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J-UCAS Canceled, But Not for Naught (Socialism Kills Another Military Program)
eDefense ^ | 2/15/06 | Ted McKenna

Posted on 02/20/2006 7:59:06 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888

US Navy Capt. Ralph Alderson, program director of the Joint-Unmanned Combat Aerial System (J-UCAS) program, said right at the start that he would address the elephant in the room.

The FY07 defense budget provides zero funding for the J-UCAS, and the newly released 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) calls for the program's "restructuring," as many of the attendees at the Association of Unmanned Systems International's Unmanned Systems Program Review 2006 conference in Washington, DC, on Feb. 8 perhaps already knew, Capt. Alderson said.

"Restructuring" would appear to be a euphemism for "canceled," but despite standing at the podium with a PowerPoint presentation for a program now in limbo, the J-UCAS program director said not all is for naught – that there are many lessons learned which can be applied to the restructured program, the exact nature of which is still to be determined.

"The Navy will be developing a long-range UCAV [unmanned combat aerial vehicle]. That is the sum total of what I can tell you," Capt. Alderson said. "The impacts are still being worked pretty hard. But we're still committed to getting a good solid demonstration done, so we can pass lessons learned to the Navy."

Seen as a future family of US Air Force and Navy UCAVs employing unmanned aircraft as large as F-16s, the J-UCAS program was supposed to develop unmanned vehicles able to perform a variety of missions, including deep strike and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (see "Drones That Sting"). But Ryan Henry, the US Defense Department principal deputy undersecretary for policy, said in a presentation on the QDR that the J-UCAS program is being restructured to include an air-to-air refueling capability and "more options for payloads and distance."

Asked if the J-UCAS program would essentially be folded into a still undefined US Navy long-range UCAV project, Capt. Alderson would say only that "there's a lot of discussion. We're not seeing an Air Force element, so it looks like the Navy going forward." The J-UCAS program, among other things, did not plan to allow aircraft carrier "cats and traps," or catapulted takeoffs and trapped landings, yet carrier survivability is the Navy's highest priority, Capt. Alderson said.

Prior to the announced restructuring, the J-UCAS program had completed more than 60 test flights of the Boeing X-45A vehicle, culminating in August 2005 with a demonstration of preemptive destruction suppression of enemy air defenses (DEAD) involving two X-45As. Tests also included dropping a GPS-guided weapon, simultaneous control of two X-45As by one operator, and the transfer of control over two vehicles while in flight to another control station 900 miles away.

The two X-45B vehicles funded in October 2005, representing a $40-million funding cut in the program that reduced the planned vehicles from three to two, were to have been delivered by March or April, with a first flight in 2008. Yet another iteration, the X-45C, was to have delivered three vehicles carrying the GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) for the purpose of developing software for effectively controlling weapons, with tests to have begun in 2007.

A representative from Boeing Air Force Systems, the developer of the X-45 vehicles, said the company couldn't comment on the future of the J-UCAS program, because it has not yet received any official word from the Air Force on its status.

Capt. Alderson said that during the course of the J-UCAS program, he has had difficulty making clear in briefings to senior leaders in the Pentagon that the central challenge J-UCAS was intended to address was the in-flight autonomy of mission planning, not simply the autonomous control of the aircraft. Mission planning was supposed to be the heart of the J-UCAS, capitalizing on network-centric capabilities that would permit multiple aircraft to work together on various kinds of missions. Capt. Alderson said his own personal lessons learned from J-UCAS include the understanding that the "affordability" of unmanned aerial vehicles is often overstated, that the payoff is in the operations of the aircraft and not its acquisition.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: absurdity; craziness; defensespending; dod; idiocy; insanity; ludicrousness; lunacy; madness; qdr; stupidity; uavs; unmannedvehicles; weneedronaldreagan
No matter how you slice it, global charity and domestic charity continue to kill the ability of the USA to develop weapon systems for our future defense. The list of cutbacks and cancelations of weapon programs is very lengthy, but swamped by the list of new welfare programs domestically and global charity.

Today, socialism is killing the ability of the USA to fund its military and defend us in the future.

1 posted on 02/20/2006 7:59:11 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
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To: Stellar Dendrite

*ping*

Please ping your list.


2 posted on 02/20/2006 8:00:26 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888

X-45A

3 posted on 02/20/2006 8:02:15 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: raybbr; DTogo; AZ_Cowboy; Itzlzha; Stellar Dendrite; NRA2BFree; Happy2BMe; Spiff; Pelham; ...

ping


4 posted on 02/20/2006 8:14:02 AM PST by Stellar Dendrite (There's nothing "Mainstream" about the Orwellian Media!!!)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888

Shortly after September 11, 2001 I sent an E-mail to a friend, an active duty Officer serving inside the Beltway. We have known and worked together for 16 years at that point.

