Author Topic: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?  (Read 21282 times)

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Offline General Disorder

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2009, 19:11:47 »
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.
SA (Blue, Red, Brown, White) is all important, I agree; however, micromanaging is what comes with SA to this level.  I understand the concept of timely sitreps to higher is sometimes seen as a "drag" by the forward dudes; however, it's that important.

So, short term, just employ the training and doctrine we have, and stop looking for wheels to reinvent (not directed at you, Gny), and for the long term, have "something" that can have virtually real-time SA available for "pull" from higher as required, as opposed to "all the time".  Too many WAAAAY up there folks (*cough* CEFCOM *cough*) would continually looking down several levels of command, and begin to query why x section was at grid y at time z.
So, there I was....

Offline Petamocto

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2009, 19:17:37 »
A Sect Comd having some sort of kit like the magic watch that can watch BG-level feeds is one thing...but it will be a heckuva long time (if ever) before you see a section launching and controlling their own.

It proved to be too much hassle just to get them at the Coy level, let alone platoon, let alone section.

There's all sorts of airspace deconfliction to take care of that the Sect Comd just doesn't have time for; you can't just launch these things in the air willy nilly because you want to look at something.
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Canadian Press catches up
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2010, 18:46:05 »
This from CP:
Quote
Don't expect them to say "Hasta la vista, baby," but the robotic armoured vehicles and pilotless aircraft being developed by Canada's military scientists may one day be able to think for themselves.

The aim of the project by Canada's defence research branch, launched last fall, is to improve on the current generation of remote-controlled devices designed for the battlefield.

It may sound like something from the Terminator films, but defence scientists say what they're doing is a long way from the world envisioned by the science fiction action flicks that made California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name.

Franklin Wong, who leads the project at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Que., says the vehicles under study are not meant for combat but rather surveillance.

"That's a very important capability that we're looking for," Wong said in a recent interview.

"Many of our projects (at Defence Research Canada) are geared towards the surveillance aspect."

Whether these robotic vehicles should eventually be armed is an ethical debate for policy-makers and leaders, he added ....
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Offline Brutus

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2010, 16:50:26 »
Meh. I am of the belief that firefights are won with speed, aggression, and superior tactics. I can see this being really useful to a Sect Cdr pre-step off, but I think it's more of a liability once contact is made.

On a seperate note, could I trade it for fresh rats and an extra hours' rack?

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2010, 18:10:25 »
I have participated in, and set up, a variety of operations where units launched successfully while giuded by a manned, covert OP providing overwatch. Why not use a UAV instead?

Excellent idea IMHO. Bloody OPs are a nightmare to put into place and keep covert (and resupply) in areas with a savvy enemy population roaming about (e.g., Bravo 20).

It also saves people having to poop in their rucksacks, eat cold for a week and come in from the field pissing blood because they've been lying down for several days - stop the insanity!
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Petamocto

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2010, 18:22:15 »
...It also saves people having to poop in their rucksacks...

I have humped my share of kit too, so I know where you're coming from, but one can not replace the other.  The biggest difference is the time vs quality aspect.  In your example where you send an OP out for a few days, you are getting a few days' worth of info.  If you bring a UAV for a few days, you are going to get a few hours of coverage.  Yes it might be from a better aerial vantage point, but you'll only ever get a few hours (at most) flight time out of the thing at once.

And for the foreseeable future (until it is ultralight and solar) the weight trade off is going to be nil anyway because someone will still have to carry the thing, plus the control station, plus the fuel, etc.

But none of this answers the part about airspace deconfliction I brought up above.  The troops never see this part on the ground, but every single NATO-launched anything from UAVs to Helos to Fast Air to artillery shells all have to be kept track of to ensure none of them smash into each other.

If two UAVs smash into each other, now you've got to go send a patrol out to get it.  Worse though, if a UAV hits a helo carrying troops it's a tragedy. 

It's not like on COD MW2 where you pull out your laptop and that's all there is to it. 

Even when the Coys (briefly) had them, there was all sort of 2IC work going on in the background requesting airspace at grids X to Y and altitude Z.
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Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2010, 09:27:03 »
I have participated in, and set up, a variety of operations where units launched successfully while giuded by a manned, covert OP providing overwatch. Why not use a UAV instead?

Excellent idea IMHO. Bloody OPs are a nightmare to put into place and keep covert (and resupply) in areas with a savvy enemy population roaming about (e.g., Bravo 20).

It also saves people having to poop in their rucksacks, eat cold for a week and come in from the field pissing blood because they've been lying down for several days - stop the insanity!

