KEY WEST, Fla. (April 24, 2013) The Military Sealift Command high-speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) with a tethered TIF-25K aerostat gets underway from Key West to conduct a series of at-sea capabilities tests to determine if the aerostat can support future Operation Martillo counter transnational organized crime operations in the U.S. 4th fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker/Released) 130424-N-IC228-114
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.
“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 got curious and did a small survey of the fleet size using resources I had at hand (that’s why I used 1982 instead of the more logical 1980). So here is a comparison of the fleet composition in 1982, 1990, 2000, and 2010 with some notes about the future. To make the information more meaningful, I have grouped the ships in categories by displacement and provided subtotals of all the ships in that category or larger. There is a more specific evaluation of patrol vessels near the bottom. My sources are at the foot.
(note: loa is length over all. tons (fl) is full load displacement)