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    UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

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    Austin
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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Austin on Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:13 am

    I think the armed forces lacked the vision for UAV or Netcentricity for their military , else they could have funded at the bare minumum and kept it going in prototype stages.

    Russian Military is deep into Nuclear Weapons,Missile, Armoured Carrier and Planes that they tend to over look the critical and soft factors like UAV or Net Centric Capability.

    Since Gerogia provided the wake up call they are funding somewhat and working on both fronts , but the US and NATO have a decade advantage there.

    No wonder Medvedev said they badly needed an organisation like DARPA to do long term technology planning that would shape the Military and bring about RMA.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:46 am

    No wonder Medvedev said they badly needed an organisation like DARPA to
    do long term technology planning that would shape the Military and bring
    about RMA.

    Most armies are equipped and trained to fight the last war they fought... ie most forces except Germany was ready to fight WWI style in WWII... which was why Germany dominated the start of that war.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Austin on Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:54 am

    Well the army that constantly innovates and brings in new thoughts and ideas will dominate future warfare.

    I should appreciate Pentagon in that regard , they have teams across that would constantly innovate and think how future battle will be fought and how they can dominate it and they have been quite sucessful in eliminating the enemy in recent wars.


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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:20 am

    But like anyone else they can only guess and often can be seriously wrong.

    The first prototype Bradley had the same crew arrangement as the BMP-1 and it was expected to use it the way it was invisioned in the Soviet Union... head into enemy territory with guns blasing.

    Experience in training and combat in the ME proved that a vehicle is a target and that the commander has a poor view from the hull in front of the turret behind the driver beside the engine. In practise the commander generally kicked the gunner out of the turret to get a better view so the gunner sat behind the driver twiddling his thumbs while commander had to operate the weapons and command the vehicle.

    The BMP-2 moved the commander into the turret and the tactics were changed... when the enemy had plenty of anti armour weapons the squad was deployed to take the position with the BMP sitting back offering direct fire support with tanks further back doing the same.

    The west learned that from the Soviets and the Bradley is a copy of the BMP-2 instead of the BMP-1.

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    Russian UAV's for Psyops/Intel

    Post  Pervius on Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:08 am

    With country by country being toppled to create the New World Order, why hasn't Russia created Tiger Teams to send into countries with little cheap remote control planes for "news" footage?

    Say Syria is getting taken over next, it's expected within 48 hours the US is sending in cruise missiles. Why wouldn't Russia send in a small team with cameras, little remote control planes with cameras, maybe even some helium balloons with 360* cameras hooked to fishing poles so they could be released to say 50 yards up to record what they see?

    Wouldn't it be ideal for Russia to have photographic evidence/live video feeds of a cruise missile hitting a elementary school and baby kids flying all over and laying in piles of blood?

    Why hasn't Russia pursued that warfare technic?....errr News gathering.

    Has NATO promised Russia won't be next on the chopping block? Are Russia's elite getting things handed to them to not do anything? Not only is the world getting played right now....but the people in charge of Russia may be accepting bribes to allow country by country to be toppled.

    Eventually they will get around to Russia when everyone else is taken over. Too bad Russia hasn't tried to capture video evidence to derail the One World Government. It was a cheap Psyops mission they could have done with almost no money. What's Russia's elite getting in return for their silence about what's happening?


    Last edited by Pervius on Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:10 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : RT News failure)

    nightcrawler
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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  nightcrawler on Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:59 pm

    Administrators merge this thread with the previous UAVs thread

    GarryB
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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:41 am

    The problem is that NATO has no qualms hitting civilian infrastructure.

    A good example is the TV station in Serbia that was hit... officially it was because it was broadcasting Serbian government propaganda... unofficially it was a media source NATO couldn't control and it was revealing their lies so it had to be silenced.

    I rather suspect if NATO detects lots of UAVs flying around Libyan airspace that it doesn't control it will simply go about eliminating them and trying to locate their control vehicles and attack them too.

    If you try to pretend to be CNN or BBC then the US government will come up with some excuse that it makes air operations for NATO aircraft dangerous and that news media should rely on the military for their information...

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  AbsoluteZero on Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:40 am

    The problem is that NATO has no qualms hitting civilian infrastructure.

    Its simply because of the fact that NOBODY complains when a NATO strike kills innocent civilians, but if its been Russian or Chinese, you are guaranteed to expect a swarm of protests and complaints from CIA funded Human Rights groups the following day. This hypocrisy is truly disturbing.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:41 am

    Well clearly if NATO hits a civilian target then it is the fault of whomever they are attacking for making them attack in the first place.

    If Russia, or China, or anyone else (except Israeli of course) accidently kills innocent people it is at best incompetence, and at worst a criminal act of a callous unfeeling government that doesn't respect human life and human dignity.

    The really scary thing is how many in the west believe it...

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Pervius on Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:07 am

    In 2008 the US Senate finally ratified that Hague Treaty for the Protection of Historical/Archaelogical sites.

    Why isn't Russia putting together claims for say Afghanistan and Libya against the United States for things that were destroyed that those countries need to be compensated for now?


    There's no possible way NATO could take out little tiny UAV's over say Syria just before America targets them with cruise missiles. Weather Ballons are cheap and disposable, they could have camera on them as well and let loose. Tether them to the ground and release to 3,000 feet. If they get shot down..big deal. They are cheap. Maybe have tiny wire on tether string running video feed down to a cheap laptop. If the balloon gets shot, unplug the cheap laptop and disappear into shadows.

    Very cheap operation. Find 5 locals and "hire them" as Russian News workers. Have them do the operation for mere rubles. If they get shot...oh well. Bab publicity for NATO...Russia doesnt spend really any money.

    Russia could be making money holding America accountable to Hague Treaty on protection of Historical/Archeological sites. Russia needs to step up and make money on America blowing stuff up.


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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:34 am

    Why isn't Russia putting together claims for say Afghanistan and Libya
    against the United States for things that were destroyed that those
    countries need to be compensated for now?

    Are you kidding?

    It took them 20 years to admit that the chemicals they were spraying on plants in Vietnam might be dangerous... they sprayed in the morning and by lunchtime all that was green was brown and clearly dead... but they thought it might not be harmful to people...
    After decades of complaints and action by some very dedicated people they finally admitted they might not have been right and offered some money for those americans still alive.

    There has never been a question about funding the hospitals filled with kids born with no arms and legs or other deformities in Vietnam.

    If you aint an american you aint worth nuthin.

    Needless to say when it is alleged that a Libyan national put a bomb on a plane it costs Libya 2 billion dollars. When a US cruiser enters Iranian waters firing on and shooting down a civilian airliner was much cheaper...