He asked me to go back through Vietnam and what general trends should he be expecting.

I talked about infiltration of our base camps by locals apparently supporting our efforts. This, Thank God, hasn’t happened; yet.

I talked about the lack of trained personnel and special equipment required for this type of war. I warned that after a period of time every weapon system the US has will be judged by its ability to support the ongoing war on terrorism. Even systems of limited use will bully their way in because failure to do so means their end (funding cuts). This continues to happen.

Then I talked about the real threat to our ongoing war on terrorism - Congressional Re-Election Bribery, also known as pork spending, Congressional set asides, etc.. I told him we would have support from Congress until they realized that there isn’t enough money to pay for the war and buy their way through a re-election campaign. When that happened the lesser of the two projects, supporting the war, would go unfounded. That we are seeing today.

Until Congressional conceit is reigned in and they are forcefully convinced that their continued residence inside the Beltway is not necessary for our national survival the nation’s “must pay bills” will never be paid.

The lessons learned by Congress during Vietnam, and there are many many more, are still alive today. And we see bits and pieces of them in the daily "news" reported by the LMSM.

Wonder which hotels will be used as emergency helicopter landing zones this time.


5 posted on 02/20/2006 8:15:07 AM PST by Nip (SPECTRE - Whistling death from the darkness of night.)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
Just a hint:

Sometimes these programs get canceled because they just don't work. I have warned FReepers to not get too caught up in this drone technology. They are running into significant setbacks when they try to manage some of the things that require a pilot's eyes. I think problems like in-flight refueling may not ever get solved. It may be a piece of cake for a human, but for someone sitting at a desk looking at video, I don't see how one could figure the angles, stick deflections and closures to make a safe hookup. Some things in the cockpit require 'feel' to get right. Sometimes, your ass can tell you what the aircraft is doing a lot faster than your instruments can.
6 posted on 02/20/2006 8:21:36 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
OK, I'd spin down the gloom and doom just a little.

FWIW, the current program doesn't meet the future mission plan. Doesn't say that the current program wasn;t going well.

"... an air-to-air refueling capability and "more options for payloads and distance." ..."

Look at the future of the USAF, manned/piloted weapons platforms in general, and integrated inter-service informations environments and you might discern some reasons to 'restructure' the program for an amended mission.

Are there politics involved in this? Sure. There were politics involved in the original program. Deal with it.

To me, there's a good chance that the F-22 and the JSF will be the LAST piloted strike aircraft. (We'll always need humans in the cockpit for CAS and fur-balls.)

Surely the B-2 is the last piloted 'strategic' bomber. <-- just my opinion.
7 posted on 02/20/2006 8:28:12 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
There is more there than the article tells...

The J-UCAS program was only a demo. It was not creating producible vehicles, only a few airframes from each contractor, and none of them fully functional. Those aircraft were not going to war.

Also the USAF had wanted out from it for some time to pay for things like the F-22. Gen Jumper had stated previously that the USAF did not intend to buy many of them. In the USAF, the silk scarf crowd rules, and UAVs are a threat to them.

Finally there was a technology effort in the JUCAS program that if successful would have turned the DoD aircraft software world upside down to the detriment of the big contractors like Boeing. That may have hastened its demise as well.
8 posted on 02/20/2006 8:31:00 AM PST by Starwolf
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To: Blueflag
o me, there's a good chance that the F-22 and the JSF will be the LAST piloted strike aircraft.

I keep seeing this opinion being forwarded, and I still don't understand what you folks are basing it on. It is just a ridiculous notion.

9 posted on 02/20/2006 8:31:30 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog

I hear you.

However, they can do unmanned docking in space (granted, the physics are different), and it seems to me if the UMAVs can be landed, then they can be refueled in mid-air.

Tech aside, there is too big a correlation of the huge increase in nonDefense spending and the cancelation of weapon programs.

I know that in the military, the buzz right now is NOT a push to find new advanced weapon programs, but the REAL pressure to the miltiary is to find ways to cut costs.

A simple chart showing the rise in the OMB Superfunction "HR" (mostly social programs) over the last 20 years overlayed on a chart showing the reduction in % of total spending going toward Defense tell the real story.

We have seen steadliy dropping % of total spending going toward the military and a steadily surging rise in % of total spending going toward socialism (Superfunction "HR"). I have studied these numbers and charts an enormous amount of time, and it is clear--socialism is preventing the ability of the USA to defend itself in the near future.


