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RQ-4 Global Hawk

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This thread is in response to all the healthy discussion on an unrelated thread not about the RQ-4, so now there is a thread just for the GH.  Hopefully this will help my community fight two battles, the battle to be embraced by big Air Force so we can showcase our capability and the battle to address concerns that we have no capability at all, aka U2 vs RQ-4. 

So, we would love to integrate in a more meaningful way at Red Flag and tap into our Intel Patch's talent...As it was explained to me, the billet for an organic intel officer was established within the last year.  I assume there is an Patch wearer on base but there isn't one in our squadron after former SQ/CC left.  I'm relatively new to the squadron so I don't have all the info, and hopefully some other guys will jump in and provide it.  What I do recognize is we have NOT demonstrated a commanding capability that cannot be ignored by Nellis...and hence we have been ignored.  Maybe we need to work on ourselves before we fight at the big kids table, or maybe we get some more support and we all get better together. #thedream

As far as the U2 goes, how do you have an ISR capability fight that is unclass...  As a start though, sensor parity seems an inevitable certainty from the simple fact that there is no physical/electrical/aero reason it can't be.  Northrup Grumman is going to do the leg work to make it happen, they have a vested interest to do so.  There isn't parity now, which is why we keep the U2.  Good, our Intel is better because of it, but someday we will have parity and arguing about when that day will be here is boring.  My guess is 3 years cause  that is what I read on CNN.  As far as old fashioned pilotage exploiting U2 capability...you are right, I am not aware of what you are talking about.  But I will clarify that every 11X in the Air Force is part pilot part mission manager, your Qual check proves you can pilot, your MSN check proves you can manage.  In the RQ-4 you can pass your qual check if on your engine out EP you don't touch anything and just make the appropriate radio calls (phone calls if MCE only ;)  Hence a Global Hawk pilot is really a mission manager and not a pilot in my framework...it is semantics.   Someday an 18X or even perhaps a Enlisted pilot will use good ol'fashioned mission management skills to exploit superior HAISR capability to that of U2, if only because they can do it at a desk and not in a space suit worrying about stall speeds and that SA-2.

List of current shortfalls...cough...quibbling

Sensor Parity, Dynamic Inflight routing w/ weather radar (significant software update and minor hardware), reliance on GPS/Satellites

I'm tired so if someone else wants to join in we can talk about enlisted pilots too.  And I haven't even mentioned all the things that make the GH superior to the U2 so hopefully this thread gets some discussion going. 

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BWAA!  Hahaha!!!

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You should probably spend some time with some knowledgeable tactics and/or intel folks at your unit. They might be able to straighten out a few of your misperceptions. Do us all a favor and do that in a vault or SCIF and keep it off an internet forum please. Thanks.

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...deleted....

Screw it, not worth the effort on an internet forum.

Enjoy the Gobble Cock kool aid, iowa.

Edited by Hacker
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7 hours ago, iowa said:

This thread is in response to all the healthy discussion on an unrelated thread not about the RQ-4, so now there is a thread just for the GH.  Hopefully this will help my community fight two battles, the battle to be embraced by big Air Force so we can showcase our capability and the battle to address concerns that we have no capability at all, aka U2 vs RQ-4. 

So, we would love to integrate in a more meaningful way at Red Flag and tap into our Intel Patch's talent...As it was explained to me, the billet for an organic intel officer was established within the last year.  I assume there is an Patch wearer on base but there isn't one in our squadron after former SQ/CC left.  I'm relatively new to the squadron so I don't have all the info, and hopefully some other guys will jump in and provide it.  What I do recognize is we have NOT demonstrated a commanding capability that cannot be ignored by Nellis...and hence we have been ignored.  Maybe we need to work on ourselves before we fight at the big kids table, or maybe we get some more support and we all get better together. #thedream