    Russia could be making money holding America accountable to Hague Treaty
    on protection of Historical/Archeological sites. Russia needs to step
    up and make money on America blowing stuff up.

    The US justifies its interventions by claiming to be the worlds police force. I rather doubt the Russians want that role and even if they did there are very few things the Russians could do to force the US to start acting responsibly.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Pervius on Thu May 12, 2011 4:36 am

    If the Russian military has any sense it will shut down its cell phone towers.

    How easy would it be for a foreign power to build a cheapo remote control plane controlled by a cellphone?

    You call into it and you transmit the AM signal thru the speaker of the receiving cellphone to control the aircraft. The cellphone you have displays video feed and gives you sound back. You now have an ultra cheap UAV for reconnassaince, assination, or precision strike.

    Cellphone's have enabled any country on Earth to launch UAV technology at other countries, companies, people....CHEAP.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Vladimir79 on Thu May 12, 2011 7:29 am

    Cell phones are just another type of network. Like any other, it can be encrypted.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Thu May 12, 2011 11:10 am

    The Russian military controls who can use the airways in Russia and could easily selectively turn off areas if needed.

    Equally cell phone detection and jamming equipment is available.


    Most UAVs actually operate most of the time on a programmed in flight path. They can be manually controlled but for instance if they operate on the other side of the planet then a course will be generated and sent to the UAV to get it to a target area.

    Even when it gets there it might just be commanded to orbit an area while the controller operates the cameras rather than flys the aircraft itself...

    Like any aircraft in Russian airspace if you fly a UAV across their border don't expect them to not notice and when they fly a plane in to find out what the aircraft is and find it is a UAV they will likely shoot it down when it enters their airspace as there is no chance to ask the pilot to land when there is no pilot on board to communicate with.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Flanky on Sun May 22, 2011 9:22 pm

    I would say that Russian HALE and MALE UAVs are considered to be top secret projects. 2008-2011 this timeframe is big enough. When it comes to Short range low observable systems im amazed that Russia is producing very fast and qualitative results. One would expect this field to be the most hardest as it is heavily dependent on the state of the art Russian dmoestic made electronics components. However HALE and partially MALE projects include components, parts, engines, flight computers, datalink transceivers that are already used on other conventional aircrafts. So if not most, then some of the already produced parts can be reused. The main issue here would remain engines, aerodynamics, automation control, communication. I think the biggest from these 4 is communication. HALE models are the ones with huge operational range and endurance. They can monitor a relatively close area for enormous amount of time, or they can go to a very remote area to make cople of flypasses with aerial surveilance, The latter often requires sattelite communication as a form for direct communication with command center. So Russia needs to have in place military communication satellites with wide bandwidth capability. I think meridian class satellites are here for this purpose however so far there are only 4 on orbit. Im not sure if thats enough.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Mon May 23, 2011 2:33 am

    If you look at what the USAF actually uses HALE and MALE UAVs it actually makes me wonder why the Russians would consider them priorities right now.
    These Long Endurance UAVs are mainly used for invasions or assassinations by the US, or to sneak into enemy territory to spy.

    The FSB might find such platforms useful, but I rather doubt the Russian military will suddenly adopt such tactics.

    The best use for HALE and MALE and with potential for LALE would be for maritime recon and border patrol. Both require monitoring of the earths surface so low flying long endurance UAVs would be more useful than high flying with regard to optical sensors.

    I would think a combination of HALE and LALE with the HALE using long range radar to monitor areas and detect targets, while LALE can visually ID targets and potentially fire warning shots with the HALE flying a more efficient flight profile could be used to carry LGBs of small size... say KAB-50s with the LALE marking the targets after first positively identifying the threat.

    Personally I think UCAVs make more sense because they can operate as strike aircraft but also as recon aircraft with the right equipment fitted.

    The only Russian UAVs I have seen models of that look like HALE types are the ZOND series and the Sukhoi S-62.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Flanky on Mon May 23, 2011 5:43 pm

    Garry < It actually makes very much sense. Because look at this. How many up to date ELINT, ECM, AWACS, JSTARS platforms Russians have? The ones we know of are old. JSTARS system is missing in their portfolio. HALE UAV are ideal as platforms for such systems + you don't need to have crew onboard. They are kinda just remote sensors where the data might be sent to ground control stations, or they even might be processed onboard. Since you don't have crew = pilots and operators, you save a lot of space, you can save their lives and you also save on operational costs. The ZOND familly of aircrafts is reportedly being created to cover all these aspects. Now in order to fight off any possible modern threat you need to have as much information about the threat as possible. Even during peace times. So these aircrafts would be ideal for monitoring objects of strategic interrest, military excercises, military hardware testing, enviroment catastrophes, pipelines etc.
    Maritime recon and border patrol are something for MALE. When it comes to UCAV - when we talk about UAV in general we don't talk about Low Observable units. However when we talk about UCAV - the concept is to have a Low Observable aircraft capable of autonomusly deliver ordnance onto enemy units. That thing Low Observable adds significantly to the cost. So having UCAVs to perform recon might not be that much financially efficient. So having UAVs separately from UCAV might be the thing.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Tue May 24, 2011 3:38 am

    Garry < It actually makes very much sense. Because look at this. How many up to date ELINT, ECM, AWACS, JSTARS platforms Russians have? The ones we know of are old. JSTARS system is missing in their portfolio. HALE UAV are ideal as platforms for such systems + you don't need to have crew onboard.

    For suicide missions not having a crew on board is ideal.

    For many recon missions you want the best equipment and so a JSTARS UAV will be very very expensive and not really expendible at all.

    I think they should replace existing Elint aircraft with new models... ie Il-20 Coots with Tu-214s, and the new A-100 is already being worked on. The Il-96 platform would be ideal as a strategic tanker and as a Jstars type because of its size and performance.
    I also think they should make small AWACs aircraft like the Yak-44 that can potentially be used on carriers or by export clients with smaller budgets that want to properly manage their airspace.
    I also think smaller tactical tankers would be a good idea too, perhaps the Tu-214 again or another type.

    I think UAVs have a great potential as recon platforms and maritime patrol and as strike aircraft where their smaller size means making them stealthy is cheaper and simpler and their small payloads are made up for with precision and stealth.

    UAVs are enormous vulnerable to jamming or an electronically capable enemy taking control of your drones.

    They are kinda just remote sensors where the data might be sent to ground control stations, or they even might be processed onboard. Since you don't have crew = pilots and operators, you save a lot of space, you can save their lives and you also save on operational costs.

    There is potential for such designs but I think only specific areas make sense.

    Remember loss rates for UAVs is higher than for manned aircraft and when those drones have complicated and expensive sensors on board like AESA radars then all of a sudden they are not cheaper than their manned equivelents.

