US Military Technology

_Anonymous_

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You seem to be posting more on developments in the US military than your own. The only time you made an exception vis a vis RR, was to defend the indefensible. Nothing much to write home about a dying industry eh Paddy?
 

BMD

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You seem to be posting more on developments in the US military than your own. The only time you made an exception vis a vis RR, was to defend the indefensible. Nothing much to write home about a dying industry eh Paddy?
As long as you have a legacy, the dynasty lives on.
 

BMD

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Well, that legacy is on it's last legs.
Lots of English speaking countries about, which are among the best in the world to live in. The US is but one of them.

What of your dynasty? How many countries speak complete and utter bollox?
 

_Anonymous_

Senior Member
Dec 4, 2017
12,401
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Mumbai
Lots of English speaking countries about, which are among the best in the world to live in. The US is but one of them.

What of your dynasty? How many countries speak complete and utter bollox?
You do realise we are discussing the legacy of the Brit defense industry, Paddy. Soon we'd be using the past tense for it. Yet you go off on a tangent only you're capable of. What on earth are you even babbling about? Your mother tongue is Irish which like you most of your former compatriots in these Anglophone countries have long forgotten having embraced & appropriated their former master's tongue. What exactly are you proud of , you misbegotten fool?
 

BMD

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Dec 4, 2017
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You do realise we are discussing the legacy of the Brit defense industry, Paddy. Soon we'd be using the past tense for it. Yet you go off on a tangent only you're capable of. What on earth are you even babbling about? Your mother tongue is Irish which like you most of your former compatriots in these Anglophone countries have long forgotten having embraced & appropriated their former master's tongue. What exactly are you proud of , you misbegotten fool?
Stick your tampon back in and STFU.
 

RISING SUN

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General Atomics' Sparrowhawk Drone-Launched Drone Breaks Cover
General Atomics says that it has conducted captive carry tests of its Sparrowhawk, a new small drone that will be able to be launched and recovered in flight. The company says that Sparrowhawk is a demonstrator and was developed specifically to work with other larger unmanned aircraft that it builds, such as the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle, offering an important stepping stone to all-new capabilities on those existing designs, as well as future ones.

The California-based drone's maker said the captive carry tests, in which the drone was carried aloft by an MQ-9, but was not launched, took place between Sept. 16 and 17, 2020. This kind of testing is done to gather data on how a system, as well as the launch platform in many cases, handles the stress of flight.
A picture of Sparrowhawk that General Atomics released to The War Zone shows that the drone features a large main wing that is stowed parallel with the main fuselage before launch, after which is swings 90 degrees into a deployed position. The drone also has a v-tail and there appears to be at least one air intake for the propulsion system on the right side. It's unclear what type of powerplant powers the air-launched drone.


GS-ASI
Sparrowhawk concept art that General Atomics posted on Twitter earlier in September showed a similar configuration, but with two fans at the rear of the fuselage. The company has said that the small drone will offer a reduced acoustic signature, as well as a visual one, compared to its larger designs, such as the MQ-9.

It's not clear yet how General Atomics is planning to recover Sparrowhawk in flight and whether unmanned platforms, such as the MQ-9, will be able to carry out this task. "Sparrowhawk iterates on the DARPA Gremlins Program," according to the company. Dynetics, now a subsidiary of Leidos, beat out General Atomics, among others, to build the experimental Gremlins drone, now also designed the X-61A, as well as the airborne recovery system, which is presently mounted on a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. You can read more about Gremlins and the recovery concept, which includes the drone catching the end of a cable in flight and then being reeled in, in these past War Zone pieces.


Leidos
A X-61A Gremlins drone about to be reeled onto a C-130 Hercules during a flight test.

It's hard overstate how significant Sparrowhawk, and any further developments it spurs, could be for both General Atomics existing product lines and future unmanned designs. The ability of a large drone to launch smaller ones, all potentially working together semi-autonomously or even as part of a fully-autonomous swarm, could open the door to all kinds of new capabilities, while reducing the risk to the launch platform.

“Sparrowhawk extends and multiplies MQ-9-based sensors, reduces manpower and increases ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] coverage,” David Alexander, President of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), said in a statement. Beyond providing far more flexible ISR over a larger geographical area, Sparrowhawks may also provide valuable stand-in electronic warfare jamming or even act as decoys to blind and confuse enemy integrated air defenses, which could drastically increase the survivability of the launch platform and even help clear a path for other manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as stand-off missile strikes.

Sparrowhawks could potentially carry out their own kinetic strikes if they can be equipped with traditional explosive warheads, although there is no official information yet if arming these unmanned aircraft is a possibility. If it is indeed the case, these drones might able to act as loitering munitions, which would be able to conduct persistent surveillance of designated areas before then carrying out strikes on targets of opportunity or return for recovery and re-launch.

General Atomics says that Sparrowhawk is intended to be an attritable platform, as well, despite being designed to be recovered and reused. Attritable designs are those that are low cost enough that commanders can employ them in higher-risk environments that would be off-limits to more expensive exquisite types.