10 posted on 02/20/2006 8:33:35 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: Blueflag

IIRC, the same article in Inside the Air Force that said they were bailing from JUCAS also stated that the USAF was pulling to the left (starting sooner) its medium manned bomber replacement


11 posted on 02/20/2006 8:33:38 AM PST by Starwolf
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To: Pukin Dog
Personally I am thinking how mission planning and execution would improve **IF**, as a logical evolution, the 'armed Predator' were available in a higher-speed, more weapons-variable, more survivable platform. [who needs a crewed platform orbiting the battlefield, patrolling a kill-box when a SUITABLE UCAV could put guided munitions on target?]

I do NOT believe we can take a human out of the cockpit of an ait-to-air mission, or out of a close air support mission; at least not for YEARS. The F-22 has a long life ahead of it to secure air superiority and supremacy, to win air-to-air engagement, to provide some air-to-mud. The A-10 or its eventual replacement (the Marines like the F-18D) will always have a manned mission if you ask me.

Now, just to gig you a little -- I presume from your name you are a former zoomie ... is your preference for people in the cockpit just *slightly* colored by your perspective? ;-)


I DO firmly believe that advances in systems, targeting etc etc put a crew in the B-2 for no apparent reason.
12 posted on 02/20/2006 8:41:37 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Pukin Dog
Automated refueling is only a challenge because it is new. they had not even started working on that until very recently. They are due for an automated test flight of it later this year. Yeah it is a challenge but really that one is fairly simple since it involves clear cut decisions and factors. It just needs a very fast computer and really good control laws. It is not as hard as artificial decision making. It is a straight forward problem akin to auto-land with an autopilot. People do need to avoid thinking UAVs will replace manned fighters anytime soon. Too many combat decisions need people in the look. They will be a powerful complement and force multiplier but not a replacement. Thinking it is a replacement is the kind of short sighted thinking that removed the guns from fighters when guided missiles got common :P
13 posted on 02/20/2006 8:44:28 AM PST by TalonDJ
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To: Starwolf
I believe the key point this article brings home is not so much the technical reasons re the cancellation, but the fact there is NOT ENOUGH MONEY.

Surely, the USAF would like to have triple the number of Raptors it is getting (among other wishes). Remember, we just heard this crap recently where they are taking ALL the F-117s out of service and cutting back on the B-52 and other platforms just to pay for FOUR more Raptors.

The USA is running out of money! We simply do not have the money anymore to defend our nation because so much of our spending is going toward social welfare.

Instead of looking at this article in a narrow focus (technical reasons, etc.), we must look at this article in context with the $8 Trillion in debt, the cost of the war, the rising cost of socialism, SS, Medicaid, boomers and Medicare, the coast of illegal alien medical care and incarceration, and Bush's fixation on giving away the national treasury to foreign governments and dictators, and his fixation on Bono and canceling hundreds of billions in foreign debt owed to us . . ., etc.

All this, and take into account all the stories of the pressure being applied on the military to cut costs, while Bush and Congress dole out BILLIONS of global charity and add new social welfare programs domestically--this is the key reason why this program is being canceled and many other programs, like the F-22, the DD(X), the JSF and so many others are being cut back, canceled, delayed, stretched and generally taking a back seat to the surging, stratoshperic spending in domestic and social welfare.

Socialism trumps the defense of the USA.
14 posted on 02/20/2006 8:46:49 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: Blueflag

With a plane that big it is almost 'because we can'. Adding the humans still adds a lot of flexibility and in a plane that big it is not at a sacrifice of much payload. Nor, with several people, is it a sacrifice of much loiter time.


15 posted on 02/20/2006 8:49:08 AM PST by TalonDJ
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
Let me see if I can explain this without just disagreeing with you, because you make some valid points?

Because there are usually decades between wars, everything surrounding military procurement is based upon a set of assumptions, with very little actual empirical performance date to rely on for accuracy.

Now with the two Iraq wars, Kosovo, Afghanistan and other conflicts, military planners are better able to determine needed force levels in the future. One thing that is clear, is that we have WAY TOO MUCH weaponry that is either obsolete, outmoded, too old, or just plain ineffective.

Unfortunately, a lot of that weaponry is providing thousands of jobs (and votes) within the Military Industrial complex. You are going to see hundreds of thousands of people put out of work in the next 10 years because their companies were making weapons that we just don't need.

People think we need unmanned aircraft, but don't consider that we can now sling a JDAM over 40 miles and shack a target with a 20-to-30 year old airframe. We've got the big laser coming on line next year, in addition to lots of other new stuff.

The military is trimming the fat because we dont need it, much more so than because the money needs to go elsewhere. The overall budget has increased, but the priorities have changed.

The days of warfare through attrited forces is over. We are going to be light fast and deadly, with no more lumbering big weapons that require all kinds of logistical support. A lot of money is going into rebuilding our intelligence services, so we can have a better idea of what the enemy is doing.

