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Thread: X-47B is afloat

  1. #91
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    Don't blame them. They designed a unmanned stealth strike plane. Just like the Navy wanted. Then the Navy changed their mind and decided it wanted a non stealthy refueler.

    They are already making a strike drone for the USAF. They already have the X-47. Just need to wait by the phone until the navy decided it needs it.

    Until then follow Kelly Johnson's rule "Starve before doing business with the damned Navy. They don't know what the hell they want and will drive you up a wall before they break either your heart or a more exposed part of your anatomy."
    Damn, you beat me to it. The Skunk Works once had designs for a stealth submarine which the Navy thought didn't look like a sub in their opinion. Hard to find though. They did tests using the Sea Shadow to show how it could be equipped with missiles to defeat Soviet look down radar in the North Atlantic. They even had a design to lower the radar profile of a carrier from a barn down to a post card. Sometimes, or maybe many times, the Navy just does stupid things.

    I believe I read somewhere that they thought the Sea Shadow looked like the Merrimac and with such a small crew how was an officer to move up the food chain to higher command.

    As far as a stealth strike drone why not pull out the old files on the spy drone the Skunk Works built in 1970. Switch out the ramjet, drop in current avionics and call it a day.
    Last edited by tbm3fan; 30 Oct 17, at 04:44.

  2. #92
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    Boeing reveals its entrant today:

    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...er-competition



    snipit from article below:

    After peaking our interest with a cryptic post on Twitter, Boeing has given us the very first look at its pitch for the US Navy's MQ-25 Stingray drone tanker. The Chicago-headquartered firm is now the second entrant in that competition, the other being General Atomics, to offer a look at their full concept and the first to show off an actual working prototype.

    On Dec. 19, 2017, Boeing made the full announcement about the new unmanned aircraft from Phantom Works, the company's secretive design division that is roughly analogous Lockheed Martin's legendary Skunk Works. The firm did not say if the drone had internal nomenclature or nickname, as had been the case with its Phantom Ray entry into the Navy's abortive Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program, or UCLASS. Lockheed Martin is now the only remaining participant in the MQ-25 program, also known as the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS), to have not revealed art or images of their entry.

    Boeing Defense Teases Mystery Aircraft Unveiling By Hiding It Under A Black Sheet


    Not sure if this should reside here, or a new thread for all the entrants?
    Last edited by bfng3569; 19 Dec 17, at 22:50.

  3. #93
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    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...d-tanker-drone

    after getting our first look before Christmas, Boeing has now released the first video, albeit brief, of their entrant into the MQ-25 Stingray Carrier-Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) competition. The video offers fleeting new glimpses from different angles of the drone, and from these clips we can come to some new conclusions, but the video also prompts new questions as well.

    Like the two earlier images of Boeing's Phantom Works' new CBARS design, this release was also pushed through the Boeing Defense Twitter account. It also lines up perfectly with what Boeing told The War Zone directly after the December 19th unveil, that more imagery would be released in early January.

    The short video gives us a few new angles of the company's MQ-25 prototype. First we get an oddly framed, eye-level panning shot of the aircraft's fuselage. The aircraft's wing roots and large splayed V-tail can also be seen. What's missing is an air intake large enough to feed a jet engine capable of propelling a tanker-drone carrying many thousands of pounds of fuel.

    Then we get maybe the most exciting shot out of the video, a wide, side-view clip of the MQ-25 being rolled out of a hangar. The aircraft looks way more streamlined and elongated than expected. The nose is briefly seen and its leading area is a planar, trapezoid-shaped flat design. The aircraft's chine-line that runs along the edge of its fuselage is very prominent in this clip as well, along with its very heavy duty landing gear. But once again, no large, protruding jet intake can be seen.

    The next quick set of clips show the aircraft's nose section, including its array of pitot tubes and a detailed view of its chine-line. We see some interesting angles as that edge transitions from the wing root to the nose.

