General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Contains threads on Royal Air Force equipment of the past, present and future.
Timmymagic
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by Timmymagic »

Jdam wrote:Brimstone was test fired from a Reaper 6 years ago and we still continued to use Hellfire.
Both GBU-12 and Hellfire P/R were cheaper than Brimstone DMB and Paveway IV so lets be glad we did...

We were also using a shared stockpile with the US so we didn't need to purchase large numbers of missiles and bombs that we may have been left with no use for following the withdrawal of Reaper in favour of Protector.

Not bothering to integrate Paveway IV and Brimstone to the Reaper was one of the smarter moves the MoD has made in recent years, we avoided integrating some weapons for a limited time on Reaper which would have been totally borne by the UK, then have integrated our own weapons on the new aircraft whilst avoiding having a stockpile of useless weapons left on an aircraft that is going out of service...thats actually very smart...

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Jdam wrote: continued to use Hellfire
... to expend whatever was in stock; towards 'good purposes'?
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Yep
"Not bothering to integrate Paveway IV and Brimstone to the Reaper was one of the smarter moves the MoD has made in recent years, we avoided integrating"
as half of the Reaper fleet was on 'corporate lease' only
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

jonas
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by jonas »

UK orders first three Protectors :-

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mod- ... r-aircraft

Lord Jim
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by Lord Jim »

Finally. Can someone remind me how many we were originally going to purchase? I am sure it was more than 20, but this amount seems far ore sensible.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by dmereifield »

Wasn't it originally 20, and then dropped to 16?

jonas
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by jonas »

More from GA-ASI on Protector contract :-

https://www.ga.com/ga-asi-and-uk-mod-si ... production

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by The Armchair Soldier »

Image

Image

Image

Ground vibration tests with Brimstone 3 and Paveway IV underway.

Photos: RAF

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

https://www.harris.com/solution/next-ge ... n-avionics

Modular Launch Tube (MLT)

The MLT is an individual launch station that is functional as a stand-alone sonobuoy launcher or configurable in multiples for integration into a system-level solution. MLT is sized to release a single A-size sonobuoy from a standard launch container (SLC) or two F- or G-size buoys through the use of adapters. The MLT weighs approximately 10 pounds when empty. It operates with charge pressures of 1000 to 5000 psi, and features a buoy sensor to ensure positive carriage and launch.

The MLT is an externally ground-loaded system featuring a twist-to-lock bayonet style engagement mechanism. This builds upon the concept of operations and safety demonstrated by years of field experience on platforms such as the P-3 Orion. The MLT can be mounted internally within the fuselage or incorporated into an external pod, making it ideally suited for a number of maritime patrol platforms from light, fixed-wing aircraft to helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Sonobuoy Dispenser System

Leveraging the unique capabilities of the new MLT, the L3Harris sonobuoy dispenser system (SDS) is an externally pylon-mounted, multi-station, pneumatic sonobuoy launcher. Using L3Harris adapters, the system is capable of launching a mix of A-, F- or G-size buoys. Designed for ultimate versatility, the SDS concept can be configured in a multitude of MLT arrangements optimized for each platform according to their unique weight, flight envelope and mission requirements.

The SDS consists of any combination of MLTs, a ground charged accumulator, and an electronic control unit (ECU) incorporating universal armament interface (UAI) type-1/2 protocol over a MIL-STD-1760 interface. All of these can be integrated into a bespoke mission-specific external pod.


