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General Atomics Predator C Avenger

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Da una ricerca pare non ci sia un topic dedicato esclusivamente a questa nuova versione del Predator, quindi lo apro io.

 

 

New Predator C Hints At Stealth, Weaponry

 

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has quietly rolled out its new Avenger unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) - formerly known as the Predator C - and completed its first three flights on April 4, 13 and 14.

 

While company officials are not calling it a stealthy aircraft, they will admit to a reduced radar signature. The 20-hour-endurance UCAV's undeniably low-observable design offers clues about how it could be employed.

 

A weapons bay allows internal carriage of 500-pound bombs with GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions with GPS navigation and laser guidance kits attached. Given the aircraft's 34-feet length - which will increase by at least two feet in the second test aircraft - the weapons bay appears to be 10-feet long.

 

The bay doors can be removed to allow installation of a semi-submerged, wide-area surveillance pod. The aircraft is designed to carry about 3,000 pounds of weapons and sensors. For an additional two hours of flying time, fuel tanks also can be installed in the weapons bay.

 

A long, featureless underside further provides an ideal location for a sensor such as an all-weather, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The wide-area surveillance system - to be provided by the U.S. Air Force - has yet to be defined. It would be carried by a specialized all-reconnaissance version of the Avenger.

 

The V-tail both deflects radar and shields infrared signature of the aircraft's 4,800-pound thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545B turbofan. Each tail surface has two rudders for flight-control redundancy.

 

The hump-backed design of the aircraft offers room enough for a serpentine exhaust to prevent radar observation of the turbine. Pratt has been developing an S-shaped exhaust system that both offers protection from radar and cooling to reduce the infrared signature. The engine is expected to provide an airspeed of at least 400 knots, but company officials say envelope expansion tests may prove the speed to be "considerably greater". The UCAV's operational altitude would be up to 60,000 feet.

 

The Avenger's 17-degree sweep, 68-ft. span wing and tail are all aligned in plan view with one or other of the leading edges. This is the same shaping discipline used on classic stealth designs like the F-22 and B-2.

 

The cranked trailing edge provides the aerodynamic and structural benefits of a tapered wing and helps shield the engine inlet from radar. Other design elements, from nose to tail, help avoid radar cross-section hot spots that would be caused by a curved side.

 

The aircraft was designed from its inception so that the wing could be folded at the point where it cranks for storage in hangars or for aircraft carrier operations. The UCAV also comes with a tailhook, which suggests that carrier-related trials are planned.

 

The inner section of the cranked wing is deep, providing structural strength for carrier landings and generous fuel volume while maintaining a dry, folding outer wing.

 

 

www.aviationweek.com

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Predator C Avenger Makes First Flights

 

 

AvengerGENERALATOMICS.jpg

 

A new, reduced-signature, unmanned aircraft—the long-rumored, 20-hr.-endurance, pure-jet Predator C Avenger—has emerged from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ workshops after a 3½-year gestation period paced by massive growth in UAV production and the use of unmanned designs in combat.

 

The UAV’s undeniably stealthed-up exterior offers several clues about how the aircraft could be employed.

 

A weapons bay allows internal carriage of 500-lb. bombs with GBU-38 JDAM tail kit and laser guidance. Given the aircraft’s 41-ft. length (which will expand by at least 2 ft. in the second test aircraft), the weapons bay appears to be 10 ft. long.

 

The weapons bay doors can be removed to allow installation of a semi-submerged, wide-area surveillance pod, says Tom Cassidy, president, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ Aircraft Systems Group. Cassidy has earned a unique reputation by using company funds to develop what he believes the military needs rather than chasing Pentagon requirements that shift with disheartening regularity to produce cost increases and production delays. The result is a family of Gnat and Predator designs that are used by all the services and intelligence agencies.

 

The Predator C, like the B-variants, is designed to carry about 3,000 lb. of weapons and sensors. In a non-stealthy environment, weapons could also be attached externally on the fuselage and wings. For an additional 2 hr. of flying time, fuel tanks can be installed in the weapons bay. Normal fuel storage is split 50/50 between the wings and fuselage.

