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Old 10-01-2009, 08:45 AM   #21
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That's what Insitu planes are, autonomous UAV's. Is that the correct term for them? You'd think being the military they'd have some nifty acronym for it.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:38 AM   #22
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That's what Insitu planes are, autonomous UAV's.
So I'm looking at the front-page picture of one of your birds, sitting there all pert & perky on its launching rail:



And for some reason, the image is very strongly evocative of another autonomous UAV that once roamed the skies over London:

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Old 10-01-2009, 02:02 PM   #23
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It does look sort of like a V1, Joe... though I suspect guidance on the current version is a bit more accurate.
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Old 10-01-2009, 02:36 PM   #24
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hey, hitting a city with conventionally dropped ordnance was impossible for the RAF back then, give the buzz bomb some credit
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:38 PM   #25
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Well the designer is a third generation German with a last name of fieseler...coincidence?
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:41 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I take it, then, that you remember what the real purpose of the arcade machine was?
"Greetings Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada."

I didn't even have to look that **** up... one of my favorite movies as a kid growing up. I even had a huge stash of my Dads playboys that he thought he was throwing out each month... hiding them in the newspapers... sheesh, give a kid some credit.

As an aside... speaking from half a career of firsthand experience, and as somebody who is about to become a Carrier TAO (Tactical Action Officer, the guy who turns the "keys" for weapons release and says "Fire"... we don't really say "Fire", but it illustrates the point), autonomous target designation and weapons release is a LONG WAY OFF. The accuracy of current weapons is there, but the techology to ensure accurate identification, determining that ROE has been met, the ability to be flexible in a dynamic battlefield with changing rules, determining the level of force required, etc... is still a long way off. For the foreseeable future, there will always be a man-in-the-loop when it comes to killing people.

Guys who follow Naval Aviation have known for about 10 years that the F-35 will be the last manned aircraft designed for Carrier use. Currently, we've got the FA-18 Hornet, FA-18 Superhornet, E-2C Hawkeye, and EA-6B Prowler. The Prowlers will be gone within a few years, replaced by the FA-18G Growler, and legacy Hornets done by 2020 I believe. That'll leave you Superhornets (in all their varieties), Hawkeyes, and perhaps/maybe/sometime the F-35 program will get unfucked and we'll start seeing those, but nobody out here currently on the tip is holding their breath to see the LightiningII in our careers... yup, even to SEE one, let alone operate with them.
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:46 PM   #27
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"Greetings Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada."
I remember a few years ago when the Army released a first-person shooter game that you could download for free. I assumed they'd be monitoring how well certain players performed.
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:05 PM   #28
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I'd like the experience the sound of a V1 flying over head. I hear its one of the creepiest sounds ever. Of course not landing anywhere near me.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:23 PM   #29
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Samnavy,
Good info, thanks for sharing.

The UAV concept makes a ton of sense for many missions. It will be interesting to see if we can get away with the current size of our tactical fighters. I suspect UAV's won't be really useful until you own the airspace. And I suspect we'll need a pilot local to win that part of the battle.

One question that really bugs me about the predators: They are piloted from Nevada, and are flying in Iraq (for example). How do they deal with the latency?
I thought flight would require instant feedback, not 120-200 millisecond packet delay.

I can't work with data centers that are at the wrong end of the country - how do they handle it across the world?
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:43 PM   #30
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I'd like the experience the sound of a V1 flying over head. I hear its one of the creepiest sounds ever.
As long as you can hear the sound, you're fine. It's when it goes quiet that you're fucked.

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I suspect UAV's won't be really useful until you own the airspace. And I suspect we'll need a pilot local to win that part of the battle.
A question comes to mind:

In all of the various regional and local conflicts that we've been involved with in recent years, when was the last time that we (the US and its coalition partners) were challenged for control over airspace? Vietnam maybe? For the most part, air to air engagements just haven't been a factor in the sort of warfare we've been involved in of late. Having said that, the biggest threat to air operations (I suspect) is probably from ground-based defenses. And this is probably a situation where UAVs are much more suitable than manned aircraft, for a couple of reasons.

First, they're expendable. I don't mean to sound glib, but nothing sucks away America's resolve these days like combat casualties (though I must say, of late we're doing a decent job of being numbed to daily troop casualty reports. Whether that's a good thing or a bad this is a question for future philosophers.) But when a flight crew goes down, that's a big problem. Particularly if they are captured and made to read poorly-written statements in front of a TV camera. If a robot gets shot out of the sky, however, you just get another one out of inventory and stick it in the rotation.

Second, a stealthy UAV isn't burdened with a lot of the same warts as a stealthy manned aircraft, like having a hole for the pilot to sit in, surrounded by glass and seams. In an environment where low-detectability is a factor, I would wager that they would be more survivable than a manned aircraft.

Quote:
One question that really bugs me about the predators: They are piloted from Nevada, and are flying in Iraq (for example). How do they deal with the latency?
I thought flight would require instant feedback, not 120-200 millisecond packet delay.
I've always wondered the same thing.

Actually, the delay will be much more, assuming they are doing multiple ground-sat-ground hops. Geostationary birds are 22,000 miles up, which is 236ms per hop, per direction. If we assume two hops each way, that's roughly a full second between command input being given in Nevada, and receiving confirmation back from the skies over a hot, sandy place.

In the broadcast world, this is a constant source of annoyance, not merely for reporters, but any application (such as football games) where synchronizing to a network clock is essential.


Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
autonomous target designation and weapons release is a LONG WAY OFF. The accuracy of current weapons is there, but the techology to ensure accurate identification, determining that ROE has been met, the ability to be flexible in a dynamic battlefield with changing rules, determining the level of force required, etc... is still a long way off. For the foreseeable future, there will always be a man-in-the-loop when it comes to killing people.
Actually, that's an area of great interest to me.

I have to imagine that the conversations have already taken place, within the annals of whatever agencies are tasked with having conversations about such things, as to whether a machine might, under certain conditions, be better suited to accurately and precisely coordinating realtime information from multiple sources, applying known ROE parameters, and making a decision (or at least a recommendation) as to what action to take.


Take, for instance, a scenario which calls for ground-based defenses over an area to be neutralized prior to manned flights for the purpose of troop deployment and logistical support (eg: supplies and equipment transport.)

We already utilize cruise missiles in such situations, to eliminate fixed targets such as command & control structures, radar installations, communications facilities, etc. Nobody objects to the fact that those weapons, once loaded with their mission profile, are free to fly their mission without direct operator input, automatically making course corrections to avoid threats, and in the terminal stage, verifying their target based upon photographic and topological data.

I would imagine that, from ACC's perspective, it would be a short and desirable leap to say that in an situation such as the one proposed above, one might launch a swarm of autonomous UAVs with ground-strike capability, with instructions such as "fly around pseudo-randomly within this box, and kill anything that illuminates you with a fire-control radar, or that matches any of the following visual descriptions."
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:54 PM   #31
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The Israelis have a smart bomb/cruise missile (depending on how it is set up) that will circle a predetermined local until the order is given to strike. Pretty nifty. Also UAV's would be more efficient than manned fighters because the G tolerances of the pilot could be removed form the equation. However I think a pilot will be flying it for the foreseeable future.
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:23 AM   #32
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Wow I finally get to correct Joe Perez on something, lol. Even if it is a stupid spelling error. I'm an Ordnance Corp in the US Army only reason I really know.


Quote:
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ordnance
Ammunition/explosives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
ordinance
A law made by a colony, or a municipality or other local authority, see also Local ordinance

Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
ordiance
**shurg**
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:38 AM   #33
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Hehehe. Ok, you got me.

In all seriousness, though. I have to believe that someone, somewhere, is getting paid to think about how to configure a ground-strike-capable UAV in "Roomba mode".
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:08 AM   #34
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Joe-
I bet you are correct. And we've already got the autonomous function in mines. I understand our current mine can distinguish the difference between an M1A1 tank, and a T-72, and only blow up when the T-72 rolls by.

For some reason, I found the idea of orbiting kill-bots more troubling than a smart mine.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:48 PM   #35
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Ran across this today. Title of comic is "More Accurate"

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Old 10-27-2009, 04:33 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
You'd think being the military they'd have some nifty acronym for it.
We have one:

Unmanned
Aerial
Vehicle
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:41 PM   #37
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More thread resurrection, as I was thinking about this a lot on Sunday evening while having a few beers with a friend of mine here in SD who is a systems engineer with BAE.
Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
As an aside... speaking from half a career of firsthand experience, and as somebody who is about to become a Carrier TAO (...), autonomous target designation and weapons release is a LONG WAY OFF.
We will get there as a matter of small, incremental steps, not as one great Terminator-style leap.

And we've already taken what is probably the third or fourth step:
It (Storm Shadow) is a fire and forget missile, programmed before launch. Once launched, the missile cannot be controlled (...) The missile follows a path semi-autonomously, on a low flight path guided by GPS and terrain matching to the area of the target.

Close to the target, the missile bunts, climbing to an altitude intended to achieve the best probability of target identification and penetration. During the bunt, the nose cone is jettisoned to allow a high resolution infrared camera to observe the target area (the bunt enlarges the field of vision). The missile then tries to locate its target based upon its targeting information. If it can not, and there is a high risk of collateral damage, it will fly to a crash point instead of risking inaccuracy.
We've already chosen to allow the weapon to decide for itself, absent any operator input, whether to proceed with the terminal stage of an attack, or to abort, based upon its own assessment of the probability of an accurate strike vs. the consequences of an inaccurate one.

Is it fully autonomous target designation? No. But we'll get there. As it stands, a piece of software is autonomously searching for you and then making the final determination as to whether you will live or die, based upon data that it has gathered and correlated by itself. Over time, the parameters of that decision-making process will tend to gradually become broader.

Sources:
Storm Shadow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eklund, Dylan (2006). "Fire and Brimstone: The RAF's 21st Century Missiles". RAF Magazine: pp. 19-25.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:42 PM   #38
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The latency thing isn't a big issue once in the air. Take off is not done via satellite to reduce latency and once it's stable in the air it switches over. Some aspects of the UAVs are autonomous, so quick reactions aren't necessary. You have to remember, they're not meant to get into dog fights or anything. Depending how they're outfitted, I believe they also have anti-threat munitions and flares and such. Most of the time they're just meant to be eyes in the sky and sometimes to drop a payload. Neither of which threaten the UAV's safety due to the height at which they fly.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:50 PM   #39
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Actually, something just occurred to me here. And the yung'uns probably won't understand.


A few months ago I was renting from Netflix everything I remembered seeing in the 80s but wasn't captioned back then, and this was one of them.

I ROFL'ed at the scene where he was playing the game with everyone from his trailer park standing behind him cheering him on. You'd have thought they were watching a live broadcast of WWIII being won, or something.
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:58 PM   #40
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Actually, something just occurred to me here. And the yung'uns probably won't understand.

This is why I love "tivo suggestions". Going to watch this now... tivo snagged it for me.

brb going to defend galaxy against xur and kodan armada
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