China's military build up is really ridiculous when you look at it, because they are just building targets for the weapons we already have.
16 posted on 02/20/2006 8:49:15 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
I think there are other factors. I think the Joint Strike Fighter has pointed out some of the weaknesses of massive 'joint venture' programs.
17 posted on 02/20/2006 8:50:27 AM PST by TalonDJ
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To: Pukin Dog
p.s. just read your "manifesto" re-published by CongressmanBillieBob. Congrats on your service in the Navy. My father was a first a Marine pilot and then a Navy aviator. My mom was a WAVE, my bro a Ranger. I was NPQ due to a back injury. Thanks for serving. I wish I could have.

I've never flown anything faster than about 135 KIAS, or with more than four cylinders, or even above FL10. So you can bust me. ;-)

Just so ya know, I never want you guys to leave the front cockpit and let the 'computer' land our fully loaded 737 at LaGuardia with a 25 knot crosswind component. I see certain military missions as tailor-made for advanced UCAVs, other well-suited for piloted aircraft.
18 posted on 02/20/2006 8:52:18 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Blueflag
Personally I am thinking how mission planning and execution would improve **IF**, as a logical evolution, the 'armed Predator' were available in a higher-speed, more weapons-variable, more survivable platform. [who needs a crewed platform orbiting the battlefield, patrolling a kill-box when a SUITABLE UCAV could put guided munitions on target?]

What makes you think we don't already have that? FReepers forget that we hid a big-ass B-2 Bomber program from the world for over 10 years. (I know nothing). Yes, I am a former Naval Aviator. 'Zoomie' is an Air Force term, but I will forgive the insult.

19 posted on 02/20/2006 8:53:21 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
I can agree with most of that. And I work in that complex so in a way I am shooting at my own foot. There are a lot of dollars going to R&D and priorities are constantly being changed. Not much point in me pointing that out since it is nothing you don't know. I would disagree on the unmanned requirement though. UAVs are really proving their worth in the war on terror. Plus they are fairly small and cheap. Especially cheap to operate since you don't need as much training. As I have pointed out above I don't think they will ever (or anytime soon) be a replacement but I think we do need some more development there. Small craft with really long loiter times able to destroy pop up targets very quickly are very handy in the war on terror. They have already been looking at putting lasers and other directed energy weapons on UAVs so that is not a alternative but a compliment.
20 posted on 02/20/2006 8:57:07 AM PST by TalonDJ
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To: Blueflag
I also flew for Delta, and I have to tell you, today's airliners are some incredible things. I guarantee you, that in that 25 knot crosswind you mentioned, 99% of the time a computer is bringing you down from cruise, from VOR-LOC and APP, down to the runway, and is applying the brakes, hitting the reversers and spoilers, and tuning the radios to Ground, while we just sit back and watch. If you fly a 737-700 series and up, ask a pilot to show you the FMC sometime.
21 posted on 02/20/2006 8:58:46 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog; Blueflag

I did functional test in the lab on that autopilot. Killed me thousands of fake passengers :D It is a solid piece of hardware though nowhere near cutting edge in terms or raw horsepower. Most avionics is not due to heavy cert requirements.


22 posted on 02/20/2006 9:02:45 AM PST by TalonDJ
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888

F-117s are OLD and '52s much more so. You can ALWAYS keep around a ton old hardware for the same cost as just a few of the new stuff. This has been true since the dawn of time.


23 posted on 02/20/2006 9:05:39 AM PST by TalonDJ
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To: TalonDJ
It is a straight forward problem akin to auto-land with an autopilot.

Yeah, but not quite. Things are different when both target and targeter are moving in 3 axis. With a runway, or even a moving carrier, you have a predictable or stable bearing to target. In-Flight Refueling requires coordination at a speed I don't see a computer being able to handle soon. Speed is not the problem, but the time it takes to recognize a situation, translate it into a transmittable signal, have that signal recognized on the ground by the pilot, have the pilot put in the correct control input, have that input transmitted back to the aircraft, and finally have the aircraft respond to the ground input before the condition changes.

I think the ground pilot will always be a bit behind the aircraft, just because of the latency factor. My eyes and ass will tell me what to do in the cockpit 100 times faster than anyone on the ground can transmit those messages up to a remote piloted aircraft.

24 posted on 02/20/2006 9:11:12 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
PD --

Yes, please forgive the unintentional insult. Had I known you were a Naval Aviator I would not have used the perjorative 'zoomie' moniker ;-). My father will have me before Captain's Mast for my infraction ... He has often joked that the Navy could land an entire airgroup in front of a USAF plane on final. ;-)

"What makes you think we don't already have that?" <-- thus the reason for the "**IF**" -- meant to imply that we just might, or might not. ;-)

FWIW, I am a multi-million miler, spoiled, pampered Delta multi-year-Platinum (now expired) customer of Delta. I used to frequently bring hot, fresh Cinnabons onto the aircraft for the crew. So if you ever got any hot fresh Cinnabons from a 1st class passenger, it mighta been me. I seldom fly anymore because my customers are now 90% local to the greater Atlanta area. I presume you are retired from Delta -- thanks for the years of great service. The current state of Delta saddens me - as it certainly must you as well.

Thanks for your contributions to the blogosphere.
25 posted on 02/20/2006 9:12:51 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: TalonDJ
You can ALWAYS keep around a ton old hardware for the same cost as just a few of the new stuff.

If you factor in inflation, the cost of one F-22 is cheaper than the cost of one F-14 was in 1970. Also, the F-22 is 10 times cheaper to maintain today than a Tomcat was in the early 80s WITHOUT factoring in inflation.

26 posted on 02/20/2006 9:14:25 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888

In response to leftist critics, Lyndon Johnson insisted that we could have both "guns and butter," which was how this budgetary choice was phrased at the time.

Of course, he was wrong. The Great Society effectively built in a long-term guarantee of federal bankruptcy, without doing much of anything to alleviate poverty.


27 posted on 02/20/2006 9:15:19 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Blueflag
Thank you! Never got a bun. I was in the 777.

Anyway, as far as Delta, I think they are getting exactly what they deserve. Stupid leadership and stupid unions add up to a stupid airline. Both sides are to blame, and yeah, I mean the pilots too. The day I became eligible to take the money and run, I did.

If you want to run a profitable airline today, you have Southwest and the great Jet Blue for examples on how to do it.

28 posted on 02/20/2006 9:18:10 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Starwolf
In the USAF, the silk scarf crowd rules, and UAVs are a threat to them.

Disagree. The USAF is pushing for UAVs hard. My guess is that J-UCAV wasn't going the direction the USAF thinks it needs - but I would bet majority opinion in the USAF right now is that the F-35 will be the last manned fighter.

Programs get cancelled for lots of reasons. I'll be going to a meeting soon on a program that was grossly oversold, has taken 6 years to make 2 years of progress, and doesn't meet the actual needs of anyone in the field. And at the moment, it isn't flyable still.

Sometimes programs go awry.

29 posted on 02/20/2006 9:26:14 AM PST by Mr Rogers
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To: Pukin Dog
I wasn't on the triple 7's much, unless I went to Orlando. And that was always on a REALLY EARLY AM departure, then an early evening/after 6 PM same-day return. Perhaps one or two transatlantics in biz class on 777s. My then-corporate travel policies usually precluded transcontinental non-stops (I saw SLC a LOT on the way to SFO). Net: not too many hours in type.

Actually I grew to not prefer the 777 due to intrusive and unpleasant turbine noise on climb-out.

Final comment(s) --
(a) it's OK that the FMC plants my 737-800 on LGA runway 4 ... I still want you guys up there in case the wrong breaker trips over the threshold ;-)
(b) sadly, nowadays when I do fly I don't get to chat with the crew, even after the cabin door is open at the gate. I would like to get a briefing on the new FMC. Certainly more advanced than what's in front of me in the Champ.
30 posted on 02/20/2006 9:35:21 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Blueflag; Rokke
Actually I grew to not prefer the 777 due to intrusive and unpleasant turbine noise on climb-out.

See, that is where we differ. To me, the sound coming from a GE-90 is beautiful, all that kinetic energy barely in check behind the cover, the hum of the blades, I just love it.

All newer aircraft have their FMC variations, but essentially they can take you from N1 to touchdown with very help from me. Sometimes, all I got to do was rotate with the yoke, and then it was switches and dials the rest of the way.

I pinged Rokke because he is new to the modern FMC on his big MD-11, and he is in a better position to describe them.

31 posted on 02/20/2006 9:45:06 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Mr Rogers
My guess is that J-UCAV wasn't going the direction the USAF thinks it needs

I don't think this is the case.

Regardless of techical issues, this program is our key UAV program. If the money is available, you make improvements to the program. New software, new engine, new whatever, . . . If the money is availble, you just prototype a new model or variant. At some point in the future, UAVs will be a major platform. This program was our developmental program. Since UAVs will play some role in the far off future, or even the major role, then if the money is available, you keep improving the developmental program up until the time full scale production is ripe.

This program is being killed for the reasons I stated--there is no money! The cost of welfare and charity, and the points I made in #14 are the reasons why the program is being killed.

Socialism trumps the defense and security of the USA.

