Author Topic: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?  (Read 18484 times)

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Offline milnews.ca

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Posted this to "What's Canada Buying?" thread:
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,89599.msg885690.html#msg885690
and sharing it here for discussion.

Short & sweet version:  DND is looking into a future where section commanders may carry a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) or Nokia Internet Tablet to get information from their own tiny unmanned aerial vehicle.

On the plus side, I can see value in an extra set of "remote eyes".  On the minus side, though, it becomes another piece of hardware to take care of, keep track of and monitor (not to mention, potentially, another way for bosses prone to micromanagement to peek in on what the sections are up to).
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Offline DiamondDarryl

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2009, 20:39:08 »
Sounds good in theory, but I have no doubts it would end up being another piece of kit stashed in some corner of the lav never to be used.

Offline whiskey601

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2009, 20:58:27 »
This was already done with a special BlackBerry 2 years ago for US DoD.  During testing, it was possible to mark information on maps and upload/share with others on the same network. You could also attach pictures etc to the location marker. Very slick. It had become possible to securely side channel GPS feeds with encrypted tactical data using elliptical curve, which the device could read, understand and display. Look for more of this to come out of the US only.       

Offline WB

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2009, 22:35:03 »
This is the way of the future.

It's just one more step in the downward diffusion of combined arms talked about in another thread here.  It's more a question of "when" than "if".

In the future I see something like this: 

An IFV with a built in firefinding radar and a UAV "launcher" similar in idea to a catapult used on aircraft carriers. On contact the crew commander hits a red button and mini UAV fires off a catapult enabled ramp off the top of the vehicle and makes it's way to the source of fire.

The UAV would also act as an RRB to relay comms in built up areas and have an IR spotlight bright enough to "highlight" enemy troop positions from the sky for viewing through NVGs.  Maybe one day munitions will be light enough that a weapon can be mounted on a mini UAV.

Offline X-mo-1979

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2009, 01:24:18 »
Keep in mind I'm a dirty tanker/recce (boooo) guy.
It's wonderful to have UAV controlled by someone else.However operating a UAV under contact while directing the fight would be a bit much.Let's take a look at SAS (situational awareness system)I learned that system inside and out.Only to find I may have been the only one.Then deployed found out it isnt even being used.

Wonderbread I usually agree with your comments however a mini UAV with little mini super rockets sounds great,however so does Tesla coils that respond to projectiles. :nod:

All I keep picturing is the "Hollywood" company discovery channel special with the thing cracked in pieces.

From my side of the combat arms fence,keep it with a dedicated (not in contact) group of people.Or if it is placed in a section wouldnt it be better placed with a junior member dedicated to the UAV.Someone who could stay in the back of the vehicle and use it.As the section commander is gonna be busy enough under contact to be flying a UAV IMHO.


Offline WB

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2009, 10:07:50 »
Let's take a look at SAS (situational awareness system)I learned that system inside and out.Only to find I may have been the only one.Then deployed found out it isnt even being used.

I'm familiar with the SAS as well, and took the LFC2IS crash course last fall to see it all (supposedly) come together.  I'll be the first to admit that the system as I saw it was not battle ready - for a number of reasons that shouldn't be discussed here.  But the concept is a good one.  Give the technology a few years to develop and SAS (or a system like it) will save lives. 

I see this as the same sort of thing.  I think UAVs for each section is a good idea.  Do we have the technology to make it work? Maybe not today, but what about 5 years from now?  A Pte today could be in a section with it's own armed UAV by the time he's a WO.  Like SAS, this concept of Mini UAVs is a good.  It's just a question of when the technology will catch up with the idea.

Quote
From my side of the combat arms fence,keep it with a dedicated (not in contact) group of people.Or if it is placed in a section wouldnt it be better placed with a junior member dedicated to the UAV.Someone who could stay in the back of the vehicle and use it.As the section commander is gonna be busy enough under contact to be flying a UAV IMHO.

Why not?

The 10 man rifle section will have an IFV driver, IFV gunner, crew commander, 2 LMG gunners, 2 grenadiers, a section commander, and a "C2S" operator:

-A Sr Pte or Cpl who controls and integrates the UAV, voice/data transmissions, indirect fire and medivac, ect. It's one guy whose job is to co-ordinate the Command and Control Systems.  Give him his own mini-CP in the back of the carrier.