    BTW I disagree with UCAVs as fighters for the same reasons... sure an unmanned fighter can pull 20gs, but I think a manned fighter will be more capable.

    The ZOND familly of aircrafts is reportedly being created to cover all these aspects.

    The ZOND series is misunderstood. The model with the trangular antenna that looks like an AWACS plane is actually a relay aircraft that flys over mountainous regions to improve radio communications between units in different valleys and to HQ.

    For commercial use it can provide cellphone coverage in places where there is none.

    It is NOT an AWACS aircraft.

    Now in order to fight off any possible modern threat you need to have as much information about the threat as possible. Even during peace times. So these aircrafts would be ideal for monitoring objects of strategic interrest, military excercises, military hardware testing, enviroment catastrophes, pipelines etc.

    I agree, but I also think that manned aircraft is the better option for now for JSTARS and AWACS and the US military seems to agree with me. There is room for ELINT drones that can be sent into places where you don't want to be caught sending manned aircraft into, or for very very long missions like ones that last perhaps weeks.
    The Russians have developed airships that can maintain station at 20,000-23,000m altitude for up to 4 months with payloads that can include radar and other electronic equipment that is unmanned.

    Maritime recon and border patrol are something for MALE. When it comes to UCAV - when we talk about UAV in general we don't talk about Low Observable units. However when we talk about UCAV - the concept is to have a Low Observable aircraft capable of autonomusly deliver ordnance onto enemy units. That thing Low Observable adds significantly to the cost. So having UCAVs to perform recon might not be that much financially efficient. So having UAVs separately from UCAV might be the thing.

    Having 7 ton supersonic anti ship missiles is not financially efficient, but at the end of the day the defence systems that needed to be breached had very good situational awareness so stealth wasn't going to cut it by going low and slow so speed was chosen as the best option to get through.

    For a UCAV you also have a range of options.

    The US solution we see in Pakistan is subsonic but high altitude with no stealth.
    And such a solution is relatively cheap and simple.
    I suspect they will have a very expensive and stealthy model in reserve if they ever needed to do the same to the Chinese because since U-2 and Gary Powers high altitude and subsonic speed has not worked over Russia or China.
    Another option would be speed and speed is an alternative to stealth but tends to reduce range and endurance so stealth is seen as the best option.

    The Skat is pretty much a Mig-29 with two weapons in a low drag, LO design so a low level flight into enemy territory should have a reasonable chance to get through most defences. At medium altitude it could be used against relatively unsophisticated defences too.

    You would still have Su-25s and Su-34s, but for some missions the Skat might make more sense.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Flanky on Tue May 24, 2011 8:27 pm

    For suicide missions you will use cruise missiles Smile
    Since they are designed to be expedable in their task.
    Well heres the thing. JSTARS is a monitoring platform used from friendly airspace. So there are no inherent threats to the platform because it can cover the area being scanned from distance. The main focus here is probably the operational cost savings from having remote control/no onboard crew. Airforce would ideally want to have 24/7 monitoring capabilities. In a manned aircraft you would need a crew that would change shifts with the ability to rest (sleep) without the need to land and change the crews. Such aircraft is only the E-3 Sentry that i know of. No other aircraft. Having a UAV without crew makes these on first glance unimportant things considerably easier. Because its "crew" is on the ground where they can change shifts without problem and aircraft can stay aloft with additional inflight refueling capability you have a true 24/7 platform that is a "dream come true" of many airforce commanders.

    When it comes to reliability, Remember US guys had to make every shuttle mission manned while Russians have put Buran on orbit with stunning reliability autonomusly. So when you are looking onto UAV field globally, yes there might be more losses and accidents, but HALE UAVs like Global HAWK are not made to be expendable after 10 missions for example. I know you know it too Smile They are reliable under extreme conditions, being able to conduct their mission after loosing connection with ground station and to land at the end safely.
    Today after hours and hours of testing using testcase scenarios you can achieve enormous level of reliability. Ofcourse it would cost you initially but at the end the total cost of ownership having no crew during missions can be still considerably cheaper. When it comes to AWACS capability:

    http://www.sukhoi.org/eng/planes/projects/bpla/complex/

    - the first one is ATC which means AIR TRAFIC CONTROL support. Means it does need to have onboard radar to perform this role as a remote sensor. Relay of communications is its second role.
    It might not be AWACS aircraft per say since the control commands will come from GCI or Fligh Mission Control centers, but that thing atop of the airframe seeems to be indeeed a radar. If you have ever seen a radio relay aircraft you would see that for radio relay role you don't need such spherical antena.
    UCAV cannot be used for intercept missions since there is a possibility that BVR fight will culminate into dogfight and as such UCAV AI is not that advanced yet to be reliable in situations where you need genuine thinking and even experience from situation to situation.

    When it comes to USAF. ITs not like that they agree with you, its that they haven't developed such system yet.
    I think i saw somewhere a article about Northrop making a tests with UAV equiped with SAR.
    Russians are no exception. Each flight hour beside of fuel and aircraft maintenance is expensive on the salaries of the onboard crew.
    If you extract that from equation. Aircraft could be shrunk. You save on construction materials. You would not need to use as much powerful engines, because you save weight. Saving weight means saving also fuel, increasing fuel ecenomy. So many things that make this inherently much more efficient.
    And when it comes to communication eavasdroping. Today in your car you have a memory chip inside your alarm and tranceiver containing a huge amount of key numbers in a unique order that makes stealing your car by evasdroping on the key being sent from your alarm control to the cars alarm virtually useless. And this is a common technology we use in everyday life. You can imagine how secure and advanced uplinks would be with an UAV. You could listen to the communication provided you will be stationed at the right place in the right time having decodeded the data. Which is a hard thing to do, but taking control of enemy UAV is just a science fiction. Because in order to do that you would need to know the exact configuration of that particular UAV unit. I know there was a big fuss over how IRAQi insurgets were capable of downloading an unencrypted video feed from Predator drones, but they were not able to take control of them. Its because in order to take control of the drone, it is not enough just to listen to the traffic sent to the drone. There is probably some security aspect similar to the alarm algorith used in your car. The time one particular key is send wirelessly to your cars alarm and accepted, it is discarded and any potential hacker will have in his hands a value that would be by the time he got it invalid.

    So it might sound that with the proper electronics you can do the "magic", however sometimes you can't. In order to take control of the UAV you need to know its particular configuration. Which is known only to the operators at the ground. However i don't deny the possibility of acquiring valuable information by the enemy listening to the comms and decoding it with some HPC system. But then again it is not that simple as it sounds.


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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Wed May 25, 2011 2:39 am

    For suicide missions you will use cruise missiles

    No, I mean for the first aircraft entering enemy controlled airspace with little idea of what is there.

