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vc10man

F-16 Flown at 40K without a pilot

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The story is quite credible.

Fighters have been converted to targetdrones before and now it is the F-16's turn.

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The technology is that much better now that these guys are capable of piloting an F16 by remote with a high tech setup that would make any Flight Simmer drool at.

 

Also since it is pilot less they can put that F16 into high G Maneuvers that wouldn't be possible with a pilot on board. That makes an excellent training target to go after.

 

Drones in the past never had this sort of capabilities.

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Fighter of the calibre of an F-16? Really?

They are out of suitable F-4s for conversion. And these F-16s are probably almost thirty years old already.

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Just another reason to believe that we flight simmers are tomorrow flighter pilots.

That's why LM will allow all of us to us P3D V2, We will be bombing the enemy from our basements. :lol:

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Yeah.. they've been doing this with F-4s for a rather long time now.  Turning them into drones allows them to still serve a good purpose rather than rotting away in a salvage yard.

 

Kinda makes you wonder why they don't deploy this kind of technology to remote war areas for further tests and validation of the technology.

 

I particularly like this video.  Not only is an F-4 drone being shot down but it shows how strong those airplanes are built - the F-4 gets hit with a missile, starts tumbling and the aircraft is still able to stay intact.

 

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Yeah.. they've been doing this with F-4s for a rather long time now.  Turning them into drones allows them to still serve a good purpose rather than rotting away in a salvage yard.

 

The difference is you will not only get better performance out of an F16, These drones are also technologically superior to previous drones.

 

What I would like to see is a human pilot go against a drone F16 in a dogfight were the F16 is not limited to G-forces. This is an area to learn for in the future as the pilot is the real limitation in a dogfight because of G-Forces. An unmanned aircraft can also do better to out maneuver an in-coming missile.

 

So the real test is having an F16 UAV attack a manned F35 and have it evade a missile attack and engage in a dogfight were it can outperform a pilot due to greater G-force turns. An F35 has some advantages but the F16 not being limited to G-Forces would have another type of advantage.

 

Would be awesome

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The difference is you will not only get better performance out of an F16, These drones are also technologically superior to previous drones.

 

What I would like to see is a human pilot go against a drone F16 in a dogfight were the F16 is not limited to G-forces. This is an area to learn for in the future as the pilot is the real limitation in a dogfight because of G-Forces. An unmanned aircraft can also do better to out maneuver an in-coming missile.

 

So the real test is having an F16 UAV attack a manned F35 and have it evade a missile attack and engage in a dogfight were it can outperform a pilot due to greater G-force turns. An F35 has some advantages but the F16 not being limited to G-Forces would have another type of advantage.

 

Would be awesome

You also have to consider that a some point the aircraft's stucture will no longer take the G load. I've heard of a Mig-25 pulling 11Gs and being deformed to the point of being not flyable ever again.

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The Viper is limited to 9G whether there is a pilot or not. The FLCS will not allow the airframe to overgee because of the risk of damage.

 

The F-35 is a 9G aircraft as reported, but time will tell. With external stores it is automatically limited to 7.5Gs, while the Viper is limited to 7.7G's IIRC.

 

Personally, I think the F-35 will turn out to be a collossal waste of taxpayer money and expensive junk. The Block 60 Viper is superior to the F-35 in many aspects, but the USAF didn't buy any. Israel did, tho'.

 

Kattz

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The Viper is limited to 9G whether there is a pilot or not. The FLCS will not allow the airframe to overgee because of the risk of damage.

The F-35 is a 9G aircraft as reported, but time will tell. With external stores it is automatically limited to 7.5Gs, while the Viper is limited to 7.7G's IIRC.

 

So both are 9G aircraft but the difference would be the pilotless can sustain for longer and go into 9G far more often.

 

I believe the future in aviation will be more UAV and using old F16's as UAV's is a great test platform for this as it is cost effective.

 

 

 


Personally, I think the F-35 will turn out to be a collossal waste of taxpayer money and expensive junk.

 

100% agreed.

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So both are 9G aircraft but the difference would be the pilotless can sustain for longer and go into 9G far more often.

 

I believe the future in aviation will be more UAV and using old F16's as UAV's is a great test platform for this as it is cost effective.

 

 

100% agreed.

The most important difference though is that the piloted F16 actually has functioning targeting systems, including a pair of swivel mounted Mk I eyeballs, whereas the drone version most likely only has the bare minimum of sensors required for basic navigation.