As far as the U2 goes, how do you have an ISR capability fight that is unclass...  As a start though, sensor parity seems an inevitable certainty from the simple fact that there is no physical/electrical/aero reason it can't be.  Northrup Grumman is going to do the leg work to make it happen, they have a vested interest to do so.  There isn't parity now, which is why we keep the U2.  Good, our Intel is better because of it, but someday we will have parity and arguing about when that day will be here is boring.  My guess is 3 years cause  that is what I read on CNN.  As far as old fashioned pilotage exploiting U2 capability...you are right, I am not aware of what you are talking about.  But I will clarify that every 11X in the Air Force is part pilot part mission manager, your Qual check proves you can pilot, your MSN check proves you can manage.  In the RQ-4 you can pass your qual check if on your engine out EP you don't touch anything and just make the appropriate radio calls (phone calls if MCE only ;)  Hence a Global Hawk pilot is really a mission manager and not a pilot in my framework...it is semantics.   Someday an 18X or even perhaps a Enlisted pilot will use good ol'fashioned mission management skills to exploit superior HAISR capability to that of U2, if only because they can do it at a desk and not in a space suit worrying about stall speeds and that SA-2.

List of current shortfalls...cough...quibbling

Sensor Parity, Dynamic Inflight routing w/ weather radar (significant software update and minor hardware), reliance on GPS/Satellites

I'm tired so if someone else wants to join in we can talk about enlisted pilots too.  And I haven't even mentioned all the things that make the GH superior to the U2 so hopefully this thread gets some discussion going. 

LOL. I'm just quoting this in case Iowa decides to delete it so other people can enjoy. 

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As I suspected...all Kool-aid, no meat/potatoes. If you really do want to improve your community, do as WTFAF suggested and go spend some time in the vault. Even GH drivers can read the U-2 3-1. Once you gain a basic understanding of U2 capes, talk to some drivers to get a feel for how we can integrate into the battlespace in ways that a Global Hawk will never be able to match. Good luck and I'm glad that you're excited about your new job!

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14 hours ago, iowa said:

Words

I'm going to start this discussion with please stfu unless you know what you are talking about. Its asshats like you that make our community look like a bunch of idiots who dont know wtf we are doing. Educate yourself before coming onto a forum where our peers talk and start blabbering about shit you barely understand. Your my bro in the Global Hawk but if we don't police shit like this, we continue to look like fools instead of what we really are, which is a new and capable platform that is eager to become integrated into the CAF.

 

14 hours ago, iowa said:

What I do recognize is we have NOT demonstrated a commanding capability that cannot be ignored by Nellis...and hence we have been ignored.  Maybe we need to work on ourselves before we fight at the big kids table, or maybe we get some more support and we all get better together. #thedream

Let me stop you there. You clearly havent been to any LFE's. We have demonstrated multiple times what we can bring to the fight and the great stuff we can do. The actual issue is that fact that we are still building our reputation in the CAF to have them actually trust us and wait for our intel before getting the party started. This is a disconnect at different levels but they are not something we can directly affect as Pilots...right now.

15 hours ago, magnetfreezer said:

The RF issue is partly the dichotomy between intel collection and tactical employment - the processes/timelines for one don't always match with those for the other. Reach out to your intel patches for more integration.

I think I need to clarify, that's only at RF. When we are dealing with WS guys or literally ANY other exercise or military branch there are zero issues.

14 hours ago, iowa said:

As far as the U2 goes, how do you have an ISR capability fight that is unclass..... stall speeds and that SA-2.

Again your ignorance is making you look foolish. You are a Global Hawk Pilot and you don't know what your peers bring to the fight and how you integrate with them? Also you don't call yourself a pilot in your framework? You fly an aircraft, you calculate fuels, you monitor and avoid weather, you take off and land, you do everything a pilot does with exception to physically being there and moving the control surfaces. Man up and own your shit and stop acting like a child. I'm not here to attack you but its bullshit like this that makes people look at our community as a whole as broken children. 

