Dimensionless figures (i.e. % vs range) are commonly used by manufacturers / researchers.
Dimensionless figures are however not convenient for end-users, that's why you have FTs in yards/meters.
Last edited by Shipwreck; 03 Dec 06, at 14:41.
The problem with that is using it on open forums where some readers may not be able to get a mental image of what you are trying to say. It is also easy to Dazzle them with BS when switching between ranges/calibers. Data in meters from MPI keeps everyone honest
Its times tike these that I must remind people that I am a retired Marine.The figures are in % in the chart I posted, hence the missing zeros (2 of them) vs. yours
Any number above 10 requires me to remove my shoes for figuring
Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?
Would anyone care to help a thicky?
Could, mayhaps I add a few items to the scrap from a semi land-lubber.
Forgive any vagueness
There are a few developements of relavance if not altogether in tesselation.
Some sabot rounds of much smaller cal. have been tried with a "healing flange"
Whilst I try to direct this to a more constructive avenue ...
I have just read an awful lot of useless scrapping. No good. Very entertaining, but no good. Leaving m'self the q. : are you chaps on shore leave?
So before I too get grief I would like to suggest a solution to some of the above technical gripes; but clearly not in bewildering detail
Powder has always been a problem. Shall we, for the moment ignore "rail guns" and some of their ilk and say that the existing barrels are in place fed by the same conduits exigent?
The same cal. can, I believe, be effectively expelled (sabot - above) using an hydrogen gas gun.
I await insult
Where's the bloody gin? An army marches on its liver, not its ruddy stomach.
Q. Which three USN battleships were too wide to transit the Panama Canal?
Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.
Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.
In January of 1984, the US Navy somehow managed to buy one Israeli Mastiff RPV to support the USMC deployment in Lebanon.
Mastiff was flown from shore on board USS Guam on 26 March 1984, while LPH-9 was cruising off the coast of Israel.
Last edited by Shipwreck; 07 May 07, at 13:59.
Just in case someone asks...
(bold emphasis in the text below is mine)
The little airplane that could - Mastiff, a remotely piloted vehicle
by Peter Hellman
Discover, February 1987
On Oct. 25, 1983, under a cloak of great secrecy, Marine Corps commandant General P.X. Kelley visited his bloodied troops in Beirut.
Two days before, 241 U.S. servicemen had been killed in the suicide bombing of the Marine headquarters at the airport, and the Marines were in no mood to risk the life of their commandant. Afterwards Kelley helicoptered down the coast to Tel Aviv, where Israeli military authorities played a video cassette for him that he must have found unnerving: he had been photographed during his outdoor movements in Beirut -- his head targeted in cross hairs.
Unobserved by the Marines, a miniaturized Israeli RPV (remotely piloted vehicle) called Mastiff had circled 5,000 feet overhead during Kelley's visit. Despite its twelve-foot wing span (just a shade longer than a California condor's), at that altitude the Mastiff couldn't be seen by the naked eye. And with its fiber-glass body, it was almost impossible to detect by radar. Nor could the putt-putt of its two-cylinder 22-horsepower engine be heard. But a zoom-lensed video camera peering down from a clear plastic bubble in its belly had a splendid view of the touring general. On a signal from controllers more than 50 miles away, the mini-RPV left as furtively as it had come, and flew into a net set up outside its mobile ground station.
Israel gets most of its arms from the U.S., especially those that fly. But the Mastiff is home-made, and it was developed with so little fanfare that until the Lebanon War began in June 1982 no one realized just how effective mini-RPVs could be in combat situations. This attitude has changed, and fast: the U.S. Navy has bought the Israeli-designed mini-RPV for the Marines and has contracted for an Israeli-U.S. version.
The Israelis developed their mini-RPVs to counter a serious threat to their domination of the Middle Eastern skies: Soviet-built SAMs (surface-to-air missiles). Just before the onset of the Lebanon War, the Syrians had moved Soviet-supplied SAM batteries into the strategic Bekaa Valley in the heart of Lebanon. These included the latest versions of the SA-2, a ponderous long-range missile, and the SA-6, an agile medium-range missile. The Israelis had good reason to fear these weapons. Earlier models had knocked down narly a thousand American aircraft over North Vietnam, and in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 dozens of Israeli warplanes had been lost to Egypt's SAMs. Since then, the SAMs had become deadlier. In any new Arab-Israeli face-off, Western military observers assumed that the Israeli air force would again be badly stung.
