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Manned Anti-Drone System

In case any nonsense occurs, have a system ready
  [vote for,

The recent incidents at Gatwick airport led to the closing of the airfield for hours on end. This was caused by reports of drones flying around in the controlled airspace within the airport perimeter. Strangely, although everyone in the airport had a camera in their pocket, no photographs exist of the drones responsible. There were some photographs released while online newspapers were running live updates during the whole hysteria. One was the navigations lights of the Sussex police helicopter and another has recently turned out to be lights on a group of cranes. So, while this may turn out to be an incident of mass hysteria, it might be prudent to have countermeasures in place.

Several drone countermeasures have been proposed. These include trained birds of prey, anti-drone drones, radio frequency guns and so on. I think, however, that more could be done.

Let's run through the features that might be desirable for such a system. Firstly, it should be larger and tougher than any commercial or DIY drone might reasonably be expected. Secondly, it should be equipped with advanced imaging equipment and possibly RADAR to track mischievous quadcopters. Thirdly, it should significantly outperform the targets in speed, altitude, and endurance. Fourthly, it would be ideal if it were manned by a trained crew who could make decisions in the air. Fifthly, it should be armed with an array of interchangeable weapons systems.

Obviously, that's a long and detailed list that might take years to develop into a viable product and might prove prohibitively expensive given its specialized role. In my fevered imagination, I thought it might look like this <link> and could feasibly be based say at... Wattisham? Then it would be a few minutes flight from numerous major airports.

bs0u0155, Dec 31 2018

Proposed Anti-Drone System https://en.wikipedi...ustaWestland_Apache
[bs0u0155, Dec 31 2018]

Vickers F.B.5 "Gunbus" https://en.wikipedi.../wiki/Vickers_F.B.5
" ... the first aircraft purpose-built for air-to-air combat to see service ..." [8th of 7, Dec 31 2018]

Thruster T600 Sprint https://en.wikipedi...hruster_T600_Sprint
Stall speed: 32 KIAS [8th of 7, Dec 31 2018]


       We suggest that you add to your criteria "Not doomed from the outset to fall out of the sky without warning and kill everyone on board, plus possibly people on the ground too".   

       You don't need speed; you don't need stealth; you don't need armour. Avoid gas turbine powerplants in case they ingest something dangerous.   

       A very low speed 2-seater STOL fixed-wing aircraft, armed with a couple of semi-automatic shotguns, would seem to fit the requirement. It could be kept in a shed on the apron ready to be wheeled out and launched at short readiness, probably even from the apron itself or a nearby taxiway.   

       The Vickers F.B.5 <link> would fit the bill, or a modified Thruster ultralight <link>. Ideally the engine would be liquid cooled, thus it could be kept near to working temperature by electric heaters giving a full "start and go" capability with no need for warming an air-cooled engine.   

       There would need to be a second shed for the crew to wait in, and store their deckchairs for the times in the summer* when they can doze outside in the afternoon, waiting for the "Scramble !" bell to be rung. Oh, and a kennel for their squadron mascot, a friendly dog of some sort.   

       *other seasons are always available.
8th of 7, Dec 31 2018

       //There would need to be a second shed// Well, now you're just talking stupid levels of investment and infrastructure. Surely the gentlemen can remain at home and be summonsed by telephone or messenger while their aeroplane is being valeted?
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 31 2018

       One of the white-coated waiters in the Mess could take them a note on a silver salver.   

       Obviously, in a real emergency (only one fresh lime remaining in the refrigerator for the G&T's) he might be permitted to draw attention to his presence by a discreet cough.   

       Should the flight crew be needed in the evening, they would of course need permission from the C.O. to leave the dinner table early, and sufficient time to change from their dress uniform (with the aid of their batman) into their flying suits.
8th of 7, Dec 31 2018

       Now you're just being ridiculous. Men of that calibre would never, _ever_ put lime in a G&T.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 31 2018

       //You don't need speed; you don't need stealth; you don't need armour.//   

       This was why i went with the Apache Vs the A-10.   

       //Avoid gas turbine powerplants in case they ingest something dangerous.//   

       I think they're pretty well protected in the apache.   