15 hours ago, pcola said:

When do you expect this "sensor parity" to occur?  And please explain why it will "clearly surpass the U2 in capability," especially after you just said you're a "mission manager" who doesn't fly anything.  Who is flying it, and what do they do when the mission requires a little old-fashioned pilotage?  If you think that is a pointless question, then I'd venture to say that you really have very little knowledge of the U2's capability as compared to the Global Chicken's.  

http://bfy.tw/7M3w

As far as clearly surpasses the U2? It doesn't.  To keep it super simple, it being unmanned kind settles it at the lowest level. The aircraft can fly longer and farther without crew limitations. There is no danger to the crew. We buy them in packs of 12 so honestly, shoot it down I DGAF. I have plenty more where that came from. To be completely honest, the biggest thing the U-2 has over the RQ-4 is 43 years. Its established and their place is known to the Air Force. There are no secrets here between the two. In 30 years, after the U-2 has passed, the RQ-4 will be in the same boat as the U-2.(Obviously speculation, but you get the point).

Edit:

2 hours ago, pcola said:

As I suspected...all Kool-aid, no meat/potatoes. If you really do want to improve your community, do as WTFAF suggested and go spend some time in the vault. Even GH drivers can read the U-2 3-1. Once you gain a basic understanding of U2 capes, talk to some drivers to get a feel for how we can integrate into the battlespace in ways that a Global Hawk will never be able to match. Good luck and I'm glad that you're excited about your new job!

We have demonstrated multiple times in the last year where the RQ-4 was more reliable and capable than the U-2. All upper level shit but if you want meat and potatoes this is the best its going to get at this level. It's not a secret that we can replace the U-2 in what it does. The aircraft really shouldn't be the full discussion here. I can go out and put a camera on any aircraft with some duct tape. /sarcasm The discussion needs to be the bigger picture. How we get what we get to where it needs to go smoothly and correctly.

Edited by WayUp
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11 minutes ago, tac airlifter said:

Why do we have the RQ-4?  

A valid question; here's my opinion based on my involvement as an AF O-6 at NSA working airborne programs for the Asst Dep Director for Operations, Military Affairs and post-     retirement as a civilian in OSD (DARO, OUSD/ISR, and NIMA/NGA)at the time  The answer is that in the very early 90s, Bill Lynn, the Director of DARPA (actually named "ARPA" at that point but returned to its original title of "DARPA" later in the 90s), and Bill Perry, the DepSecDef (not sure if they were in those exact positions in the very beginning, but by mid-90s they were) believed that unmanned aircraft had the potential to revolutionize airborne operations, starting with ISR, by reducing personal exposure to threats, enabling extended ISR (long duration ops) and save money by reducing the manpower costs in the systems.  Additionally, they believed that a new acquisition concept called the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) could speed up the introduction of new systems from the current (in the 90s) and painful 15-20 years. The idea was to marry up the contractor side and the government side early in the development cycle to better work out operational issues while designing the vehicles (sounds good...didn't work!).  They married the two ideas and DARPA initiated the High Altitude Endurance (HAE) and Medium Altitude Endurance (MAE)  programs in 1994.  The HAE program envisioned two platforms; a high altitude  "U-2-like" vehicle and a smaller low observable, craft for better penetration of highly defended areas, referred to as "tier 2+ and "Tier 3-" in their concept terminology.  The MAE program started with an existing much less capable unmanned RPA called the "Gnat", built by General Atomics for another purpose. You'll note here that this effort was a DARPA technology development effort, not an acquisition effort responding to an approved DoD mission need.  In fact, the Air Force was not particularly enamored with the idea of unmanned mission aircraft and did not support the effort; there was no AF money or manning in the POM to support it. In fact the HAE program plan itself says there is only one required outcome...and let me quote from the ARPA 6 Oct 1994 ver 1.0 HAE CONOP..."A dominant objective of the HAE UAV program is to obtain the maximum capability possible for a set, non-waiverable Unit Flyaway Price (UFP); accordingly, while there are performance objectives, the only requirement that must be met is the UFP."   In other words, it doesn't have to do anything except fly, hold a camera, and cost less that $10 million a copy; no operational needs have to be satisfied. To many in the system, the real effort was for DARPA to develop the new acquisition concept, using the HAE and MAE as exemplars.  The AF eventually got the aircraft because the outcome of an ACTD was to be either: 1) a failed program, so cancel it, 2) showed promise, so move on and correct issues, or 3) Provide program residuals to the eventual user (AF in this case) for them to decide to either keep and operate or dump. The ARPA and SECDEF seniors decided it flew, collected something, and (sort of) met the UFP goal (at about $15.5 each), so they chose option 3 and passed it all to the AF (both HAE and MAE, although the DarkStar segment of HAE was cancelled after it crashed on flight 2. 

Why they kept it was the usual case of political and industrial influence, I guess.  Some of us suggested the best course of action was to dump the Global Hawk because it met few operational needs, would cost too much to upgrade (if it could ever be upgraded...too little space, too little power, too little payload), and met few of the original desired capabilities,  We felt it would be cheaper to take the money and start with a clean sheet design, using the knowledge gained to drive the new (unmanned) platform (which we referred to as "Global Truck"). The estimated $200-400 million extra was consider too much money by leadership, so we stay on the "cheap" track...which I suspect has cost us an extra $5-8 Billion by now (just my guess).

As for the ACTD experiment, it hit a few bumps, too.  When the Predator program was turned over to the AF and told to operate it, they found the DARPA program provided no money or manpower in the DoD budget to do so, no tech data was ever developed for the Service (it was all contractor proprietary) so they couldn't fix it, no ground control systems built except the contractor's test stuff so they couldn't deploy or fly it fly,  No additional money was provided by DoD or Congress to the AF so the AF started a program called "Predator 911" to find money (to operate and buy support) and manpower, and facilities, "robbing" it from the current and future years budgets, causing major disruptions for years.  As for GH, the idea of killing the U-2 and replacing it with the GH didn't float either, because the GH had practically no operational capability as delivered  and it took a decade to develop the RQ-4B with more capability and slightly better sensors.

 

So, that's why we have it!   BTW, as far as Perry and Lynn were concerned, the success of unmanned systems since then probably indicates their vision was a success, and I can't really argue that they'd be wrong.  Its all in your perspective.

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Well that was a fantastic answer, and is exactly the reason I come to BO.net for discussions.  There's no way I'd ever have found someone around the proverbial water cooler who had that depth of continuity.  Thank you for taking the time to write that out.  

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2 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

dump the Global Hawk because it met few operational needs, would cost too much to upgrade (if it could ever be upgraded...too little space, too little power, too little payload), and met few of the original desired capabilities

....but.....but......but.....its UNMANNED!  UNMANNED is BETTER!

 

I sincerely wish I could rep your post more than just once, HF.  Thank you.

Edited by Hacker

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6 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

So, that's why we have it!   BTW, as far as Perry and Lynn were concerned, the success of unmanned systems since then probably indicates their vision was a success, and I can't really argue that they'd be wrong.  Its all in your perspective.

An excellent answer to continue the deserved praise for the details you provided.  I left the GH 8+ years ago and was there when the program was just about to "normalize" and all the old crusty guys there told me very similar but smaller scale anecdotes to why things were the way they were in the program.  My line has always been the AF just took the test aircraft and called it good, never developing a real platform.  Classic min run but ends up costing a bajillion more than necessary if you did the development & acquisition right in the first place.

A good idea, a long endurance unmanned platform to compliment not replace the U-2 and provide a virtual satellite in essence for other missions, BACN being a great example of what it can / should do in addition to doing a certain type ISR.  

As I didn't actually fly it, the emotional connection is not there but overall my experience was positive and no hate for the RPA.  It is definitely not glamorous or particularly exciting usually but important to do well as others may depend or use what you deliver for missions where friendlies are in harm's way.  

Have pride Global Chicken drivers but don't expect envy or many people to be interested in what you do... ever... not a cutdown, just the truth.

Edited by Clark Griswold
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14 hours ago, Hacker said:

....but.....but......but.....its UNMANNED!  UNMANNED is BETTER!

 

I sincerely wish I could rep your post more than just once, HF.  Thank you.