Sound like a lot for one guy? Maybe it is.  I'm not saying today's idea is perfect.  I'm just saying that this is where we could be headed tomorrow.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 10:10:26 by Wonderbread »

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2009, 11:26:07 »
Call me cynical ("You're cynical, Technoviking!"), but I feel that technology isn't the answer.  We focus on this "fluff" at the expense of basic skills.  Our troops cannot shoot straight through no fault of their own, but now we have PDAs and UAVs and ABCs all over the place.

Dudes, war is simple: Find, Fix, Strike. 

OK, that is just a "bit" simplified, but we so often lose sight of the basics.  Just last week a guy was telling me about this arm-mounted PDA for section commanders so that they can see where their guys are.  I asked "why not turn your head left and right?"

Anyway, back to the dark ages I go...

Offline X-mo-1979

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2009, 12:35:29 »

Why not?

The 10 man rifle section will have an IFV driver, IFV gunner, crew commander, 2 LMG gunners, 2 grenadiers, a section commander, and a "C2S" operator:

-A Sr Pte or Cpl who controls and integrates the UAV, voice/data transmissions, indirect fire and medivac, ect. It's one guy whose job is to co-ordinate the Command and Control Systems.  Give him his own mini-CP in the back of the carrier.

Sound like a lot for one guy? Maybe it is.  I'm not saying today's idea is perfect.  I'm just saying that this is where we could be headed tomorrow.

Having dedicated UAV guy's back else where in a "safe" zone removes the pucker factor.I believe it's a lot more efficient if the lav commander is calling in brief requests to say KAF instead of in a tic directing his gunner and driver and trying to lay a young guy onto a target who is flying a UAV from a bouncing lav.

I understand your talking the future combat when we have all kinds of crazy kit.However from my view point I don't see it working under contact as well as a dedicated UAV overflight from a dedicated UAV control center.

Your C2S is sounding a whole lot like a FAC/FOO.

Call me cynical ("You're cynical, Technoviking!"), but I feel that technology isn't the answer.  We focus on this "fluff" at the expense of basic skills.  Our troops cannot shoot straight through no fault of their own, but now we have PDAs and UAVs and ABCs all over the place.

Dudes, war is simple: Find, Fix, Strike. 

OK, that is just a "bit" simplified, but we so often lose sight of the basics.  Just last week a guy was telling me about this arm-mounted PDA for section commanders so that they can see where their guys are.  I asked "why not turn your head left and right?"

Anyway, back to the dark ages I go...

Couldnt agree more.I'm all for advancement in technology.however sometimes it get's a little too scifi for me.

Now a hunter killer site...that's a battle field advancement!MRS...


Online Thucydides

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2009, 14:53:37 »
While this seems pretty novel for us, it is actually "behind the curve"

The IDF issues a receiver that allows section and platoon commanders (and vehicle commanders) to receive feed from UAV's and tactical helicopters, letting them look around the corner or to the next bound. The device is attached to the wrist like a big watch, I imagine vehicle crews velcro them to a handy spot inside the vehicle.

The Garmin RINO is a $400 item you can buy at Canadian Tire which is a GPS with full map display, a PRR type radio and incorporates a built in SAS by revealing the position of people calling in from their RINO to yours (very good for keeping track of section and platoon level operations).

These sorts of devices can be carried by section commanders without overly burdening them (in fact, a wrist watch type video receiver and Garmin RINO would remove the need to carry a 521 radio), and these functionalities can be incorporated into hardened "tablet" type computers with radio modules and VoIP sftware that allows them to be used as voice radios as well. Size/weight of a device that can replace a 521 radio would be similar to a Panasonic CF-28 laptop; I have seen devices with these capabilities at AUSA 2006 so this is not a far future scenario.
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Offline WB

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2009, 18:00:55 »
Call me cynical ("You're cynical, Technoviking!"), but I feel that technology isn't the answer.  We focus on this "fluff" at the expense of basic skills.  Our troops cannot shoot straight through no fault of their own, but now we have PDAs and UAVs and ABCs all over the place.