“With attritableONE technology that is survivable and precise, Sparrowhawk is a true game changer,” GS-ASI's President Alexander said. This program is part of the U.S. Air Force's expansive Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) program, which is seeking to develop a host of new highly-networked technologies that will expand the service's ability to gather information and then rapidly analyze and disseminate it, including targeting data that can then be passed to other U.S. military units in the air, on the ground, and at sea.

As the name implies, attritableONE is focused on developing new attritable unmanned aircraft. In a recent major demonstration of various ABMS capabilities and associated technologies, an MQ-1C Gray Eagle launched an Area-I Air-Launched, Tube-Integrated, Unmanned System 600 (ALTIUS 600) small drone, acting as an attritableONE testbed. The ALTIUS 600 then positively identified a target that the MQ-1C's onboard sensors had first identified.


US Army
An ALTIUS 600.

The U.S. Army has also been experimenting with the ALTIUS 600 as part of its Air Launch Effects (ALE) effort, which also envisions fleets of small drones performing various ISR, deception, and other tasks, which you can read about in more detail in this past War Zone piece.

During the recent ABMS demonstration, a General Atomics MQ-9 also carried a Rosetta Echo Advanced Payload (REAP) communications and datalink pod, which includes technology developed under gatewayONE and meshONE, which are also part of the broader ABMS effort. "The REAP pod has been developed under contract from the Air National Guard and demonstrated a communications relay capability for both Link-16 and the Silvus meshONE network providing seamless connectivity between air and ground participants in the demonstration area," according to General Atomics.


GS-ASI
The MQ-9 with the REAP pod.

All told, the Sparrowhawk looks to be an extremely exciting development. It also comes at a time when the U.S. Air Force, the largest operator of MQ-9s, is looking to stop buying those drones due to concerns that they are simply too vulnerable to be useful during a high-end conflict. The ability of Reapers to launch and recover smaller, attritable drones and, by extension, perform a wider array of tasks over a larger geographical area, even in contested environments, could breathe new life into that design.
 

RISING SUN

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Let’s Talk About The First Captive Test Of First Air-Launched and Air-Retrievable Unmanned Aerial System
The Drone, Called Sparrowhawk, Is A Demonstrator That Replicates Technologies Of The DARPA Gremlins Program.

General Atomics (GA-ASI) recently announced the first captive carry test of the Sparrowhawk Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). The test was carried out with the small drone carried under the right wing of an MQ-9 Reaper on Sept. 16 and 17, 2020.

The Sparrowhawk is a demonstrator for an air-launched and air-retrievable UAS that would fit the company’s aircraft. According to GA, the program is focused on Advanced Battle Management System’s attritableONE technologies and also iterates the DARPA Gremlins program that is demonstrating the launch and recovery from a C-130 of the X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicle (GAV).

“Sparrowhawk extends and multiplies MQ-9-based sensors, reduces manpower and increases ISR coverage. With attritableONE technology that is survivable and precise, Sparrowhawk is a true game changer”, said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander in the press release.

According to the company, the expendable sUAS will enable EW/SIGINT (Electronic warfare/SIGnals INTelligence) and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) missions in a contested environment, which may be challenging for the launcher aircraft that can maintain this way a standoff distance, identifying and reporting on mobile targets while flying also below adverse weather. The new system could allow also swarming tactics with reduced visual and acoustic signature.

The latter feature seem to be confirmed also by the use of a fielded meshONE datalink, that enabled collaborative autonomy capabilities among the platforms, and the Cooperation in Denied Environments (CODE) autonomy engine, that implemented cognitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) processing on the unmanned system.

The Sparrowhawk sUAS was controlled using GA-ASI’s Metis Software Defined Control Station hosted on a laptop computer instead of the standard Ground Control Station, reducing the system’s logistical footprint.

Other than this, General Atomics did not provide technical specifications for the Sparrowhawk. From the photos released in the news statement and on Twitter, we can see that the drone has a single piece wing that is stowed parallel to the aircraft and rotates in position shortly after the launch. The aircraft also features a V tail and two small air intakes at the sides of the fuselage near the nose. It is not clear which type of engine will be used, as in the renderings the sUAS showed two fans at the sides of the fuselage near the tail, but they were not present in the photos of the test.

The company stated that the Sparrowhawk sUAS was developed also from the capabilities demonstrated when an MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range carried two tube-launched Area-I Altius-600 Air Launched Effects (ALEs) during a Multi-Domain Operations demonstration in January. During a subsequent test in June, the ALEs were launched and controlled through the MQ-1C, after the target was identified and located by the Gray Eagle Communications Intelligence (COMINT), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payloads, and provided real-time full-motion video to simulated ground forces over a Tactical Scalable Mobile (TSM) network.

Another detail that we don’t know yet is how GA is planning to perform the airborne recovery of the Sparrowhawk. While not specified, the concept could be similar to DARPA’s Gremlin program, with the UAS recovered by a C-130 at the end of the mission and returned home to be prepared for the next mission.
 

