Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Hybrid air vehicles and airships to enhance the UAVs?

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    11,794

    Default Hybrid air vehicles and airships to enhance the UAVs?

    A SWJ author, Morgan Smiley, USArmy serving with the Saudi National Guard, asks:
    I've read a bit about hybrid air vehicles and airships (blimps) specifically the Navy's MZ-3A and the Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV). Is anyone familiar with these and how they may be incorporated into future missions? Could these (particularly the LEMV) be used to extend/ enhance current UAV missions perhaps as airborne UAV carriers?
    Anyone able to help?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2013 at 08:56 PM. Reason: Name change, my error
    davidbfpo

  2. #2
    Council Member Morgan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Indiana/ KSA
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Thanks for the assist, David.

    In any case, using hybrid air vehicles as UAV carriers may seem a bit far-fetched but something similar was done in back in the 30s using small manned biplanes and zeppelins. Given the improvements in technology regarding airships and UAVs...armed UAVs and intel UAVs....as well as the generally lower cost of operating and deploying airships and UAVs compared to manned vehicles, does it make sense to combine the capabilties of both?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2013 at 08:56 PM. Reason: Superfluous opening sentence now error noted, PM to author

  3. #3
    Council Member carl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Denver on occasion
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Morgan:

    Unfortunately for all the current promise of drones, they still are expensive and they crash a lot. The actual machine may not be that expensive (for the moment) but it takes a lot of people to run one. Aviation Week quoted an Air Force general last year I think as saying for each Predator you run you need 120 people. Their accidents rate are far in excess of those of manned aircraft.

    Airships have their place but except in the beginning of military aviation and some minor ASW use in WWII they haven't been used because they don't work out so well. The big problem that they have, even the hybrids to my knowledge, is they are very vulnerable to windy conditions. That is understandable given that they float in the air. Military use of a vehicle that can't be used in high winds or gusty conditions, or God forbid, in the vicinity of thunderstorms must be limited. They seem to have always been a great idea until the time comes to use them.

    Combining an expensive flying machine that crashes a lot with a flying machine that must not be exposed to strong winds doesn't seem as if it would be a profitable endeavor.
    Last edited by carl; 01-21-2013 at 04:17 AM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  4. #4
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    903

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Unfortunately for all the current promise of drones, they still are expensive and they crash a lot. The actual machine may not be that expensive (for the moment) but it takes a lot of people to run one. Aviation Week quoted an Air Force general last year I think as saying for each Predator you run you need 120 people. Their accidents rate are far in excess of those of manned aircraft.
    Yes, for now. The thing is that the field is developing at an exponential rate.

    Also, our defense R&D and procurement systems are massively corrupt; severely holding back US innovation in this field. Our drones are only expensive because our system gold-plates the hell out of everything (see Global Hawk UAV).
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

  5. #5
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    903

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan View Post
    In any case, using hybrid air vehicles as UAV carriers may seem a bit far-fetched but something similar was done in back in the 30s using small manned biplanes and zeppelins. Given the improvements in technology regarding airships and UAVs...armed UAVs and intel UAVs....as well as the generally lower cost of operating and deploying airships and UAVs compared to manned vehicles, does it make sense to combine the capabilties of both?
    I am fascinated with the potential of quadrotor UAVs and swarm technology. The idea of using airships as a platform for deploying swarms of quadrotors is an interesting one.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •