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back to article US Navy trials GIANT ROBOTIC SPYBIRD for coastal patrols

The US Navy has completed early test flights on a drone aircraft which sports a wingspan of more than 130 feet (39.9m). Northrop Grumman said that its MQ-4C Triton aircraft has passed a series of nine test runs with the Navy. The trials are designed to test the craft's endurance and manoeuvrability under normal flight conditions …

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So...

It's basically a remote control heavy bomber to replace the B-52?

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Mushroom

Re: So...

Given the mission, it would replace the Navy's P-3s along with some manned P-8.

Carrying weapons on such a mission is a very high cost to the loiter capabilities which is the major point of the drone in addition to moving personnel out of the reach of any opposition weaponry. Not to mention the fact that bomb carrying ability is laughable compared to currently available aircraft.

One need not agree with US strategy to accurately assess the reasons, though not agreeing usually renders the individual unable to make a coherent argument much like the fervent fundamentalist 'patriots'.

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The UK should sign up now

Since we retired the Nimrods, the UK has no sea patrol aircraft. This is exactly the kind of role that drones should fill - hours and hours of patrolling over mostly empty ocean.

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Re: The UK should sign up now

"Since we retired the Nimrods, the UK has no sea patrol aircraft."

The UK has no defence vision nor strategy, either.

Just as well nobody wants to start a proper war with us, given that we've no aircraft carriers either, and no modern ground attack aircraft. And precious few of almost any type of defence asset you care to name, and virtually none of those are any good for the roles we have needed them to perform in the past twenty plus years.

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Re: The UK should sign up now

Two songs come to mind, both by Bob Dylan

1 : Maggie's Farm

2 : Hard rains gonna fall.

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Re: The UK should sign up now

Germany had ordered the Eurohawk variant of the RQ-4B, which is essentially the same thing, and it stayed aloft for a bit over a full day. I'm sure they would be happy to sell one or fifty to the UK.

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Re: The UK has no defence vision nor strategy, either.

I wish it were otherwise. Granted it might make things a bit more complicated on this side of the pond, but were mostly in the mess we are because everyone depends on the US to police the world and hating us when we do it.

Unfortunately, I don't think you'll ever get it back. The progressive/socialist/communist segment has so overtaken you I don't see a way back. Sadly, we're not far behind you. And I rather expect that this brief respite from the ravages of absolute tyrannies will return. From 1215 AD to 20xx just seems too short a run for liberty.

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Re: The UK should sign up now

>The UK has no defence vision nor strategy, either.

I thought it was to do whatever our masters told us?

So long as we have enough unemployed yoofs to use as cannon fodder in order to show that it is "an international coalition of liberators" (and not an American invasion) we don't need to actually equip them

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Re: The UK should sign up now

If it's not keeping defence companies afloat with government cash, then there's no way we'll get any in the UK.

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Facepalm

Re: The UK should sign up now

Why buy from the US?

we're developing our own! (sure its delayed. but all military projects are)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Systems_Taranis

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The UK should [Not] sign up now

I can think of lots of better ways to spend forty six thousand million pounds on than killing more Muslims.

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Re: The UK should sign up now

"Why buy from the US? we're developing our own!"

Mmm. From the same people who brought you Nimrod AEW3 and MRA4. The first cost a billion quid twenty years ago for no working aircraft, the second cost four billion a couple of years back, again for no working aircraft. The MoD is incapable of specifying kit and letting contractors get on and build it, and the contractors are too reluctant to tell the MoD to stop arsing around with the spec every single day. Mix in corrupt and incompetent politicians, the results we see are inevitable.

A further problem is the (military?) obsession with trying to have cutting edge kit that causes vast cost escalation, and then results in limited purchases and excessive asset lives, so that the crews are often younger than the kit they are operating.

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@Ledswinger Re: The UK should sign up now

That's OK, you can always count on your faithful colonies to come to your aid - oh wait...

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Re: @Ledswinger The UK should sign up now

We had to keep Nimrod going to support skills in the British Airliner industry.

Otherwise nobody else would buy the DH Comet

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Re: @Ledswinger The UK should sign up now

I saw what you did there!

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Coat

So. it is an updated 'U2' then?

mines the one with the invisibility cloak builtin.

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Paris Hilton

Why would a soon-to-be third world nation require any of these types of armaments?

Have warlike nations not learned that the UK can be bought?

And that is a heck of a lot cheaper in lives and cash no?

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How long are they expecting her to be able to fly for once tests are finished? The old Predator has an endurance of 24hrs, makes 9.4 from a new system sound pretty feeble. I presume the improved ceiling height would make sea patrols more productive as they can have eyes on a larger area at once.

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I remember...

..starting my career as a bright-eyed idealistic graduate trainee who liked flying radio-controlled aircraft and fiddling with early computers. And applying for a civil service position at Farnborough, because I wanted to work on unmanned drones, which I thought would be the coming thing.

That was back in the late 1970s. And now that I am at the end of my career, people are just starting to use them. That'll teach me to read too much Dan Dare in the 1950s..

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I don't get it.

What's the point of a 40-meter-wingspan drone with 9 hour airtime? What's it supposed to do?

It doesn't look like a bomber, I can't see any mountings for guns, it's not stealthy, it does have a lot of space for sensors but 9 hours of airtime isn't really sufficient for a flying surveillance platform either. What's the point of it?

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Re: I don't get it.

The point of it is simple

It is to keep a few Congress Critters employed in Washington making sure that Tax $$$$ are being spent on white elephant projects like this in their electoral areas. This is the 6lb hammer wheras the predator is the Ball Pein.

In Amerika, bigger is always best aint it?

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Re: I don't get it.

They have tried rotating owls and pigeons on the test flights to achieve round the clock surveillance, but it seems after the owls come on shift, the pigeons are not to be found the morning after.

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Re: I don't get it.

The point is that the P8 can't do the job properly without assistance from another aircraft.

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Re: I don't get it.

That's the weird bit

You ask congress for a mach 6 stealth fighter that will cost $$$$, they give you $$$ and later cut it to $$

If you ask for a modest design that only costs $$ you are screwed.

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Re: I don't get it.

I agree with you given current weapons systems. I'm assuming it may be large enough to mount an airborne laser weapon system and it's needed chemical train power source. The loiter time is probably longer than disclosed, I would think 24 hours would be an absolute minimum.

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