It has recently become a little more aware of the creation of the national program of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Try to understand what prospects of our unmanned aircraft and how it should develop this area of the world.
The most active and "loud" using UAVs for military purposes Americans. The destruction of terrorists using drones become the visiting card of hostilities"American"and demonstration of the reach where you can not apply conventional military force. Of course, the effectiveness of the attack drones are still very relative, and the application may not everywhere. However, this is not the only way to solve the problem of limited military means, and at a considerable distance from his troops. It really is a new step in the remote methods of warfare. A transition from the use of UAVs for reconnaissance missions to attack ground targets. This direction will be fundamental in the development of military aviation in the short term.
Why? It's very simple. Modern air defense systems have not only become quite perfect, but widespread. They limit the use of tactical aircraft in almost any theater of war, and doing the most difficult task is attacks on ground targets. At the same time develops and aircraft weapon. It is highly accurate and is a long range applications, eliminating the need for a carrier (airplane) to converge with the attacked target. Thus, the manned aircraft is gradually becoming only the carrier of weapons. Actually strike functions are reduced to two models. If the purpose of the attack are known in advance — the plane should only receive the arms closer to them. If the goal identified in the course of hostilities — the aircraft must be on duty in the area of application to ensure that the minimum time from target detection to its destruction. In both cases, the exploration (search) purposes, try to keep separate means, and not by a carrier of weapons. After all, the longer the plane is in the potential range of the air defense systems, the more likely his loss. As a result, to attack ground targets, the pilot is not needed. He gradually loses its function matches the objectives and guidance of weapons. In addition, the presence of the pilot makes the aircraft is larger in size, therefore, noticeable for air defense. Manned aircraft is limited by gravitational forces during maneuvering on the approach to the target or evade air defense systems (for example, the maneuverability of the fighter "Sukhoi" recent series have higher physical ability to withstand the overload Pilot). And besides — the presence limits the duration of the pilot patrol aircraft. We should not forget about the price of a human life, which is always higher than the cost of any equipment when the inevitable losses.
All this will sooner or later lead to the abandonment of the use of manned aircraft for ground attacks. Fighter aircraft will be manned for a long time, since replaced by the pilot in a dogfight is much more difficult than for the delivery of weapons to the ground target. Tech will not soon learns it is also true to assess the situation and take the right decision, as it does people. But to teach it yourself take off and land, close to or patrol in a given zone, the use of weapons and evade air defense systems — are quite capable, even today. Although these tasks are more complex from a technical point of view, but their decision to engage wherever realize that the other way are still there — the vector of development is precisely to unmanned aircraft.
Our program is creating its own unmanned vehicles for the Armed Forces will be to overcome the serious lag in this area leading manufacturers. Light tactical UAV can create many, including us. Many Russian companies are creating quite small samples of high-quality devices from short-range and low-altitude flight. They are sold abroad and used by domestic agencies and civilian companies. But in a niche high-altitude UAV long duration and range of U.S. leadership and Israel — is undeniable. Even the Europeans are forced to buy their equipment, though trying to create his own. Another thing is that many can not afford to buy ready-made samples, if not able to create them yourself. For us there is no such option for two reasons.
Firstly, really modern technology, no one will sell — just so happens that the leaders of this industry — we"Potential adversary". Even in Israel, which is difficult to call themselves our adversary, we could not get a really advanced technique (partly under pressure from the U.S., and partly — because of the desire to preserve Israel's own technological lead over the likely competitor in the arms market).
Secondly, for us to create its own military equipment is a safety issue. We can not depend on foreign supplies of military equipment, as they may be discontinued at the worst possible moment. And, in addition, any high-tech export weapons (including ours) is not in vain is a little different from the samples for their own needs. Any exporter of arms trying to eliminate the possibility of its use against ourselves, our allies, or even against a third party, if it would be contrary to their own interests. So we always had to create a whole range of weapons themselves, even if at some point we have cooperated with foreign producers.