    A bit like the Tu-22MR that entered Georgian airspace in the 8 8 8 conflict.

    It should have been able to deal with active radar threats, but when air surveillance comes over the border from a third untouchable country it becomes a duel with any air defence missile systems that open fire on you... a duel the Backfire clearly lost.

    Sending a HALE UCAV to fly high and look for targets and emissions for air defence nets, communications hubs and HQs even if the targets were actually engaged by other platforms like Iskander missiles or Skat type strike drones or cruise missiles... the point is that currently Russias sat network is not up to scratch yet so airborne vehicles need to find the targets.
    Something based on the M-17/M-55 could be used for example to operate in Russian or neutral airspace and do a similar job too.

    Well heres the thing. JSTARS is a monitoring platform used from friendly airspace. So there are no inherent threats to the platform because it can cover the area being scanned from distance.

    There is no way you could jam all the electronics of a JSTARS into a UAV smaller than a 737... and a UAV the size of a 737 would be enormously expensive and definitely not expendible. Putting all that electronic crap into an Il-96 would make much more sense including rest areas and crew sleeping areas for very long missions.

    The main focus here is probably the operational cost savings from having remote control/no onboard crew. Airforce would ideally want to have 24/7 monitoring capabilities. In a manned aircraft you would need a crew that would change shifts with the ability to rest (sleep) without the need to land and change the crews. Such aircraft is only the E-3 Sentry that i know of. No other aircraft.

    Even the Su-34 has a toilet, place to cook hot food and enough space to get out of your seat and lie down for a minute. AWACs aircraft like the Tu-126, A-50 and plenty of other aircraft have rest areas and even extra crews on board. Wouldn't be much point in having inflight refuelling on an A-50 if you have to land to replace the crews.

    An Il-96 would have plenty of room for electronics and crew comforts.

    Because its "crew" is on the ground where they can change shifts without problem and aircraft can stay aloft with additional inflight refueling capability you have a true 24/7 platform that is a "dream come true" of many airforce commanders.

    I disagree. By having humans on board and also processing the data on board the modern JSTARS aircraft greatly reduces its electronic emissions to important data only, whereas a JSTARS UAV would have to broadcast everything.
    The added problem with a JSTARS UAV is that without people on board it might be tempting to send it to places you wouldn't send a manned aircraft. And UAVs tend to crash a lot more than manned aircraft.

    The USAF is far more advanced in their application of UAVs AND JSTARS aircraft... are there any indications they are going to replace their JSTARS with UAVs any time soon?

    UAVs with a subset of JSTARS sensors could be used to enhance JSTARs operations, but I rather doubt they will replace them any time soon.

    When it comes to reliability, Remember US guys had to make every shuttle mission manned while Russians have put Buran on orbit with stunning reliability autonomusly. So when you are looking onto UAV field globally, yes there might be more losses and accidents, but HALE UAVs like Global HAWK are not made to be expendable after 10 missions for example. I know you know it too Smile They are reliable under extreme conditions, being able to conduct their mission after loosing connection with ground station and to land at the end safely.

    They also need proper runways and ground support comparable to that of conventional manned aircraft. They became relatively reliable when all the kinks were worked out... but they are not replacing JSTARs with Global Hawks.
    A Global Hawk could not carry a fraction of the equipment and sensors and processing computers that the JSTARS does. You would need 20 Global Hawks each with different equipment to do the same job... and I really don't think it is worth it yet.

    Right now a modified electronic Il-96 makes much more sense... if it is flying in friendly airspace there is little difference between having the crew in the aircraft looking at the live feed and processing it to pass it on to HQ, and having those same crews in vans receiving enormous data streams containing all the crap the UAV has detected but couldn't process...

    - the first one is ATC which means AIR TRAFIC CONTROL support. Means it does need to have onboard radar to perform this role as a remote sensor. Relay of communications is its second role.
    It might not be AWACS aircraft per say since the control commands will come from GCI or Fligh Mission Control centers, but that thing atop of the airframe seeems to be indeeed a radar.

    You are quite right that does appear to be a radar antenna.
    But... it is just a model. How far along the development path is this?
    Are they waiting for funding?
    Do they have any flying models?

    I suspect they are fishing for clients to invest money in the development.

    Each flight hour beside of fuel and aircraft maintenance is expensive on the salaries of the onboard crew.

    Both manned and unmanned aircraft need crew. The difference is where they sit.
    In the aircraft. Or in an expensive van with an expensive satellite datalink to allow them to control the aircraft when they need to.

    Which is a hard thing to do, but taking control of enemy UAV is just a science fiction.

    Jam transmissions to it and it will eventually likely return to base.

    However i don't deny the possibility of acquiring valuable information by the enemy listening to the comms and decoding it with some HPC system. But then again it is not that simple as it sounds.

    Certainly not as simple as it sounds, but there are people who do little else because it is their job to do it.

    I am not against UAVs, but I think they have their place.

    I think that claims of cheap UAVs is rubbish because most of the small ones are not cheap... you can buy a real light aircraft for the price of most UAVs of much lower performance.
    There are no really large UAVs able to perform missions like a JSTARs aircraft and if there were it would be likely much more expensive than the aircraft it replaces because it would need to be designed from scratch to take advantage of the lack of crews and this would be like designing a new airliner but with everything automatic with redundant fail safes because if something fails there will not be anyone onboard to fix it or reboot it.

    For the enormous expense of developing a new super huge UAV it makes rather more sense to make much smaller UAVs, including much smaller disposable UAVs that can be carried by the JSTARs aircraft and launched to get better reception of a particular signal by crossing a border and moving closer than you would dare take a JSTARs aircraft.

    Make the disposable UAV out of flammable materials and set it on fire before it is captured to prevent the enemy getting anything useful.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Wed May 25, 2011 4:11 am

    Note the advantage of high altitude is that only a few missile systems or a functioning air force can deal with high altitude targets, and those that can are generally large SAMs and of course airfields can be dealt with.

    Airfields and Large SAMs are not things that are easy to hide and so locating them and dealing with them should be reasonably straight forward.
    Airfields and large SAMs are generally not particularly mobile and can be dealt with using various methods including ARMs and cruise missiles and ballistic missiles like Iskander.

    Ideally what the Russians would have benefitted from was a Il-96 based JSTARs flying over the Caucasus in Russian airspace plus a couple of HALE UCAVs armed with Kh-58 and Kh-25MPU missiles and perhaps the odd Kh-31P as well.