Dudes, war is simple: Find, Fix, Strike. 

OK, that is just a "bit" simplified, but we so often lose sight of the basics.  Just last week a guy was telling me about this arm-mounted PDA for section commanders so that they can see where their guys are.  I asked "why not turn your head left and right?"

Anyway, back to the dark ages I go...

For sure, but there's nothing to say that things can't be developed concurrently.

In my mind, Infantry soldiers need to develop The Art in the following order of importance:

Mindset, Tactics, Physical Fitness, and Equipment

I've never been to officer skool in Gagetown, but I've been using this mantra as my own sort of army philosophy to keep the important things in perspective. 

1)  Proper Mindset is the fundamental attribute that separates soldiers from non-soldiers.  It's about drive and motivation and being a hard motherfucker in even the direst of circumstances.  It's about a ruthless commitment to self-improvement, always moving forward, regardless of obstacles.  If an infantryman is nothing else, he'd better be tough.

2)  After that comes tactics, techniques, and procedures.  With the proper mindset and the proper knowledge, the most ill equipped soldiers have defeated otherwise superior forces throughout history.

3)  Then comes fitness, which allows the soldier to apply his mindset and tactics for longer periods without rest.

4)  And only after all that comes equipment, which is really only a supplement to the first three attributes and will never win wars on its own.

The thing is, these four attributes can and should be developed concurrently. We just need to be sure that we don't develop our "Soldier Attributes" in a lopsided way.  There's no reason why we can't develop ideas for section level UAVs, or talk at length about Tacvests Vs Chestrigs, provided that we're still going out to the field and givin'er in the mud and rain at 0-Dark-30.  As long as we're still doing the long, heavy marches and studying or developing TTPs, seeking out new and better equipment is important to helping us win wars more effectively.

Quote
Having dedicated UAV guy's back else where in a "safe" zone removes the pucker factor.I believe it's a lot more efficient if the lav commander is calling in brief requests to say KAF instead of in a tic directing his gunner and driver and trying to lay a young guy onto a target who is flying a UAV from a bouncing lav.

I understand your talking the future combat when we have all kinds of crazy kit.However from my view point I don't see it working under contact as well as a dedicated UAV overflight from a dedicated UAV control center.

You're making strong points.  I think what we're really after is not necessarily a UAV being physically controlled by a guy in the section.  What we want is individual UAVs dedicated to support soldiers at the section and platoon level - the kind of stuff Thucydides is saying the IDF already has.

Quote
Your C2S is sounding a whole lot like a FAC/FOO.

Yep.  I believe it's only a matter of time before there are so many armed UAVs in the sky that infantry Ptes are put on courses to qualify them on painting targets for Hellfires.  Infantry guys are already calling fire missions and directing apaches.  I'm not saying being a FOO/FAC is the same thing.  I'm just saying that this is the direction war is headed.

Offline X-mo-1979

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2009, 19:15:42 »


Yep.  I believe it's only a matter of time before there are so many armed UAVs in the sky that infantry Ptes are put on courses to qualify them on painting targets for Hellfires.  Infantry guys are already calling fire missions and directing apaches.  I'm not saying being a FOO/FAC is the same thing.  I'm just saying that this is the direction war is headed.

Roger that.
Quick thought however.Flying a UAV is going to have one guy in the section sitting out the battle.As well how will it work while dismounted?Suddenly the section is a cordon around the UAV pilot,making the advance to contact problematic.Suddenly a infantry section is constantly in a defensive role to protect it's advancing asset,the UAV.

As well think of the deconflicting that will have to go on causing delays in incoming fire,trying to coord between higher (platoon)who then has to report to company then higher.Having a asset at the bottom end of the spectrum will slow down the ability to drop munitions.

Not to mention radio's.Were gonna have to add two radio's to the back of the lav for the young PTE to use other net's to talk on supporting arms be it arty or CAS etc.As the C/C need's his radios for communicating within the platoon context.
Suddenly the Pte has more responsibility then the C/C or the section commander.

Food for thought.
(P.S I love good tech myself.)

