Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Russian UAVs-A Failure

The Russian army is in dire need of modern unmanned vehicles. But before purchasing the UAV, including abroad, would be nice to see how they will interact with current and prospective troop control systems.

What is needed?

In April 2010, Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin in the press blamed defeated domestic developers of UAV. In 2009, he said, the Defense Ministry has spent more than five billion rubles for the research and development on unmanned vehicles for the troops. The result of this work, as it turned out, was nil. A warning for Russian producers, who failed to provide anything useful, immediately increased the number of imported UAVs to be purchased in Israel, and to intensify the negotiating process for the organization in Kazan, assembly machines, designed in the Jewish state.

But here is something remarkable. In May, 2010 the Ministry of Defense suddenly sounded a statement that Russian troops are going to start ... the production requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles. Errors in the dating of both events there, given the sequence of steps precisely. Under which the tactical and technical assignments in that case, spend five billion budget, is incomprehensible.

In essence, the above amounts, according to industry experts - this is the current status of unmanned "themes" in Russia are relatively few. On the other hand, individual development and for much less money as well could have been seriously move forward, to the stage of mass production and development in military units - the Army, too, must learn to apply it to an entirely new art techniques. Questions of tactics and all-round support for the troops in the context of new revenues for service of unmanned systems is no less arduous in the decision, than finishing industry prototypes to series.

The problem is one, and the above statements of the Defense Ministry, it emerges quite clearly. The Russian Defense Ministry did not seem quite clear idea of ​​what a UAV needs of our armed forces and what tasks these machines should be addressed.


Private assumptions

In autumn 2010, the teachings of the 5th (Taman) Motorized Infantry Brigade of the new image has been tested work Yeosu TK - Unified management and tactical level, in particular, the pairing has been demonstrated with this system, domestic light UAV "Aileron". Victorious reports about getting stabilized unblurred images from the camera (which is the scourge of domestic drones previous issues) coexisted with a more accurate wording of gridded targets (fixing of coordinates of the purposes)  detected by the machine and display them in Yeosu TK.

However, it can be stated: the selection of small drones (in fact, battalion level) in the Russian army even very slowly, but has progress. Angry military and the Defense Ministry from 2009-2010, the inadequacy of the proposals are replaced by multi-stage industry competitions, which slowly appears foundation for future light reconnaissance UAVs, supplied the material part of the combined arms brigades.

But still there is nothing but unsubstantiated rumors about a more severe domestic aircraft reconnaissance and shock applications. Proposals for the elaboration of these unmanned vehicles are available, and have even been widely reported, such as UAVs, "Watch-600" companies "Transas", on display in the static display at Paris Air Show "MAKS-2009". As a platform, this device is claimed to be slightly reduced functional analogue of the U.S. MQ-1 Predator, including the possibility of incurring weapons.

True, the percentage of foreign components in this unit (take motor Rotax 914F, staffing the "heart" of U.S. "Predator" and Israeli "Heron", or a complex optical-thermal intelligence EuroFLIR 350 French company Sagem), are such that they frankly demean our technology exporters, because this translates to the fact that Russian domestic industry hasn't overcome the problems regarding complex unmanned machinery. And this applies equally to hardware components and electronics, and even composites with special alloys.

As the Chinese say, the path of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and although in this case it is a genuine way of tears, make an optimistic statement, that to pass it still be possible. Assume that the design of these machines will formulate an adequate specification. This should not be relatively easy for trained manpower in the face of the operator and the Ministry of Defense General Staff - especially in close cooperation with the troops, including units and units having the practice of using existing equipment (eg soldiers of the 45th Guards separate special-purpose Navy used during the the two Chechen campaigns little old drones "bee" complex "A Story").

We also assume that the system will rebuild the allied cooperation, rhythmic and well-functioning interoperable within the production chain. This problem is much more complicated, but it has also repeatedly been solved in the difficult history of the formation of the national "defense."

And here is where we put the dots, and once again ask ourselves the most difficult question: where to actually get these perfectly spherical death machines, created by such a thoroughly streamlined project tasking and military interactions with industry?


Babel ASUtvorenie

The Russian army has (however, say more accurate - implemented), two automated systems for command and control (ASUV) tactical brigade level (already mentioned by us Yeosu TK, established under the ROC "Constellation" eponymous concern) and the operational-strategic ("Acacia" Concern "Systemprom") that enables the higher-level commanders and their relationship with the General Staff.That's not counting the gunners - they have their own fire control system "Kapustnik." Yeosu TK actively "bring to mind" in Taman gang, "Acacia" in order run in trial operation in the management of the same 20th Army, which now TAMANTSEV and include, as well as the General Staff.