But in the first days of the Lebanon War, Israeli jets destroyed all 28 SAM sites in the Bekaa Valley. Only one Israeli aircraft was shot down -- and that by a shoulder-launched missile. There was much speculation at the time about a new secret weapon, but the Israelis weren't talking. The Pentagon eventually learned that the real secret of the Israeli success lay in the brilliant use of airborne decoys to fool SAM radars, new ''smart'' artillery, and, above all, the Mastiff and another mini-RPV, the Scout.
The Syrian SAMs would have made quick work of any reconnaissance aircraft that flew over them. But the mini-RPVs, which aren't all that much bigger than model airplanes, did so with impunity. Loitering invisibly overhead, the mini-RPVs not only radioed back startlingly clear images of the camouflaged missile sites but also provided precise coordinates for ground- and air-launched rockets. What's more, the tiny drones provided live-action pictures of the destruction.
These feats would have been impossible in the past. Previously, spy planes ranging from high-flying U-2s to specially fitted-out F-4 Phantoms used film cameras. Precious hours elapsed returning to base, and during processing and analyzing the film. By the time the photo intelligence got to field commanders, it was often out of date. So were the data of satellite photo reconnaissance. The Mastiff and Scout did their looking in real time, sending back video images of the action as it unfolded.
Miles behind the front line, the battle was observed on a monitor in the mini-RPV's truck-borne ground-control station, where a pilot and an observer were operating the drone. The same picture could be seen on a tripod-mounted TV by an artillery spotter at the front, and by a brigade or divisional commander in the rear. During the Lebanon War live mini-RPV images were even relayed to command headquarters deep underground in Tel Aviv. Ariel Sharon, then minister of defense, was reported to have sat in his office flicking channels to watch the enemy on every front: PLO anti-aircraft guns on Beirut rooftops; Syrian aircraft taxiing down runways outside Damascus; troop and tank movements in the mountains; even missiles themselves as they hurtled skyward from SAM batteries.
But ''live'' battle videos aren't the only use for the mini-RPV. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Melvyn Paisley has called it the military's future paper clip (i.e., there are 1,001 uses for it). It can serve as a target spotter for both land-based artillery and the big guns of a battleship. It can act as an extremely high antenna, relaying radio communications between ground forces normally limited by line-of-sight transmissions -- a particular advantage in hilly areas where an isolated platoon dearly wants to stay in radio contact with headquarters. (During the invasion of Grenada, or so the story goes, one Marine found that the only way he could communicate with his superiors was to step into a phone booth and call a number at the Pentagon.)
Specially equipped mini-RPVs can also jam enemy radar and communications (and probably did so in Lebanon). They can illuminate targets with laser beams, carry a small (up to 100 pounds) bomb, even act as kamikaze aircraft without the sacrificial pilot.
Through a quirk of history, Lebanon was also the setting for the first use of aircraft in military reconnaissance. In 1911, when the Italian battleship Carlo Alberto shelled Turkish positions around the coastal town of Tripoli, a pair of planes served as spotters, tossing like leaves as the projectiles shrieked by. Indeed, in the early days of the First World War, airplanes were used almost exclusively for reconnaissance, and their pilots considered it a breach of honor for one to attack another.
Today, pilots on reconnaissance missions can't count on courtly restraint. Overflights of any kind have become increasingly risky. As far back as 1960, President Eisenhower learned that even a U-2 flying at more than 50,000 feet could be brought down by an SA-2. Many of the American aircraft lost in Vietnam were on reconnaissance missions. As a result, the U.S. began using RPVs. Most of them were full-sized, almost as big as fighters. Those of the 147 series, which were launched and controlled from C-130 cargo planes, carried out numerous missions, scooting low or flying high over enemy territory at almost 600 m.p.h. with their cameras snapping away. Upon their return, the RPVs were plucked out of the air by helicopters. (The term RPV was born in the Vietnam era to replace ''drone.'' It was meant to appeal to the ''white scarf'' mentality of pilots, jealous of the prerogatives of the cockpit even if they weren't in it.)