 

The Avenger’s electrical power is expected, at least initially, to be less than the 45 kva. available on Predator B variants. A long, featureless underside provides a low-distortion design for carriage of a wide-area surveillance sensor such as an all-weather, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The wide-area surveillance system—to be provided by the Air Force—has yet to be defined. However, it would be carried by a specialized all-reconnaissance version of the Avenger. A Lynx SAR is likely carried in the lower part of the nose. Absent from the prototype is the EO/IR sensor turret used by the Predator family. A retractable installation may have been developed.

 

The vertically-oriented V-tail both deflects radar and shields the 4,800-lb. thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW545B engine exhaust’s infrared signature. Predator C has two all-flying tail surfaces with two servos each for flight-control redundancy. The humpbacked design of the engine compartment offers room enough for a serpentine exhaust that eliminates radar observation of the engine. Pratt & Whitney has been developing an S-shaped exhaust that offers protection from radar observation and cooling to reduce the IR signature. The engine is expected to provide an airspeed of at least 400 kt., but Cassidy says envelope expansion tests may produce speeds “considerably greater” than that. Its operational altitude is up to 60,000 ft.

 

The Avenger’s 17-deg. swept wing (66-ft. span) and tail edges are all parallel in plan view with one or the other leading edges. It is the same shaping discipline used on classic stealth designs like the B-22 and B-2. The cranked trailing edge provides the aerodynamic and structural benefits of a tapered wing and helps shield the engine inlet from radar. Canted upper and power body sides meet at a sharp chine line, continuous from nose to tail, thereby avoiding the radar cross-section hot spot caused by a curved side.

 

The thickness and curvature of the inboard wing are noteworthy, pointing to an effort to achieve laminar flow over as much of the wing as possible. The prototype carries tufts over the left wing/body junction that allow engineers to visualize airflow in that area.

 

General Atomics Aeronautical’s parent company includes a division that produces materials for controlling radar, optical and infrared signatures. Adjacent to the company’s Rancho Bernardo, Calif., facility are the world’s largest indoor radar cross section testing ranges. Likely challenges would have included building a “bandpass” radome for the satcom antenna above the nose. It must be transparent at the Ku-band used by most airborne satcoms, but opaque at lower frequencies used by fighter and missile radars. Again, that capability mimics the F-22 and F-35.

 

The aircraft was designed so the wings can be folded for storage in hangars or aircraft carrier operations if a naval customer is found. Cassidy, a retired admiral, has talked about a possible Navy role for Predator C since 2002. The Navy was interested in the Predator B’s capabilities, but didn’t want to introduce any new propeller-driven aircraft onto carrier decks. The UAV also comes with a tailhook, suggesting that carrier-related trials are planned. The inner section of the cranked wing is deep, providing structural strength for carrier landings and generous fuel volume while maintaining a dry, folding outer wing. Right now, the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force are considered the most likely users.

 

The Avenger has landing gear from the F-5 aircraft and anti-skid brakes. It uses a laser altimeter and a vertical indicator has been added to the head-up display. At 100 ft. the laser altimeter comes on. If the pilot puts a “caret” in the middle of the indicator it will keep the aircraft at a proper pitch for the landing and eliminate pilot-induced oscillations caused by the parallax effect between a pilot’s vision from a manned aircraft cockpit and that of the UAV’s onboard visual sensor.

 

The Avenger made its first flights Apr. 4, 13 and 14 in a test program that is slated to last 2-3 months. With customer funding, in 10-12 months operational aircraft could be rolling out of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ new, expanded production facilities in Poway, Calif., that opened four weeks ago, Cassidy says.

 

Predator A and B production had been occupying the company’s Rancho Bernardo facility, but two factors have left plenty of room for manufacturing the Avenger and what’s being described as a highly modified Predator B-plus design. First, Predator A production is being phased out as more advanced models are fielded. Second, six buildings have been acquired at the new Poway facility with 1.2 million sq. ft. for manufacturing, about three times that at Rancho Bernardo. The research and development facility at Adelanto has also doubled in size. The composite fabrication facility remains in Sabre Springs.

