Predator B with all the options

The June 2006 issue of Armed Forces Journal magazine includes this image in an advertisement for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems:


(click for bigger version)

Looks to me like that Predator B is carrying

  • 8 x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
  • 2 x GBU-12 Paveway guided bombs
  • 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles [UPDATE: AGM-122 SideARM?]

I don’t think Sidewinders have been tested on Predators, and I might even be wrong about what they are. Anyone know?

That’s quite a load. When I first saw it I assumed it must be a bit of exaggeration, but the Predator B can carry up to 14 Hellfires, so maybe this is accurate.

In any case: Wow!

Comments

  1. MO, Won’t be so flippin’ cool when the robots come. Why not just call it a hunter-killer outright and get it over with? Once they build one that can hover, I’m headin’ for the bunker.

  2. GL: Actually, one of my standard lines since they cloned that sheep in the mid-90s has been ‘I’m in favor of cloning humans…We’re going to need help fighting the machines.’

  3. Well other than a dramatic fall in the price of mutton, I can’t see the utility of cloning sheep. We’ll need to be careful who we clone of course, who to represent us in subsequent generations. For my money, I’d rather have a natural, buiological approach akin to what Dr. Strangelove outlined.

  4. Shipmates, You know, if they devolped a flight simulator/game that allowed you to train at home with this thing, they’d have no problem recruiting enough qualified pilots forever…. Heck, they could probably recoup the cost of development through game sales:) Where do I go to sign up? Respects, AW1 Tim

  5. AW1 Tim, You realize that you just suggested that the US military adopt the same strategy the aliens used in the movie, ‘The Last Starfighter’?

  6. Ah, yes. The SideARM. Good call. Is that still available, though? If that’s a SideARM or equivalent, as loaded, this Predator is a one-man air campaign without the man…

  7. An AE3007H turbofan engine will give you just over 6k thrust. A GUA-8 Avenger produces around 10K of recoil. This could be an issue.

  8. James: Okay…So point the gun backwards. Every time you take some potshots, it’s like hitting the afterburner. Do I have to think of everything?

  9. Murdic: You da man! We’ll call it the Scorpion. If we hook up some liquid nitrogen to keep the barrels cool, you might get it to supercruise.

  10. Well then don’t go the GAU-8 route, fer goodness’ sakes. Give it a 7.62 minigun. Or a coupla those Metalstorm stacked-projectile systems. Or make an even bigger vehicle, and make it in essence an unmanned AC130. Whichever. But the sick, SICK advance will be when they don’t need a pilot at all. He’s already been removed from the cockpit to a control site far, far away. Next will be weapon autonomy, where the thing will be programmed for a mission, with some parameters regarding contingencies, and off it’ll go. Or, with advances in fuel cells and related technologies, an autonomous flying hunter-killer can patrol for days or weeks at a time, programmed to provide CAS, interdiction, SEAD,…who knows what? Or, we might create massive free-fire zones, where the vehicle could just be told to kill everything in its area with the heat and respiratory signatures of humans. Charming, really.

  11. I don’t think these things will be autonomous for a while – seeing as most people are (sensibly) leery of giving machines the power of life and death over people. Even Islamic terrorists. There will be a public freakout the first time a UAV or robot kills the wrong someone and there wasn’t a soldier in the loop. Which is stupid, because we’ve been doing long range death for a long time, like with cruise missiles, which are in essence very dumb UCAVs. What will bother people, though, is the sense that the *robot* decided who got killed.

  12. if they devolped a flight simulator/game that allowed you to train at home with this thing, they’d have no problem recruiting enough qualified pilots forever’ Make it an online game… and you wouldn’t need to recruit or pay pilots. They wouldn’t even know it wasn’t a simulation. (idea stolen from a Philip K. Dick story)

  13. Murdoc, On July 7th you asked if the Air Force was going to develop another generation of manned aircraft in the next decade. The real question is: ‘Will we have an Air Force in 20 years?’ We might still have guys wearing Air Force uniforms operating satellites and the successors to this badass predator but the day of the fighter-jock is just about over.

  14. Another movie: ‘Toys’ they train kids on video games… These bad boys are being piloted from Virginia and Nevada. How sweet is that?

  15. James: I will support autonomous robotic platforms when the Army declares that Windows is not mission critical software. We don’t have autonomous human platforms, so why would we have autonomous robotic platforms? Soldiers are currently subject to really onerous rules of engagement – rules that significantly increase their risk of getting killed. When robots are doing the work, expect the rules of engagement to get even more stringent, since the lives of American personnel are not at risk. Note what happened when JDAM’s came on the scene. Any off-track JDAM’s led to accusations of deliberate attacks on civilians.

  16. Zhang -We don’t have autonomous human platforms, so why would we have autonomous robotic platforms. Yes, bad ROE’s get people killed. The flipside is that free fire zones, lose the home front. So pick your poison. That said, my issue has nothing to do with ROE’s. My issue has to do with the underlying stability and utility of current operating systems vs humans. A will trained soldier can improvise and adapt. A well programed computer when faced with an unexpected event – crashes.

  17. James: That said, my issue has nothing to do with ROE’s. My issue has to do with the underlying stability and utility of current operating systems vs humans. A will trained soldier can improvise and adapt. A well programed computer when faced with an unexpected event – crashes. My point is that we don’t allow our soldiers autonomy. So why would we allow mere robots autonomy, given that a dead robot is less of a problem than a dead GI? I am saying that what you described is not in the realm of possibility. Technical note on free-fire zones – a free-fire zone is not one where you’re allowed to shoot at anything that moves. That’s John Kerry’s definition. A free-fire zone is one where you’re allowed to fire at the enemy even when civilians are in the vicinity.