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Subject: UCAV's and ships of the future
Charles99    1/6/2009 1:36:02 AM
For Today, most UAV's are operated off of helicopter pads, or for hte larger UCAV's are designed to be operated off of a carrier. This makes sense, since the field is advancing so rapidly any specific design for handling them would likely be obsolete before it was fielded. But in the future, UAV's, UCAV's and likely hybrids between UAV's and single use missiles are likely to become common to nearly every class of combatent. When that occurs, what likely changes may there be to improve the handling, repair and of course to allow the largest number of Unmanned vehicles to be stored and used by a ship, without impacting too much on other ship functions?
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WarNerd       1/8/2009 9:25:46 PM
If you are expecting to see mini- and micro- UCAV carriers, forget it.
For same the weight and volume required to support a single UCAV you should be able to mount a missile armament of equivalent offensive capabilities and a superior sorty rate / rate of fire.  The other problem with a UCAV on a lone small vessel is that you have to remain in a fairly limited area to be able to recover the UCAV, which is not a good idea in a war zone.  American aircraft carriers hope they can get away with it because of their powerful escorts and CAP, but it has not really been tested since WWII.
The UCAV only becomes truly effective when you can deploy it in squadron strength or greater.  Most vessels will still support UAVs, but mainly as sensor platforms.  Currently, the biggest problem in warfare is determining if you have a valid target.  This is where the UAV will have it's biggest impact.
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FJV    Handling   1/9/2009 4:00:42 PM
Made me think of the old skyhook picture with the Sea Harrier.
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