Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Unveiled

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Unveiled

By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ball, Public Affairs.

Edwards Air Force Base, California – (AFMCNS) July 19, 2002 -- The newest in the military lineup of unmanned aerial vehicles was introduced to the public July 11 during a media day held at the NASA Dryden flight research center here.

Visitors gather in front of the two X-45A Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle concept demonstrators during the UCAV media day July 11 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.  

Photo by Thomas Powell

The X-45A unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator, or UCAV, was shown to the media for the first time, and the program was explained by representatives from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, NASA and the Air Force.

A joint effort between the three agencies, the UCAV is the first unmanned aerial vehicle specifically designed for a combat role. The goal is to use them to find and destroy enemy anti-aircraft missiles, guns and radar. "It will be designed to go against the baddest threats out there," said Col. Michael Leahy, UCAV program director.

The idea is for the air vehicle to carry as many as 12 precision-guided bombs, fly up to 900 miles to a designated battlefield, spend 30 minutes over the field, then return to a home station.

Similar to the Global Hawk reconnaissance vehicle, the UCAV is a fully autonomous vehicle which will fly itself using preprogrammed computerized mission plans; however, the ground controllers can interface and change the aircraft's mission in flight. In a typical mission scenario, UCAVs would operate in packs, with up to four aircraft being monitored by one operator. The UCAVs would be able to communicate with each other, locate their targets and carry out their missions without any human intervention. Unlike other UAVs, the UCAV's control systems will allow the vehicle to make some decisions on its own.

"They don't have to come back to mom and say, 'Can I do that?'," Leahy said.

"They have the intent of the commander, and they exercise that intent."

As testing progresses with the X-45A, the designers are working on a "B-model," which will incorporate lessons learned from testing the present models. Expected to arrive sometime in 2004, the X-45B will be built as close to the operational aircraft as possible. It will be similar to the A-model, but will be larger, with a length of 32 feet and a wingspan of 47 feet, compared to the 26-foot-long X-45A. The B-model is also expected to carry up to 2,000 pounds of munitions and fly at 40,000 feet.

The ground controllers will have greater control over the aircraft during flight testing, but basically the X45-B aircraft demonstrator systems will be very close to what's intended for operational use.

"We can let it go hands-off, and it will do what it’s supposed to," said David Brands, the UCAV mission control lead operator.

According to program officials, there are several advantages of the UCAV over traditional manned combat aircraft. Designed primarily for air-to-ground suppression missions, UCAVs offer less risk and will be cheaper to operate and produce, because they are smaller and they are unmanned, eliminating the need for human safety factors. According to Boeing, the UCAVs are projected to cost up to 65 percent less to produce than future manned fighters, and 75 percent less to operate and maintain than current operational systems.

Currently housed at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, one of the two existing X45-A demonstrators completed its 14-minute first flight May 22, with a second, longer flight in June. The second aircraft is expected to begin flight testing sometime this fall.

 

Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin





Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

Contact