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The most important difference though is that the piloted F16 actually has functioning targeting systems, including a pair of swivel mounted Mk I eyeballs, whereas the drone version most likely only has the bare minimum of sensors required for basic navigation.

From what I have read this is hardly a 'drone' but more of a high tech UAV on an F16 airframe with a lot more technology put into it compared to the 'drones' in the past. They have a far better setup then seen before.

 

See it as you may but get your head out of calling it a 'drone'

 

I see it as an innovative cost effective UAV with tremendous potential and would really like to see it go up against an F35 with a pilot on board.....sort of like Watson on Jeopardy.

 

I would put my money on the UAV F16 just as I put my money on 'Watson'

 

If you can't see that then keep calling it a 'Drone'

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From what I have read this is hardly a 'drone' but more of a high tech UAV on an F16 airframe with a lot more technology put into it compared to the 'drones' in the past. They have a far better setup then seen before.

 

See it as you may but get your head out of calling it a 'drone'

 

I see it as an innovative cost effective UAV with tremendous potential and would really like to see it go up against an F35 with a pilot on board.....sort of like Watson on Jeopardy.

 

I would put my money on the UAV F16 just as I put my money on 'Watson'

 

If you can't see that then keep calling it a 'Drone'

 

While I've heard of Jeopardy, I've never watched it, so I have no idea who Watson is. Boeing is a bit hazy on what capabilities are stripped out during the conversion process, but personally I would put my money on the plane that can actually shoot weapons ;) (i.e. the F35).

 

I agree with you that drone is not a proper technical term, so lets go with the guys who built it and call it an aerial target instead. Sure it's a very advanced target, but it's not a UCAV. If they'd actually converted an F16 into a UCAV I might agree with you; although this is an early block F-16 so unless the sensor suite was upgraded the F35 would still have a major advantage.

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John-Alan called it right; it's nothing more than a flying target. The airframe sat at AMARC for 13 or 14 years in the hot Arizona sun until Boeing pulled it out of the desert and converted it over to QF specification.

 

It's the same thing they did to Sabres, Century Jets, Rhinos and Shooting Stars; I wouldn't expect the USAF to start hanging ordnance on these 'R/C' Vipers and send them to downtown Damascus or something like that...

 

Aliens_borg_assimilation_faces_zps5460df

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so far this 'Target' has actually returned and landed at an airport so currently it is just an F16 that is being flown remotely without limitations. I see it as an F16 converted into a UAV.

 

Tremendous potential for what you could do with this aircraft as you can actually use it to engage in combat the way this platform is currently in place. It will give real pilots a very good run for their money compared to anything in the past.

 

Also a system I would love to see first hand as I find this fascinating.

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so far this 'Target' has actually returned and landed at an airport so currently it is just an F16 that is being flown remotely without limitations. I see it as an F16 converted into a UAV.

 

Tremendous potential for what you could do with this aircraft as you can actually use it to engage in combat the way this platform is currently in place. It will give real pilots a very good run for their money compared to anything in the past.

 

Also a system I would love to see first hand as I find this fascinating.

 

While they probably could do a lot with the platform to turn it into a true UCAV, this current project appears to be focused on replacing the QF-4 target drones that were previously used. When it comes down to it, UAV is just the latest fancy term for a remotely piloted aircraft. As has been noted above, they have been using aircraft as targets for decades now.

 

http://www.stripes.com/news/air-force/drone-f-16-takes-flight-closer-to-becoming-aerial-target-1.243218

 

And while these QF-16s are far more capable, I don't think they would do well in a dog fight. Unless they added in a lot of optical or IR sensors to provide the pilots on the ground the same visual situational awareness a pilot in the cockpit would have, the drone would be at a big disadvantage. Avoiding collisions in a dogfight would be a big question in my mind. I think the increased capability they are looking at is in providing a more manoeuvrable target for practicing missile engagements and better turning ability for gun practice (without getting into a full on dogfight).

 

Now, if they were to fit the same DAS sensor system the F-35 will have to one of these drones, and pipe the data to the ground station, then we're getting somewhere in regard to actually building a proper weapons platform for actual combat use.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/AAQ-37_electro-optical_Distributed_Aperture_System

 

When it comes to UCAVs and their future potential, the US Navy's X-47 program is more interesting. Especially in that those ones actually fly themselves as opposed to having direct flight commands given from a pilot on the ground. In other words, someone gives the plane an order to go somewhere, and the plane figures out how to get there on its own. And can also land itself on a carrier.