The Pentagon was intrigued by the idea of mini-RPVs, only a fraction of the size of the Vietnam-era drones. But technical and economic problems prevented any from getting off the ground, except for the Army's troubled Aquila (Latin for eagle). Indeed, Aquila has become the sort of endlessly overdue, endlessly over-budget project that's a perfect target for Pentagon critics. In 1974 the Army decided it needed a mini-RPV to look for Warsaw Pact tanks. It would be capable not only of reconnaissance but also of designating targets with a laser beam, so they could be destroyed by ''smart'' weapons like the Copperhead artillery round.
Early on, Aquila fell victim to the Pentagon's ''bells and whistles'' syndrome. All manner of add-on features were specified for it, including a miniaturized FLIR (forward-looking infrared) reconnaissance system for night operations that had yet to be invented. After more than $50 million in development costs, the unit is still being tested. The total investment in the Aquila project is approaching $700 million, far beyond the original price tag, and the plane still hasn't met the Army's requirements.
And none of the other military branches succeeded in putting a mini-RPV into service until early 1984, when the Navy made a quick decision to buy an Israeli Mastiff system for experimental use in Lebanon.
For its part, Israel didn't begin thinking seriously about mini-RPVs until after the Yom Kippur War, when the military began its grim post-mortem. It realized that mini-RPVs could have looked right down on SAM batteries, which had repeatedly and unexpectedly found their mark. And in the vast reaches of the Sinai desert, the remote-controlled eyes could have cleared up a great deal of battlefield confusion, including one incident in which a column of Israeli tanks was hit hard because it strayed within range of Egyptian infantry missile units. ''If we had had a mini-RPV overhead,'' says Israeli mini-RPV specialist Isaac Rapaport, ''it could have shown the true position of that force. It would have saved both time and our soldiers' blood.''
In Israel, as in the U.S., all traditional weapons systems have their armies of supporters. But the mini-RPV wasn't traditional ad it had few champions. Furthermore, as a point of principle, every air force tends to cold-shoulder unmanned vehicles, since a job done by a drone inevitably diminishes the importance of the man in the cockpit. However, Israel did have a California-born engineer named Alvin Ellis who was determined to make an Israeli mini-RPV a reality.
Ellis was brought up with four brothers in a Jewish orphanage in Culver City. He was already a veteran of Army service in the Pacific during World War II when, at age 20, he sailed to Israel, where he ''helped refugees come in.'' Returning to California with a sabra wife in 1950, he studied electrical engineering at UCLA. After getting his degree he joined Teledyne Ryan in San Diego to help design the autopilot for its Firebee target drones, which became the 147 series.
In 1967, after Israel's stunning victory in the Six Day War, Ellis quit his job at Teledyne Ryan, sold his house and power boat, and moved to Tel Aviv to join the effort by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to build the Kfir fighter, a knock-off of the French Mirage. In his spare time Ellis built a house north of the city and amused himself by brewing beer. With a fellow IAI engineer, Jehuda Manor, he also developed a remote-control model airplane for the U.S. hobbyist market. Japanese competition quashed that enterprise, but in the gloomy aftermath of the Yom Kippur War Ellis began to think about turning a toy plane into a military reconnaissance tool.
While working at Teledyne Ryan during the Vietnam War, Ellis had participated in secret experiments in the Mojave Desert involving high-speed drones equipped for the first time with video rather than film cameras. The results were unsatisfactory. ''When you flew them high, their image resolution was poor,'' Ellis says. ''When you flew them low, the image was blurry.'' The problem wasn't the camera but the carrier, which flew much too fast. The solution, Ellis and Manor decided, was to ''retrogress'' from the streamlined rocket-powered drones of the Vietnam era to a slow, clumsy-looking craft that wouldn't have looked out of place during World War I.
Manor would design the mini-RPV's airframe and Ellis its avionics, including the all-important gyroscopically stabilized autopilot. To get more model airplane expertise, they signed on two skilled hobbyists, Ezra Dotan and Shlomo Barak, both of whom were Israeli combat pilots. During the Six Day War, Dotan shot down an Egyptian MiG-16 with a volley of air-to-ground rockets -- an unheard-of feat requiring him to approach so close behind the MiG that his Skyhawk bomber suffered extensive damage from debris coming at it head on. The four men established a partnership to build a mini-RPV. Each put $300 into the pot.
Working in Manor's garage and Dotan's storage room, they had to endure the gibes of neighbors, who asked why grown men would devote so much time to building toy airplanes. Their first mini-RPV was twin-engined, and flew 30 times before it crashed when one engine failed.