In most cases it probably would be better, IF it does what you need and you can afford it.  Although I could be accused of being a bit biased after 50 years in the AF recce business (25 with with the U-2 program), I really don't think I am.  The GH is a great little aircraft ("little" mostly referring to size, weight, and power) and I think the Teledyne Ryan and Northrop Grumman people did a pretty good designing and building it considering the political constraints they were working under.  Can you imagine what a prime would wind up with if a new program started out with "Build us a new fighter-bomber, make it unmanned, and make it cost less than $25 million, and it doesn't have to do anything specific as long as it stays under $25 mil a copy."

The problem with the GH as an operational ISR platform is that no one ever went to the operator or user, and asked what they needed, and turned them into system requirements.  Virtually every suggested capability in the original ARPA CONOP was left out because the UFP limit precluded adding them to the design (things like effective sensors...no SIGINT at all, no off-track EO/IR (LOROP), no ability to switch sensors to meet mission needs, no self-protection systems, no significant O&M savings (some people talk about lower flying hour costs, but they aren't much lower per hour, and it flies nearly 100 Kts slower than the U-2 so you use up more hours coming and going!), and no ability to deal with high threat areas.  Of course, that last one isn't the GH's fault...remember, the HAE CONOPS was supposed to include two vehicles.  The DarkStar was cancelled and it was the segment that was supposed to handle the "...economical solution to theater commanders RSTA needs---near-real time reconnaissance capability against high-value, well-defended targets."

 

So, unmanned is good in many cases; unmanned with no capability and no budget to support it isn't!

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8 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

So, unmanned is good in many cases; unmanned with no capability and no budget to support it isn't!

That's precisely my point; there are many folks that -- quite ignorantly -- see the mere remote piloting capability as single-handedly being the one attribute that makes one air vehicle more awesomer than another.

It is inevitable that at some point there will be an unmanned vehicle that is quite capable of substantially better HAISR than the Deuce...but that won't be exclusively because the vehicle is not manned.

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That's precisely my point; there are many folks that -- quite ignorantly -- see the mere remote piloting capability as single-handedly being the one attribute that makes one air vehicle more awesomer than another.

It is inevitable that at some point there will be an unmanned vehicle that is quite capable of substantially better HAISR than the Deuce...but that won't be exclusively because the vehicle is not manned.

And that vehicle will not be the RQ4

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How do you plan on collecting?

Easy, we split the cost today and store it in a safety deposit box. Whomever is on their death bed first, most likely Hacker cause he's old balls, will either get to enjoy it for a win or watch the other one enjoy it for a crushing defeat, pending the status of high alt RPA capes vs. U-2 capes. I will savor the inevitable victory so I'll share with Hacker since I expect he will be miserable for betting on RPAs (not to mention he's about to die) and I will also waive the debt for his half (which would be with interest, of course, since we're taking this so literal).

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Never thought I'd have my position classified as "betting on RPAs"....but I suppose that is correct. Can't teach a Mission Planner anything, I suppose.

Gobble Cock.....ptooey!

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On 8/23/2016 at 0:14 PM, WayUp said:

The actual issue is that fact that we are still building our reputation in the CAF to have them actually trust us and wait for our intel before getting the party started.

...

We buy them in packs of 12 so honestly, shoot it down I DGAF. I have plenty more where that came from.

...

We have demonstrated multiple times in the last year where the RQ-4 was more reliable and capable than the U-2. All upper level shit but if you want meat and potatoes this is the best its going to get at this level. It's not a secret that we can replace the U-2 in what it does. The aircraft really shouldn't be the full discussion here. I can go out and put a camera on any aircraft with some duct tape. /sarcasm

Hey WayUp, while I appreciate the effort to keep your bro in line (though you're too late to keep his post from getting kinetically posted in the U-2 bar), there are some other issues here:

- You want the CAF to wait until the GH is ready to get the party started?  What if there's icing?  Or weather?  Or Satcom jamming?  Or an IADS?  Or a credible cyber threat?  The GH won't be operating for very long in those cases.  The CAF fights with or without you because they shouldn't need a handful of "special" jets (including the U-2) to make the mission happen.  The job of both our airframes is to enhance their fight (in different ways) without introducing chaff.

