Articoli con tag “uav

Produzione del V750 a regime

Qualcuno di voi forse ricordera’ il post dedicato all’YHO-3 BR, il minuscolo elicottero leggero da osservazione sperimentato negli anni ’50 dall’U.S. Army e basato sul modello civile statunitense Brantly B-2. Nel post accennavo anche all’acquisizione della Brantly da parte della Qingdao Haili Helicopters, una oscura societa’ cinese che in seguito decise di trasformare il B-2 in un vero e proprio UAV, ossia il V750. Be’, a quanto pare la produzione e’ ormai entrata a regime, almeno a giudicare da alcuni screenshot recentemente apparsi in rete.

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Per la cronaca,  il V750 e’ il primo drone ad ala rotante costruito in Cina.

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[VIDEO] X-47B drone & F/A-18 conducts flight operations aboard an aircraft carrier

Cosebbelle, cosebbellissime!

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 17, 2014) The Navy’s unmanned X-47B, left, is readied for launch as an F/A-18 Hornet conducts flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The aircraft completed a series of tests demonstrating its ability to operate safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft. (Video and Caption: U.S. Navy)


Droni Nordkoreani

Le foto dei (non ridete!) droni  nordkoreani ritrovati dalle Forze Armate Sudiste in questi ultimi giorni.

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Questo e’ precipitato nell’isola di Baengnyeong, nel Mar Giallo

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Quest’altro invece e stato rinvenuto a Paju, una citta’ Sudcoreana vicino alla DMZ.

Onestamente, al mio locale club aeromodellistico ho visto modelli radiocomandati piu’ sofisticati di questi 🙂

Cmq, per chi desidera approfondire, il WaPo ha pubblicato un articolo a riguardo:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/04/02/take-a-closer-look-at-north-koreas-alleged-drones/

FATRIXE state in campana!


Drone Survival Guide

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[ CLICK TO ENLARGE ]

Source:  http://dronesurvivalguide.org/


Grey Eagle anche per il 160th SOAR

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Lo scorso 19 Novembre e’ stata finalmente attivata la Company E del 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (Airborne), il famoso reparto speciale di aviazione dell’esercito meglio noto come Night Stalkers. La peculiarita’ della nuova unita’ sta nel fatto che sara’ interamente equipaggiata con gli UAS MQ-1C Grey Eagle. La compagnia, composta da 165 uomini, e’ destinata a ricevere un totale di 12 esemplari del drone della General Atomics.

La cerimonia di attivazione e’ avvenuta al Libby Army Airfield, presso Fort Huachuca (Arizona), installazione che fungera’ da base temporanea per la Compagnia E fino a che non verranno completati alloggi e infrastrutture a Fort Campbell, Kentucky, sede operativa del 160th SOAR (A). Quest’ultimo, ricordiamolo, dipende dall’U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (ARSOAC), comando a una stella che si suddivide in quattro principali pedine:

  • 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)
  • US Army Special Operations Command Flight Detachment
  • Systems Integration Management Office
  • Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion

Fra gli aeromobili controllati dall’ARSOAC figurano gli MH-60, AH-6, MH-6, MH-47, CASA 212, oltre ai droni RQ-11B Raven, RQ-7 Shadow e (appunto)  MQ-1C Grey Eagle.

Con l’attivazione della E/160th, l’US Army ora dispone di cinque compagnie dotate di MQ-1C, di cui quattro inserite all’interno di altrettante brigate di aviazione divisionale (Combat Aviation Brigade).

Nella foto in alto: la Compagnia E immortalata con due Grey Eagle il giorno dell’attivazione a Fort Huachuca. (Credits: US Army/DoD).

Qui una parte del discorso tenuto dal comandante della compagnia E, Maggiore David Rousseau:

“Today marks a significant event for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. This is the first step in to the unmanned world of intelligence collection and direct action missions. The regiment will now have its own organic unit to provide battlefield situational awareness instead of relying upon outside agencies for the same capability. Echo Company will continue the same tradition the 160th has established over the last 30 years in supporting the ground force commander and his distinct missions. Echo 160th will be ready to fly and fight anywhere in the world plus or minus 30 seconds.”