32 posted on 02/20/2006 9:48:18 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
I think what Mr Rodgers is trying to tell you, is that there is always money for programs that are working. If that program was on track, making progress and solving problems, I guarantee you that Rummy would find some cash for it. I don't have to tell you that programs like this are committed to producing certain results by a certain time frame. If they don't make it, they are gone. The other thing to consider, is that there are black programs that might have filled the mission requirement for your program, making it obsolete. Happens all the time.
33 posted on 02/20/2006 10:30:04 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
The Seawolf program was "on track, making progress and solving problems" but was canceled at three, and the Raptor program has met tech specs set for it but it being scaled back to a ridiculous level.

Again, money is the problem. The USA is finding it impossible to fund the military and have advanced new tech programs for tomorrow. Social spending is soaring, and it is killing the ability of the USA to fund R&D and advanced weapon systems.

34 posted on 02/20/2006 10:51:55 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
Again, perfect example.

How do you know that we didn't develop something that would make Seawolf obsolete? (for the record, I am not making that suggestion) I can tell you that this has happened a number of times with programs that the general public will never hear about. The workers on those programs have to be told something though, don't they? The military has a black budget that is unknown by most of us as to its content. I like it that way, and you should too. I know it sucks when it happens to those working on open programs, but such is life?
35 posted on 02/20/2006 11:42:40 AM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
How do you know that we didn't develop something that would make Seawolf obsolete?

...only that the Virginia-class attack subs have been variously described as scaled-back Seawolfs (Seawolves? That's kinda like Toronto Maple Leafs, isn't it?) That doesn't suggest that there was a black program, only that the Navy couldn't afford the Seawolf-class SSN's.

OTOH, the original M1 Main Battle Tank was also described as a cheaper MBT-70. It's much more than that now.

36 posted on 02/20/2006 12:31:24 PM PST by Tallguy (When it's a bet between reality and delusion, bet on reality -- Mark Steyn)
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To: Tallguy
There are dozens, if not hundreds of weapon systems that the general public and even large sections of the active military know nothing about.

Even the U-2 and SR-71 platforms were run by the CIA for a long period of time, with a few very select members of the military knowing anything about their existence.
37 posted on 02/20/2006 12:36:38 PM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog

I take your point.


38 posted on 02/20/2006 1:23:25 PM PST by Tallguy (When it's a bet between reality and delusion, bet on reality -- Mark Steyn)
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To: Pukin Dog; Blueflag
Wow, this is an interesting thread. A debatable topic that hasn't digressed into a total food fight. With regard to FMC's and flying big airplanes...they take all the fun and risk out of flying. The FMC in the MD-11 is essentially the same as all the others. It will literally fly the airplane from takeoff to fullstop. And it lands it better and a lot more consistently than I do. Especially in a crosswind. But our policy is that we do all the landings unless the weather is down to "I can't see a damn thing". Soooo, my crosswind landings are getting much better. But I still wish they'd give me my HUD back and let me land in a crab. Anyway, the boxes in the back haven't complained yet.

With regard to UAV's...the technology and capability in this area is moving faster than most development programs. But UCAV's are already flying CAS missions and doing it very well. The only thing about CAS that hasn't changed dramatically in the last 10 years is why we do it. In a complete reversal from a few years ago, the most effective environment to execute a CAS mission is at night. The current state of our avionics and the equipment available in the air and on the ground makes CAS in the dark almost a no-brainer. In a brief summary...the forward air controller (on the ground or in the air) defines the coordinates of the target (using laser range finders and GPS these coordinates can be incredibly precise). He transmits those coordinates to the close air support platform (manned or unmanned). Whoever is flying the aircraft directs his infrared equipped targeting pod at those coordinates and verifies he sees what he is supposed to target. To confirm, he zaps it with an infrared laser beam and asks the controller if he is targeted correctly. Then, with approval to drop, he guides a laser guided bomb onto the target that almost guarantees a kill. We've come a long way...and in the process have greatly reduced the need for an actual person to be in the cockpit of the delivery aircraft. This isn't just theory. It is being performed in practice. And new technology is refining the practice on almost a daily basis. Already, we are able to beam imagery from the orbiting platform directly to the guys on the ground, giving them control of what is being looked at. Obviously, the next step is giving them control of dropping the ordnance.

Which takes us back to canceling this (X-45) program. The reason air to air refueling capability wasn't included in the initial specs was because it didn't seem realistic. But then, neither did a UCAV performing CAS. I suspect that much of the X-45 testing program has been overtaken by other programs. That has happened frequently throughout the history of various X-plane programs. You can be sure if we still had questions or strong interest in the capabilities being tested by the X-45's, the program would still be funded.

39 posted on 02/20/2006 1:28:36 PM PST by Rokke
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888

Correct.
LBJ & Congress did a "guns & butter" policy during the Vietnam War years.
Bush & Congress are doing the same.

It was not sustainable, and the war spending/effort lost back then.

Imagine the Dem's are more fiscal & responsible now, at least enough to not oppose any Repub efforts to trim socialist programs?