- While on one hand you believe the CAF needs you, you also don't care if you get shot down.  You want to use GHs as SA-XX sponges, go ahead, but at least remove the expensive parts first; the U-2 would be glad to have more spare ASIP bits for test and training.  Joking aside, there's a bigger problem here.  GH operators really don't seem to care as much about their jets as their manned counterparts, and that's a problem for more than just them.  I've watched them on multiple occasions not really GAF about their own buffoonery and equipment malfunctions even when they physically threaten the safety of others.  As for why, my personal opinion is that millions of years of human evolution makes people just not care that much when they're not physically co-located with a jet or operation.

- "...multiple times in the last year where the RQ-4 was more reliable and capable than the U-2..."  I'll go ahead and call bullshit if you're referring to operational missions; if you're referring to how we did with a cobbed together jet in 16-1 I'll acknowledge that our stateside Ops-MX-DGS-CFSR team underperformed.  16-3 was pretty good, though, and I know of at least a couple pretty important Ex events this year where you guys were completely unable due to WX or equipment.

- "...it's not a secret that we can replace the U-2 in what it does."  Make no mistake, the GH will never be able to replicate what the U-2 can do.  The U-2 has twice the thrust and electricity, which means it can haul more powerful sensors (particularly the radar kind) higher and faster that a GH ever will.  And it'll do it in kinetically and electromagnetically contested airspace with a co-located pilot and a kickass defensive system.  The GH's big programmatic mistake is that it's still trying to be a U-2 replacement.  It will always fall short of that due to the above reasons, so the program relies on NG's political donations and book-cooking to get continued funding.  Where it could really shine, and make itself much more useful than it currently is, is enhancing and expanding the BACN role.  A bunch of networked GHs flying around outside of threat rings relaying IP-data is where the money could really be at.  And as SAM sponges.

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On 9/5/2016 at 6:47 AM, Majestik Møøse said:

Words..

For the sake of healthy discussion, I'll bite.

On 9/5/2016 at 6:47 AM, Majestik Møøse said:

Hey WayUp, while I appreciate the effort to keep your bro in line (though you're too late to keep his post from getting kinetically posted in the U-2 bar),

I expect nothing less.

On 9/5/2016 at 6:47 AM, Majestik Møøse said:

- You want the CAF to wait until the GH is ready to get the party started?  What if there's icing?  Or weather?  Or Satcom jamming?  Or an IADS?  Or a credible cyber threat?  The GH won't be operating for very long in those cases.  The CAF fights with or without you because they shouldn't need a handful of "special" jets (including the U-2) to make the mission happen.  The job of both our airframes is to enhance their fight (in different ways) without introducing chaff.

I partially agree. Yes in extenuating circumstances to include hurricanes and ...well i guess its a hurricane hunter now, but to include shitty WX, most jets wont be flying, not just the GH. This is queepy petty shit and i get your point. I just wanted to rebuttal this cause Pilot. You are right, there are a few instances that would be ISR specific that would remove our ability to aid in the war. ..I cant argue with this. Its legit. But the U-2 wouldn't be able to operate in all of those cases stated above either. Satcom jamming? Iads? The U-2 plan on using carrier pigeons to send its collect back? You guys got some black magic to get your stuff somewhere? Your pilots ready to go gary powers on those IADS? Obvious sarcasm but you get the point.

 

On 9/5/2016 at 6:47 AM, Majestik Møøse said:

- While on one hand you believe the CAF needs you, you also don't care if you get shot down.  You want to use GHs as SA-XX sponges, go ahead, but at least remove the expensive parts first; the U-2 would be glad to have more spare ASIP bits for test and training.  Joking aside, there's a bigger problem here.  GH operators really don't seem to care as much about their jets as their manned counterparts, and that's a problem for more than just them.  I've watched them on multiple occasions not really GAF about their own buffoonery and equipment malfunctions even when they physically threaten the safety of others.  As for why, my personal opinion is that millions of years of human evolution makes people just not care that much when they're not physically co-located with a jet or operation.