Ellis thought the performance was impressive, so he proposed to IAI's management that he be allowed to develop a mini-RPV commercially. Here was a highly useful military instrument that could be produced at a bargain-basement price, Ellis told his bosses. But management wasn't impressed. IAI, which had grown large enough to build the multimillion-dollar Kfir, couldn't be bothered with what it considered little more than a high-tech toy.
Ellis took the project to Tadiran, Israel's biggest electronics company. He got enough money to design a second prototype, this one single-engined. It flew successfully early in 1973. Until then the biggest single expense had been for the balsa wood he glued with an ordinary iron to plastic strips that served as the skin. All materials had come from a Tel Aviv hobby shop. Now it was time to buy a Sony video camera that would give eyes to the mini-RPV. ''The choice was between a $600 or $900 model,'' says Ellis. ''We chose the cheaper one.''
On a February morning in 1974 he was ready to show off his next creation, which was dubbed Owl, before members of Israel's defense establishment at the Kfar Sirkin military airfield near Tel Aviv. It arrived strapped to the roof of Ellis's blue Fiat (''Blue is the color of Israel,'' he says. ''All my cars are blue''). On command, the Owl flew into the grey winter sky. The guests watched on a rented television set. Ellis hadn't yet devised a command to switch the camera on and off in flight, so the first scenes were only a blur. Suddenly, a sharp image appeared on the screen -- of a cyclist pedaling on the airport road. Ellis found the sight as thrilling as Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon.
Then the guests saw something more indicative of the mini-RPV's future intelligence-gathering prowess: one car passing another by crossing a solid white line. On a clear day, today's cameras would have been able to read the offender's license plate from a mile up.
One of Tadiran's executives, Akiva Mayer, who had been a supporter all along, was on hand for the Owl's maiden flight and was completely won over. With his backing, Ellis got a contract from Tadiran to produce the mini-RPV, now renamed Mastiff because the Israelis considered it a watchdog in the sky. Almost at once, Ellis felt pressure from those who wanted to make his creation more sophisticated. ''I kicked them out when they came into my lab,'' says Ellis, ''and when I held a test flight, I didn't tell anyone. My success depended on keeping my bird simple.''
Tadiran unveiled the Mastiff in 1975 to total indifference. A discouraged Ellis returned to California in 1977 to design autopilots for a number of southern California companies specializing in drones (he was later summoned back to Israel to work on mini-RPVs). His wife and two children stayed behind. He lived on a new power boat, and on weekends occasionally flew model airplanes of his own design. By 1979 Tadiran had sold just two Mastiffs, and Ellis's royalties came to $640.
But in his absence, interest in mini-RPVs was rising at Hakirya, Israel's Pentagon. General Zvi Schiller, then chief of intelligence, saw to it that the post-Yom Kippur War order of battle included mini-RPV reconnaissance capability. IAI, too, had begun to have second thoughts: it didn't want to leave the budding mini-RPV market to Tadiran, and stepped up development of its own Scout. (IAI's principal client was the air force, Tadiran's the signal corps.) ''We decided the Scout would be made to the same military standard as the Kfir,'' says IAI engineer David Harari. ''It would be a little military aircraft.'' Harari's clear implication was that Tadiran, unlike IAI, had no expertise in building real planes.
The bitter competition between the makers of the Mastiff and the Scout was unusual for Israel. ''They would take turns coming up here to test their designs in our wind tunnel,'' says aeronautics professor Arnan Seginer of the Technion, Israel's institute of technology in Haifa. ''We would observe one make an advance, but we couldn't tell the other -- not because they didn't try to find out. So we would tell the MOD [minister of defense]. It was up to him to tell or not.''
After the Lebanon War, the Israels weren't inclined to share the secrets of their great Bekaa Valley victory, not even with the U.S. It took a visit by General John Vessey Jr., then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, before they agreed to reveal their methods for vanquishing the SAMs, the same missiles the NATO allies would face in a war with the Warsaw Pact countries.
The Israelis confirmed to Vessey the value of the mini-RPV. But they also disclosed the effectiveness of other weapons, especially an airborne decoy called Sampson. This simple glider is equipped with a so-called Luneberg lens, which magnifies its radar signature so that it appears to be a large combat jet. Israeli fighters, dashing toward the Bekaa Valley from the Mediterranean, ''dive-tossed'' Sampsons -- a maneuver in which the aircraft releases the glider after pulling out of a steep dive. The gliders' wings popped out during their free flight, which lasted several minutes at a speed nearly equal to that of the fighter. On the ground, the SAM radars were fooled into thinking they had locked onto real fighters, which enabled other Israeli EW (electronic warfare) aircraft, including Boeing 707s crammed with SigInt (signal intelligence) gear, to trace the radar beams to their source. Radar-seeking missiles were then launched at the SAM sites.
