A 1993 UCAV Project... Yes, we can

RAPTOR/Talon c. 1993

In the early 1990s, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) initiated the RAPTOR (Responsive Aircraft Program for Theater Operations) ballistic missile defense program. The idea was to use a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAV to detect launches of theater ballistic missiles (TBMs), and then shoot down the TBMs in the boost phase. Scaled Composites built a UAV for the program, which could cruise at 450 km/h (280 mph) and 20000 m (65000 ft) for 50 hours.

In addition to the search and tracking sensors, the UAV was designed to carry two small hypervelocity guided missiles named Talon (Theater Application - Launch On Notice). The Talon was to have a maximum range of 145-200 km (90-125 miles) at a speed of Mach 9. It would be guided towards the target by the RAPTOR UAV and use its own seeker for terminal homing. The missile was to be a "hit-to-kill" vehicle without an explosive warhead. Despite these performance figures, the Talon was to weigh no more than 18 kg (40 lb). In the end, no actual Talon missiles were built and flown before the RAPTOR/Talon program was terminated in late 1993.

In addition to the Scaled Composites UAV, one other UAV was built in connection with the RAPTOR program. This was the AeroVironment Pathfinder UAV, a solar-powered modification of the company's HALSOL UAV. It was to evaluate the possibility of a HALE with potentially infinite endurance. After the end of the RAPTOR program, the Pathfinder, together with the Scaled Composites UAV, were turned over to NASA for their ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft & Sensor Technology) program.

1 comentario:

madisonrepublicano dijo...

Un interesante antecedente del NCADE. No lo conocía, gracias por tal.

Ánimo con las terapias.