Friday, November 21, 2014

Triton Sense and Avoid

From Janes website, an interesting tidbit about BAMS (1) 

“The US Navy (USN) is revisiting the sense-and-avoid (SAA) capability of the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) after previous efforts have failed to produce a system that works to the service's satisfaction.

The navy's efforts to develop and field an SAA system for the MQ-4C have proven to be more challenging than was first anticipated.

This issue has proven to be so problematic that the navy issued a stop-work order to Exelis, which was developing the SAA sensors under contract to Northrop Grumman, while it evaluates alternatives.”

There’s nothing special about this.  Developmental challenges are to be expected but it does remind us that even the seemingly mundane features can prove difficult and that should give us pause as we leap into our assumptions about the ease of development of rail guns, lasers, anti-gravity, and telepathic networks. 

For all you fanboys of [fill in the blank], remember ComNavOps rule of thumb:  a program will be fortunate to achieve half its claimed capabilities at twice the cost.

(1) IHS Jane's Defence Weekly , “US Navy seeks new sense-and-avoid solution for Triton UAV”, Gareth Jennings, 5 November 2014,


  1. for the interesting stuff skip to the WORLD FIRST section.;baeSessionId=eT7THM8tbQsUPcm1Q5HT_NbpUOKUEFfG8lQYl9L2L-4r_LHK_vvd!807323665?_afrLoop=115393665127000&_afrWindowMode=0&_afrWindowId=null#!%40%40%3F_afrWindowId%3Dnull%26_afrLoop%3D115393665127000%26_afrWindowMode%3D0%26_adf.ctrl-state%3Dru755igkv_4

    Please send a stamped addressed envelope with you credit card to ....

    And its quite a feet cos UK airspace is like THICK with all sorts of stuff buzzing around.


  2. CNO ... Great point regarding development of future systems. DoD tends to get enamored with technology and all the shortfalls it will solve and how lethal and efficient they will be when the technology delivers; they expect too much.

    Railguns and LASERs will be useful, but they are not going to change the face of modern warfare overnight. Another is "stealthy" UAVs, again will be helpful, but not a magical asset that will allow us full and free access in any theater.

    What I like is a balanced approach and what is called, a High/Low mix. High end technology is needed, but everything does not have to fall into that category. Buy shiny new JSFs, but also make sure that you have work horses behind those airplanes to continue the effort without bankrupting our Nation.
    For example, F-117 cleared the way then the rest of the AF and Navy came in behind.

    Trick will be, how to convince decision makers that high-end technology on it's own is not the solution, and buy what you can afford to operate and maintain.

  3. Why both BAMS and P-8's?

    Get that you do have a cost saving with an unmanned system,but you have added costs with operating a second aircraft type.

    Remember triton is similar in cost to a P-8 anyway.

    Would be better of with a fleetof P-8's fitted of for different manning configurations?

    Imagine some with an aicrew of say 4, while others with full crews.

    You get to use your connectivity in peace time and you still retain a capacity for independant operation when needed.

    Best of all you only develop one set of systems.


    1. You're looking at Poseidon and Triton in isolation.

      There are four layers identified as requirements to fulfil the USN's doctrine for monitoring the marine environment:

      VTUAV, MMR, BAMS and Orbital.

      MQ-8B (latterly C) fulfils the first, P-8 the second, Triton the third and cooperation with other services via satellite and other assets the fourth.

      That they interconnect and overlap is where the questions rise when each role is looked at separately. When taken as a whole the complementary, rather than competing, capabilities start to fit together.

    2. I understand that the idea is that these two systems are supposed to complement each other.

      My point is it costs money to maintain two unique airplanes and associated logistics requirements.

      We would be better of two sub variants of one one air frame.

      This only happened as a way keep an aircraft in production, not because it was a great idea for the navy.



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