Branzino
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:19 pm

Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:48 pm

Greetings everyone,

I was wondering why in this age of UAV's some air forces still rely on fighter aircraft for reconnaissance missions. The one that springs immediately to mind is the French Air Force, with practically all the Mirages being deployed in a recce role at some time in their past and with the Rafale seeming to continue to follow this tradition. Do these aircraft still possess some advantage over UAV's?

Regards
 
Ozair
Posts: 1812
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:38 am

Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:03 pm

Branzino wrote:
Greetings everyone,

I was wondering why in this age of UAV's some air forces still rely on fighter aircraft for reconnaissance missions. The one that springs immediately to mind is the French Air Force, with practically all the Mirages being deployed in a recce role at some time in their past and with the Rafale seeming to continue to follow this tradition. Do these aircraft still possess some advantage over UAV's?

Regards


Two main reasons.

1. Time – UAVs are great for reconnaissance but they are slow and cannot operate in some weather conditions.

2. Threat – A Mirage/Rafale has the ability to get in and out of a threat zone. No current UAV can turn like a fighter jet, fly as fast as a fighter jet, fire BVR missiles like a fighter jet or has counter-measures to defeat missiles aimed at it.

In the end it comes down to the operational need. Another important point to note is that France is acquiring Reaper UAVs so clearly see the benefits of operating a fast jet recon and UAV recon force together.
 
Branzino
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:19 pm

Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:49 am

Ozair wrote:
Two main reasons.

1. Time – UAVs are great for reconnaissance but they are slow and cannot operate in some weather conditions.

2. Threat – A Mirage/Rafale has the ability to get in and out of a threat zone. No current UAV can turn like a fighter jet, fly as fast as a fighter jet, fire BVR missiles like a fighter jet or has counter-measures to defeat missiles aimed at it.

In the end it comes down to the operational need. Another important point to note is that France is acquiring Reaper UAVs so clearly see the benefits of operating a fast jet recon and UAV recon force together.


Thank you for your reply! Makes sense!
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:36 pm

It of course begs the question that UAVs will probably take over that role once the performance is good enough. But yeah, for the moment the performance capability of in service UAVs just isn't there.
 
Ozair
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Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:10 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
It of course begs the question that UAVs will probably take over that role once the performance is good enough. But yeah, for the moment the performance capability of in service UAVs just isn't there.

Almost certainly but as you say that performance needs to improve dramatically, especially for higher threat environments.

Of course there have been previous examples of high speed recon UAVs such as the the Lightening Bug, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Model_147 so the idea is not new but probably just fell out of favour. During the cold war despite these UAVs existing both sides maintained manned recon aircraft.

Image
 
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Slug71
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Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:22 pm

Looks like the South African Airforce will be using their Gripens to help combat Rhino poaching.

http://www.saairforce.co.za/news-and-ev ... ailability
 
tommy1808
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Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:24 pm

Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:25 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
It of course begs the question that UAVs will probably take over that role once the performance is good enough.


..... and that they are given enough autonomy to fight and shoot. I don´t think a modern deep learning server farm would take very long to learn the how and human pilots wouldn´t stand a chance, unless they come up with something new in every engagement. Computer system are already better at so many tasks and in deep learning, we often don´t understand even how and why they decide something. We just know they are more often right than humans. AI medical systems with a good nurse beating human doctors is already pretty much done, history has demonstrated that, once enough resources a poured in, computers surpass human abilities quite fast.

Skynet goes online in August of 2017 ;-)

best regards
Thomas
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CX747
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Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:39 pm

Drones are useful tools in certain environments. They are not peers of fighters or bombers but a different player in the arena. Fighters have greater abilities to fly faster, further and through highly contested airspace. UAVs haven't made that jump yet and may never get there due to sensor costs and bandwith issues.

UAVs have really gotten great publicity in the last 10-15 years. All earned in an environment that is not truly contested. MQ-9s are sitting ducks to a legitimate threats Air Force.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
smithbs
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Re: Using fighters in Recon config in age of UAV's?

Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:25 pm

CX747 wrote:
Drones are useful tools in certain environments. They are not peers of fighters or bombers but a different player in the arena. Fighters have greater abilities to fly faster, further and through highly contested airspace. UAVs haven't made that jump yet and may never get there due to sensor costs and bandwith issues.

UAVs have really gotten great publicity in the last 10-15 years. All earned in an environment that is not truly contested. MQ-9s are sitting ducks to a legitimate threats Air Force.


Agreed. UAVs are great for you if:
1. You have complete air supremacy - no enemy air force, radar, SAMs or AAA.
2. Have good weather.
3. Have first class comm links.
4. Are more concerned with observation and small warhead strikes.
5. Your enemy has a hard time even knowing what is over their head.

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