BMD

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BMD

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BMD

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U.S. Successfully Conducts SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test Against An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Target

"The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and U.S. Navy sailors aboard an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped destroyer intercepted and destroyed a threat-representative Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile during a flight test demonstration in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii, Nov. 16.

At approximately 7:50 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time, (12:50 a.m., Nov. 17, Eastern Standard Time), the ICBM-representative target was launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, toward the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii.

In this developmental test, the destroyer used engage-on-remote capabilities through the Command and Control Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) network as part of a defense of Hawaii scenario. After receiving tracking data from the C2BMC system, the destroyer launched a SM-3 Block IIA guided missile which destroyed the target."

U.S. Successfully Conducts SM-3 Block IIA Intercept Test Against An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Target

Now they need to give it a go with Block IB and THAAD.
 

RISING SUN

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Submarines May Have Nowhere To Hide With U.S. Navy Set To Field Radical New Radar​

The U.S. Navy may gain the ability to locate submarines from the air as a radical new radar finally moves into the deployment phase.

The Raytheon AN/APS-154 Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) is a giant radar mounted in a pod under the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. It’s a solid-state ultra-fast electronically-scanned array: unlike the old rotating-dish radar under a dome, it has no moving parts and moves at the speed of digital.
Navy patrol aircraft


The AAS is the rectangular box on the aircraft's belly. In operation it is lowered beneath the ... [+]

Boeing
When in use, a hydraulic arm lowers the pod clear of the aircraft’s engines, giving it a clear 360-degree view of the sea below in all directions. The project came out of the highly classified "black" world, and details are still shadowy. We do know, however, that it can operate in a variety of different modes, from scanning broad areas to shooting a tight beam of energy to take a high-resolution radar snapshot from long range, or tracking multiple moving objects as small as individuals on foot. It provides monochrome images with photograph-like resolution in all weathers, through clouds and in darkness.

The sensor has been in development since 2009 with flight testing since 2014. Operational testing has been budgeted to continue through the current fiscal year. No updates have been issued although this January the Navy announced it was working on maintenance training systems for the AAS, suggesting that they were expecting deployment soon.


Last week Steve Trimble of Aviation Week noted that a seemingly routine press release about a change of commanders at the U.S. naval base at Point Mugu included one fascinating detail – that the outgoing commander had “shepherded the ACAT-ID AAS Radar program through its Milestone 'C' Decision and Operational Test Readiness Review.”

Completing Milestone C means that the AAS is now ready for deployment.


Many commentators have seized on the AAS’ ability to spot, identify and track targets on land, suggesting that it may be able to do this job better than the Air Force’s E-8 Joint STARS intended for the role. The system can not only find targets, but it can also pass coordinates directly via datalink to another aircraft so it can engage the target instantly with a bomb or missile.


However, the real significance of the AAS may lie in the Poseidon’s strategic raison d’etre: anti-submarine warfare.


Radar does not penetrate water, so finding subs from the air is usually a matter of dropping sonar buoys. These have a limited range and even an aircraft as big as the Poseidon – it is essentially a repurposed Boeing 737 airliner — only carries a limited supply. Hence the Navy has long had a great interest in ‘non-acoustic’ methods of finding submarines.


However slowly it travels, an 18,000-ton, 500-foot-long submarine moves a lot of water as it goes, and that generates a wake. On the surface, the wake is invisible to the human eye, lost in the random pattern of the waves. But that does not mean that more subtle sensors cannot pick it out. The challenge is having a sensor with high enough resolution and sufficient data processing capacity to extract the faint signal from the mass of background noise.


Submarine wake patterns


A moving submarine leaves several types of wake which may be detectable in the surface

US Navy
The Navy's Non-Traditional Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) System seeks to do just that, giving the Poseidon a new methods of tracking submarines without new hardware. Instead, it will use “on-board non-expendable technologies including AN/APY-10, MX-25, AESA Radar, SAR, and others” to scan the sea surface from altitudes of up to 60,000 feet for the tell-tale traces of underwater activity, or what the developers call “target/environment interactions.”


Work on wake-tracking goes back decades. Wakes are easiest to detect underwater, and the Russians have fielded a variety of wake trackers known as SOKS on their submarines over the years, with the UK recently following suit. Spotting wakes on the surface though is a far more challenging prospect, one that is likely to involve Deep Learning processes digesting mountains of radar images to find out what a genuine trace looks like. It may not be possible with current hardware. The Chinese have also been busy in this area lately – but so far lack anything as sophisticated as the AAS to carry it out.


Spotting submarine wakes by radar is an ambitious undertaking. If successful though, it would mean that a P-8A Poseidon could rapidly cover tens of thousands of square miles, locating not just anything above the water but anything underneath it. Coupled with suitable software, AAS might leave submarines nowhere to hide — and that really would be disruptive technology.