Boeing Loyal Wingman Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Performs First Taxi Test - The Aviationist
- создают БЛА с расчетом на рассредоточенное базирование на импровизированных, быстроразвертываемых ВПП, снижая уязвимость вследствие ударов по стационарным аэродромам, и планируя организацию скоординированных ударов с множества таких точек базирования по противнику.
Some defense experts think that low-cost, “attritable” unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) now in development can substitute for significant numbers of advanced manned military aircraft. Use these cheaper aircraft and you don’t have buy as many F-35A fighters, B-21 bombers and other stealth aircraft. Nothing is further from the truth. The Air Force needs a mix of next-generation drones, including attritable systems, and a large force of 5th generation aircraft that can team to achieve decisive effects in future battlespaces. The Air Force recently announced it was awarding contracts to develop artificial intelligence (AI) software and associated technologies for a new type of aircraft it calls low-cost attritable UAVs. These AI-enabled aircraft will be capable of teaming with other manned and unmanned aircraft to counter enemy air forces, conduct electronic warfare, act as sensors and communications platforms, and strike targets with precision. The Air Force calls these UAVs “attritable” because they are designed to fly a limited number of sorties and have unit costs that range between $2 million to $20 million depending on their mission systems. This makes them affordable enough to use in high-threat environments where the risk of being shot down is too great for manned aircraft. Without question, buying a significant number of low-cost attritable UAVs will help the service increase the size of its combat aircraft inventory, which is at an all-time low. Attritable UAVs such as the XQ-58 Valkyrie will have ranges of 3,000 nm and carry payloads of weapons or mission systems that weigh up to 1,200 pounds. Appropriately equipped, attritable UAVs will be able to find, fix, track, and provide targeting information to penetrating and standoff strike aircraft; jam enemy radars; act as decoys; and perform other missions independently or teamed with manned aircraft to increase the Air Force’s survivability and lethality. Because they are being designed to launch from a containerized rail launch system and recover after a sortie by parachute without using a runway, attritable UAVs will also reduce the USAF’s reliance on using vulnerable airfields to generate combat sorties. This is a critical new capability, since Chinese or Russian missile attacks against under-defended theater airbases could severely degrade the service’s combat tempo. Attritable UAVs—their relatively low cost, long ranges, and sizes suitable for runway free operations—make them valuable complementary and additive capabilities, not replacements for 5th generation aircraft. In many ways, procuring attritable UAVs will help the Air Force create a high-low mix of capabilities that provides distinct value for operations across the conflict spectrum. F-35As, B-21s—and likely the USAF’s Combat aircraft like the F-35 and B-21 will also bring greater payload capacity to the fight compared to attritable UAVs. Given the size of China and Russia’s forces and military infrastructure, the number of targets USAF may be tasked to strike in a future peer conflict could exceed targets attacked during all U.S. air campaigns over the last 30 years combined. This increases the Air Force’s need for aircraft that can deliver larger numbers of weapons per sortie. For instance, the B-2 bomber has an unrefueled range of 6,000 nm and a payload capacity of 40,000 pounds, which translates to mission loadouts of up to 80 500-pound bombs and many more 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs (SDB). This is a key reason we are buying the next-generation B-21. By contrast, an attritable UAV with 600- to 1,200-pound payload capacity could carry two to four SDB-sized weapons per sortie. Although there are no technical limitations to developing UAVs that carry more weapons, doing so would significantly grow their size since they would need a larger weapons bay as well as the capacity to carry more fuel to maintain their long ranges. This would increase their unit cost and it would also require them to take off from a runway, negating a major advantage of the attritable concept. Instead, runway-independent attritable UAVs should be used in ways that will significantly improve the survivability and effectiveness of bombers that can deliver far more weapons per sortie. Neither of these points argue against the Air Force buying hundreds of low-cost attritable UAVs as quickly as possible—far from it. The service should and must develop a family of UAVs that will enable it to do what it cannot do today, such as conduct large-scale manned-unmanned teaming operations and generate sorties independent of airfields. This sort of mass and flexibility will prove essential in a conflict with China or Russia. The Air Force should not trade off some portion of its planned 5th generation aircraft to pay for alternate priorities. The future demands that the Air Force pursue a force that consists of the most cost-effective means to deliver mission results, taking maximum advantage of what drones and manned aircraft will bring to the fight.
и есть определенная конкретика по цене
Skyborg должен быть «достойным» БПЛА - типом летательного аппарата, построенного достаточно дешево, чтобы не потерять банкротство в случае большого количества потерь в бою. Для ВВС США это означает цену от 2 до 20 миллионов долларов за самолет.
The US Air Force has awarded contracts to Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to build and fly Skyborg prototypes as loyal wingman unmanned air vehicles in a series of experiments.