Skip to comments.Global Hawk Aerial Refueling - Which Way?
Posted on 07/04/2010 10:38:57 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
There is a wrinkle to Northrop Grumman's plans to demonstrate the autonomous aerial refuelling of one Global Hawk by another at high altitude - the tanker will fly behind the receiver. The tanker will be equipped with a refuelling probe and the receiver with a hose-drum unit - the opposite of the normal probe-and-drogue arrangement - and it is the tanker that will rendezvous with the receiver, maneuver into contact with the basket and "push" fuel forward to the receiver.
Northrop says this "reverse" refueling arrangement reduces the cost of equipping a Global Hawk fleet for aerial refueling because fewer aircraft need permanent modifications. Only tankers would need probes and relative-navigation systems; receivers could be fitted with underfuselage hose-drum units as required.
Equipping the Global Hawk for autonomous aerial refueling is expected to extend its endurance to 120-125h from 30-35h unrefueled. This could also save money, Northrop says, as fewer aircraft would have to be equipped with expensive payloads to maintain continuous coverage. Examples include staring sensors for missile defense, or unique payloads for NASA science missions.
NASA's two Global Hawks will be used for the DARPA-funded KQ-X demonstration in 2012. AV-1 will be equipped as the tanker and AV-6 as the receiver. Flight tests are to begin in mid-2011. Northrop says the contract includes the option to conduct a one-week flight.
Probe-and-drogue refueling has been around since the 1940s. but no-one has attempted it with unmanned aircraft at high altitude (up to 60,000ft) and low speed (160ft), where deploying and stabilizing the drogue will be a challenge because of the low air density and dynamic pressure.
KQ-X is a follow-on to DARPA's autonomous aerial refuelling demonstration in 2006 where a NASA F/A-18 refueled "hands off" from an Omega 707 tanker .
(Excerpt) Read more at aviationweek.com ...
Pushing fuel up a hose seems a lot like pushing on a rope.
If there is one military science organization to make it work its DARPA.
Oh no, I used the wrong form of principles.
It all right.
If it were truly simpler to equip aircraft with the “drogue” and tankers with the “probe”, don’t you think someone would have done it by now with manned aircraft? This reeks of a sneaky CYA or budgetary effort instead of a sound engineering decision.
I think that they are serious if an organization like DARPA is getting involved. They have the money,time, and contractors to make this thing work. They made the X-37 and X-51 the success it is.These aircraft are all came from the mittelworks of DARPA.
If more taxpayer dollars went into defense organization like DARPA,ONR in partnership with defense contractors we would be light years ahead of anyone.
If this were a traditional-direction probe and drogue refueling, would it really take more than a year to set up a flight test and two years to field? I’m calling BS on this. If this is what DARPA is spending its money on, it needs a nickel’s worth of common sense, not more taxpayer dollars.
DARPA’s mission is to maintain technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security.
Here its success list:
ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet
Aspen Movie Map
CPOF - the command post of the future - networked information system for Command control.
DARPA Grand Challenge - driverless car competition
DARPA Network Challenge
High Performance Knowledge Bases
Hypersonic Research Program
I3 (Intelligent Integration of Information), supported the Digital Library research effort through NSF
NLS/Augment, the origin of the canonical contemporary computer user interface
Policy Analysis Market
Rapid Knowledge Formation
Strategic Computing Program
Synthetic Aperture Ladar for Tactical Applications (SALTI)
Project Vela (1963)
It is possible to “reverse refuel” on KC-135’s, although the quantities delivered are small and it takes a little longer. This is hardly a new concept.
No problem. As you can see by the replies you received on this thread there is a tremendous amount of frustration with anything associated with government. Frankly, I feel the same way but I also realize some things do get done by some agencies and DARPA is one of those.
DARPA and ONR have the greatest success of technology that currently impossible to possible.DARPA looks beyond todays known needs and requirements.Three huge success by DARPA was the development of missile defense and Global Positioning and the Internet.DARPA created the foundation technologies in automatic target recognition, space based sensing, propulsion, and materials that were transferred to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), later known as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), now titled the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
One would think with all of the advanced video monitoring capabilities in the drones that a simple camera could have been added to let the pilot see just as much as other pilots do during the proceedure. Additionally, the boom operator also guides the pilot to the probe. Maybe even training the boom operators to share control for the proceedure.
It is? News to me.
Isn’t that pretty much what firefighters do?
I’m not questioning the value of DARPA, only this project. DARPA’s projects should dare to go into the area of high-risk, high-reward, which also means that with the successes, there are going to be failures.
UAV-to-UAV AAR makes sense and I’m eager to hear of its success, in fact it seems like a completely straightforward process at this point in history. Trying to accomplish the task by p!$$ing up a rope just doesn’t make sense to me.
Yes but maybe they want to do more with this project than that.
It is. I was on a crew that reverse refueled from a “head dancer” aircraft to our KC-135 when I was a pilot in SAC. It was a critical fuel situation and I can still remember the checklist I ran. All these years later.