    The next shot, a closeup of the Boeing logo and the stenciled motif on the side of the drone's fuselage is maybe the most telling as we can clearly read the stenciled caution box on the top of the fuselage: "JET INTAKE DANGER" with an arrow pointing up.

    Then we get an awesome underside view of Boeing's MQ-25 and its hardy landing gear. The fuselage, even for a prototype/demonstrator, is rounded and smooth and its joints appear nearly nonexistent. Most notably we see that the aircraft's tailhook is shrouded, and drops down out of the fuselage. Also worth noting is the large rounded lump midway down the wing. This is the best glimpse of the aircraft's wing as of yet.

    We finally get a running shot down the MQ-25's long fuselage, with various access panels visible before the video returns us to the first images released of the MQ-25 on December 19th, 2017.

    So what are the takeaways here?

    1.) The MQ-25 design appears to feature an entirely flush dorsal jet intake. You can even see the intake cover in the rollout sequence. Designing an intake completely flush with the top of an aircraft, especially one that appears to have lifting body traits, is usually avoided do to airflow disruption issues that can have catastrophic results, especially during maneuvering and terminal phases of flight.

    Any issues with airflow during takeoff and landing would be magnified during carrier operations, where the aircraft is hurtled off the deck at high acceleration via a catapult and when the aircraft lands, making rapid engine corrections at slow speed and high angles of attack. Digital engine controls have come a long way when it comes avoiding engine anomalies due to airflow issues, but a flush-mounted inlet on this design for this mission in particular could signal some sort of a breakthrough. The only other possibility is that a protruding engine inlet has not been fitted yet, although that seems somewhat unlikely based on the imagery we have seen so far.

    2.) There appears to be more low observable design elements built into Boeing's MQ-25 than what the CBARS requirements dictate, which are none. Basic low-observable features, including the inlet, likely the exhaust, tail configuration, and especially elements of the fuselage design, not to mention the enclosed tailhook and apparent focus on creating smooth, continuously rounded surfaces, point to the possibility that MQ-25 has a reduced radar signature, and that its signature could possibly be reduced much further if it were adapted to take on new missions in the future.

    This approach isn't all that surprising for the Phantom Works. Even the Super Hornet design features low-observable elements, from its semi-S shaped intakes and radar defeating engine fan baffles, to sawtoothed edges on some of its access points and doors, not to mention the use of low-reflectivity composites in key areas of the airframe. But when it comes to the MQ-25, being able to get a foothold in the emerging unmanned carrier-borne aircraft space, and "spiraling" the development of new and enhanced capabilities without having to design an entirely new airframe is simply a good business decision. The unmanned is the future, even to a degree that people don't realize, and especially when it comes to naval aviation.

    But beyond the engine inlet mystery, there are other things to ponder. The bulge on the wing is interesting. It likely includes a wing folding mechanism, although satellite communications arrays would be another, albeit less likely possibility. We also don't see that large ventral door/panel open in any of these clips like we did in the reveal photo.

    Maybe what's most intriguing is what this video doesn't show. The MQ-25's wings, portions of its tail structure, exhaust, and the aircraft's upper fuselage design are still a mystery. Why these features have yet to be shown is also unknown. Are they sensitive in nature or is Boeing just looking to trickle out images of the aircraft over time to build public interest in it? We just don't know.

    But what we do know is that the Phantom Works' take on the MQ-25 Stingray seems to be a bit more exotic than what was initially let on.

    The Navy's CBARS contract, which General Atomics and Lockheed are also competing for, is slated to be awarded near the end of this Summer. As always we will keep you right up to date as the competition unfolds.

  4. #94
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    What's the point of a stealth tanker? If anything it should scream "am here! come drink!"...

  5. #95
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    What's the point of a stealth tanker? If anything it should scream "am here! come drink!"...
    The point is that a stealthy tanker is more effective at extending the range of the aircraft it services, particularly if those aircraft are stealthy in turn.