 

While company officials won’t discuss their investment in the Avenger program, they will say it is about twice what they spent to develop the Predator B, primarily because it took longer.

 

The piston-engine Predator A (MQ-1) first offered long endurance and a weapons-firing capability. The turboprop Predator B (MQ-9) greatly increased the weapons payload, speed and operational altitude. The Predator C now adds additional speed for quicker response and rapid repositioning for mission flexibility and survivability.

 

With first flight of the Predator C and plans to start cutting the manned aircraft force structure, opponents are gearing up to object.

 

In a roundtable for reporters, Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed a vision for a new tactical aircraft force structure that includes a high, medium and low cost and performance mix of aircraft wrapped around the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and armed UAVs like the turboprop-powered Predator B Reaper. However, the Reaper, unlike the manned Raptor and JSF, is not low-observable. In contrast, the Avenger’s signature has been reduced through shaping and elimination of a propeller.

 

The tactical force structure would be supplemented with F-16Cs, F-15Cs and F-15Es upgraded with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars that increase radar ranges by 2-3 times and allow detection of small, even stealthy objects including cruise missiles, stealth aircraft and very small ground targets.

 

Opponents see a threat in the decision by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Cartwright to include armed UAVs within the fighter force structure. Critics view this as a first, false step driven by economic rather than military considerations that will lead to the substitution of “Reapers, and later Predator Cs, for F-35 JSFs,” says a long-time fighter pilot, acquisition official and senior Air Force leader.

 

However, this does overlook a basic planning element in the JSF program from the start: that the stealthy strike aircraft would be pitted—for competitive reasons in later production lots—against unmanned combat aircraft.

 

www.aviationweek.com

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Beh ormai di predator c'è rimasto veramente poco

In effetti visto così è quasi esteticamente degno di essere definito aereo!

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Calcolando che già il predator B viene considerato di fatto un nuovo aereo figurarsi questo.

Certo che la general atomics da niente è diventata un colosso, veramente un bell'esempio di lungimiranza.

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Calcolando che già il predator B viene considerato di fatto un nuovo aereo figurarsi questo.

Certo che la general atomics da niente è diventata un colosso, veramente un bell'esempio di lungimiranza.

magari tra quattro/cinque anni ad avercene una decina.....

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Ma se abbiamo appena preso due predator B, peraltro disarmati, prendere pure questo sarebbe un controsenso.

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Ma se abbiamo appena preso due predator B, peraltro disarmati, prendere pure questo sarebbe un controsenso.

E, come sempre, sia mai a prendere dei malvagi bombardieri fantasma!!! :asd:

 

Scherzi a parte, spero che anche le aziende europee replichino il successo di GA nel campo degli UAV. Certo quest'ultima è avvantaggiata dalle importanti commesse dell'USAF, ma se continuiamo con l'immobilismo attuale ci troveremo nuovamente in ritardo.

 

La General Atomics è un bell'esempio di lungimiranza statunitense, non c'è che dire.

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La General Atomics è un bell'esempio di lungimiranza statunitense, non c'è che dire.

 

Cioè una cosa quasi sconosciuta in Europa.

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Ma se abbiamo appena preso due predator B, peraltro disarmati, prendere pure questo sarebbe un controsenso.

Certo, non a breve termine visto anche che il velivolo è appena stato presentato, ma tra 4/5 anni quando i Predator A saranno obsoleti. E poi non era nei programmi dell'ami sostituire i Tornado ids con velicoli d'attacco teleguidati?

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E poi non era nei programmi dell'ami sostituire i Tornado ids con velicoli d'attacco teleguidati?

 

Questa mi arriva nuova.

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Certo, non a breve termine visto anche che il velivolo è appena stato presentato, ma tra 4/5 anni quando i Predator A saranno obsoleti. E poi non era nei programmi dell'ami sostituire i Tornado ids con velicoli d'attacco teleguidati?

 

 

Ringraziamo già di averli i predator, ce ne vorrà prima che diverranno obsoleti.