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2009, 19:25:57 »
My point is this:
with all the gagedtry out there, we have lost sight on making sure that our soldiers of all trades can shoot, move and communicate at the basic level.  I'm not opposed to such things; however, one has to weigh the pros and cons.  If we introduce UAV training into the system, then what gets kicked out?  It's a zero-sum game, and nobody is going to increase training time.  So, in the end, stuff that is seen as "archaic" gets tossed aside in favour of the new fangled stuff.

An example.  On BMOQ-L (formerly known as CAP, and Phase 2 before that), GPS training is making people really good at using GPS.  It has come at a cost: they cannot navigate anymore.  And I don't mean with map and compass, I mean navigation.  Sure, they may know that they are at FL 123 456, but they can't find it on the map, and invariably are lost in spite of having very accurate information as to where they are.  Heck, they can barely tell the difference between a re-entrant and a saddle.  Even if they were staring at one.

Offline WB

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2009, 19:50:35 »
Quote
Quick thought however.Flying a UAV is going to have one guy in the section sitting out the battle.As well how will it work while dismounted?Suddenly the section is a cordon around the UAV pilot,making the advance to contact problematic.Suddenly a infantry section is constantly in a defensive role to protect it's advancing asset,the UAV.

I should have been clearer.  I agree with you that controlling a UAV may be too much for a guy in the back of a LAV. I don't see any reason why your suggestion that the UAVs be controlled from locations farther rear would not work.

All I'd really like to see - one way or another - is infantry platoons with integral UAV assets.  I don't think it matters too much where that UAV is controlled from and by who.

My point is this:
with all the gagedtry out there, we have lost sight on making sure that our soldiers of all trades can shoot, move and communicate at the basic level.  I'm not opposed to such things; however, one has to weigh the pros and cons.  If we introduce UAV training into the system, then what gets kicked out?  It's a zero-sum game, and nobody is going to increase training time.  So, in the end, stuff that is seen as "archaic" gets tossed aside in favour of the new fangled stuff.

Maybe the ideal is something like this:

Imagine a system where UAVs maintain 24hour coverage on a given AO, but there exists a system where the troops on the ground can establish a voice and data link directly with the pilot.  Similar to the way cellphones search for the closest tower, think of a device that would find the closest UAV and establish a link with it.  The device would also function as a viewer for the UAV's camera and a laser to mark targets.  Once a TIC is declared, that UAV belongs to the platoon/section commander on the ground.

This way, the infantry gets quasi-integral UAV assets without overburdening the guys on the ground with overly technical equipment.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 19:53:14 by Wonderbread »

Offline Hoplite-

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2009, 20:00:22 »
Instead of making a UAV a Section/Platoon asset why not have them in the Coy HQ with a UAV Controller Det?  When a Pl or Coy goes on a an Op the UAV Det roles with the Pl HQ or Coy TAC CP. When a TIC happens UAV gets sent up, or the UAV flys over the Pl/Coy AO.


« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 20:08:13 by -Skeletor- »

Offline WB

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2009, 20:16:54 »
Instead of making a UAV a Section/Platoon asset why not have them in the Coy HQ with a UAV Controller Det?  When a Pl or Coy goes on a an Op the UAV Det roles with the Pl HQ or Coy TAC CP. When a TIC happens UAV gets sent up, or the UAV flys over the Pl/Coy AO.

X-Mo brings up a good point here:

Quote
As well think of the deconflicting that will have to go on causing delays in incoming fire,trying to coord between higher (platoon)who then has to report to company then higher.Having a asset at the bottom end of the spectrum will slow down the ability to drop munitions.

Not being a UAV expert, I'm under the impression that UAVs operated by the company would have to be of the smaller variety and therefore fly lower.  The larger Predators and Reapers fly higher, so I don't think the FOO has to worry about deconflicting them with fire missions. 

Predators and Reapers are pretty good at what they do.  Why would the company tote around a less capable mini-UAV when they could gain all the benefits of the full sized version by just figuring out a convenient way to communicate with its pilot?

Offline Cleared Hot

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2009, 20:28:11 »
It's an interesting idea but like anything else the real answer is mission specific.  Can you imagine going on a BG op and having every section in the BG with their own UAV?  There would be so many of those things flying around it would be silly, not to mention most likely very innefficient and dangerous.  At some point a commander needs to make a decision and have things happen with speed and aggression, not wait while all Sgts get to fly their remote control airplanes and decide what they are going to do.  If on the otherhand the section is tasked with an independent op or patrol they should be cut the proper resources i.e. a FAC.  A PDA to receive images or data is not a bad idea and already exists to a very limited extent in Canada but there is no need for everyone to have their own UAV.