Even after learning of these Israeli successes, the Pentagon might have kept mini-RPVs on the back burner if it hadn't been for Lebanon. The explosives-laden truck that roared through the checkpoint outside the Marines' airport encampment probably couldn't have been spotted in time by a mini-RPV, but the Marines, who were limited to occasional ''show the flag'' patrols, could have used mini-RPVs to check out their highly unfriendly surroundings more thoroughly. (When Kelley was in Tel Aviv after the attack, the Israelis are reported to have shown him a live-action display as well. From images relayed from a mini-RPV overhead, he saw one of his colonels meeting with a Lebanese Christian officer at the side of a road. ''I have to buy myself one of those,'' Kelley said.)
And a botched naval air strike on Dec. 3, 1983 made an even stronger case for mini-RPV reconnaissance: U.S. carriers off Lebanon had sent out 28 aircraft to bomb targets in the Bekaa Valley in response to SAM and anti-aircraft fire (which missed) on F-14 reconnaissance planes from the same ships. The main target was a Syrian radar station. Before they could reach it, however, an A-6 and an A-7 were brought down -- probably by SAMs.
In assessing the attack, Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, a former Navy flier himself, became convinced that the loss of the planes could have been avoided. As his inquiries showed, part of the problem was an overly long chain of command. Seven thousand miles away, in the Pentagon, the order had gone out to attack at 6 a.m. -- precisely the hour when the rising sun would shine directly in the pilots' eyes. (The afternoon sun would have been in the eyes of the ground forces.)
More to the point, Lehman felt, the air strike hadn't been necessary. All the assigned targets were within range of the nine 16-inch guns of the battleship New Jersey, then on station off Beirut. But their 2,600-pound shells couldn't have been just lobbed over the mountains into the Bekaa Valley. That would have caused too much ''collateral damage'' (hitting civilians and their property). Accurate fire control was required, and that meant visual spotting of each hit, what's called crater analysis.
Spotting for long-range firing is usually done by slow, unarmed planes like OV-10s. But sending such aircraft over the Bekaa Valley would have been suicidal. The situation was made to order for a mini-RPV, which could have observed each round fired, then radioed back coordinates for the next round.
Within days of the loss of the aircraft, the Navy took the highly unusual step of secretly asking Israel if it could buy or lease a Mastiff system. At first the response was that none could be spared. ''As soon as I heard that,'' says Moshe Arens, then defense minister, ''I told our people, 'You will deliver a Mastiff system to the Americans -- and quickly.' ''
President Reagan pulled the Marines out of Lebanon before the system could be delivered. But a month later, in March 1984, Tadiran showed the Mastiff off in an impressive obedience trial. Flying from shore, it made a perfect landing on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Guam, a helicopter carrier cruising off Israel. The pilot, 30 miles away, had only the aircraft's video camera to go by. By September 1984 a full Mastiff system was in the hands of the Marines' first mini-RPV platoon at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where tests continue. (''These guys had to figure out instruction manuals written in Hebrew,'' says Lehman.)
Lehman also wanted to give U.S. contractors an opportunity to bid on the long-range mini-RPV program he envisioned. But he was determined to move faster than is customary in peacetime. ''It was the light-bulb phenomenon,'' says Captain Pete Mullowney, the director of the program. ''The switch was off and suddenly it was on.''
Usually, new weapons systems are designed from scratch. Even the least significant components must meet rigid and costly military specifications (''milspecs'').
''I wanted to bypass that system and buy off the shelf,'' Lehman told me in a recent interview. ''If we got eighty per cent of what we needed that way -- what's called minimal essential capability -- we'd take care of the rest later. The important thing was not to chase every rainbow.''
In August 1984 the Navy gathered more than 50 contractors at the China Lake naval weapons testing center in California's high desert. They were told the Navy wanted a mini-RPV that would fly farther and longer than the Mastiff. What's more, it would need a more secure data link -- that is, its signals had to be more tightly encrypted. It would also have to be even more portable, with all components, including a catapult, fitting into just two trucks. For battleship use, the new mini-RPV would need the option of rocket-assisted take-off (RATO). And last, it had to be built entirely of existing components.
