Chinese UAV & UCAV development

Discussion in 'Air Force' started by AssassinsMace, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. SinoSoldier
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    SinoSoldier Captain

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    The US firmly remains one step ahead of the Chinese in the field of network-centric drone warfare:

    The Pentagon's Autonomous Swarming Drones Are the Most Unsettling Thing You'll See Today
     
  2. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    Lol, that's a hard sell -- I don't even think the US is necessarily ahead of China in "network-centric" (I think what you're really thinking about is swarming) drone R&D... let alone applying swarming drones in an actual operational product.

    If anything, what this Pentagon test achieved is not too dissimilar to what CETC revealed back at Zhuhai at last year. One difference of course is that the Pentagon's Perdix drones are quite a bit smaller than CETC's drones and weren't recoverable, but could be deployed from fighter aircraft, but both demonstrations are just that -- tech demos.

    http://www.bilibili.com/video/av6899542/?zw
     
    #2232 Bltizo, Jan 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  3. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Brigadier

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    I saw the 60 minutes story. Looked cool but then that's it. Until they can have these drones flying for long periods of time, other systems can do just as good of a job. Also they made a lot of noise. Probably can only be used at night.
     
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  4. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    Yeah, well I think it's pretty clear that the US test was just a proof of concept for swarming drones and not meant to be a practical system that can be deployed in a realistic environment any time soon.

    That isn't to say the test itself isn't meaningful -- the software and hardware to get drones to swarm and to control them and to have them sense and avoid each other are important milestones before the emergence of truly practical drone swarming systems.

    .... But at this stage it's pretty dubious to suggest that this test is any sort of a viable weapon, especially in a higher intensity environment.
     
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  5. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Brigadier

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    The 60 Minutes story just show a bunch of drones flying with one another. We've already seen the video out of China doing the same. They also showed them launch around 300 of these drones from three F-18s. Like I said cool to see but they didn't explain how they'll be used. That's because yes they're just showing off the tech. Given they don't last long flying around, right now you can have a standard surveillance drone or aircraft doing the spotting and then ordinance can launched to the location and probably without all the noise warning the enemy beforehand. Right now these drones are just a more sophisticated way of doing something just as good with lesser tech.
     
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  6. SinoSoldier
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    SinoSoldier Captain

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    I think the key functional advantage the US system has is that there simply a lot more drones involved than the Chinese example. Additionally, controlling them from flying aircraft is probably a lot tougher than doing so from the ground.
     
  7. SinoSoldier
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    SinoSoldier Captain

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    Tech demonstrator, perhaps, but to deploy them from F-18s shows that it's a lot closer to being weaponized than the Chinese drone system. Of course, the usage of military jets to deploy them in the first place shows that the USAF intends to realize the technology as a future combat system.
     
  8. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Lieutenant General

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    More or less immaterial to my overall point, which is that the original comment you made along with the article, "The US firmly remains one step ahead of the Chinese in the field of network-centric drone warfare" is rather baseless.

    Hell, even if CETC didnt' reveal their own drone swarm demonstration last year, I would still say that making such a statement is silly because the Pentagon's demonstration is at best a tech demonstrator with very limited practical real world applications, especially in high intensity warfare.

    At best you could have tried to say it is an important step forwards in drone swarming R&D, but "warfare"? Nah, that's way pushing it.
     
  9. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Brigadier

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    Yes but again doesn't really change the fact the drone itself flies less than an hour. An advanced country would shoot those F-18s or any other aircraft down before they can deploy those drones because they would have to be deep into enemy territory in order for them to be used. That's the hitch. The airborne laser program sounds neat and all advanced yet doesn't have the range and it would have to be literally flying over enemy territory to have a chance to shoot down an ICBM. That's why the program was cancelled. Or when everyone saw how the J-20 side weapons bay worked and the naysayers pointed to how simple it was compared to the F-22. More sophisticated means more links in the chain that can break rendering it useless. Right now you have sophisticated way to deploy a simple drone with not a lot of range and makes a lot of noise letting the enemy know they're coming. Just because it has advanced technology doesn't make it practical in warfare. Think if they used them over a city or town. If it's carrying an explosive it'll have to find a target in less than an hour before it drops out of the sky. It'll have to self-detonate or it'll drop to the ground for some kid to find it thinking it's a toy and it'll explode in their face. No different from the controversy over cluster bombs with unexploded ordinance. As is either way it's a big waste in money or innocent lives. I believe I heard that these drones will be ready to use in a few years. On who? The most unsophisticated army in the world that it would be safe to used them against without worrying how its short lifespan increases the likelihood for this advanced technology to fall into the wrong hands? And why would they be used against them in the first place? Technology isn't going to expand in three years where these things can fly hours on end so all those shortcomings wouldn't be a concern. Hence why these drones are about just showing off and not practical in warfare anytime soon.
     
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  10. SinoSoldier
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    Of course the Perdix isn't a deployed or a fully-fledged weapon system. That wasn't the assertion of my previous post. The joint DoD-MIT team even stated that more work needs to be done.

    The Perdix, nevertheless, is a lot closer to a notional weaponized form than are CETC's drones; the former could survive in much higher airflow speeds and likely has greater resistance to extreme altitudes/temperature. The compact size of the Perdix (allowing 100+ to be carried by a fighter) also contributes to its viability as an air force asset.

    Remotely controlling semi-autonomous drones (103 of them) to perform collective tasks could also indicate more capable software or control terminal (although CETC could be looking to expand the scope of their drone fleets as well).
     
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