40 posted on 02/20/2006 1:49:02 PM PST by OldArmy52 (China & India: Doing jobs Americans don't want to do (manuf., engineering, accounting, etc))
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To: Rokke
You can be sure if we still had questions or strong interest in the capabilities being tested by the X-45's, the program would still be funded.

I have to disagree strongly.

Take the ABM system. for example. Sure, we are testing various platforms and we have deployed a few token ABM interceptors, but relative to the China ICBM threat, to Russia's new advanced ICBMs, to N. Korea's missiles and to Iran gaining nuke capability and the probable owner of longer range missiles soon, you would think we would have a much more robust ABM program. Read the current QDR and little is said about the ABM system. We fund African charity at a higher level than the ABM system.

We have retired the Peacekeeper, sliced the Minuteman III force drastically, taken four boomers out of service, taking another chunk of B-52s out of service, . . . yet the threats today exceed the threats we faced when these forces were at their peak.

We no longer have a Tactical Air Command and we no longer have a Strategic Air Command and we no longer have MAC. For all the crap we hear about "streamlining" and such, one of the big negatives that came out of the reorganization of the USAF (along with the other branches) is that there are no longer fights for funding among the various divisions of each military branch after all these "reorganizations", and so the funding for the "new streamlined" version is less. The social welfare funding is soaring and the military funding continues to shrink--Defense "streamlining" has fattened the funding for social welfare.

There is a disconnect now between threats we face and deterrent we muster. Social welfare has dominated the budget so much that too little is left over to fund the military. John F. Kennedy was able to spend 46-48 cents of every dollar on Defense. We had massive R&D programs and procurement in the early 1960s, even before Vietnam. Today, with the threats GREATER than what JFK faced (from multiple sources--JFK only had the Ruskies to worry about), George Bush is only spending 17 cents of every dollar on Defense.

You are implying that a military program will be funded if it would result in new and better capability, and I am stating that regardless of the worth of a program, we are hard pressed to fund it because social welfare is sapping up too much of our total budget--we just can't afford the programs we need to defend our nation.

SOURCE for budget stats: OMB Historical Tables

41 posted on 02/20/2006 2:47:22 PM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
You'll get no argument from me that we spend too much on social programs. But the rest of your arguments imply the world and what drives its major powers hasn't shifted since the Cold War. During the Cold War, our biggest military rivals were driven by political ideology. The Soviet Union was committed to Communism and the goal of spreading Communism throughout the world. But we won that war. Communism failed. Its last surviving powers don't even really believe in it any more. Take a look at Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou etc, if you need evidence that China has ceded Communist ideology to Capitalist reality. China still wants to dominate the world, but the goal is economic domination, not ideological. China absolutely relies on its economic ties to Japan, the US and the EU to fuel its status as a world power. It cannot survive without the economic fuel provided by trade with those entities. Therefore, the threat that China will launch nukes toward any of those powers is about as likely as the threat that we will preemptively launch a nuke at China. So our ABM system must be robust enough to handle a nuclear threat with a lot less to lose. North Korea leaps to mind. You can be certain we have a very good grip on North Korea's intercontinental nuclear capability. And our ABM system based in Alaska is in a prime position to handle the threat.

We have reduced our strategic nuclear forces in part to comply with our obligations to various treaties, but also because we no longer need the capability to either counter a massive first strike by the Soviet Union, or overwhelm the defenses of a nation we plan on hitting first. It costs billions to keep those systems in a state of constant readiness that is no longer necessary in the scale it once was.

We no longer have a TAC, SAC and MAC, but that doesn't imply we lost the capability each of those commands represent. Instead, we dumped a lot of extra bureaucracy that did absolutely nothing to improve our combat capability or readiness.

"We had massive R&D programs and procurement in the early 1960s, even before Vietnam. Today, with the threats GREATER than what JFK faced (from multiple sources--JFK only had the Ruskies to worry about), George Bush is only spending 17 cents of every dollar on Defense."

Yet, with all of Kennedy's funding, we still couldn't gain the initiative in Vietnam. Obviously, there were many other factors involved there, but the point is, spending money does not equal a potent military. Iraq used to have the fourth largest military on the planet. Saddam starved his people to fund it. Look where it got them. The fact that George Bush is spending only 17 cents of every dollar on defense only highlights what we both agree on, and that is we are spending too much on social programs. But the fact that our military has accomplished historically unprecedented achievements in both Afghanistan and Iraq is proof that our military capabilities, planning and know how, are as good or better than they ever have been.