    Certainly the Kh-25MPU would be ideal as its 40km flight range should be good enough for any Georgian threat while its relatively small size and light weight should allow 5 to 6 be carried by a single medium sized HALE UCAV... at 330kg each then 5 should weigh in at about 1650kgs.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Flanky on Wed May 25, 2011 2:22 pm

    As far as i know the Tu-22 MR is pretty outdated aircraft with outdated systems. It does not have the neccessary equipment to make correct assesment of the situation and thus they had a loss.
    I don't know much about the recon version but it is made mainly of optical aperatus. Tu-22 is a huge aircraft, big target and somehow not very agile and thus responsive to sudden threat appearance.
    GarryB wrote:There is no way you could jam all the electronics of a JSTARS into a UAV smaller than a 737... and a UAV the size of a 737 would be enormously expensive and definitely not expendible. Putting all that electronic crap into an Il-96 would make much more sense including rest areas and crew sleeping areas for very long missions.
    And here is the catch. It is possible and not just possible, today the F-22 has a more sophisticated radar than the JSTARS from the 1990s. You remember in 1996 first pentiums running at 100 Mhz and now allmost 15 years later you have on the same chip size 8 cores with 64bit capability running at 5Ghz. Which is from the performance boost like 2*8*(5000/100) -> old CPUs were 32 bit new ones are 2*32 = 64. Old CPUs had one core today you have maximum of 8 cores per single chip. Old CPUs had frequency 100 Mhz or below today a single core migh have 5Ghz. 2*8*(5000/100)=16*50 you have !!!!800!!!! times performance boost per single chip. Now the other thing is: In JSTARS aircraft most of the space is used for the crew and for the so called Man machine interface terminals. Those terminals alone are not doing the computations. They are just there to interface the operator with the system. This alone is consuming muuuuch of the space. If you take this into considerations then you would not be very surprised if the current JSTARS computational capability you would be able to put inside such UAV as Zond, Global HAWK or even smaller. There is no magic behind this, its the state of technology we have today.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=20&ved=0CFcQFjAJOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Festo.nasa.gov%2Fconferences%2Festf2010%2Fpapers%2FLou_ARRA_UAVSAR_ESTF2010.pdf&ei=Q-HcTeqcFMu4hAeivZWwDw&usg=AFQjCNFGwqon6cg3moTWR6ZXEaQkU0mMpg&sig2=PxDQPHq8v9FglyhygOg2IA

    Here is some NASA civilian research project including Global HAWK and SAR.
    There you have it.
    Additionally you can google out that Americans are into tons of research projects involving SAR on UAVs

    Even the Su-34 has a toilet, place to cook hot food and enough space to get out of your seat and lie down for a minute. AWACs aircraft like the Tu-126, A-50 and plenty of other aircraft have rest areas and even extra crews on board. Wouldn't be much point in having inflight refuelling on an A-50 if you have to land to replace the crews.
    An Il-96 would have plenty of room for electronics and crew comforts.
    Su-34 does because it was designed from the very beginning as long range bomber that would fly long missions and the crew comfort was ranked very high among the features.
    However in Tu-126 which is very old crew comfort features are minimal, even A-50 today is not too good in this because of the level of sound inside the aircraft it is virtually impossible to sleep there. Not to mention that A-50 would have to be significantly upgraded in order to shrunk the needed electronics for its role and save some space. It is not that big aircraft as it sounds.

    I disagree. By having humans on board and also processing the data on board the modern JSTARS aircraft greatly reduces its electronic emissions to important data only, whereas a JSTARS UAV would have to broadcast everything.
    The added problem with a JSTARS UAV is that without people on board it might be tempting to send it to places you wouldn't send a manned aircraft. And UAVs tend to crash a lot more than manned aircraft.

    The USAF is far more advanced in their application of UAVs AND JSTARS aircraft... are there any indications they are going to replace their JSTARS with UAVs any time soon?

    UAVs with a subset of JSTARS sensors could be used to enhance JSTARs operations, but I rather doubt they will replace them any time soon.
    Yes by processing the data onboard you can reduce the comms trafic. But you are still able to do the processing onboard on a HALE size UAV like global hawk.
    HALE UAVs don't tend to crash a lot Smile
    By the way do you know KQ-4?
    It is in testing proposed tanker version.
    And you do know what kind of reliability you need in such roles Smile
    So to me it looks like its only a matter of time when they will replace JSTARS, not if...

    They also need proper runways and ground support comparable to that of conventional manned aircraft. They became relatively reliable when all the kinks were worked out... but they are not replacing JSTARs with Global Hawks.
    A Global Hawk could not carry a fraction of the equipment and sensors and processing computers that the JSTARS does. You would need 20 Global Hawks each with different equipment to do the same job... and I really don't think it is worth it yet.
    That is fine. You don't expect a HALE uav to be rail launched from vehicle or by a catapult like those tinny ones.
    If you look at the E-8 there is no proposed program nor any intention to upgrade it - last was i think in 2005.
    Simply because UAVs like Global Hawk are going to replace it anyway.
    HAWK in standard version does have already SAR however not powerful enough for aerial scan.
    But overall the electronics the JSTARS had packed inside in for example 1995 - electronics with the same performance could be packed inside global hawk with ease.

    You are quite right that does appear to be a radar antenna.
    But... it is just a model. How far along the development path is this?
    Are they waiting for funding?
    Do they have any flying models?

    I suspect they are fishing for clients to invest money in the development.
    HALE UAVs in Russia are very secret projects. ZOND series of aircrafts might be in their final stage of testing as much as they might still be only proposed models. But taking into account the lesson Russians have learned from the Osethia war, i doubt they are just models.

    Both manned and unmanned aircraft need crew. The difference is where they sit.
    In the aircraft. Or in an expensive van with an expensive satellite datalink to allow them to control the aircraft when they need to.
    And there is one other significant differrence. Their salary. For one ground operator have allmost certainly much lower salary than pilot risking his own life by being onboard the aircraft in the area of operation.

    Jam transmissions to it and it will eventually likely return to base.
    Jam the transmission to it if you can, and it will eventually switch to autonomous mode where it will do whatever he has been preprogrammed with.

    There are no really large UAVs able to perform missions like a JSTARs aircraft and if there were it would be likely much more expensive than the aircraft it replaces because it would need to be designed from scratch to take advantage of the lack of crews and this would be like designing a new airliner but with everything automatic with redundant fail safes because if something fails there will not be anyone onboard to fix it or reboot it.
    Not yet, as they are in development - but we have all the indices that this is going to change soon.
    There are systems that can check the status of other systems and reboot them if needed.
    But you have to take into account that this kind of thing takes advantage of allmost space level of engineering. Be it mechanics, be it electronics.
    We have designed sattelites that their mission lasts for years. They are designed to work flawlessly for years. And most of them did. Russian ones as well.