Despite Lehman's full-speed-ahead approach, most of the contractors apparently didn't think the Navy would really carry through on it. Not the Israelis. ''We were naive, so we believed them,'' says Rapaport, one of the small group of Israeli engineers from IAI and Tadiran at China Lake. As soon as the Navy's specs became known, Israel decreed that the country's mini-RPV energies could no longer be split between Tadiran and IAI. Their seven-year competition would have to end -- to be replaced by a new company, called Mazlat (a Hebrew acronym for ''mini remotely piloted vehicle''), devoted solely to producing mini-RPVs.
The airframe would come from IAI, the ground control system from Tadiran. ''Philosophically, it was a fine idea,'' says Ellis. ''But when you have to give over to your competitor a system that you had fought heart and soul to make better than his, it hurts a lot.
During a visit to Israel in the spring of 1985, Lehman helicoptered to an air base in the Negev desert for a personal mini-RPV demonstration. On the way he noticed an archaeological dig and expressed an interest in visiting it on the way back. A trip turned out to be unnecessary. A short time later, with his own hand on the controls, Lehman was putting a Mastiff into lazy circles over the site.
As it had promised, the Navy solicited bids on the mini-RPV in August 1985, exactly one year after the China Lake meeting. Responses would be required in 30 days. Those bidders who were acceptable to the Navy would enter their mini-RPVs in a fly-off at China Lake just four months later. The winner would then have only six months to deliver the first plane.
Among the mini-RPVs expected to enter the competition was Skyeye, built by Lear Siegler and billed as the only operational U.S. mini-RPV -- a reference to its apparent use by the CIA in Honduras. Boeing had its BRAVE (Boeing Robotic Air Vehicle). Lockheed had a version of Aquila tailored to naval needs. The most novel design was Canadair's CL-227, an hourglass-shaped vehicle with two helicopter rotors. Mazlat felt its chances of winning were better if it teamed up with an American firm, so its entry was marketed by Baltimore's AAI Corporation, which had previously agreed to sell the Mastiff in the U.S.
It's a measure of how far back the U.S. defense industry had fallen in its mini-RPV capability that the only bids submitted to the Navy for the fly-off were AAI-Mazlat's Pioneer and Pacific Aerosystem's Mirach 20, developed in both Italy and the U.S. The biggest surprise, perhaps, was that Skyeye wasn't even entered. ''We asked the Navy for a two-week delay so that we could fulfill an existing Army contract,'' says Gerald Seemann, founder of Developmental Sciences, a division of Lear Siegler. ''But the Navy wouldn't give it to us.
For whatever reason, Lehman wanted the Israelis to win.'' Predictably, this view gets a heated reply from Pioneer's backers. ''These guys all heard what we heard at China Lake,'' says Walt Primus, an AAI marketing engineer. ''We listened and they didn't.''
AAI-Mazlat's team of dozens of engineers, pilots, and crew checked in two weeks before the December 1985 fly-off, and practiced every day with their four mini-RPVs and supporting equipment at a nearby commercial airport. But on its very first catapult launch in the competition, Pioneer was jerked to one side by a sudden desert crosswind. For many mini-RPVs the gust would have meant disaster. Yet Pioneer's gyro stabilizer quickly set the aircraft right again, and it went on to perform flawlessly. Even its tricky rocket-assisted take-off system worked without a hitch. (The propellant ''bottle'' had been found on the back shelf of a supplier who designed it years ago for an Air Force mini-RPV program that was canceled. ''The secret was in finding out that it existed,'' says Jim Foster of AAI. ''A lot of what we did was like picking from a Chinese menu -- this item from column A, that one from column B.'')
Late in 1985 the Navy announced it was buying three Pioneer systems from AAI. Working feverishly in Israel and in Baltimore, AAI and Mazlat engineers delivered the first system, as required, just four months later. Two more systems were delivered later in the year. As a result, the Navy was able to leapfrog the Army and become the only service that could watch a war by remote control in real time. The cost of the first 21 Pioneers and their support systems: $25.8 million.
A Pioneer system was installed and tested on the U.S.S. Iowa, one of three recommissioned battleships in the fleet, where it performed admirably. Next time the Iowa is called on to fire its big guns, it may not have to do so blindly. And if it uses its Harpoon or Tomahawk surface-to-surface missiles, it may be able to pinpoint targets first. ''I'm much happier to see a real ship than a blip on a radar screen,'' says Captain Larry Seaquist, the Iowa's skipper.