I'm trying to keep this on point and trying very hard not to respond to some of the comments starting to delve into CAS, ISR etc so I'm not going to go into how BG HQs don't use their UAV/air/avn assets properly as it is or about CCA vs. CAS.
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Offline WB

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2009, 21:13:41 »
Quote
I'm trying to keep this on point and trying very hard not to respond to some of the comments starting to delve into CAS, ISR etc so I'm not going to go into how BG HQs don't use their UAV/air/avn assets properly as it is or about CCA vs. CAS.

Cleared Hot,

I don't want you or anyone else to have the impression I'm claiming any sort of knowledge on the subject of CAS and stuff like that.  After a 5 minute peruse of your posting history I know about 20 times as much about FACs as I did this morning - and that still doesn't say much.

I am curious to know what you think of this question though:

What does the future hold for the relationship between UAVs and the soldiers they support?

Offline Jim Seggie

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2009, 21:55:11 »
Here's my take:
A section comd has more to worry about than a UAV or a PDA. He has a battle to fight, a section to command. He can't be watching a PDA or a UAV or whatever while firefight is being won.
Let the Coy take care of UAVS. Not the Pl and definitely not the section.
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Offline Cleared Hot

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2009, 23:25:33 »
Cleared Hot,

I don't want you or anyone else to have the impression I'm claiming any sort of knowledge on the subject of CAS and stuff like that.  After a 5 minute peruse of your posting history I know about 20 times as much about FACs as I did this morning - and that still doesn't say much.

I am curious to know what you think of this question though:

What does the future hold for the relationship between UAVs and the soldiers they support?

While unfortunately my crystal ball is in the shop, I will try to answer without it.  The question you pose is the crux of the whole issue - relationships.  C2 relationships, personal relationships, you name it.  I know the system as it is supposed to work and I believe there are sufficient resources to do what needs to be done.  What is missing is the education (and perhaps will) at certain levels to do it.

As a rule we do not expect sections to conduct independent ops.  Coys sure, and that is why we doctrinally give them FOO/FACs.  That said, I have seen FACs attached to organizations smaller than section size because the op called for it.  Enough said.  I also firmly believe that the person who best has a feel for what is happening on the ground is the guy on the ground not someone back in a TOC watching it on TV.  I don't care how many bars or leaves he is wearing.  Nothing like good old crack-thump to tell you where the enemy is shooting at you from, roughly how far away he is and even what type of weapon he is using.  But we have gotten into the mentality we all feared where generals can position individual riflemen by watching it on TV.  An anecdote to illustrate the mentality...

I recently got into a debate with someone.  My position was (and is) that if a Coy was in contact on the ground and the BG had an asset (UAV) and that Coy OC had a qualified FAC, then the BG should cut the asset to the Coy for the sake of immediate responsiveness.  If there were two Coys in contact and only one asset, then the BG could keep it because with multiple Coys in contact it was now a BG fight.  Actually (for a number of reasons) I think we should stick with the concept of the CO's main effort and cut the UAV to that Coy but I knew that was a bridge too far.  In any event, his response was "I don't care if it is a platoon in contact if it is in my battlespace it is a BG fight."  Okay, technically I get that but sometimes the best way to support your subordinate commander is give him the resources and let him get on with his job.

When lower level commanders are not getting the info they need in a timely manner even if it is through the best intentions of the higher HQ, the answer seems to be to give them their own dedicated asset.  But as has been pointed out those assets come with a cost be it trading off firepower or personnel, weight, speed, responsiveness, training etc.  That is just wasteful when the info could be had by being a bit more willing to have the appropriate assets controlled at the appropriate levels.