    For the enormous expense of developing a new super huge UAV it makes rather more sense to make much smaller UAVs, including much smaller disposable UAVs that can be carried by the JSTARs aircraft and launched to get better reception of a particular signal by crossing a border and moving closer than you would dare take a JSTARs aircraft.
    Again this is a discussion similar to the MLRS one. Total cost of ownership. You have to take into account not just the development but also maintenance and operational costs. And if you count together all this stuff it seems the UAV approach is more efficient.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  medo on Wed May 25, 2011 4:02 pm

    http://www.lenta.ru/news/2011/05/25/uavs/

    IAI shows first picture of Searcher II for Russian MoD.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  GarryB on Thu May 26, 2011 4:10 am

    As far as i know the Tu-22 MR is pretty outdated aircraft with outdated systems. It does not have the neccessary equipment to make correct assesment of the situation and thus they had a loss.

    Outdated because they haven't spent a cent on them for the last 20+ years.

    Now you are suggesting a UAV can do a better job.

    I don't know much about the recon version but it is made mainly of optical aperatus. Tu-22 is a huge aircraft, big target and somehow not very agile and thus responsive to sudden threat appearance.

    JSTARS is even bigger and less agile and would have had even less chance in surviving.

    The problem is that we are comparing a fully funded three quarters of a billion dollar a year force that regularly invades foreign countries with a count that does not spend 1% of that and has gone through a period of 20 years of poor funding support and at least 3 economic meltdowns.

    You claim the cheapest option is to design from scratch a JSTARS like aircraft and make a super UAV out of it.
    I suggest taking an Il-96 airliner and putting JSTARs like material into it.

    Neither will result in a Tu-22MR which is a recon SEAD aircraft so I suppose that was a bad example.

    A JSTARS aircraft should have been used in the weeks and months before the attack to work out their defence etc.

    And here is the catch. It is possible and not just possible, today the F-22 has a more sophisticated radar than the JSTARS from the 1990s. You remember in 1996 first pentiums running at 100 Mhz and now allmost 15 years later you have on the same chip size 8 cores with 64bit capability running at 5Ghz.

    I think you are confusing capacity with performance. My digital watch is far more technically advanced than anything used to get a man on the moon. That doesn't mean that with my watch I can get to the moon.

    Now the other thing is: In JSTARS aircraft most of the space is used for the crew and for the so called Man machine interface terminals. Those terminals alone are not doing the computations. They are just there to interface the operator with the system. This alone is consuming muuuuch of the space.

    Space is not so important on a plane as weight. Having a UAV paked to the gills with electronics and you will have a fire within 20 minutes of turning it all on.

    If you take this into considerations then you would not be very surprised if the current JSTARS computational capability you would be able to put inside such UAV as Zond, Global HAWK or even smaller. There is no magic behind this, its the state of technology we have today.

    I am sorry but you are confusing the purpose and strengths of a UAV with the purpose and strengths of a JSTARS.

    Here is some NASA civilian research project including Global HAWK and SAR.
    There you have it.
    Additionally you can google out that Americans are into tons of research projects involving SAR on UAVs

    Synthetic Aperture Radar on a UAV would be useful, but not all SARs are equal.
    Mig-25s had side looking SARs and so do the electronic warfare Su-24s... it doesn't make them a JSTARS.

    However in Tu-126 which is very old crew comfort features are minimal, even A-50 today is not too good in this because of the level of sound inside the aircraft it is virtually impossible to sleep there.

    There is such a thing as ear plugs.

    Not to mention that A-50 would have to be significantly upgraded in order to shrunk the needed electronics for its role and save some space. It is not that big aircraft as it sounds.

    The A-50 has had upgrades and improvements over its operational life and will soon be replaced by the A-100 which has much more extensive upgrades.

    BTW if you think the A-50 lacks space how big a UAV are you talking about?

    Yes by processing the data onboard you can reduce the comms trafic. But you are still able to do the processing onboard on a HALE size UAV like global hawk.

    Says who?
    Added processing power will not fill the gap because improved sensor technology will greatly increase the amount of data to be processed. A volume of airspace that needed to be scanned in the 1990s will now need to be scanned much more carefully now because target RCS are smaller and the distances you need to detect emissions is much greater.

    With the increase in use of cellphones the ether will have a lot more emissions that need detection, classification, identification, and monitoring... all of which uses a lot more processing power.

    HALE UAVs don't tend to crash a lot Smile

    Currently they don't, though they lost a few early on to ice... and they don't have anything in service that could effectively replace JSTARS aircraft.


    By the way do you know KQ-4?
    It is in testing proposed tanker version.
    And you do know what kind of reliability you need in such roles

    So a proposed tanker version of a UAV is justification for Russia to skip a JSTARS aircraft and instead risk a JSTARS UAV.
    Russia has nothing like the UAV experience of the USAF, nor the JSTARS experience of the USAF. Yet you think they should fly before they can walk?

    A JSTARS UAV is redundant because JSTARS has been used in several conflicts and has never even been threatened let alone shot down. JSTARS is used in a way that puts no risk to the aircraft, yet provides valuable intel on the enemy... something Russian forces severely lacked in Georgia.

    They have proposed a tanker UAV... when they get the necessary reliability and actually are in service then I will be impressed.

    So to me it looks like its only a matter of time when they will replace JSTARS, not if...

    Most of the worst accidents that occurred during the cold war for Russia did so because they were in a rush to leap ahead of the west.
    There is no need for such foolishness right now.
    Spending money on a JSTARS like aircraft is more important than whether it is a UAV or an airliner like the Il-96.
    I think it makes more sense to have both in terms of a manned aircraft with all the electronics on board doing the job plus some UAVs that can be sent where the manned aircraft can't go for use in certain situations.

    But overall the electronics the JSTARS had packed inside in for example 1995 - electronics with the same performance could be packed inside global hawk with ease.

    With the obvious problem that even if that were true that Russia neither has JSTARS or Global Hawk.

    Could you give me a few examples of what the Russian military would actually be doing right now if it had a Global Hawk?

    Exactly what missions would it be flying with this UAV that it can't fly right now with a manned aircraft or satellite?

    I can't think if a single use for such a UAV for Russia right now that would justify the expense.

    HALE UAVs in Russia are very secret projects. ZOND series of aircrafts might be in their final stage of testing as much as they might still be only proposed models. But taking into account the lesson Russians have learned from the Osethia war, i doubt they are just models.

    Russian companies have been showing drawings and prototypes of UAVs for 20 years or more, yet only a very few UAVs were ever actually bought and paid for. Most have been prototypes dragged out for airshows for the last two decades in the hope someone would spend money on their development.
    The reality is that the Russian Military has simply not been interested as a whole about UAVs till 2008. The only part of the Russian military with any interest was the Artillery in the Russian Army that bought and developed the Pchelka for artillery spotting and it is a mature respectable system for what it is.
    Problem is that since 2008 all branches of the Russian military have suddenly decided they need UAVs and they need them now. They don't know what they need them for, but they need them.
    They are buying 100 old Israeli systems to equip a training unit because they don't even know what to expect from a UAV system or how to use it.