Seaquist was startled to discover, in naval archives, forgotten footage, circa 1952, in which the Iowa itself was filmed from a primitive television camera built into German V series drones that had been adapted to photo reconnaissance. ''We had this capability and we lost it,'' says Seaquist. ''It happened because the aviators wanted to squelch mini-RPVs. We shouldn't have let it happen.''
Pursuing their own mini-RPV interest, the Marines are planning to replace their existing Mastiff unit with three new Pioneer companies. ''We Marines are, by our very definition, expeditionary,'' says Captain Tim Howard, commander of one of the companies. ''We bring everything with us -- gas, chow, Band-Aids, blood, little men in green uniforms. One day we'll also bring along a little mini-RPV. It'll be very nice for a man at the front line to be able to say, 'Hey boss, turn on your screen and look at what I'm looking at.' ''
Howard has a personal interest in mini-RPVs. During the Grenada invasion, his Cobra attack helicopter was hit by unexpectedly heavy anti-aircraft fire. Despite massive injuries, including a destroyed right arm, a shattered right leg, and shrapnel in his neck, he managed to crash-land the chopper. Then, as enemy troops approached, he gave his pistol to his co-pilot and ordered him to escape. Howard emerged from that experience bemedaled but minus his right arm and the full use of his legs. Normally, he would have been retired on a full disability pension. But, as Lehman recalls, when he visited him in the hospital at Camp Lejeune, ''Howard said, 'I'm going to sue you, Mr. Secretary.' I asked him for what. 'To stay in the Marines,' was his answer. He seemed like a very special guy. So, when I got back to Washington, I arranged for him to get his wish.''
Howard's mission that day in Grenada was ''armed reconnaissance.'' With its camera peering down, a mini-RPV might have spotted the Soviet-built, Cuban-manned anti-aircraft guns that available intelligence had failed to locate -- including, perhaps, the guns that fired on Howard's Cobra. ''Next time we're ordered to go somewhere,'' Howard says, ''wouldn't it sure be nice to have this ugly little bird out there before putting Marines in harm's way?''
COPYRIGHT 1987 Discover
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
Last edited by Shipwreck; 07 May 07, at 13:57.
No the navy didn't buy one in Jan 1984.
The Mastif may have been demonstrated in march, After the US had withdrawn from the root. But the US Military did not take posession of their first mastiff until 1st RPV platoon completed training in Isreal in early 1985.
That is one of the things your article got wrong. Go to the 2d
MAW website and you can read the rpv history in the Navy/Corps.
Official Website for VMU 2
Wiki cut and pasted it to their site. just look up VMU-2.
Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?
1. The US Navy bought the Mastiff back in January of 1984.
2. The Mastiff was flown from shore on board USS Guam on 26 March 1984, while LPH-9 was cruising off the coast of Israel.
You'll find further confirmation for this in Friedman's Naval Weapons as far back as the 1989 edition (p. 51) :
Other internet sources confirm that the Navy acquired Mastiff in 1984, e.g. :Mastiff (...) was bought by the US States in January 1984 to support the Marines in Lebanon. Mastiff was flown on board the helicopter carrier Guam on 26 March 1984
Remotely Piloted Vehicles-The Unexploited Force Multiplier by Major G.D. Thrash, USMC :
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - Current Plans And Prospects For The Future by Steven Kosiak and Elizabeth Heeter, CSBA"Acquiring the Mastiff III in 1984, the naval services have now upgraded to the Pioneer I RPV"[/i]
"in 1984 the U.S. Navy began purchasing the Israeli Mastiff II to provide reconnaissance support for, and help direct gunfire from, the Navy’s battleships."
Last edited by Shipwreck; 15 May 07, at 10:55.
Besides the article already posted, this is briefly discussed in a 1990 paper entitled "RPV Pioneer abroad USS Iowa-an EMI case history" by Ford R.T. (US Naval Research Laboratory).
Last edited by Shipwreck; 15 May 07, at 11:01.
Just like you said, the US did not use RPVs in Lebanon and did not conduct *joint ops* with the IDF at the time.
In addition, the Mastiff that was flown on board USS Guam in March 1984 was operated by the Israelis and belonged to the IDF.
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