[ RadSafe ] Navy completes 1st unmanned carrier landing, Brock Vergakis, 10 Jul 2013

Doug Aitken JAitken at slb.com
Thu Jul 11 07:56:26 CDT 2013

All pretty interesting, if not much to do with Radsafe.

Just a pity Asiana did not use even a simple civilian version (I believe this exists?)..... rather than allow a couple of incompetent idiots pilot a commercial plane.....

Doug Aitken
QHSE Advisor, Schlumberger D&M Operations Support
Cell Phone: 713-562-8585
(alternate e-mail: doug.aitken at slb.com )
Schlumberger, Drilling & Measurements HQ,
300 Schlumberger Drive, MD15,
Sugar Land, Texas 77478

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of dlawrencenewyork at aol.com
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 7:44 AM
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Navy completes 1st unmanned carrier landing, Brock Vergakis, 10 Jul 2013

The current system is called the AN/SPN-46 ACLS (Automated Carrier Landing System) with an a I/K-band radar. 
Has three modes:
Mode 1 - full autoland
Mode 2 - "ILS mode" provides landing cues to the pilot Mode 3 - carrier-controlled talk-down mode These replaced the AN/SPN-42's beginning in the late 1980's which were less than 70% reliable.  In order for UAVs to go mainstream, you will need absolute 100% reliability. The advances are in the datalink technologies in the case with UAV's or in reality, a remotely piloted vehicles (RPV) - don't call them drones! The only real difference is that the pilot can be sitting in a trailer in Nevada and can wear a helmet similar to what is to be worn by pilots of the F-35 JSF. If all the pilot sees is a video generated image inside of his visor, why put him in the plane in the first place?

Best Regards,
David Lawrence

-----Original Message-----
From: JPreisig <JPreisig at aol.com>
To: radsafe <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Thu, Jul 11, 2013 12:15 am
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Navy completes 1st unmanned carrier landing, Brock Vergakis, 10 Jul 2013

     The name of one guidance system used in helping  "usual" plane landings on aircraft carriers is called CAINS (Carrier Aided Inertial Navigation System).  The system is engineered by Kearfott Inc.  Don't know if more information is available  about it.  
It consists of at least two Ring Laser Gyro Inertial Navigation  Systems (and associated accelerometers).  One RLG is on each aircraft and  one RLG is on the Aircraft Carrier.
I suspect the system also involves GPS, radar, a Kalman Filter and so  on.
     Regards,    Joe Preisig
In a message dated 7/10/2013 8:38:58 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, maurysis at peoplepc.com writes:

In the  fall of 1960 I helped design the on-board operators console and procedures for  the AN/SPN-10 ACLS [Automatic Carrier Landing System] for the 
US Navy.   Even that long ago we had the capability of hands-off carrier 
landings all the  way to touchdown and rollout.  Then the pilot had to fly the aircraft to  a "window" where the data link with the carrier could lock on and complete the  rest of the approach and landing.. Now we can apparently launch and recover  unmanned aircraft with these  systems.

Navy  completes 1st unmanned carrier landing Wed, 10 Jul 2013 17:21:04  -0500

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (AP) — The Navy successfully  landed a drone the size of a fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier for the  first time Wednesday, showcasing the military's capability to have a computer  program perform one of the most difficult tasks that a pilot is asked to  do.

The landing of the X-47B experimental aircraft means the Navy can  move forward with its plans to develop another unmanned aircraft that will  join the fleet alongside traditional airplanes to provide around-the-clock surveillance while also possessing a strike capability. It also would pave the way for the U.S. to launch unmanned aircraft without the need to obtain permission from other countries to use their bases.

"It is not often  that you get a chance to see the future, but that's what we got to do today.  This is an amazing day for aviation in general and for naval aviation in  particular," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said after watching the  landing.

The X-47B experimental aircraft took off from Naval Air  Station Patuxent River in Maryland before approaching the USS George H.W.  Bush, which was operating about 70 miles off the coast of Virginia. The  tail-less drone landed by deploying a hook that caught a wire aboard the ship  and brought it to a quick stop, just like normal fighter jets do. The maneuver  is known as an arrested landing and had previously only been done by the drone  on land at Patuxent River. Landing on a ship that is constantly moving while navigating through turbulent air behind the aircraft carrier is seen as a more difficult maneuver, even on a clear day with low winds like  Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the Navy's program executive officer  for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, said everything about the flight —  including where on the flight deck the plane would first touch and how many  feet its hook would bounce — appeared to go exactly as planned.

"This  is a historic day. This is a banner day. This is a red-flag letter day,"  Winter said. "You can call it what you want, but the fact of the matter is  that you just observed history — history that your great-grandchildren, my  great grandchildren, everybody's great grandchildren are going to be reading  in our history books."

Less than an hour after that first landing, the  jet took off from the carrier and then landed again. The Navy said it would  perform three total landings on Wednesday. The Navy will do some additional  tests and analysis on the jet, and possibly some more landings in the next few  days if the carrier's schedule allows for it , but the first landing was the  last major benchmark for the program to hit.

The X-47B will never be  put into operational use, but it will help Navy officials develop future  carrier-based drones. Those drones could begin operating by 2020, according to  Winter. Four companies are expected to compete for a contract to design the  future unmanned aircraft, which will be awarded in fiscal year  2014.

The two experimental aircraft that have been built for the first  round of testing will be retired and placed in museums at Patuxent River and  at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

The move to expand the  capabilities of the nation's drones comes amid growing criticism of America's  use of Predators and Reapers to gather intelligence and carry out lethal  missile attacks against terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and  Yemen.

Critics in the U.S. and abroad have charged that drone strikes  cause widespread civilian deaths and are conducted with inadequate oversight.  Still, defense analysts say drones are the future of warfare.

The X-47B  is far bigger than the Predator, has three times the range and can be  programmed to carry out missions with no human intervention, the Navy  said.

While the X-47B isn't a stealth aircraft, it was designed with  the low profile of one. That will help in the development of future stealth  drones, which would be valuable as the military changes its focus from the  Middle East to the Pacific, where a number of countries' air defenses are a  lot stronger than Afghanistan's.

The X-47B has a wingspan of about 62  feet and weighs 14,000 pounds, versus nearly 49 feet and about 1,100 pounds  for the Predator.

While Predators are typically piloted via remote  control by someone in the U.S., the X-47B relies only on computer programs to  tell it where to fly unless a human operator needs to step in. The Navy says  the aircraft relies on precision GPS navigation, a high-integrity network  connection and advanced flight control software to guide itself.

Chief  of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert called the landing a "miraculous  technological feat."

Developed by Northrop Grumman under a 2007  contract at a cost of $1.4 billion, the X-47B is capable of carrying weapons  and is designed to be the forerunner for a drone program that will provide  around-the-clock intelligence, surveillance and targeting, according to the  Navy, which has been giving updates on the project over the past few  years.

The X-47B can reach an altitude of more than 40,000 feet and has  a range of more than 2,100 nautical miles, versus 675 for the Predator. The  Navy plans to show the drone can be refueled in flight, which would give it  even greater range.

"It gives us persistence. It gives us the ability  to do things that we can't today because of the limitations on the human body  in terms of endurance, in terms of distance, in terms of just how long you can  stay on station or do the things like refueling," Mabus said. "We're not  sending this message to any particular country. This is for us. This is to  make sure that we 

keep the technological  edge."


Brock Vergakis can be  reached at http://twitter.com/BrockVergakis.
Copyright  2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be  published, broadcast, rewritten or  redistributed.

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