Thursday, August 08, 2019

Marines Eye Unmanned Systems To Keep F-35s Flying From Remote Bases....why aren't we testing converting CH-53's in the boneyards to unmanned platforms?

via Breaking Defense.
The Marines are testing unmanned platforms to quickly refuel and rearm F-35Bs it plans to operate out of remote, austere bases in the Pacific — part of an effort to be more nimble, and unpredictable, as the traditional American dominance at sea and in the air erodes.

For years, the Corps has talked about flying its F-35Bs from hastily assembled bases on small islands and remote locations to avoid sophisticated surface-to-air missiles being developed by China and Russia. The basing effort would not only keep the stealthy planes tactically unpredictable, but also untether them from big deck ships that would be prime targets for hypersonic cruise missiles and other weapons in any future fight with an advanced enemy. This was a key driver behind the Marines deep commitment to the F-35B, which can do short takeoffs and vertical landings, as well as the rare vertical takeoff from a road or other flat surface.

One of the holdups to the plan has always been how to ensure the planes could get fuel, ammunition and parts out to these locations. “If I can’t sustain it, I’m hosed,” Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, deputy commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command told a handful of reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.

Getting more fuel and ammo for those planes, quickly, would allow the Marines to “turn up the battlefield tempo at a much faster rate,” he said, which is critical in an area swarming with manned and unmanned platforms looking for American planes sitting on the ground for too long. 
Story here. 

This is where the current DoD and USMC are frustrating me a bit.  Read the article but they're looking at future possibilities when we have stuff on hand right now that could work.  What do I mean?

The MQ-8C is a thing NOW!

Take a couple of CH-53's out of the boneyards.  Hell if you're using them for parts then have someone refurbish a CH-46 and test it in the role.

The point is that if they're serious about this concept, we don't have to wait! We can execute get real world testing on the idea to even see if it's viable.

There is another concern though.

Have you noticed all the expensive unmanned aircraft that the Marine Corps is leaning towards?  An unmanned escort/attack/radar picket/recon/ISR platform and now this thing.

Makes you wonder where all this is going doesn't it.

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