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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by xav »

MQ-9B SeaGuardian Maritime UAV: Which Missions ? Which Customers ?
Image
MQ-9B SeaGuardian maritime tests flights concluded off the coast of California on September 11th. They can probably be seen as the next step toward a worldwide export success. Indeed, if the first variant of the MQ-9 Predator-B mainly served as an ISR platform for above ground missions, the new MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian is likely to find much more customers in its maritime variant.
https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/20 ... customers/

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

Ron will along shortly to tell us it’s impossible

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

And I will repeat that once those sonobuyos have been dropped somewhere else than in the MTF's immediate vicinity (why would they be dropped there, in the first place?), then having a USV with good speed AND endurance to be sent there (launch facilities permitting ;) ) would be mighty useful : to have a comms relay, over the life of the transmitting sonobuyos
- what would be the likely size of a USV, with such capabilities (answers onto another thread, please)
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by Timmymagic »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:And I will repeat that once those sonobuyos have been dropped somewhere else than in the MTF's immediate vicinity (why would they be dropped there, in the first place?), then having a USV with good speed AND endurance to be sent there (launch facilities permitting ) would be mighty useful : to have a comms relay, over the life of the transmitting sonobuyos
- what would be the likely size of a USV, with such capabilities (answers onto another thread, please)
Why would you want a USV to do that? A UAV would be a far better platform for radio relay. The Sonobuoys will only operate for less than 12 hours and a USV would need the speed to catch up with the MTF when its mission was completed.

The real issue with all of these concepts dropping sonobuoys all over the place is the belief that we maintain large enough stockpiles to adopt such an approach....even the USN has serious concerns around its ability to last any reasonable period in an ASW environment due to the massive expenditure in Sonobuoys.

To be honest it would be far better to wait with all the developments underway in the eVTOL space for a long endurance UAV that could also use a dipping sonar...

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by Ron5 »

SW1 wrote:Ron will along shortly to tell us it’s impossible
Still smarting after the "global reach" smackdown" eh?

ASW is a shed load more than dropping sonar buoys. Call me back when someone has actually bought this. I won't hold my breath.

Once again, ask your RAF ASW buddies what they think.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by SW1 »



Interesting

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by Ron5 »

Yeah I saw it :(

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

https://www.flightglobal.com/military-u ... 14.article

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) will integrate the Leonardo Seaspray radar into the MQ-9B SkyGuardian unmanned air vehicle’s (UAV) centreline radar pod, and the UAV maker has also integrated Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod onto its Avenger platform.

The Seaspray 7500E V2 radar will allow the MQ-9B to detect difficult surface targets, such as submarine periscopes and shipwrecked individuals in challenging sea conditions, says GA-ASI.

The Seaspray greatly enhances the capabilities of the MQ-9B and builds on the already close working partnership between GA-ASI and Leonardo. Earlier this year GA-ASI announced the completion of initial integration work of Leonardo’s SAGE electronic surveillance unit onto the SeaGuardian, equipping the aircraft with the ability to gather intelligence information on maritime and land-based radar emitters over a wide area.”

The United Kingdom will be one customer of the Seaspray-equipped MQ-9B.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

https://www.ga-asi.com/ga-asi-completes ... processing

On November 24, GA-ASI successfully demonstrated an ‘A’ size sonobuoy­­ carriage, release, process and control from a company-owned MQ-9A Block 5 on a U.S. Navy Pacific test range. Using a SATCOM link, GA-ASI remotely processed bathythermal and acoustic data from deployed ‘A’ size Directional Frequency Analysis and Recording (DIFAR-AN/SSQ-53G), Directional Command Activated Sonobuoy System (DICASS-AN/SSQ-62F) and Bathythermograph (BT-AN/SSQ-36B) sonobuoys and accurately generated a target track in real time from the Laguna Flight Operations Facility located at Yuma Proving Grounds.

The MQ-9A Block 5 successfully deployed one BT, seven DIFAR, and two DICASS buoys to initiate prosecution and continuously track a MK-39 EMATT (Expendable Mobile ASW Training Target) over a three-hour period. Target track was generated using General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada’s industry-leading UYS-505 Sonobuoy Processing Systems. GA-ASI is developing this first-of-its-kind capability for its new MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAS in partnership with the U.S. Navy under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md.

