There has been some interesting news on unmanned air systems (UAS).
A “sense and avoid” radar system has been developed for the the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) land based system. Replacing “See and Avoid” with no eyes on board has been a problem in integrating UAS with the domestic air traffic control system. This system does not give all around detection, but then eyes don’t see under the plane or what is coming up behind either.
Lighter than air, or in this case slightly heavier than air always seems almost ready. The Army and Northrop Grumman’s optionally manned long endurance, multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV). has had its first flight.
“HAV business development director Hardy Giesler told AIN today that, configured as a freighter, the airship could carry a payload of 20 tonnes, but for the ISR mission it is designed to carry a 2,500-pound payload at 20,000 feet for 21 days. The Army says the airship will perform the ISR mission with fuel consumption 10 times less than that of mission-comparable platforms, and that it will provide a 2,000-mile radius of action.”
There is also a report that the few land based drones the Department of Homeland security has employed over water have not been as successful as might have been hoped. It does look like this report originated with Customs and Border Protection’s aviation unit. They might have their own agenda.
I can see that within the next 50 yrs, that Airships will be the next form of Airborne maritime Surveillance for the US Coast Guard. The other Option maybe to strap on SAAB’s Erieye radar system on the C-130
At least some of the C-130s already have very good radars as do the HC-144s.
Good thing about airships is persistence. It can cover an area of interest for long periods.
Bad think about airships is that they are slow, so cannot cover a large area in a short period of time.
Question, didn’t the US Coast Guard at one time operated Blimps
aerostats back in the 80’s if i remember correctly. tethered to ships, large radar platforms.
Thanks, I just wanted to know If we ever did operated Blimps. I think using Blimps for persistence patrols or as a platform for surveillance and even patrols
I could of sworn I’ve seen one the other day over Lake Erie (that could have come from Camp Perry or NASA?)
Army tests spy blimp over New Jersey
Philadelphia Inquirer – 2 days ago
New spy airship tested over N.J.
Vineland Daily Journal – 2 days ago
Army’s spy blimp makes first test flight over NJ
USA TODAY – 2 days ago
Another unique aircraft. This one is intended to be manned.
I like the “no infrastructure required” aspect. Might even be useful in the Arctic.
I think the USCG using Blimps would be a great idea for Patrols and surveillance. Also a Blimp can be used a Comms relay station as well
The Navy has halted work on the sense and avoid system being developed for the Triton (part of the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance or BAMS). Sense and Avoid systems are needed to allow UAVs to operate in US airspace. Until a reliable system is developed, the Coast Guard’s use of long range land based UAVs will be extremely limited. http://breakingdefense.com/2013/08/13/navy-halts-work-on-triton-drones-system-to-help-avoid-other-planes/
The manpower requirements and projected cost per flight hour quoted are also probably a lot higher than most people would assume.
BAMS has completed a 3,300 mile trip from the West Coast to the East Coast. Interestingly that while this was essentially a ferry flight it did not take the shortest route, instead it went of the coast for much of the flight: http://intercepts.defensenews.com/2014/09/3000-miles-cross-country-unmanned/
Somewhat surprisingly they talk about using the system for Search and Rescue.
Second BAMS aircraft has completed it test flight: http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/year-2014-news/october-2014-navy-naval-forces-maritime-industry-technology-security-global-news/2060-second-northrop-grumman-built-mq-4c-triton-uas-completes-first-flight.html
If this program develops as conceived the capability is going to be spectacular.
“Specifically designed for maritime missions of up to 24 hours, Triton can fly at altitudes higher than 10 miles, allowing for coverage of 1 million square nautical miles of ocean. Its advanced suite of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors can detect and classify different types of ships.
“The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 Tritons to be fielded.”
More news on the Navy’s attempt to provide “sense and avoid” for their unmanned aircraft systems. Apparently the previous effort was not fruitful, so they are soliciting for a new system: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-navy-re-starts-sense-and-avoid-radar-for-mq-4c-405625/
Apparently the Army is planning on using ground based sensors to meet the “sense and avoid” requirement for operating their UAS in US airspace. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20141106/DEFREG02/311060038/US-Army-Radar-Installations-Help-UAVs-Avoid-Collisions
Interesting Marine Program here, portends future UAS capability. http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/20171213-AACUS.html