    ...and you expect them to spend hundreds or perhaps thousands of millions of dollars making a JSTARS UAV?

    And there is one other significant differrence. Their salary. For one ground operator have allmost certainly much lower salary than pilot risking his own life by being onboard the aircraft in the area of operation.

    The difference in combat pay and non combat pay is not great... and in conditions of guerilla warfare where the battle lines are blurred who is to say where the combat zone is?

    You finish a day monitoring Chechen airspace for bad guys and then go out that night to a show in Moscow when half way through the play some bearded men and women covered from head to toe in black suddenly step up on the stage and start waving guns...

    Jam the transmission to it if you can, and it will eventually switch to autonomous mode where it will do whatever he has been preprogrammed with.

    Jamming JSTARS is unlikely an option, it should be able to use a satellite link to pass jamming information to the air defence forces to deal with it.

    Not yet, as they are in development - but we have all the indices that this is going to change soon.
    There are systems that can check the status of other systems and reboot them if needed.
    But you have to take into account that this kind of thing takes advantage of allmost space level of engineering. Be it mechanics, be it electronics.
    We have designed sattelites that their mission lasts for years. They are designed to work flawlessly for years. And most of them did. Russian ones as well.

    A UAV JSTARS is too much of a risk right now... what they need is a real JSTARS and they can think about augmenting its performance with UAVs later.

    Again this is a discussion similar to the MLRS one. Total cost of ownership. You have to take into account not just the development but also maintenance and operational costs. And if you count together all this stuff it seems the UAV approach is more efficient.

    On paper it looks more efficient. In the real world however you will find costs increase and that cheap UAV is no longer that cheap if you actually want to use it.

    The difference between this and the MLRS discussion is that I am quite familiar with tube and rocket artillery, but the capabilities of the JSTARS and any Soviet/Russian ELINT equivelent is something I am not so familiar with.

    I know they have ELINT versions of the Il-20 and the Il-76 and the Il-80 has been mentioned in the C2 role, and I remember reading that a prototype jammer version of the Tu-22M was beaten by a jammer version of the Il-76 because its jammers were more powerful. What they clearly lack are ELINT aircraft and I think that in addition to new satellites they should develop ELINT versions of new aircraft, as this will improve performance and boost production figures for new aircraft... and allow the retirement of older platforms too.

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    Re: UAVs in Russian Armed Forces: News

    Post  Flanky on Thu May 26, 2011 1:59 pm


    Outdated because they haven't spent a cent on them for the last 20+ years.
    Now you are suggesting a UAV can do a better job.
    Indeed.

    JSTARS is even bigger and less agile and would have had even less chance in surviving.
    The problem is that we are comparing a fully funded three quarters of a billion dollar a year force that regularly invades foreign countries with a count that does not spend 1% of that and has gone through a period of 20 years of poor funding support and at least 3 economic meltdowns.
    You claim the cheapest option is to design from scratch a JSTARS like aircraft and make a super UAV out of it.
    I suggest taking an Il-96 airliner and putting JSTARs like material into it.
    Neither will result in a Tu-22MR which is a recon SEAD aircraft so I suppose that was a bad example.
    A JSTARS aircraft should have been used in the weeks and months before the attack to work out their defence etc.
    You are right. Tu-22MR have a completely differrent role from JSTARS. It has to be flying in the area which he needs to scan. JSTARS can scan from far away.

    I think you are confusing capacity with performance. My digital watch is far more technically advanced than anything used to get a man on the moon. That doesn't mean that with my watch I can get to the moon.
    Garry you know that if you have chip with a better performance it means: 1) Either you can reduce the amount of chips to process the same amount of data. Or 2) You can significantly increase the emount of data being processed by the same number of chips but more powerfull. Those watches could take you on the moon, provided they will be part of a system capable to do so.

    Space is not so important on a plane as weight. Having a UAV paked to the gills with electronics and you will have a fire within 20 minutes of turning it all on.
    Yes there is a lot of heat, but don't forget... Russians had already veeery efficient cooling system back in the 60s-70s on Mig-25. With proper energy management and architecture you don't need to worry about the overheating too much. Those are UAVs flying very high at high speeds where the flow of cold fresh air is everywhere arround you. By properly designing air intakes or feeding fresh air from engine air intake you can cool down those gadets without problem. Or you can use liquid cooling and in that case you have even better cooling efficiency.

    Synthetic Aperture Radar on a UAV would be useful, but not all SARs are equal.
    Mig-25s had side looking SARs and so do the electronic warfare Su-24s... it doesn't make them a JSTARS.
    Thats true. But what i wanted to say is this: For SAR with the capabilities similar to the JSTARS from the 90s, you would need significantly smaller antennae (sensor) with much smaller energy consumption, and the computing segmentn of the system will compensate by running many more mathematical formulas on the signal received from the sensor. I will tell you a better example. Do you know the ICBMs early warning, detection and tracking radars? In the 80s they were huuuuuge. Today they are significantly smaller, with smaller energy consumption, but altogether better performance and technical characteristics. Because they are compensated with huge computational power. You have dedicated integrated circuits called DCS = digital signal processors that are specifically designed to perform operations on such input signals like those from radar. They are widely used in AESA.

    There is such a thing as ear plugs.
    And there migh be such level of noise that even ear plugs won't be enough.
    I have rad an article about A-50 being very inferior in this to E-3.

    BTW if you think the A-50 lacks space how big a UAV are you talking about?
    As said. The Actual A-50 have cabin, with pilot display intruments, it have operator terminals with seats, it have behind a walkway behind and commander seat - everything with CRT technology.
    These things simply consume soo much space and weight - that UAV not having them would be significantly smaller. Thats the thing im pointing to. Because there will be higher level of automation and the operators will be on thhe ground.

    Says who?
    Added processing power will not fill the gap because improved sensor technology will greatly increase the amount of data to be processed. A volume of airspace that needed to be scanned in the 1990s will now need to be scanned much more carefully now because target RCS are smaller and the distances you need to detect emissions is much greater.
    Well this is questionable. I mean it depends from system to system. If you increase the amount of data, that does not necessarily mean you also need to increase the size of the system.
    Today you have fast multinode optical interconnects that one cable can be used for paralel transfer of many data streams each of differrent wavelength, and it is very fast.
    This coupled with paralel processing capabilities of single chip with multiple cores might results into a system which is smaller, consumes less energy producess less heat or the same amount of heat, it is lighter, maybe iniatially more expensive, but is more capable and is considerably cheaper from the perspective of operational costs.