ALTRE FOTO DALLA CERIMONIA
(Credits: US Army/DoD)

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Night Stalkers Don’t Quit!

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L’Era dei Droni

Quasi preferivo quella dell’Acquario.

Da qualche anno a questa parte le agenzie di intelligence statunitensi stanno monitorando con molta attenzione la proliferazione degli aeromobili a pilotaggio remoto, meglio noti come droni o UAV/UAS. Secondo gli analisti delle Langley d’America, sarebbero ben 87 i paesi equipaggiati con questi sistemi. Va comunque detto che in gran parte si tratta di modelli di piccole o piccolissime dimensioni, privi di avionica e apparati di sorveglianza sofisticati, nonche’ di capacita’ offensive (almeno di rilievo).  Siamo pero’ solo agli inizi, ed e’ quindi giusto tenere d’occhio la situazione per non farsi cogliere impreparati. Lo dico perche’ sono stufo di sentir parlare di “emergenza droni”. Non esiste. Sembra che RPV e UAV siano improvvisamente spuntati dal nulla dalla 5a dimensione. Mica stiamo parlando di uragani e terremoti.

Anyway, ecco la lista del GAO pubblicata dal Washington Times.

drones_s800x661E qua l’articolo tratto dalla stessa testata:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/10/skys-the-limit-for-wide-wild-world-of-drones/?page=all

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sunshine in


I Testoni della Compagnia F

Lo scorso 11 Settembre la Company F del 1-227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade (la pedina aviation della 1a Divisione di Cavalleria dell’US Army) ha iniziato le attivita’ di volo con i nuovi UCAS General Atomics MQ-1C Grey Eagle. (versione avanzata e potenziata del piu’ piccolo e leggero Predator). La “F” e’ la seconda Compagnia della brigata d’aviazione del 1st CAV a volare con il Grey Eagle. Il 6 Marzo la Company E aveva infatti dato ufficialmente il via alle operazioni con l’MQ-1C, assistita in quell’occasione dalla 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat). Entrambe le compagnie, cosi’ come la 1st Cavalry Division, sono basate a Fort Hood (Texas).

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(Photo credit: U.S. Army/1st ACB)

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Questa immagine risale invece a Marzo scorso, durante le attivita’ con la Compagnia E. Notare l’HellFire inerte montato su uno dei quattro punti d’attacco subalari. Il debutto operativo dell’MQ-1C e’ avvenuto nell’Ottobre 2006, quando fu inviato in Iraq nell’ambito della Task Force ODIN (306th Military Intelligence Battalion) per un ciclo di valutazioni (Photo U.S. Army)

Attualmente e’ in arrivo una nuova versione dell’MQ-1C soprannominata Improved Grey Eagle (IGE). Ecco cosa scrive in proposito Strategypage.com:

The new version has a better engine, fifty percent more fuel capacity, over 75 percent more endurance (from 30 to 53 hours), and its payload increased by 50 percent from 372 kg (798 pounds) to 558 kg (1,227 pounds). The fuselage has been modified to handle the increased fuel load and has greater reliability and stability in the air. The additional internal space makes it easier to install a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) that makes it possible to fly in airspace used by civilian manned aircraft.

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Immagine dell’MQ-1C IGE risalente ai recenti test estivi. Notare la struttura ingrandita e irrobustita.

COMPOSIZIONE DELLA COMPAGNIA EMRP

Nota: la compagnia prevede 12 MQ-1C solo quando dispiegata nell’ambito di rischieramenti operativi.
In tempo di pace e in addestramento sono previste solo 9 macchine. Vedere anche QUI.

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[Video] Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAV Completes First Shore-Based Arrested Landing

 

E anche questa e’ andata. Prossimo passo: la portaerei vera e propria 🙂


L’USAF perde il controllo delle basse quote

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Ricordo l’epoca in cui l’USAF, iperfinanziata e affamata di potere, tentava con ogni mezzo di impedire all’US Army di gestire una moderna componente aerea. Non bombardieri, caccia o ricognitori strategici, ma piccoli aerei da osservazione, elicotteri e bimotori STOL da trasporto tattico.

Ricordo quando l’Air Force – alla vigilia della Guerra in Vietnam – soffio’ letteralmente da sotto il naso all’esercito la flotta di aerei FAC come gli O-1 Bird Dog. “Il Forward Air Control e’ roba nostra“, diceva.

E cosa dire dell’A-10 Thunderbolt II? L’Aeronautica USA in realta’ non ne voleva sapere di nuovi mud movers, ma ingoio’ il rospo’ solo per mettere l’esercito da parte e affossare definitivamente l’ambizioso e controverso programma Cheyenne, l’elicottero d’attacco compound della Lockheed finanziato dall’US Army.

Esempi simili potrei farne ancora, ma per ora mi fermo qui.

L’amara realta’ e’ che l’Air Force, istituzionalmente o per forma mentis, ha sempre provato una certa avversione per il volo alle basse quote in zone ostili, e di conseguenza non ha mai particolarmente amato o apprezzato tutti quegli aeromobili che, per natura, missione o ruolo, operano sotto certe altitudini.

Ma il tempo, si sa, e’ galantuomo e finalmente l’esercito si e’ ripreso quella parte del cielo che gli spettava di diritto. E diciamolo una volta per tutte: per reale necessita’ e meriti, non per vanita’ o ambizioni politiche. Fermo restando che senza il totale controllo dei cieli (cfr. supremazia aerea) oggi non si va da nessuna parte, fa piacere vedere un aviazione dell’esercito alive and kicking 🙂

Un interessantissimo articolo di Strategy Page che ripubblico qui per intero:

The Air Force Loses Control Of The Lower Altitudes

Originally published on Strategypage.com/19 February 2013

The U.S. Army has over 6,000 micro-UAVs (Ravens and Pumas) and is still finding new ways to use these tiny (under six kg/13.2 pound) reconnaissance aircraft. The army is also evaluating tiny helicopter-type UAVs and several other models similar to the Ravens and Pumas. All this comes a century after aerial reconnaissance first revolutionized warfare. The tiny UAVs are another radical new aircraft technology that is taking air recon to a new level. That level is low, a few hundred meters off the ground. It all began in the American military during the last decade. The aircraft are the nearly 1,798 Raven and 325 Puma UAVs systems in use by ground troops. A complete system (controller, spare parts, and three UAVs) costs $250,000 for the Raven and over $400,000 for Puma. These tiny aircraft have changed how the troops fight and greatly reduced army dependence on the air force for air reconnaissance.

Traditional U.S. military aviators, and the 10,000 manned airplanes they operate, are somewhat disdainful of these tiny, unmanned, aircraft. But for the troops on the ground, they are a lifesaver and the key to many victories. This sort of thing has happened before. During World War I (1914-18), when aerial reconnaissance first became a major factor in military operations, it was quickly noted that regular flights over the enemy, despite the risk of getting shot down, provided invaluable information. It wasn’t just what the human observer noted but photographs of what was down there. All this was rather sudden because reasonably cheap and reliable aircraft only began to appear a few years before World War I began. This was not surprising, as the first flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft only took place in 1903. The war spurred even more aircraft innovation. But then, and now, the principal job of aircraft was to be the eyes of the ground forces. The fighters were to protect friendly recon aircraft and attack the enemy ones. Bombers were consistently oversold, and the air force partisans could never accept the fact that bombing was an adjunct to reconnaissance, not the primary mission of the air forces. Just as the first recon aircraft a century ago changed the way armies fought, the micro-UAVs have changed the way small units of soldiers fight. A century ago the aerial observers reported to generals and their staffs. UAV video goes to platoon or company commanders or the leader of a small Special Forces team. The lightweight, hand launched Raven UAV can only stay airborne about an hour per sortie, but troops have found that this is enough time to do all sorts of useful work, even when there’s no fighting going on. This is most of the time. The heavier Puma can stay up for 120 minutes.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the enemy did not want to confront U.S. troops directly (this tended to get you killed). So there was an unceasing effort to set up ambushes, plant mines and roadside bombs, and fire rockets or mortars at American bases. All of these activities can be messed with by using Raven. U.S. troops know to think like the enemy and quickly figured out the best ambush positions or places to plant mines or fire rockets. By sending Ravens over these spots periodically the enemy is put in danger of being spotted. The enemy knows that usually leads to a prompt attack from American mortars or helicopter gunships. These mind games, of sneaking around trying to get a shot off at the Americans, is more stressful and dangerous if the U.S. troops have Ravens. And most of them do.

The U.S. Army has over 5,000 RQ-11 Raven UAVs in service. This two kilogram (4.4 pound) aircraft is popular with combat and non-combat troops alike. The army has developed better training methods, which enables operators to get more out of Raven. Combat troops use it for finding and tracking the enemy, while non-combat troops use it for security (guarding bases or convoys). In both cases, troops have come to use the Raven for more than just getting a look over the hill or around the corner. The distinctive noise of a Raven overhead is very unpopular with the enemy below and is often used to scare the enemy away or make him move to where he can be more easily spotted.

The current model, the Raven B (RQ-11B), was introduced six years ago, a year after the original Raven entered service in large numbers. This UAV is inexpensive ($35,000 each) and can stay in the air for 80 minutes at a time. The Raven is battery powered (and largely silent unless flown close to the ground). It carries a color day vidcam or a two color infrared night camera. It can also carry a laser designator. Both cameras broadcast real time video back to the operator, who controls the Raven via a handheld controller, which uses a hood to shield the display from direct sunlight (thus allowing the operator to clearly see what is on the ground). The Raven can go as fast as 90 kilometers an hour but usually cruises at between 40 and 50 kilometers an hour. It can go as far as 15 kilometers from its controller and usually flies a preprogrammed route, using GPS for navigation.

The Raven is made of Kevlar, the same material used in helmets and protective vests. On average, a Raven can survive about 200 landings before it breaks something. While some Ravens have been shot down, the most common cause of loss is losing the communications link (as the aircraft flies out of range) or a software/hardware failure on the aircraft. Combat losses have been high, as nearly 20,000 have been built and most of those have been lost in training or the battlefield.

From the very beginning the Raven changed the way troops fight. With the bird’s eye view of the battlefield, commanders can move their troops more quickly, confident that they won’t be ambushed and often with certain knowledge of where the unseen enemy is. The big advantage with Raven is that it’s simple, reliable, and it just works. The UAV can be quickly taken apart and put into a backpack. It takes off by having the operator start the motor and then throwing it. This can be done from a moving vehicle and the Raven is a popular recon tool for convoys. It lands by coming in low and then turning the motor off. Special Forces troops like to use it at night because the enemy can’t see it and often can’t hear it either.

The controller allows the operator to capture video, or still pictures, and transmit them to other units or a headquarters. The operator often does this while the Raven is flying a pre-programmed pattern (using GPS). The operator can have the UAV stop and circle, in effect keeping the camera on the same piece of ground below. The operator can also fly the Raven, which is often used when pursuing hostile gunmen.

Last year the U.S. Army began using the larger (5.9 kg) Puma AE UAVs. So far 325 RQ-20A systems have been ordered and most have been delivered. Adopting Puma is part of an army effort to find micro-UAVs that are more effective than current models and just as easy to use. The Puma, a 5.9 kg (13 pound) UAV with a 2.6 meter (8.5 feet) wingspan and a range of 15 kilometers from the operator, has proved to be the next big (or micro) thing the army was looking for. Combat commanders quickly realized how useful Puma is and wanted more, as quickly as possible. This is not surprising as SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has been using Puma since 2008.

The army wants to equip each infantry company with a Puma system. That would mean 18 Puma AE UAVs per brigade and nearly 400 for the entire army. These larger UAVs have been most useful in route clearance (scouting ahead to spot ambushes, roadside bombs, landslides, washouts, or whatever). The larger Puma is particularly useful in Afghanistan, which is windier than Iraq and thus more difficult for the tiny Raven to operate.

Top speed for Puma is 87 kilometers an hour and cruising speed is 37-50 kilometers an hour. Max altitude is 3,800 meters (12,500 feet), and the UAV can stay in the air for 120 minutes at a time. Puma has a better vidcam (providing tilt, pan, and zoom) than the smaller Raven and that provides steadier and more detailed pictures. Because it is larger than Raven, and three times as heavy, Puma is much steadier in bad weather. Both Puma and Raven are battery powered.

Puma has been around for a decade but never got purchased in large quantities by anyone. The latest model uses a lot of proven tech from the Raven (both UAVs are made by the same company). Like the Raven, Puma is hand launched and can be quickly snapped together or apart. Another version, using a fuel cell, has been tested and was able to stay in the air for nine hours at a time. There is also a naval version that floats and is built to withstand exposure to salt water.

The army has bought over 10,000 of the 2 kg (4.4 pounds) Raven but it is mostly used for convoy and base security and less so by troops in the field. Each combat brigade is now supposed to have 35 mini-UAV systems (each with three UAVs, most of them Raven, but at least ten of these systems are to be Pumas). That means that each combat brigade now has its own air force of over a hundred reconnaissance aircraft.

Raven, and a thousand slightly larger UAVs, don’t get much publicity but they have a larger impact on combat than the few hundred much larger (Shadow, Predator, Reaper) UAVs. These big, and often armed, UAVs carry out vital missions but comprise a tenth of the airtime that the micro-UAVs rack up. Moreover, these smaller UAVs have opened up a lot of other possibilities. There are already small, single use UAVs that are basically guided bombs. Even smaller UAVs can be used for spying, as well as battlefield recon. These little aircraft are having an enormous impact on warfare, rivaling what happened a century ago.

Because of anti-aircraft machine-guns and portable missile systems, the air force prefers to stay high (over 3,200 meters/10,000 feet) and let the army and their UAVs and helicopters take care of the lower altitudes. The army has taken on the challenge and succeeded.


[Video] Nano Quad-Rotor



Prevedo sciami di nano UAV nel prossimo futuro…


[PDF] Drones, Irregular Warfare and Vulnerabilities: a new US Air Force study

[ DOWNLOAD ]
3,6MB – PDF – 110 pages

Abstract

The United States Air Force has long envisioned a strategic role for remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft. As early as May 1896, Samuel Pierpont Langley developed an unpiloted heavier-than-air vehicle which flew over the Potomac River. On V-J Day in August 1945, General Hap Arnold, US Army Air Forces, observed1:

We have just won a war with a lot of heroes flying around in planes. The next war may be fought by airplanes with no men in them at all … Take everything you’ve learned about aviation in war, throw it out of the window, and let’s go to work on tomorrow’s aviation. It will be different from anything the world has ever seen.

Since these early days, extended range, persistence, precision, and stealth have characterized remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) advancements. RPAs have been employed in multiple combat roles and increasingly contested environments. This year, for the first time in history, the President’s budget proposed a larger investment in RPAs than manned aircraft. A seemingly insatiable operational appetite for RPAs, however, has led to an Air Force manning bottleneck. This is exacerbated by a lack of common ground stations, unsatisfactory integration with civilian and international airspace, and vulnerabilities in communications and command and control links. Further complicating
efforts, yet essential in irregular warfare, are directives to minimize civilian casualties. General David Petraeus sees this need as a direct way to support a key center of gravity:

…We must fight the insurgents, and will use the tools at our disposal to both defeat the enemy and protect our forces. But we will not win based on the number of Taliban we kill, but instead on our ability to separate insurgents from the center of gravity – the people …2

Our Panel conducted an extensive set of visits and received numerous briefings from a wide range of key stakeholders in government, industry, and academia. Taking a human-centered, evidence-based approach, our study seeks to address operational challenges as well as point to new opportunities for future RPAs. That RPAs will be a foundational element of the Air Force’s force structure is no longer debatable. The real question is how to maximize their current and future potential. Our intention is that this study will help provide both vector and thrust in how to do so in the irregular warfare context, as well as other applications.

The undersigned express our sincerest appreciation to all the talented and dedicated study members and to the support of Lt Gen David Deptula and Lt Gen Phillip Breedlove. We also acknowledge the support of Executive Officers and the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Secretariat for their excellent support to this effort.

Dr. Greg Zacharias Dr. Mark Maybury
UIW Study Chair UIW Study Vice Chair

***********************************************************************************

3.3.4 Encryption and Potential C2 Link Vulnerabilities

Historically, sensor/data downlinks for some RPAs have not been encrypted or obfuscated. Unencrypted sensor data (e.g., FMV) is beneficial because the downlink is used to feed ROVER systems used by Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) and other ground personnel, including uncleared coalition members and contractors. This is a life-saving capability. Nevertheless, not protecting against interception of sensor data has been criticized. “Fixing” this security issue by mandating NSA Type 1 encryption is likely to lead to an unacceptable key management burden because of the large number of users of RPA data that have a wide variety of access rights. However, commercial-grade, NSA-approved cryptography is available (“Suite B”). Commercial cryptography of this kind does not require the same degree of rigor in handling key material and encryption devices, and is not limited in operation to cleared personnel. There is relevant Department of Defense (DOD) activity in this general area.

Encryption has generally been used on C2 messages because the risks associated with compromise are higher (loss of the vehicle), and there is a greatly reduced need for sharing of the C2 data as compared with sensor data. However, crypto issues will likely be exacerbated when doing coalition/joint swarming across platforms that require shared C2 across security domains – a capability that is desired to fully exploit the potential of networked RPA operations.


[Article] Armed and Dangerous (Jane’s Defence Weekly)

Speciale sugli UAV pubblicato sull’ultimo numero di Jane’s Defence Weekly.


SmartBird



http://www.festo.com/cms/en_corp/11369.htm


[Video] UAV Global Hawk come aerocisterne

Maggiori info QUI.


[HD Video] T-Hawk Class 1 UAV

This is an exclusive hi-def video of the US Army’s hovering T-Hawk Class 1 UAV. The drone is intended for small unit reconnaissance on an objective and can be flown on the move by a Soldier-packable control system. Images can be beamed back to a command center or broadcast on hand-held imaging devices. (video: Christian Lowe via Military.com)


Prove di appontaggio per l’RQ-8A Fire Scout

RQ-8A Navy Fire Scout Shipboard Landing B (tnx Alby).


XM156 – UAV class I

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Photo credits: US Army


[Cutaway] Northrop-Grumman MQ-8B “Fire Scout”

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click to enlarge (2800×1600 px) – credit: Giuseppe “Joe” Picarella/Flight Global

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click to enlarge (2600×1700 px) – credit: Northrop/Grumman


Ghosts of Mars


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An MQ-9 Reaper sits in a hangar during a sandstorm at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, Sept. 15, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jason Epley


Tempi che cambiano

Il 174th Fighter Wing dell’Air National Guard ha recentemente acquisito il primato di primo reparto ad avere soppiantato l’intera linea di volo basata su caccia con droni, ossia aeromobili privi di pilota (anche detti UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle o UCAV, Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle).

Precedentemente equipaggiato con i Lockheed F-16C, il 174th oggi vola con i General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, UCAV in grado sia di acquisire che di colpire bersagli, capacita’ meglio nota come “Hunter-Killer”.

Il principale vantaggio del Reaper consiste nelll’elevata capacita’ di permanenza al di sopra della zona assegnata: fino a 14 ore. Questa caratteristica consente ai comandanti di terra di ottenere una risposta d’intervento piu’ rapida e flessibile in caso di presenza nemica.

Il 174th Fighter Wing fa parte della Guardia Aerea Nazionale dello stato di New York dal 1947.


Reaper con bombe a doppia guida GPS/laser (USAF)


La torretta con i sensori di sorveglianza e acquisizione (Getty)


Reaper in volo


Ground Control Station di un MQ-9 (Getty)


Lo schermo della console da dove il pilota governa il Reaper (Getty Images)