Correct, the mentality of being separated from the jet, primarily a global hawk, does cause some lack of SA and thoughtfulness to the actual mission. This is a mentality born from growing the community with pissed off ALFA tour folks that just want to go back flying or get out. This is and has passed. The community is now being led by people that actually want to be there and want to push the airframe. As far as caring about getting shot down, do U-2 pilots care about getting shot down? Absolutely, okay then..lets back you up a bit away from your target so we can keep you safe but still try to collect. Global Hawk though? Lets slide them a bit closer cause, we have a pack of 12 back home and we really want to get the good collect.     This seems dumb but if you know ISR then you know distance matters in most cases.

 

On 9/5/2016 at 6:47 AM, Majestik Møøse said:

- "...multiple times in the last year where the RQ-4 was more reliable and capable than the U-2..."  I'll go ahead and call bullshit if you're referring to operational missions; if you're referring to how we did with a cobbed together jet in 16-1 I'll acknowledge that our stateside Ops-MX-DGS-CFSR team underperformed.  16-3 was pretty good, though, and I know of at least a couple pretty important Ex events this year where you guys were completely unable due to WX or equipment.

I am absolutely referring to operational missions. More than once we've had to sit down and plan nonstop rotating ops to cover the U-2's issues for some reason or another this past year. This hasn't happened the other way around....at all.. This isn't something i could just make up for poking fun at you guys for the whole HAISR frat club, its happened, more than once. And if you try to defend this by saying the U-2 has picked up the GH's collect sometimes mid mission, that doesn't show anything other than simply retasking an asset. This does not show any capabilities. ....There have been some Ex that we have not been able to perform at due to Wx. That would be us and the U-2 and literally every airplane in the inventory. We're all susceptible to shitty weather so i don't really see any substance to the foundation of your argument there against the Global Hawk in favor of the U-2.

On 9/5/2016 at 6:47 AM, Majestik Møøse said:

- "...it's not a secret that we can replace the U-2 in what it does."  Make no mistake, the GH will never be able to replicate what the U-2 can do.  The U-2 has twice the thrust and electricity, which means it can haul more powerful sensors (particularly the radar kind) higher and faster that a GH ever will.  And it'll do it in kinetically and electromagnetically contested airspace with a co-located pilot and a kickass defensive system.  The GH's big programmatic mistake is that it's still trying to be a U-2 replacement.  It will always fall short of that due to the above reasons, so the program relies on NG's political donations and book-cooking to get continued funding.  Where it could really shine, and make itself much more useful than it currently is, is enhancing and expanding the BACN role.  A bunch of networked GHs flying around outside of threat rings relaying IP-data is where the money could really be at.  And as SAM sponges.

I agree the GH will never be able to replicate what the U-2 can do. It will however replace the U-2 in ISR. I think you possibly misunderstand my stance here. I am not a U-2 hater in any way. The GH isn't here to replace shit. Its to add an extra flavor to the mix. But the writing's on the wall that the U-2 is leaving and the GH will be retrofitted to carry its sensors(or at least some of them). Its already in testing and a quick google search tells you all about it. Defensive systems? U-2 - 1 GH - 0. As far as the sensor suite, being more robust due to the engine, yea your right it does have a large loud pretty awesome engine that can give some good electricity. The global hawk isn't really lacking much here. Yes I agree that the U-2 engine is bigger but the GH isn't failing to do anything due its engine or power supply...Not yet at least. You may have a solid argument there but that can be remedied by some modifications to the engine or generators and its ready to roll.

 

Again, I'm not here to fight with knives. I just want a healthy discussion. Just want to learn from here and share what i know.

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For historical perspective, a similar discussion to this, re: capabilities, took place back in the mid-90s when the F-4Gs were retired and replaced with HTS pod-equipped F-16s.

The "wild weasel" Viper even today still isn't as capable as the F-4G was, but that hasn't stopped the HTS Viper from being the operational SAM hunter for the last two decades.

Edited by Hacker

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I would say that the viper lacks certain capabilites that the f-4G had, but I would not consider it less capable anymore. That was definitely once true, but its systems have come a long way. 

 

From what I understand, the global hawk problems are more than technology challenges. 

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