    Low observable characteristics allow the tanker to potentially operate hundreds of miles closer to hostile airspace without increased risk of detection since the effectiveness of enemy radar installations will be dramatically reduced. This in turn allows stealthy strike fighters to penetrate much deeper into enemy territory in search of high value targets before fuel becomes a problem.

    A non-stealthy tanker has to loiter far back from the conflict and probably requires escorts of it's own to intercept any attacks against it. A stealthy tanker doesn't tie down assets protecting it, which frees them up to get into the fight. A stealthy tanker can also just be tasked to follow a patrolling group of fighters until needed without giving away their position rather than flying in circles somewhere way behind them. This means those fighters no longer have to divert from their patrol to go back to the tanker to get fuel, they can just refuel on the move.

    There are a lot of upsides to a stealthy tanker, and I'm frankly shocked the USN didn't make it a requirement from the beginning.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 04 Jan 18, at 16:03.

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    A stealthy tanker is more effective at extending the range of the aircraft it services, particularly if those aircraft are stealthy in turn.

    Low observable characteristics allow the tanker to potentially operate hundreds of miles closer to hostile airspace without increased risk of detection since the effectiveness of enemy radar installations will be dramatically reduced. This in turn allows stealthy strike fighters to penetrate much deeper into enemy territory in search of high value targets before fuel becomes a problem.

    A non-stealthy tanker has to loiter far back from the conflict and probably requires escorts of it's own to intercept any attacks against it. A stealthy tanker doesn't tie down assets protecting it, it can just be tasked to follow a patrolling group of fighters until needed without giving away their position. This also means those fighters no longer have to divert from their patrol to go back to the tanker to get fuel, they can just refuel on the move as needed.

    There are a lot of upsides to a stealthy tanker, and I'm frankly shocked the USN didn't make it a requirement from the beginning.
    Yeah... but I really can't imagine anyone risking a tanker that close to danger...

  7. #97
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    Yeah... but I really can't imagine anyone risking a tanker that close to danger...
    It's less risky than what the USN is doing now with their Super Hornets in my opinion.

    The USN has been burning something like 30% of the Super Hornet fleet's life conducting refueling operations. As a result they have so many Super Hornets waiting to get into the service depots that the wait is literally years, and the USN is having to buy brand new jets just to keep up with operational demands. That is tremendously expensive!

    Currently, when a strike package goes out, a couple of the Rhinos flying with them are carrying nothing but gas bags and maybe a couple of heaters. They keep up with the strike package and act as tankers while putting themselves into danger along with the aircraft carrying bombs.

    A stealthy tanker would be less likely to run into trouble than a Super Hornet in the first place, and losing a stealthy tanker would hurt less than losing a fighter shoehorned into the tanking role. There's no pilot at risk, and a stealthy tanker drone will be cheaper as well. A stealthy tanker doesn't need half the sensors a fighter does, it doesn't need to be built to withstand 9G maneuvers, and it probably only uses a single engine. That makes it easy to manufacture and if needed, to replace.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 04 Jan 18, at 16:28.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    It's less risky than what the USN is doing now with their Super Hornets in my opinion.

    The USN has been burning something like 30% of the Super Hornet fleet's life conducting refueling operations. As a result they have so many Super Hornets waiting to get into the service depots that the wait is literally years, and the USN is having to buy brand new jets just to keep up with operational demands. That is tremendously expensive!
    No question there. The "Hornets are worn out" story has been well and truly documented...

    Another question: is there any idea on how many of these tankers would a CV carry? The F-18 at least has the merit of being multi-mission; this would get the USN back into single-misson planes taking up hangar space...

  9. #99
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Well it is good the US has big carriers. There has been surplus volume for some time.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    What's the point of a stealth tanker? If anything it should scream "am here! come drink!"...
    Look at china's new 'stealthy' fighter... twin engine and long range, and couple that with the new long range air to air missiles they are developing..

    Sooner rather than later those traditional tankers and other airborne support craft start to become vulnerable.

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