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And while these QF-16s are far more capable, I don't think they would do well in a dog fight. Unless they added in a lot of optical or IR sensors to provide the pilots on the ground the same visual situational awareness a pilot in the cockpit would have, the drone would be at a big disadvantage.

 

This is exactly the area that excites me about this project. Plenty of great modern technology out there to make this happen. But this is because I am a Flight Sim guy so of course I like the concept.

 

 

Avoiding collisions in a dogfight would be a big question in my mind

 

I had that thought as well. Putting an F35 into a dogfight with a remotely flown F16 may not be in the interest of the tax payer if something went wrong. Which means likely not going to happen.

 

It is a great test platform and low cost UCAV that can be learned from. A real UCAV in the future will most likely be much smaller then an F16 and more maneuverable and withstand much higher G-forces.

 

I bet you could build a squadron of UCAV's for less then these F35's out there at the moment. 

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This is exactly the area that excites me about this project.

 

I guess I just don't see this project itself going that way. It really just looks like a new batch of target drones being developed because they have run out of F-4s to use. There are very likely other more dedicated projects looking into what you're thinking of. An example on the high manoeuvrability side is NASA's HiMAT project from the late 70s and early 80s. These could sustain a 8g turn compared to an F-16's 4.5g at altitude.

 

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-025-DFRC.html

 

As for the cost of future UCAVs, I think there is still a lot of R&D (read $$$$$$) to do before a viable aircraft could actually be sent into combat, especially if you want something more than a bomber.

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Reading this is very sad for me. I busted my 17 year old knuckles 20 years ago on the first F-16 that was made into a drone. I watched the F-4's get wiped out as drones. As my wife agrees, so many just don't know the amount of care, pride, and even love of a sort that these aircraft received. They were like kids to us, and we took care of them as though they were our extended family.

 

It is necessary, I know, to run the drone program ( we refer to them as drones, Predators and Global Hawks are UAV's), but it tears many of us up in a way that others can't understand to see an aircraft go out this way.

 

Kev

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I guess I just don't see this project itself going that way. It really just looks like a new batch of target drones being developed because they have run out of F-4s to use.

 

The difference is they have actually taken off one of these F16's, Flown it through various flight maneuvers, brought it back to the airport and landed it. 

 

The fact that they can bring it back and land it sets it apart from being a drone for target practice. It is more of a UAV and could be used as a UCAV if they wanted to.


 

 


Reading this is very sad for me. I busted my 17 year old knuckles 20 years ago on the first F-16 that was made into a drone.

 

I agree with your post. I used to live off a navy base that used to operate Seakings. A lot of my neighbors used to service them and a lot of hours went into keeping those machines flying. These guys were passionate about those Seakings as am I.

 

I have a lot of respect for these machines and the people that serviced and flew many of them.

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The difference is they have actually taken off one of these F16's, Flown it through various flight maneuvers, brought it back to the airport and landed it.

 

The fact that they can bring it back and land it sets it apart from being a drone for target practice. It is more of a UAV and could be used as a UCAV if they wanted to.

 

They've been able to do that with the prevuous FSATs. Taking off and landing a target drone is nothing new.

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The difference is they have actually taken off one of these F16's, Flown it through various flight maneuvers, brought it back to the airport and landed it.

 

The fact that they can bring it back and land it sets it apart from being a drone for target practice. It is more of a UAV and could be used as a UCAV if they wanted to.

 

 

I agree with your post. I used to live off a navy base that used to operate Seakings. A lot of my neighbors used to service them and a lot of hours went into keeping those machines flying. These guys were passionate about those Seakings as am I.

 

I have a lot of respect for these machines and the people that serviced and flew many of them.

UAV = unmanned aerial vehicle, the QF-4 fits that description just as well as this QF-16, it has nothing to do with how capable the plane is.

As for using this plane as a UCAV, did they leave in all the weapon systems? Is there a datalink between those systems and the ground station? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then you can't use it as a UCAV. You could convert it to one if you wanted to (given enough money and engineering resources), but at the moment it is not a UCAV.

 

For a bit more perspective, giving UAVs enough situational awareness to be able to safely use them in normal civilian airspace is an area that is still the focus of a good deal of research. Enough situational awareness for effective dogfighting is more complex than that.

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