I hear what you are saying, but I will offer a counter.  I have working with UAVs of various stripes on both operations and exercises.  UAVs are very useful, but manned OPs or patrols on a point recce give the commander a reliable means of obtaining the information that he needs.  UAVs are often unavailable for any number of reasons.  Recce soldiers (armoured or infantry) can get the job done in any conditions and also give that "man on the ground" view of the situation.  There is indeeda risk, but sending in the troops to conduct the operation being supported is also risky.  You need to assess if the risk is worth the payoff.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2010, 09:51:18 »
Rather than get wrapped around the axle over the means (i.e. a micro UAV, direct feed from a geostationary satellite, etc.) we should step back one and think of what capability we actually want.

A section commander needs a means of quickly checking out potential danger areas without sacrificing his troops or his options (being pinned down by enemy fire makes it pretty hard to manouevre or find an advantagious position. I have seen camera/transmitter rigs that are fired from a 40mm M-203 or similar grenade launcher, pop up a few hundred metres and dangle from a parachute for no more than five minutes (in ideal conditions), which seems like a good means of checking a piece of dead ground or suspect compound that binos, "Charlie team" or map study can't cover. This changes the onus from the section commander being a slave to the UAV to giving the section commander instant access to highly perishable information when he needs it.

UAV's seem to be higher level assets simply based on the amount of area they can cover (a Platoon commander can get a rapid overview of a square kilometer whjen plotting a platoon attack, Company commanders with access to higher level assets can view correspondingly larger areas). At this point, if there is a means to get the feed, cameras and imaging devices on air assets might serve the purpose better. Quick, dedicated flights might be best handled by a FOG-M, which is under operator control, and as a bonus can prosecute an identified target right away.
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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #33 on: April 16, 2010, 11:03:56 »
Thuc,

You bring up a good point that the Sect Comd doesn't necessarily need control of the UAV (or whatever it is), but just having a feed from a higher-controlled asset on his wrist may be a good start.

People at DLR are actually more aware of a soldier's weight burden than they usually get credit for, and they know that there is currently a problem with more and more systems being added and nothing taken away (multiple radios, multiple batteries, multiple optics, etc).

You will see a very difficult soldier in 20 years.
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Offline NL_engineer

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2010, 14:02:33 »
Well I personally think that a sect controlled UAV is just more weight and problems.  BUT having a screen that can revive live video feeds form the air assets in the area would help.  Yes as a sect comm you loose the control, but it still gives him/her a birds eye view of the sounding area, route, etc.  Plus if you need to get a better view of say a compound, you could request it over the radio.

Edited cause my "E" key didn't want to work ::)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 19:48:30 by NL_engineer »
Note to any Taliban and AQ personnel on the Form:  ALL SUICIDE VESTS AND EXPLOSIVE DEVICES MUST BE TESTED TO INSURE THEY WORK BEFORE GOING AFTER A TARGET.

This is a measure to save any embarrassment that may occur when your explosive device, does not function as it is intended to.

It has come to my attention that these measures are not being followed, so for all Taliban; please refer to the above.

Thank you for your cooperation

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2010, 14:17:14 »
....view of the sounding area, rout, etc.
Historically, section commanders have tended to have armchair seats at a rout  ;D


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Offline Petamocto

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2010, 14:19:36 »
Plus if you need to get a better view of say a compound, you could request it over the radio.

And I think that's really the most practical way to look at it.  You still have your little wrist-type PDA that shows everyone's position on the map and a feed from the UAV, but then you can ask something like "I need to see the south side of building X" and then people in a controlled environment can take care of the actual piloting and airspace deconfliction of the asset.

That way the Sgt gets what he needs but he isn't pestered by anything else and at any time he can give directions or shoot without worrying about being a pilot, too. 

The benefit would also be that with someone else controlling the asset, the could focus on the big picture with all of the other assets in the air and then say "23B we're now pushing you a feed of X 500m to your east moving toward you".

So that way he just gets the asset when required and he isn't burdened with it the rest of the time.  If he's about to turn a blind corner he can use it, about to cross the line of departure he can use it, etc...but at any time he can focus on immediate things more important to him.
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Offline GnyHwy

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Bring back the Heavy Wpns Det.  Make them 2x as big and a lot of these issues will go away.
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Did the term "gut feeling" originate because of the close proximity of the gut to the organ that these ideas come out of?

Offline Jim Seggie

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How about an IPad.....just sayin.,.,..
Freedom Isn't Free   "Never Shall I Fail My Brothers"

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Offline PanaEng

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Now I am SAS or SWAT dude ;-)
see:
Quote from: RHFC_piper ink=topic=51916.msg617784#msg617784 date=1190404708

The 'pana" is a play on the Greek 'pan' meaning 'all' or 'encompassing' - not quite but similar to UBIQUE
some think I just misspelled "para" :-)

Offline Sprinting Thistle

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This may seem off topic but it isn't (at least I don't think so).  The Bn Gp deployed to Huntsville for the G8 conducted essentially a defensive op.  That being said, one of the tools in the tool bag that would have been incredibly useful would have been the mini UAV.  Given the nature of the terrain, the threat, and the tasks assigned, the mini-UAV feeding directly back to Coy, Pl and even sect locations would have certainly enabled the force.