The technology is there, whatever you can envision.  For a simplistic example, the artillery school used to mount video cameras to hobby store R/C aircraft, it's not that hard.  Will Canada buy it? I don't know, I've stopped trying to figure out our procurement system a long time ago.  But as I said, I do believe we can do what needs to be done with what we have/have access to.  Some of us have been doing this for a while and understand how things are supposed to work but for some it is new and they try to figure it out for themselves which results in inefficiencies which result in unnecessary "fixes".  What will actually happen I'm not sure, what I hope will happen is that as we get used to working with these assets we settle into more of a comfort level that lets us do it right.  What I fear may happen is that we may ignore the advice of experts which will solidify the lessons we think we are learning become solidified as the norm.

I doubt that's what you were looking for but I won't comment on the technology because it's already all out there.  You asked about relationships... the UAV is as responsive as we let it be.
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Offline Loachman

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Re: Do section comds want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2009, 23:48:24 »
I think what we're really after is not necessarily a UAV being physically controlled by a guy in the section.  What we want is individual UAVs dedicated to support soldiers at the section and platoon level - the kind of stuff Thucydides is saying the IDF already has.

If you're looking for that level of support, then you are looking for a TWUAV (Teeny Weeny UAV) operated by someone at that level.

It would have extremely limited range, perhaps just a few hundred metres, and extremely limited endurance, perhaps fifteen-thirty minutes. The motor would be electric. It would have a simple daylight-only camera, and be hand-launched. Max altitude would be a couple of hundred feet. This is hobby-level technology. Forget armament. Something that size would not even be able to carry a single-shot .22 cal pistol. It would be useful for such things as checking dead ground, roof tops, and compounds etcetera prior to an assault or at any other critical time.

I think what we're really after is not necessarily a UAV being physically controlled by a guy in the section.  What we want is individual UAVs dedicated to support soldiers at the section and platoon level.

Something is only truly "dedicated" to the level which controls it. Unless that is the section, anything controlled at a higher level will not necessarily be available when the section comd wants it, or could be taken away at any time.

Yep.  I believe it's only a matter of time before there are so many armed UAVs in the sky that infantry Ptes are put on courses to qualify them on painting targets for Hellfires.

Armament equals weight. Armed UAVs are, by necessity, then, large and expensive, and you're not going to see "so many...in the sky" in your lifetime. There is still a trade-off between fuel (endurance and range) and firepower - typically one or two Hellfire, good for targets of opportunity. Once those are expended, the UAV reverts to being an ISR asset. Armament is not a huge requirement, as there is usually something else better able to deal with any target found.

As for rank, Sperwer Air Vehicle Operators (AVOs) and Payload Operators (POs) were mostly Air Defence Gunners and Bombardiers, several with rather little time in.

Quick thought however.Flying a UAV is going to have one guy in the section sitting out the battle.

I don't see that. This would be launched, used, and recovered as a short-term recce means, the section commander using sort of airborne binoculars to scope out a likely enemy or important dead ground that cannot be seen line-of-site.

As well how will it work while dismounted?

Like any RC model aircraft. One guy operates it via a small hand-held transmitter with a small PDA-type monitor. A second guy could hand-launch it and then go back to something else useful, but that may not be required.

Suddenly the section is a cordon around the UAV pilot,making the advance to contact problematic.Suddenly a infantry section is constantly in a defensive role to protect it's advancing asset,the UAV.

It would not, and could not, be used on the move as far as I can see, due to its limitations, anyway.

As well think of the deconflicting that will have to go on causing delays in incoming fire,trying to coord between higher (platoon)who then has to report to company then higher.Having a asset at the bottom end of the spectrum will slow down the ability to drop munitions.

What deconfliction, what delays? Reporting would be like any other report going up the line. The section sees something of interest, and calls in a grid and a description.

Not to mention radio's.Were gonna have to add two radio's to the back of the lav for the young PTE to use other net's to talk on supporting arms be it arty or CAS etc.As the C/C need's his radios for communicating within the platoon context. Suddenly the Pte has more responsibility then the C/C or the section commander.

This could be launched and controlled from the back of a LAV, but not likely on the move. The operator would need to be located close to the sect comd and able to communicate verbally. The operator would have no responsibility beyond controlling his TWUAV. Direction is given and decisions are made by the sect comd.

I agree with you that controlling a UAV may be too much for a guy in the back of a LAV.

I don't. Kids can operate this level of technology.