Poi, per la nuova generazione credo e spero che si punterà su qualcosa di Finmeccanica visto che il know-how c'è ma manca solo un ordine.

 

Quanto alla sostituzione degli IDS verrà fatta con gli F-35 che forse saranno affiancati da un limitato numero di velivoli senza pilota, gli unici che puntano davvero a basare la linea d'attacco principalmente su RPV sono i crucchi.

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Ringraziamo già di averli i predator, ce ne vorrà prima che diverranno obsoleti.

Poi, per la nuova generazione credo e spero che si punterà su qualcosa di Finmeccanica visto che il know-how c'è ma manca solo un ordine.

 

Quanto alla sostituzione degli IDS verrà fatta con gli F-35 che forse saranno affiancati da un limitato numero di velivoli senza pilota, gli unici che puntano davvero a basare la linea d'attacco principalmente su RPV sono i crucchi.

 

Ok. allora avevo letto giusto da qualche parte.

Assodato che i Tornado ECR saranno gli ultimi ad essere radiati e se fossero proprio le Pantere del 155° ad avere in dotazione i primi RPV "cattivi" stile Avanger?

Possono gli F 35, nella futura struttura net-centrica prevista dall'ami,"lavorare" insieme a velivoli RPV di tal tipo?

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Possono gli F 35, nella futura struttura net-centrica prevista dall'ami,"lavorare" insieme a velivoli RPV di tal tipo?

 

 

Certo che possono, gli americani ci lavorano da almeno dieci anni a queste ingrazioni e vuoi che il 35 non sia previsto per simili "alleanze"?

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Per quale motivo dovremmo dare degli RPV in mano ad un gruppo che ha anni di know-how in campo SEAD?

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Per quale motivo dovremmo dare degli RPV in mano ad un gruppo che ha anni di know-how in campo SEAD?

Pensavo che al termine della vita operativa degli ECR non essendo il 155° in lista d'attesa per i Lightning fosse il caso di assegnare a tale gruppo macchine all'avanguardia ed oltretutto senza pilota per un compito cosi'pericoloso come il Sead. Credo che macchine come l'Avanger saranno in grado di svolgere anche compiti Sead.Credo....

Cosa ne pensano l'usaf e gli esperti in tal senso?

Altrimenti andrebbero logicamente assegnati al 28° gruppo di Amendola che oltretutto avrà sulla stessa base gli altri due gruppi (101° e 13°) dotati di F 35B compatibili con

gli RPV.

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Una macchina come l'avenger non è assolutamente pensata per il SEAD.

ok grazie del chiarimento. Quindi F 35 alla fine dei Tornado ecr....chi vivrà....

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Gli UCAV potrebbero fare benissimo delle missioni SEAD, se equipaggiati con una suite ESM/ELINT e un paio di JDAM, il tutto comandato ovviamente da terra.

Niente di utopico insomma.

 

Ovviamente un assetto del genere sarebbe ottimale per missioni da "primo giorno" già pianificate, ma per eventi all'occorrenza una piattaforma pilotata in grado di fare le stesse cose è imprescindibile.

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First Successful Flight of UAS Predator C Avenger

da DefenceTalk

 

Vedo che si tratta di una notizia già postata, scusate.

Edited by Hicks

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Gli UCAV potrebbero fare benissimo delle missioni SEAD, se equipaggiati con una suite ESM/ELINT e un paio di JDAM, il tutto comandato ovviamente da terra.

Niente di utopico insomma.

 

Ovviamente un assetto del genere sarebbe ottimale per missioni da "primo giorno" già pianificate, ma per eventi all'occorrenza una piattaforma pilotata in grado di fare le stesse cose è imprescindibile.

 

 

Certo, ma parliamo di macchine di classe X-45, X47, Neuron o il coso inglese, non certo di quello che è un ennesima evoluzione del predator e che massimo porterà Hellfire e LGB.

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L'Avenger può portare in stiva -presumo due- JDAM da 500lb, oltre l'armamento già integrato sul Reaper.

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Ma avrà anche integrata una suite avionica in grado di fare il sead?

Se si l'avevo veramente sottovalutato.

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