Offline Grunt_031

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We tried this very concept in 2004/2005 in Fort Benning with 3VP. We utilized and number of experimental PDA configurations and used micro UAV (remote control planes hooked into a WIFI network) It was pretty crude but an intresting concept.  The picture was very rough and bumpy and the Micro UAV was pushed around by wind and heat currents.  Better footage came from the predator footage that was recorded and transmitte to the PDA.

http://pubs.drdc.gc.ca/PDFS/unc48/p524752.pdf

http://www.summitconnects.com/Articles_Columns/PDF_Documents/200510_02.pdf

Offline Jim Seggie

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And as I've said before, the section has enough to worry about. A  mini UAV doesn't belong in a section. The section commander has troops to worry about, enemy to worry about plus numerous other things.
Besides, who will carry all this kit?
Freedom Isn't Free   "Never Shall I Fail My Brothers"

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Offline 40below

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Besides, who will carry all this kit?

Sigs. They're used to it. >:D

Offline Jim Seggie

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Sigs. They're used to it. >:D

Haha....yes good idea!!
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Offline Beadwindow 7

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I'm personally a fan of the use of a rover feed in an advance CP setting, with the Section communicating where they want observation. Worked well enough for us when we were out and about and wanted eyes on something.

Haha....yes good idea!!

I have an answer for this, but it's innappropriate of me to offer suggestions on what to do to your hat on this public forum. I don't want to have to carry that extra **** !!  ;D

BTW, Jimmy says to say hi to Drummy.
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Offline Jim Seggie

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I'm personally a fan of the use of a rover feed in an advance CP setting, with the Section communicating where they want observation. Worked well enough for us when we were out and about and wanted eyes on something.

I have an answer for this, but it's innappropriate of me to offer suggestions on what to do to your hat on this public forum. I don't want to have to carry that extra **** !!  ;D

BTW, Jimmy says to say hi to Drummy.

I'll pass that along. No doubt he'll say hello back!! as for my hat......LOL ;D
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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2010, 21:08:45 »
A slight variation on the mUAV theme:  how do we make a tiny UAV chopper easier to fly (even fly on its own for a bit) so it's easier to use as an extra set of eyes for dismounted troops?  This, from MERX:
Quote
.... Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) - Suffield, Medicine Hat, Alberta, requires a contract to develop navigation and control algorithms enabling a small commercial off-the-shelf rotorcraft UAV (Draganfly X8) to execute simple autonomous behaviours thereby reducing the operator's control burden. To this end, an 'autonomy package' that will subsume and build upon the sensing and control functions provided by the UAV's existing autopilot will be developed. The integration of the autonomy package with the autopilot will enable the provision of additional capabilities required for autonomous operation ....

Here's the Draganfly X8
.

More in the Statement of Work attached.
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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #48 on: November 08, 2010, 21:36:36 »
This may seem off topic but it isn't (at least I don't think so).  The Bn Gp deployed to Huntsville for the G8 conducted essentially a defensive op.  That being said, one of the tools in the tool bag that would have been incredibly useful would have been the mini UAV.  Given the nature of the terrain, the threat, and the tasks assigned, the mini-UAV feeding directly back to Coy, Pl and even sect locations would have certainly enabled the force.

I know i am late responding to this one but, the last thing that the G8/G20 airspace needed was a MUAV. The AO was saturated with airborne ISR assets and the feeds from those aircraft was available to the HQ/TACP/RCMP and could be made available to any unit of the ground with a ROVER. There were also many legal issues that we, CF ISR aircraft, faced, that would have cause any FMV feeds to be unavailable to troops on the ground. I was on one of those assets beaming FMV.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 21:39:39 by CDN Aviator »

Offline Sprinting Thistle

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Re: Do section cdrs want/need a PDA with info from their own mini-UAV?
« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2010, 21:51:18 »
The feeds only came into the CP so were not so useful to the Sect Comd on the ground.  Also, no Rovers were offered to us.  The TACP did a great job for the Bn Gp HQ but that's were the FMV stopped.  The terrain for the Sect Comd was complex.  Dense woods, terrain changes, close country, large expanses to cover, multiple routes into the AO.  Further, movement on the ground was restricted.  Patrols could only move with LEA if they were available.  So, had the Sect Comds, Pl Comds or Coy Comds had access to their own feeds, observation coverage would have been more complete.  I was one of those assets on the ground.