These systems - the product of two different developers. They are incompatible with each other on software platforms, communication protocols and formats of presentation. Joint tactical and operational-strategic ASUV according to the current phase can be maintained by operators manually.

And there are plenty of other interesting problems in integration. For example, every commander, especially when it comes to a heterogeneous group of forces, I want to get yourself on an electronic tablet to-date information on air situation. And a system in which such information is circulated, are: for example modern versions of ACS antiaircraft missile brigades "Polyana-D4" (dating back to the Soviet front ASUV "Redoubt" the 80s) or a new system of "Barnaul-T" for managing their own means of defense combined arms brigades. Why, just ... Yeosu from TK, they also do not match on the platforms and protocols, data exchange and any flow of meaningful information between them can only be a manual input - again, through the operators, which is already congested.

Yeosu itself not without the motes in the sharp-sighted eyes. The exchange of information about the tactical situation occurs with the aid of the quasi-post interface: information on the objects of the situation and solution is not represented automatically on accessible to all users working maps(understood in this case as the distributed medium of the joint operation of the commanders of the different level), but they send according to the addressees with the aid of the communications with the built ranks of priorities. The estimation of a quantity of such framework, telling about the individual episodes of what is happening on the battlefield and require a purely mechanical response, which overwhelm the brigade commander in, say, breaking his compound layered defense, the tunes are not optimistic.

Mass claims put forward needs fora graphic editor interface, and overall ergonomics of the system. In January of this year, Commander of the Army Alexander Postnikov indignantly pointed out in the press: in Yeosu TK in order to plot on the working map of the commander the position of one mechanized infantry unit, it is necessary to make 40 mouse clicks!!

Sometimes it seems that man-machine interfaces of military systems have largely constructed on the notorious statutory principle that a soldier must bravely overcome the hardships and privations inverse service. Since the provisions of the statute can not argue, however,it has been known to the commanders and staff officers that one of the major operators of the performance criteria is command and control cycle time : the smaller the better.

Officially reported that Yeosu TK should reduce cycle command and control in two or more times.Chances are after all the work on the alterations and finishing it will be no sooner. In the meantime, informal comments look somewhat gloomier: for a variety of information on the design decisions in the Brigade headquarters, running the current version of the Yeosu TK has increased twice in comparison with the traditional method of work of the operators. Field to improve almost poised.


Where you have the UAV?

As soon as you try to build this picture of the problem of designing a new UAV for the Russian army, there arises in the memory of old Soviet times yet the anecdote about plumbing in the regional committee, the key phrase of which is: all the system has to change.

The question is: where and how in this already staggering pile is not related to each other, and a fair part of the still unfinished systems insert link to the UAV? How do I get refined tactical situation and not in the form of "raw" data. Roll out in real time on the staff of Brigadier widescreen video MPEG2 format with a picture of a drone or a thermal imager and is not the problem (which has repeatedly been demonstrated in recent exercises).

Indeed is necessary is further information processing in the system in the form “of knowledge”, to which is applied the corresponding functional with recognition and labeling of object, transfer of coordinates and marking by arbitrary symbols in the united database of Yeosu TK  on the topographic basis of geo-information system, accessible in the part, their being concerned, to the commanders of included insystem subdivisions.

Talk about the target designation for artillery or aircraft to enter in a system object (such as cross-cutting information on the appointment of a fire set in real time) introduced into this system somehow is inadequate.. But the pairing with ASUV; UAV has a maximum ease of target designation and further work with the object of the enemy, detected by regular manned machines (video camera, thermal imager, if there is - the radar).

And this is just one step: the use of UAVs as a scout. But now we do opposite as we run our manned thundering machines in air even against a subordinate air force (including there command and control automation systems).

All this stuff should be brought to mind (and will be reported). But this requires a different system-spanning architecture, which would provide, regardless of the particular solutions (some ASUV) flow of information vertically (due to integration of tactical and operational-strategic level on the basis of common protocols and data formats), horizontally (when super-system of agreed protocols and data presentation serves as an integrating add-ins for automated arms that are not included now in Yeosu TK and "Acacia"), as well as defining a uniform procedure for the automatic display of the situation in real time from top to bottom for all interested users in the part affecting them.

Only then will we have every right to say that included in such a control system of reconnaissance and strike UAVs in the Russian army has a future, other than ceremonial demonstrations and reports on development funds.

Price subject to drone even with the generous funding does not look at the background of the current price on the issue ASUV. Brigadier equipment set Yeosu TK "turn key" with all provisions of automation and communications, as well as transport vehicles in the prices of 2010, according to Deputy Director General of concern "Constellation" Vasily Borisov, worth eight billion rubles. This is only for one brigade, and in the army by the year 2020 will have 109 ...

Konstantin Bogdanov


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