I don't see any reason why your suggestion that the UAVs be controlled from locations farther rear would not work.

I can see communications being a little clumsy for work at that level of detail and immediacy.

All I'd really like to see - one way or another - is infantry platoons with integral UAV assets.  I don't think it matters too much where that UAV is controlled from and by who.

Platoon is probably a more practical level, but it still needs to be directly controlled from whatever level it's dedicated to.

Imagine a system where UAVs maintain 24hour coverage on a given AO, but there exists a system where the troops on the ground can establish a voice and data link directly with the pilot.

Let's not dilute the term "Pilot" too much...

UAVs broadcast their video and telemetry. All that you need is a simple receiver and monitor in range and line-of-site. Comms is another matter. Sperwer had an onboard radio for communication between the Ground Control Station (GCS) and Air Traffic Control (ATC). Frequencies were limited to that band, but a similar system could be used, I suppose.

Present UAV coverage is more limited than you think, and it's a big AO. Don't get overly optimistic.

Imagine a system where UAVs maintain 24hour coverage on a given AO, but there exists a system where the troops on the ground can establish a voice and data link directly with the pilot.  Similar to the way cellphones search for the closest tower, think of a device that would find the closest UAV and establish a link with it.

I don't see that as manageable.

Once a TIC is declared, that UAV belongs to the platoon/section commander on the ground.

Higher would probably disagree, especially with the type and number of systems presently available. That's why anything that is going to operate at and for the lower levels needs to be owned by them and useless to higher.

This way, the infantry gets quasi-integral UAV assets without overburdening the guys on the ground with overly technical equipment.

Again, the type of equipment suitable for section/platoon level is hobby-level stuff.

Not being a UAV expert,

Me neither, and I do not ever want to be. I did do a tour on Sperwer, however.

I'm under the impression that UAVs operated by the company would have to be of the smaller variety and therefore fly lower.  The larger Predators and Reapers fly higher,

Yes. Altitude separation is one method of co-ordination and de-confliction.

so I don't think the FOO has to worry about deconflicting them with fire missions.

That's not his job anyway.

Predators and Reapers are pretty good at what they do.  Why would the company tote around a less capable mini-UAV when they could gain all the benefits of the full sized version by just figuring out a convenient way to communicate with its pilot?

Artillery is pretty good at what it does. Why would the company tote around less capable rifles and machineguns, when...

There are not enough Predators and Reapers and Herons. They are higher-level assets, have more capabilities than the section/platoon needs, and would be wasted working regularly for that level. Sections and platoons are not going to get their own F15s, either.

When something significant is going on, either or both of those will be in the area - but still not working for the section or platoon.

I'm not going to go into how BG HQs don't use their UAV/air/avn assets properly as it is or about CCA vs. CAS.

I think that I'm doing a marvellous job of avoiding going off on a side-rant about that for several hours.

And I agree pretty much word-for-word with Cleared Hot's last post.

Any discrepancies are likely due to this being a rather nebulous concept, as far as I see this discussion right now.

Online Thucydides

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2009, 08:14:03 »
Let me clarify one thing right now, the IDF has issued technology that allows section and vehicle commanders to receive feed from designated assets (such as helicopters or UAV's flying overwatch), but the person on the ground isn't in control of the asset. I'm not clear if they can request the operator zoom in on a point of interest (although it seems likely), so the commander gives assets down to what he sees as the main effort.

Ubertiny UAV's would be used as "binos" to look at dead ground and rooftops, and would probably considered disposable as well.

An alternative idea to provide this capability at company or platoon level would be to adopt FOG-M (Gill/Spike ATGM) and use the missile to get video feed. The bonus is they can attack a target the moment it is identified.

Side note; iPods and PDA's can be used to replace field aid memoires, another plus.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 08:17:28 by Thucydides »
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2009, 10:19:32 »
Side note; iPods and PDA's can be used to replace field aid memoires, another plus.
This is a key side note.  Why carry around a massive amount of paper with check-lists, etc, when you can have that information stored digitally in your watch, accessible at any place, at any time.


