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UCAV Future of Air Warfare Final Standard

UCAV Future of Air Warfare Final Standard

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Published by: V2 on Dec 27, 2010
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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
GrandeStrategy Institutewww.GrandeStrategy.com
UCAVs:The Future of AirWarfare
December, 2010
Meinhaj HussainDefense AnalystKuala LumpurMalaysiaEmail: m.hussain@grandestrategy.com
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The Indian Air Force is projected to induct a large number of 5
generation fighter aircraftwithin the timeframe of 2025. This poses serious challenges for the numerically smallerPakistan Air Force (PAF). The paper suggests UCAVs as a possible solution in counterin
g India’s
military aviation threat to Pakistan. Pakistan can develop UCAVs in the same manner theydeveloped the JF-17. The argument is in favor of UCAVs to supplement 4
generation fightersand enumerates an active and specific solution for PAF.
Bismillaharrahmanarraheem.Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs) are a category of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)that are designed to fire munitions and are characterized by increased autonomy of operation.Key attributes coupled with UCAVs, as defined in conventional military jargon, include anunmanned counterpart of a manned attack or fighter aircraft. This necessitates suchcapabilities as range, high speeds and a significant weapon load. Another key salient of UCAVsis the broad requirement for UCAVs to survive engagements rather than be used in one-waykamikaze strikes. UCAVs operational today are largely restricted to small, lightly armedderivatives of more conventional UAVs.
 UCAVs are an emerging technology that has the potential to revolutionize air warfare. Whilethe 5
generation of combat planes today is the pinnacle of military aviation, UCAVs presentparadigms that can supplement if not supplant them. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) whodiscuss a potential 6
generation inevitably mention unmanned aircraft as a possible keysalient.
 This paper focuses on UCAVs in a function as air-to-air combat vehicles focused on airsuperiority missions. The paper is in exclusion of other roles such as air-to-ground andIntelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR). It is recognized that UAVs are highly effectivein both these roles and this exclusion in no way implies the belittlement of these key aspects toUCAV and UAV technology.The paper considers the advantages, disadvantages, technology and politics and how thisrelates to Pakistan and her threat perception. It offers a specific solution tailored for theSubcontinent.
See Siemon Wezzeman
UAVs and UCAVs: Developments in the European Union
, 2007 for a more detaileddefinition of UCAVs.
See Annual Industries Capabilities Report 2009 published by the Office of Under Secretary of Defense,Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Industrial Policy Report regarding the capabilities expected from a 6
 generation fighter aircraft.
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The Advantages of UCAVs
Long Range Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air CombatThe world is increasingly converging towards long range air-to-air combat, not only withincreasingly sophisticated radars
that negate stealth
, but also AAMs like the ASRAAM and theA-Darter that provide an improvement in range of IR-based missiles (Defense Industry Daily,2010). Pilots engaged in BVR combat perhaps have the least value added to combat; essentially,they monitor their sensor-suite, communicate with controllers and then fire a missile whichthen takes over the task of actually destroying the target. An F-pole style maneuver or othersimilar maneuvers are limited by the G-forces that the pilots can sustain. Dodging incoming BVRmissiles, fired from enemy aircraft is again limited by the G-forces the pilot can handle. Thecase for a UCAV in this form of combat is arguably the strongest after ISR.Short Range within Visual Range Combat:To consider WVR combat, let us visualize what is achievable with the state-of-the-art at presentin the form of the F-35. We will later consider how much better a UCAV can exploit theseadvantages than a manned pilot.In a post-merge scenario where a large number of friendly and enemy aircraft are embroiled ina dogfight, identifying friend-or-foe and firing at a target can become both critical and yetcomplicated. When a fraction of a second counts, the human pilot has to analyze his MMI andmake a quick choice. The F-35 helps this critical process by providing an MMI that keeps trackof all aircraft embroiled in the fight and displaying them in the most user-friendly methodpossible.The process sounds difficult, but is only so for a human. A computer can analyze aircraft shapeseasily. Situational awareness, whether human or computer-enabled, allows a fighter aircraft toassign missiles for targets as soon as a picture of the battle-space has been formed. With HOBSmissiles, the execution is relatively simple even for a less maneuverable combat aircraft.Another element added by the F-35 is interconnectivity or swarm logic. Once situationalawareness has been achieved by man or machine and the fighter aircraft knows where thefriends or foes are, and at the same time can communicate with the rest of the friendly fighteraircraft who also share the same picture of the battle-space, computers can execute complexplays in a team format. This creates a veritable
soccer match
were one side knows exactly whatis going on in the entire football field and the location of its players. As a result, they cansignificantly outplay the opposing team. Such strategies may include providing cover fire, cross
See Bertnes et al
A Brighter Future for Gallium Nitride Nanowires
, 2006 for a discussion of the Gallium nitridetechnology and its application to radars.
See Perrett
Japan Keeps Pilot in 6
-Gen Concept
2010, for a reference to increased range and anti-stealthcharacteristics with data fusion from multiple sensors.

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