Boeing X-45A Unmanned Fighter

Discussion in 'Politics' started by waggie945, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. Looks very cool.

    Seems like between satellite imaging, armed Predator unmanned aircraft (and others), cruise missiles, Patriot type missiles, and all the other unmanned stuff we already have, this is really only an evolutionary thing.

    It isn't like the technology doesn't already exist. So what real purpose does it serve to have to risk the lives of a crew on a combat aircraft RIGHT NOW?

    I am not sure why even the present fighter aircraft (like F15s, F16s. F18s, and Stealth Fighters and the newer JSF jets) can't be retrofitted with "remote control". I believe the Navy is getting ready to retire the F14 Tomcat fighters. They are bigger and (I believe) outperform the newer F18s in a lot of ways. They are so incredibly expensive, why not at least try and retrofit new unmanned flight systems to a plane we already have paid for? Particularly if they are going to just be "mothballed"? It isn't like the government is going to sell them to private owners and get back some of our tax dollars.

    Which begs the can buy a Russian Mig (de-armed), why can't you buy a used American war plane? All the Vietnam era fighter jets (like F105s, etc.) are just rusting away. We have so much excess money in our federal budget that we can't use a little spare change?


  2. Right now, the Army doesn't even have enough Shadows over in Iraq for Christ's sake, so I doubt that they would be spending any serious money on "retrofitting" older fighter aircraft.

    Currently, the US operations in Iraq are barely delivering 1/4 of their planned reconnaissance output due to all sorts of organizational issues relating to manpower, connectivity, qualified interpreters, etc.
  3. If they don't have the budget to spend "any serious money" to retrofit older aircraft, then how do they have the budget to develop new aircraft?

    I don't know what it costs to make a Shadow...but I am sure they are a dirt cheap compared to a new fighter jet.

    Even with the development costs already done (the B52 has been around for over 50 years I think), the cost of just a single F14 is probably around a $100 million or so. These are just going to be let rust away? They have no value? (Same with any of our retired war planes).

    If an F14 can be retrofitted for (say) 10% of the cost of building a new aircraft, then even if they are shot down, wouldn't it still make sense? (better to lose a cheaper "pre-owned" airplane with no crew than a more expensive airplane WITH a crew).

    Whatever happens, there is no doubt in my mind that if they develop this new unmanned fighter, and they WILL, it will be at huge expense. And by the time it is deployed, it will probably be obsolete.

    It isn't always strictly about having the most advanced weaponry. Using it effectively counts for a lot. Otherwise, how can we possibly still be using those B-52s?

    The article in the link you posted seems to confirm this very thing. Without good intelligence, having the latest and greatest weapons makes them ineffective.

  4. Your point is precisely what L-3 Communications (LLL) CEO Frank Lanza has been speaking about during quarterly conference calls and presentations to the Street.

    The bottomline is that the huge prime contractor "platforms" like Lockheed's F/A-22 "Raptor" Fighter Jet that was developed designed during the Cold War, for the Cold War, are a thing of the past. Originally, this F/A-22 project was suppose to pump out something like 800 units and Lockheed is gonna be lucky if they actually produce roughly 230 planes.

    These big "platforms" will either be delayed, strung-out over time with less and less units being ordered, or flat-out cut, as Senator John McCain suggested about 2 weeks ago.

    The bottomline is that the current military transformation has everything to do with "Command & Control" systems that offer real-time Intelligence, Reconnaisance, and Surveillance (ISR).

    L-3 Communications is a leader in this type of equipment, not too mention Aircraft Modernization.

    Their conference call is highly informative. Check it out next Wednesday. CEO Lanza is the best at explaining where our military is going in the future and how the current transformation will get us there.
  5. Cutten


    Just think, in a decade or two, countries like Iran and N Korea will have these things. What's the betting they figure out how to attach WMD payloads? Stick on some long range fuel tanks, and you could send hundreds of these things across the Atlantic or into Europe. Not a pleasant thought.
  6. I'm not so sure about that.
    Do they even have broadband in Iran yet?