So, back on target.  Section Level UAVs means that a battle group of three companies will have to sustain/maintain 27 of these things.  As stated in Thucydides' last post, it is about communication vice operation.  If I can use a Dick Tracy watch (complete with my Aide Memoires and references within, including maps, digital orders, etc) to "see" what that Reaper above me can see, and I also have the ability to talk with my highers to request it to look at something for me, then why not?  I'm sure that with the laws of probability being what they are (combined with our time-honoured tradition of not taking war all that seriously and sending people away from battle to our main effort: HLTA), I doubt that BG HQ will have to deal with 27 simultaneous requests for information.  Heck, platoons and companies will filter info up as they should.  But, if "something" happens and 21A needs to see that cross roads, just up ahead, then why not? 

As stated, the technology is there, the bandwidth is there and we can have it now.  So all that to say, let's not have armadas of TWUAVs gallavanting about the battlespace.  Let's just make info more readily available, with most (naturally) being on "receive" and only on "send" when the situation calls for it.

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2009, 13:34:02 »
In terms of communications, we need to work more on a "network" model rather than a "telegraph" model (our comms are evolved from telegraph systems designed to run 19th century rail lines).

If we considered an AOR as a "box" and every system inside connected to a robust ISP (we will leave the technology out of this for now; lets assume section commanders, vehicle crews and UAV's flying in the box all use handwaveium). Then people in the AOR would simply "log in" and select the view they need or want.

If this is the commander's main effort, or circumstances change (i.e. a TIC develops inside the box), the commander can assign more resources to that box, including extra bandwidth, more sensor platforms and eventually, more shooters. Commanders at higher levels can and should "listen in", but refrain from entering the net and micro managing  the the troops

as per the micro UAV:

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24303/?nlid=2462&a=f

Quote
Micro-vehicle Imitates the Winged Maple Seed
The new "robo-seed" flies using just a single propeller.
By Kristina Grifantini
The monocopter developed at the University of Maryland.

Growing up, I used to toss up Maple seeds and watch as these "helicopters" slowly spiraled to the ground.

Now a team at the University of Maryland's Clark School of Engineering has created a small, one-winged, remote-controlled device that mimics the maple seed's graceful flight mechanics

Researchers have aimed to make micro air vehicles for some time, often taking inspiration from nature, such as dragonflies or houseflies, to design small, efficient devices. Such low-powered micro vehicles could be used in surveillance, search-and-rescue, and communications applications.

The new "robo-seed" can fly and hover stably using just its single twisting propeller. The researchers accomplished this by separating the carefully-shaped wing and body components of the device, allowing them to control the wing's tilt (and the size of the helix-shaped descent) without throwing off the flyer's balance.

According to the university's press release, the robo-seed can not only take off from the ground and hover in air, but it can also perform controlled flight and hover when tossed from an aircraft or by hand.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Loachman

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2009, 15:20:44 »
It requires an awful lot of bandwidth to provide quality imagery all over the place. The Rover system permits ground commanders to receive imagery directly from an airborne source. All that they need is the frequency. Sperwer was not Rover-compatible. Almost everything else is.

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2009, 18:56:25 »
The idea of having a UAV at section level may be a bit absurd unless that sect has a specific task.  As far as 27 UAV's in TF.  That's also crazy.  We had 3 dedicated MUAV dets during my roto and couldn't even keep the 3 of them in the air. UAV's usually break while landing and have an extensive maintenance plan, not to mention resupply for broken parts (our TF's biggest UAV headache).  The best maintainers we have ATT are hobbiests.

The idea of a PDA at section is most certainly viable.  Not for Sect Cmdr to watch TV as he has for important things to do but, whether it be PDA or a microlight radio,  the advantage to having real time blue SA is extremely important.  Not necessarily for the Sect but for higher HQ's, and NOT for micromanaging.

For higher level assets i.e. CAS, Arty, Pred to hit targets particularily when they're danger close, a ton of time is wasted trying to figure out where the hell everyone is.  Having that immediate blue SA will decrease the time needed to safley engage with higher assets.

Ex. If an Arty engagement takes 10min to get bullets down range, likely 80% of the time was spent figuring out where friendlies are at and doing the appropriate risk estimate.

Realtime Blue SA would be the most important reason in my mind to have PDAs/microlight at the Sect/Det level.
Luck is for Suckers - GnyHwy

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