    Currently they don't, though they lost a few early on to ice... and they don't have anything in service that could effectively replace JSTARS aircraft.
    As said because those things are in development.
    But having seen many of the photos, sketches, articles etc. this is the trend we are aproaching undoubtfully, wether you like it or not.
    There are no hints or articles about future possible JSTARS based on Il-96 or any other existing conventional aircraft and i think there is a reason behind this.
    On the other hand we clearly see on the UAV sketches SAR aperatus radome on ZOND, on Global HAWK and who knows where else.

    Could you give me a few examples of what the Russian military would actually be doing right now if it had a Global Hawk?
    Exactly what missions would it be flying with this UAV that it can't fly right now with a manned aircraft or satellite?
    Well you could also ask from technical point of view what mission Army or the Navy won't be capable to perform that only Airforce would?
    Recon? Well you have navy reckon ships and ground recon troops/patrols. You could send them to check onto some area, or blow up some stuff, monitor enemy comms from sea or ground as well as other types of inteligence gathering, observation and military actions (aka blow up stuff). However airforce is more efficient in some of these. So efficiency is the name of the game.
    And not just me, but there is considerable proof among the experts community indicating that they believe UAVs are more efficient, even to the point they are feasible.

    So a proposed tanker version of a UAV is justification for Russia to skip a JSTARS aircraft and instead risk a JSTARS UAV.
    Russia has nothing like the UAV experience of the USAF, nor the JSTARS experience of the USAF. Yet you think they should fly before they can walk?
    A JSTARS UAV is redundant because JSTARS has been used in several conflicts and has never even been threatened let alone shot down. JSTARS is used in a way that puts no risk to the aircraft, yet provides valuable intel on the enemy... something Russian forces severely lacked in Georgia.
    They have proposed a tanker UAV... when they get the necessary reliability and actually are in service then I will be impressed.
    If i would convert what you are saying into the field of 5th generation airplane technology. Russians should first build small bomber (F-117), then a larger one (B-2), and then finally move to the stealth figther concept? Nooo thats not the way it works! I know experiences are important - nobody wants to deny that, but having less experience than somebody else does not mean that you cannot jump onto some very good idea and try to work on it. What Russians are doing is that they see americans will eventually move to jstars uav, so instead of pumping money into manned aircraft platform that they will have to phase out very soon anyway in order to stay up to date, they will jump directly to UAV platform. And when it comes to KQ-4 - i believe that if the Global HAWK would not be reliable, this proposal would not come. And since they have made it to the stage where Air Force is evaluating and testing a model of such tanker, it indicates that they DO have faith in its reliability, effectiveness and usefullness.

    Most of the worst accidents that occurred during the cold war for Russia did so because they were in a rush to leap ahead of the west.
    There is no need for such foolishness right now.
    Spending money on a JSTARS like aircraft is more important than whether it is a UAV or an airliner like the Il-96.
    I think it makes more sense to have both in terms of a manned aircraft with all the electronics on board doing the job plus some UAVs that can be sent where the manned aircraft can't go for use in certain situations.
    True - accidents happened because things were not been designed into the detail enough. However today you can much more easily jump into military segments in which you don't have too much expertise or none at all. Why? Because you can buy consulting services or the actual intelectual property of companies that do have this expertise and experience. Like israel. China was doing the same with their aircrafts buying consulting and ip from Russia when they designed its very formidable J-10. It was a giant leap between their previous designs both technologically and from performance point of view as well. Why do you think Russians would not be able to produce up to date reliable HALE UAV, when today they have all the means to do so?

    Russian companies have been showing drawings and prototypes of UAVs for 20 years or more, yet only a very few UAVs were ever actually bought and paid for. Most have been prototypes dragged out for airshows for the last two decades in the hope someone would spend money on their development.
    The reality is that the Russian Military has simply not been interested as a whole about UAVs till 2008. The only part of the Russian military with any interest was the Artillery in the Russian Army that bought and developed the Pchelka for artillery spotting and it is a mature respectable system for what it is.
    Problem is that since 2008 all branches of the Russian military have suddenly decided they need UAVs and they need them now. They don't know what they need them for, but they need them.
    They are buying 100 old Israeli systems to equip a training unit because they don't even know what to expect from a UAV system or how to use it.
    ...and you expect them to spend hundreds or perhaps thousands of millions of dollars making a JSTARS UAV?
    The difference between US MIC and Russian one is this: In USA very few companies fund a project that is not sponsored by goverment, but it is deemed to be promising for future potential customer needs. Be it on home market or outside. Russians were doing this very often. Black Eagle tank, Arena active protection, Su-37, Su-47, Mig 1.44 tons of examples. Now we don't know how much money sukhoi have invested into zond and where they are with the project. But the lone fact that russian armed forces were not interrested in this till 2008 does not mean that company did not lead the project to certain more advanced status than just a sketch. They might be closer to finish it than we think. When it comes to the requirements: I think it would be naive to think they don't have enough idea what to expect and demand from domestic uav manufacturers. Military intelligence (GRU) is the right thing to collect intelligence data about foreign UAV, and some of them are even freely accessible. Additionally you can hire consulting guys, or buy IP. So many things you can do... thinking that they don't know what to expect is really naive as you might have seen that they have rejected couple of domestic designs because they KNEW that foreign ones had better technical characteristics.

    The difference in combat pay and non combat pay is not great... and in conditions of guerilla warfare where the battle lines are blurred who is to say where the combat zone is?
    You finish a day monitoring Chechen airspace for bad guys and then go out that night to a show in Moscow when half way through the play some bearded men and women covered from head to toe in black suddenly step up on the stage and start waving guns...
    Well i don't exactly know because i haven't experienced it. But one of my familly members (my uncle was in Bosnia as engineer) told me that the area of operations is usually divided into zones and within that zones depending what you do. Be it more peacefull work or more combat oriented the differrences might be big. Especially if you are a pilot - meaning you have one of the highest salaries in the armed forces.
    Anyway usually you have the UAV operator staff on airfield which is hell well protected and considered to be very safe.

    So overall i think they know what they are doing and that they have a perfectly valid reason why they don't plan to have manned aircraft as JSTARS, rather than UAV. They need to develop airframes for HALE UAVs anyway. And when they need them for Reckon, why not to use them for JSTARS and AWACS role, when America is indicating that the HALE UAV segment has matured enough, to start thinking about using them in roles and situations where reliability is crucial. Simply because technology we have today is so much differrent from what we had in the 1990s.
    Thats the world we live in today Smile

    Edit: I have found that GosNIIAS is working on some JSTARS like aircraft study for Russia.
    But i haven't found too much info.

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