Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bell’s V-247 Vigilant Unmanned Tiltrotor...will this platform un-man half of Marine Air?

Thanks to Donald Bacon for the link!

via DoD Buzz.
 The Marine Corps wants a jumbo-sized drone that can take off and land on amphibious ships, and the list of requirements for the aircraft is daunting.

It needs to escort the MV-22 Osprey and have comparable flight range, carry the same weapons as an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, and execute missions ranging from electronic warfare, command and control, airborne early warning, and airstrikes — just for starters.
Story here. 


Think about what Davis wants.  He wants a tilt rotor combat UAV that can escort V-22s, act as command and control, perform early warning, provide airstrikes (and considering the way its performed now...close air support) just for starters?

If successful this could effectively "un-man" half of Marine Air!

AH-1Z?  Gone.  Why risk a pilot when we can get a longer loiter period and a MUCH HEAVIER weapons load for the same range (remember it has to carry the same load out as an F-35).

UH-1Y? Gone.  We have the MV-22 for its insertion mission which leaves only its utility task which are limited in the Marine Corps anyway...and light attack is something the unmanned tiltrotor can perform.

But this gets really interesting when you start talking about F-35 numbers.

Why do you need it if the tiltrotor is gonna do escort?  Why do you need it if the tiltrotor can do electronic warfare?  WHY DO YOU NEED IT if the tiltrotor can perform air strikes/close air support!

The missing piece is software.  Can we get one of these to do anti-air missions?  No, not the penetrating anti-air mission that the USAF is so in love with but the defensive anti-air that the Marine Ground Combat Element depends on Marine/Navy/USAF Air to perform so they don't have to look into the sky.

If the computer geeks can make that happen and if the F-35 is as expensive to maintain as I think it is, we could be looking at the platform that un-man's half of Marine Air just a few years away.

I've never been excited about UAVs.  This one could be an exception.

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