The U.S. air force wants to be equipped by no later than 2018 with drones, that can attack an enemy in all schools. Kratos defence & security solutions is currently working on the development of such drones. The drones should can not only, but also don’t cost much. What’s behind the new strategy of the air force?
Financially, the U.S. air force has come under pressure because the ongoing production of the F35 fighter aircraft as well as development and construction of the new strategic bomber B21 require each several hundred billion dollars. U.S research agency is well finance for this investment. They believe that using drone technology next war will be free of injuries.
Department of Defense DARPA and the air force working research laboratory with high pressure currently drastically cheapen the use of drones and develop at the same time technically new applications.
Specific requirements for swarms drones to be cheap.
Aim of the “Cheap” drones project it is far away from its own ground positions the opportunity to create, to tackle the enemy with swarms of drones to reconnoiter and to harm the enemy defensive capabilities fully or at least partially. It is intended to 880 km/h at an airspeed of the drones. To the relatively small drones with a central span of maximum three meters in a broad wedge-shaped swarm on the enemy position to fly to.
Part of the drones should be armed with explosives, most but with electronic interference equipment up to small radar guns. The wide range of the missile is to cause the opponent simultaneously in large numbers to the defense to use missiles or aircraft. The foremost drone electronically is the leader of the swarm.
Should be taken this drone or fail for other reasons, the next drone takes over the leadership very quickly, while the attack will continue to run. The drones return after the attack to their transport aircraft, from where they started.
Air force pretends prices
The value of the Luftwaffe for Kratos is that placing an order for 100 drones the unit price must go beyond not three million dollars. Several hundred drones there should be maximum of $2 million per drone. Comparison: the piece quality drones, which have many properties of unmanned combat aircraft, can cost 20 to 30 million dollars now without further ADO.
In this respect, the drones now concerned, are actually relatively inexpensive. Their use should is cheapen this further, they can be caught again and sent off several times. Just a technical challenge lies at the same time.
Return to the transport aircraft
The future swarm of drones to launch into the air from a transport airplane and return there again. For this, the U.S. air force has provided the C130 Lockheed has become known under the name of “Hercules”, which will be flown by air forces around the world in large quantities.
Lockheed has already converted some of the Hercules transporter and also tested. During the flight, the rear loading ramp of the Hercules will open. The drones, each by a small jet engine powered, start from this ramp in rapid succession. Return to the Hercules is somewhat complicated, because outside there’s a significant air turbulence at the ramp, which makes it difficult for the drones to find their way into the plane without actually.
The default of the United States air force is that all seven and a half minutes a drone aboard must – come four drones at every half hour. This is true from the perspective of the industry as a condition to be especially difficult.
As an alternative, also an airship would be eligible
Should fail in the development work, to ensure the safe return of the drones, also an airship would rather than an aircraft into question. The advantages, it would be largely without flying turbulence. The disadvantage of the airship is however that’s longer time needed very much to get to the job site and to return there later.