“This demonstration is a first for airborne ASW. The successful completion of this testing paves the way for future development of more Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilities from our MQ-9s,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “We look forward to continuing collaboration with the U.S. Navy as they explore innovative options for distributed maritime operations in the undersea domain.”

The MQ-9B SeaGuardian has four wing stations available to carry up to four (4) SDS pods, allowing it to carry and dispense up to 40 ‘A’ size or 80 ‘G’ size sonobuoys, and remotely perform ASW anywhere in the world.

In a standard Maritime ISR and ASW configuration, SeaGuardian’s endurance exceeds 18 hours, encompassing a mission radius of 1200 nautical miles with eight hours of on-station time for submarine prosecution, providing a low-cost complement to manned aircraft for manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) operations. GA-ASI has already received orders for this MQ-9B SeaGuardian ASW capability from two separate foreign customers

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by The Armchair Soldier »

A SeaGuardian is being shipped over for trials as part of the Protector programme:

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

Further to the above

https://www.ga-asi.com/ga-asi-plans-to- ... lity-in-uk

SAN DIEGO – 03 February 2021 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) announces its plan to take a company-owned SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft to the United Kingdom later this year to undertake a series of operational capability demonstrations for NATO allies, including the Netherlands. The UK’s Protector program is a derivative of SkyGuardian with a range of UK modifications and the Royal Air Force (RAF) is supporting this visit.

The GA-ASI aircraft will be configured with maritime capability, including a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System receiver, and a High-Definition, Full-Motion Video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras. This will build on previous GA-ASI demonstrations showcasing the unmanned advantage, which include the transatlantic flight of SkyGuardian in 2018, maritime demonstrations in Greece in 2019 and last year’s validation flights in Japan.

The series of civilian and military capability events is expected to kick off in July at the Royal Air Force’s Waddington Air Base and will culminate with the MQ-9B’s participation in the UK-led Joint Warrior exercise that will showcase how maritime capabilities can be integrated with other air, surface and land platforms. SkyGuardian flights will further develop GA-ASI’s revolutionary Detect and Avoid capability, which will enable Protector to fly in unsegregated UK airspace. It will also assist RAF Waddington, the future home of the RAF Protector fleet, to best prepare to integrate the new aircraft into its daily operations.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by SW1 »

https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/pres ... a-asi-mq-9

Leonardo and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) are working together to bring the world-class protection offered by Leonardo’s BriteCloud expendable active decoy to operators of the MQ-9 remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS). The joint activity is addressing the growing market need to protect the high-value unmanned aircraft from modern, radar-guided threats as they carry out their missions.

Progress has already been made, with a number of BriteCloud rounds successfully launched from an MQ-9 in an aircraft survivability ‘carriage and release’ trial, designed to ensure that the decoy can be dispensed safely from the platform’s new Self-Protect Pod. Discussions are underway concerning further tests with live rounds to demonstrate that BriteCloud can effectively protect the MQ-9 against the most advanced radio frequency (RF) threats.

BriteCloud is available in different variants for a range of aircraft types. BriteCloud 218 (2x1x8 inch ‘brick’ round) is the version compatible with the MQ-9’s dispensing system and is also suitable for US-manufactured combat jets such as the F-15 and F-16. Meanwhile, the BriteCloud 55 variant is suitable for 55mm round-format dispensers on aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen E and Tornado GR4. A third variant, 55-T, is currently under development for transport aircraft and helicopters.

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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

SW1 wrote:addressing the growing market need to protect the high-value unmanned aircraft from modern, radar-guided threats as they carry out their missions.
OK, so it has dawned that keeping a camera reel on a few Taliban, from a safe height, is not the same thing as battlefield ISR in a hot conflict?
- from the text it would seem that it is not the different level of threat, but the higher cost of the sensors that is driving the investment
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

jonas
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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by jonas »

GKN Aerospace get contract for protecter work :-


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Re: General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Protector (UCAV) (RAF)

Post by jonas »

Full complement of Protector now ordered :-

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/195m ... protectors

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