Now for the Ministry of Defense are now three types of UAVs. The first (the work is called"Pacer") — Medium-altitude operational-tactical UAV with a takeoff weight of about one ton, roughly analogous to the U.S. MQ-1 Predator. The second ("Altius") — Up to 5 tons, to have a longer duration and altitude, and roughly corresponds to the characteristics of the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper. Perhaps he will be able to strike the earth, like the American counterpart. Presumably, the external appearance of this device can be seen on the main page
This year, start flying high-altitude aircraft M-17RM (M-55"Geophysics"), Converted into a flying laboratory for the testing of control systems drone created by the program. Individual components for unmanned systems (systems of communication, control, reconnaissance, etc.) are created for a long time by various organizations. And for their tests do not have to use the UAV itself. It is enough to test platform (aircraft, on which the equipment under test) is approximately matched the characteristics of the future UAV. It is significant that as a flying laboratory is selected M-17RM. This machine service ceiling (maximum altitude) is greater than 21 kilometers. If the test is not approached other platform, it can be assumed that the framers of domestic UAV sights on greater heights.
Of particular interest is the development of large impact UAV, as it is the most difficult part of the program. While the creation of a specialized stroke unit, similar in its characteristics to the tactical aircraft, is too tough for even
the recognized leaders. Most Americans are close to success. They already have the drums drones conventional schemes and the experience of their operational use. Several programs to create a qualitatively new combat UAV (such as Boeing X-45 and X-46, Northrop Grumman X-47A) were closed without reaching the final result, that is not turned into a real fighting machine. However, this does not mean that all development efforts in vain. All the results of research and experience test will find expression in a real machine with time. At the moment, only the U.S. Navy continues to fund work on the shock UAV (X-47B). But the vector of development of combat aircraft can not be changed. And the new program, without a doubt, will appear.
Very modest progress so far and the Europeans. They did not create their own high-altitude UAV, content procurement American RQ-4 (Euro Hawk).
Although the hope of obtaining their heavy drones have not yet lost. The most interesting German-Spanish project «Barracuda» and the wider European project consortium called the nEUROn. The first has not yet gone beyond the experimental machine, but has good potential to become a full-fledged, including shock, but not in the near future. The second project is the Europeans are trying to keep from closing, even though the crisis he faces termination of funding and purchasing ready-American cars (eg, MQ-9). Most conservation efforts of this project have made the French, who are trying to hold their own prospects of high-tech products, including in the military field. At the end of last year, they were able to raise into the air while only"Technology demonstrator", which is far from a complete fighting machine, but it shows that some results from the work already. However, on receipt of the serial car before 2025 do not even speak French.
We also have an interesting job on shock drones have not yet received their actual implementation. This refers to the heavy impact unobtrusive UAV "Scat", which was developed in the RAC "MiG". His full-scale model was first shown at the air show, "Max-2007." This development is done then a lot of noise, and it is understandable why: these machines are one of the most advanced and complex types of military aircraft, the creation of which is not practical for many countries. The emergence of such a device on the stands of Russian Aircraft Corporation — was quite sensational bid to maintain its leading position in the global aviation industry. And while the program was still very far from making the aircraft, and almost no progress on the general model of the layout — the fact works to be found at the edge of the development of military aviation, let's hope for new horizons of domestic aviation.
Its takeoff weight was to be about 10 tons with a payload of more than 2 tons. Size "Scat" twice the American UAV prototype X-47A Pegasus, but conceded X-47B. Length 10.25 meters (from X-47A about six have X-47B is almost twelve) wingspan — 11.5 meters (X-47A — 5,94; X-47B — 18.92). Part of arms (two guided aerial bombs weighing up to 500 kg) could be placed in the inner compartments. However, not all of the existing aircraft missiles of "air-to-surface" and "air-to-radar" there could fit in size. Such as X-31, presented at the stand as a weapon, "Stingray", has a length of 4.7 to 5.3 meters, depending on modifications. A length of two weapons bays "Stingray" is only 4.4 meters. The fuselage is made on a "flying wing" was planned to be made of composite materials. This, together with the special shape having a small projection area and contributing to the scattering of radio waves of certain ranges — had to seriously reduce its visibility to enemy radar. On the "Scat" was planned to install a turbojet engine RD-5000B thrust exceeding 5040 kg, having a flat nozzle and air inlet to cover up (the shield) compressor engine — it just helps to reduce the visibility of the machine. Service ceiling should not exceed 12 km and A planned flight range — up to 4,000 km.
In general, the unit had a great future and look certainly no worse than the most promising foreign counterparts. However, further work on this UAV has stalled on a full-size layout and he took a step. Perhaps it has several causes.
The issue is closely related to the dimension of the machine with a range of weapons. We have already mentioned that some of the weapons "Scat" could only carry an external load, which greatly increases its radar signature. But the shock machine (in fact, for an unmanned bomber), one of the key tasks is to work in a strong anti-air defenses and destroy it (where dangerous to apply manned machine). Perhaps the range of tasks that require the UAV to change its very layout and revise the design as a whole.
Another issue to be considered unquestionable management system, which we simply did not exist at the time of the demonstration wind model. It should be said that such a device is important for greater autonomy of action that they differ even from the U.S. military MQ-9. Although they are considered"Drones", but in reality are nothing more than a remotely operated vehicles, although very perfect. Such UAVs can be used against an opponent armed with Kalashnikov, but not against modern air defense systems. For example, serial domestic radio air defense systems are not only able to block the radio control UAVs, but also create a false navigation field device that will prevent it automatically return to the starting point. Something like this was imprisoned in Iran-the-art American UAV RQ-170 Sentinel, the very existence of which became known only after he got into the hands of the Iranians. Therefore, for the drone that is applied against the technologically advanced enemy is essential greater autonomy of action. He has to do a task is not under the control of the operator, and the given algorithm. At least for most of its combat route. This task is very simple. No wonder that the autonomous UAV i
s not amenable to the efforts of the most advanced countries.
It is said that at the time of the demonstration model of "Stingray", the control system if it existed, it is only in its infancy. Representatives of the RAC "MiG" said that the prototype of the "Stingray" for the flight test was to be manned. But for this car, except for communications and general management, just need a system of autonomous flight control. Simple remote control it is not possible, because the complex aerodynamic design and the lack of tail makes it even flying — a very difficult task.
One way or another, but the Ministry of Defense has included the creation of the heavy impact of the UAV in advanced weapons program, and the independent development of the RAC "MiG" was slow. And after some time, it was decided to merge the efforts of the RAC "MiG" and corporations "dry" on a common project. This has given rise to numerous publications, telling about how ruined one of the most promising work in the field of military aviation, although it was only about working together, and not to wind up the program. But some fear for the fate of developments RAC "MiG" yet were not devoid of meaning. The fact that the corporation is "Dry" has its own, very original and interesting developments (such as unmanned systems
… However, even a cursory familiarity with lessons learned in "Dry" indicates that there were working on an entirely different class of devices and destination, although also very promising. And the head of the RAC "MiG"Sergey Korotkovtalked about working together as follows:
"As unmanned subject of" Sukhoi "and" MiG "carried out their work within each CB, but then we agreed to work together within the KLA. There is a solution that "dry" is the lead on that competition, which is organized by the Ministry of Defence, and the RAC "MiG" — the largest subcontractors in the implementation of this program. Today … preparing documents for the implementation of a single project. All that is done by us, and lie in a common fund ".
It is said that the practice of combining the efforts of different companies on complex projects is very common. And as an example, not only European consortia. Americans often combined efforts and achievements borrowed from different companies, initially competing in the contest. Here is a selection of the corporation "dry" is not accidental. It has a complex system of automated flight control, even on serial fighters Su-30/34/35 series. They simplify the piloting of aircraft with unstable aerodynamic configuration, reducing the management of complex systems to simple airfoils for the pilot manipulation. In addition, as part of their own UAV programs were set up many of the components of control systems, which are useful for the overall project. Actually, the beginning of flights flying laboratory M-17RM this year, says that they are already there, and require testing. Appear and the devices themselves, for which the system is intended.
In general, it appears that we are not so bad in the field of UAV. Although the armed forces now have very few unmanned systems in the ranks, but to change this within our reach. And with the help of domestic technology, and not the foreign procurement.
Timing of the most promising systems are comparable with the time of realization of foreign projects. And what is now considered the achievements of unmanned aircraft — can only scare bearded terrorists, not us. And if in the near future, we will not change attitude to security and development of the armed forces (God forbid!) — Then we have every chance to be among the leading manufacturers of the most advanced technology, both military and civilian.