the U.S. Armed Forces is a sufficiently large group of opponents of laying more and more of the responsibility for the war on unmanned aerial reconnaissance, and more so on the UAV, designed for the application of air strikes.

American experts, in particular, emphasize that thanks to the creation of unmanned aerial systems, intelligence and control, providing real-time communication a higher command level with the commanders of specific units (up to the squad), and even a single soldier, military-level commanders, the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and even U.S. Defense Secretary had the opportunity to not only monitor the progress of individual actions, but also interfere with the action of solving problems on the battlefield, officers, sergeants and privates.This, according to some U.S. military, "corrupting" lower-level commanders, discourages initiative and leads them to reduce their "military literacy”.

"Why should consciously improve their tactical skills and thinking about how to succeed in the battle, if it will do for you - through relaying commands the UAV or satellite - or even your immediate superior officer?" - Asking American military experts who oppose strengthening the role of unmanned aircraft funds. And if so - the professionalism of the team will stop growing and eventually retired generals and senior officers will simply be no one to replace, the preparation of the command staff has stalled.

Another no less serious threat to placing an increasing amount of problems for unmanned reconnaissance and surveillance, command and control some senior American officers and senior managers consider too high "confidence level" in such high-tech systems. In fact, much of the divisions of the U.S. Armed Forces, in their opinion, is now so much "integrated" into a high-tech battlefield, that in the absence of high technology such as unmanned reconnaissance drones and repeater systems, command and control can be almost unfit for action.

"Computers and the like" network-centric "Things are good at the exercises and in the war against a weak opponent - said once one of the American generals. - They give commanders the beautiful pictures and lots of information. But when the team is distributed in the trenches: "bayonets!", It is time to turn off the monitors and take up a rifle. "


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