42 posted on 02/20/2006 3:30:05 PM PST by Rokke
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To: Pukin Dog

It's well known that it costs lots of time and lots of money to train a fighter pilot. It takes actual air combat to separate the aces from the skeet- and statistically, those are the only two divisions.
During WWII, both Japan and Germany had large numbers of first-line fighters at the close of the war. What they ran out of was skilled pilots.
Unmanned vehicles will allow us to fly extremely high-risk missions while protecting those expensive pilots from harm.
Also remember, a pilotless vehicle can pull a lot more Gs in a dogfight without danger of the pilot blacking out. And the weight of the pilot and his support systems can be replaced with extra fuel and weapons stores.


43 posted on 02/20/2006 3:42:19 PM PST by Ostlandr ( CONUS SITREP is foxtrot uniform bravo alfa romeo)
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To: Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
No matter how you slice it, global charity and domestic charity continue to kill the ability of the USA to develop weapon systems for our future defense. The list of cutbacks and cancelations of weapon programs is very lengthy, but swamped by the list of new welfare programs domestically and global charity.

How come we can't find enough money to fund the Department of Defense, but every year we spend more money than we did the year before subsidizing bastardy?

44 posted on 02/20/2006 4:43:40 PM PST by JoeFromSidney (My book is out. Read excerpts at www.thejusticecooperative.com)
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To: Rokke
The shi'ite has not hit the fan yet, so I can't agree that our military is sufficient--I see a much greater threat than what our capability is to deter it.

I maintain that 17 cents on the dollar for the Defense Department (and declining) and 66 cents on the dollar for socialism (and rising dramatically), along with the rise in threats against us, is dereliction of duty by Congress and Bush and by Scumbag and Bush 41.
45 posted on 02/20/2006 4:46:10 PM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: JoeFromSidney
How come we can't find enough money to fund the Department of Defense, but every year we spend more money than we did the year before . . .

1] Raw dollars for Defense are rising, so it gives the false impression the money we are spending on Defense is increasing. However, if you adjust it for inflation, we have had a huge decrease in funding for the DOD. The easiest way to look at inflation adjusted dollars is to NOT look at raw dollars on the budget, but look at the % of budget each department gets form the 100% total of total spending. That is what I based my earlier post on when I said JFK was spending 46-48% of total on Defense but Bush is psending only 16% of total spending on Defense.

2] Much of the Defense budget is geared around the war, replacement parts, logistics, pay, etc. related to the war, and a far less percent of the total DOD budget is going for R&D and procurement. In JFK's time, not only was the amount spent for the DOD far greater, but a larger % of that went to R&D and procurement. Same with Reagan.

46 posted on 02/20/2006 4:56:36 PM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888 (Bush's #1 priority Africa. #2 priority appease Fox and Mexico . . . USA priority #64.)
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To: Ostlandr
It takes actual air combat to separate the aces from the skeet- and statistically, those are the only two divisions.

I don't agree with you.

When I was instructing, it was very easy to determine who was going to be good and who wasn't. The kids coming into the RAG could all fly, and my job was to teach them to fly, fight and not run into the ground while trying to do the other two things.

What I fear we will get with drones are technicians instead of warriors. If some guy can sit with a cup of coffee while calling passing IP, I don't want him protecting my country. I don't want missions planned by some creep in Washington with a slide rule ever again, but that is what you will get when you take the human equation out of warfare.

It has to be dangerous and deadly so that those who practice it will remain at the top of their game. It is supposed to be high-risk, otherwise they would let anyone do it. That is what I am afraid of.

47 posted on 02/20/2006 5:14:28 PM PST by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog

Thank you for the excellent paraphrase. The program I mentioned before has had something like $100M sunk in it, and it may need extensive redesign to fit into a fighter aircraft - and is likely to be too expensive to field even if it ever works (I believe it has had a 4-fold increase in unit price and more raises are likely).

Meanwhile, technology has progressed so that there are other options which might perform better, cost less - and be ready to field in 2 years on multiple aircraft. One of the intended using commands has pulled out, and the others may - not because of money, but because there are fundamental flaws that may be too extensive to fix. It may be literally time to go back to the drawing board!


48 posted on 02/20/2006 5:25:30 PM PST by Mr Rogers
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To: Pukin Dog

My info is probably out of date. I had thought/read that a pilot has a very good chance of dying during their first few minutes of actual air combat. If they survive that, they stand a good chance of becoming an "ace." I'm probably thinking of WWI and WWII.
My basic point is, I'd rather we lose ten fighters than one pilot. We can replace machines.

Rather than "slide rule" types flying drone fighters, I'm picturing the top contenders in the annual "Drone Fighter" video game competition. Hardcore gamers will practice for eighteen hours a day or play for days at a time just for the sake of being "the best." Give 'em a catheter, Sobe energy drinks and M&Ms and they'll 'fly' 96 hour missions.


49 posted on 02/21/2006 4:50:34 PM PST by Ostlandr ( CONUS SITREP is foxtrot uniform bravo alfa romeo)
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator

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