       //a modified Thruster ultralight//   

       A quick check suggests they're $30k assembled. I see you have no experience in military procurement. The system likely involves bs0-corp supplying anti-drone equipment to cover the UK airports for future incidents of the aforementioned type. The equipment and training will be fully compliant with UK government standards. The bs0- corp fees are likely to be expensive but fortunately, about 30% of the cost will be offset by a recent, completely independent, deal with bs0-corp regarding the wet-lease of some cold-war era army helicopter assets. Since the bs0-corp anti-drone force requires extensive infrastructure and support emplacements, concerns were raised about suitable bases. Fortunately, for a recurring fee, bs0-corp are able to adapt their operations to utilize the resources vacated by the wet-leased helicopter assets. There's really a lot of synergy in the whole package. The taxpayers will be most happy.
bs0u0155, Dec 31 2018

       // A quick check suggests they're $30k assembled. I see you have no experience in military procurement. //   

       Quite the reverse, but we note that you have already grasped some (though not all) of the essential principles, the main one being not to have any principles, or indeed scruples, morals, or conscience. They only slow you down and take away from the bottom line.   

       The 30k pricetag is fine. That's what you pay, not what you charge the customer. All that is needed is something that meets the specification and will pass the acceptance tests, even if it won't do the job when deployed - something you can manufacture or buy in very cheaply, then charge exorbitant amounts for "approved" spares.   

       Just paint it NATO olive drab and give it a catchy name and a complicated code number, and you can charge what you like.   

       By the time the complaints work their way back up the chain from the Poor Bloody Infantry, you'll be ready to sell a "life extension upgrade" for ten times what they originally paid per unit.
8th of 7, Dec 31 2018

       Viscous circle...the opposition will use a Manned Drone System, which will be countered with the anti-Manned Drone System etc   

       //200x200 pixel displays.   

       Ah, back in the day, people only had 200 x 200 resolution eyes.
not_morrison_rm, Jan 02 2019

       // Manned Drone System //   

       Baked. Kamikaze ...   

       As a general point, it is important to recognize the unpleasant fact that there are almost no effective ways of defending against a determined, prepared suicide attack without major social and infrastructural disruption.   

       In the Pacific war, the USN suffered severe losses - despite being well equipped and prepared - from a relatively small number of barely-trained pilots flying obsolete or training aircraft.   

       In land combat, fatality rates of 20:1, sometimes higher, in favour of US forces were achieved. When the Japs adopted suicide tactics using aircraft, rates of 100:1, even 500:1 were achieved. One kamikaze hit could sink a destroyer, or put a battleship or carrier out of action for extensive repair.
8th of 7, Jan 02 2019

       This is a perhaps stupid idea, but why didn't the US navy try and look like the Japanese navy?   

       It's all big grey ships and with a couple of rising sun flags - the pilots would try to avoid hitting their own ships.
not_morrison_rm, Jan 02 2019

       The IJN was lurking in port, desperately short of fuel and rightly nervous of highly aggressive US submarines, and their aviators knew that; and by 1945 the USN had more flattops in service than the Japs had destroyers.   

       A USN task group covered an area of sea about 5NM x 5NM, and they had numerous task groups... there was no way of mistaking one.
8th of 7, Jan 02 2019

       //The IJN was lurking in port,//   

       I think that was the main difference. If you attacked a ship that was moving, it was a viable target.
bs0u0155, Jan 02 2019

       It's a reasonable basis for target recognition.   

       As the Wehrmacht used to say, "If a plane turns up during the day, it's the Americans. If a plane turns up during the night, it's the British. And if it doesn't turn up at all, it's the Luftwaffe ..."
8th of 7, Jan 02 2019

       They must have struggled with discrimination for a while...   

       "OK, so if it sounds like this, it's a Merlin engine which means Spitfire" "Or Hurricane" "...Or Hurricane yes..." "Or a Lancaster" "No, that's 4 Merlins, if you hear 4 Merlins that's a Lancaster" "Or 4 Spitfires..." "Look, this far into Germany 4 Merlins means Lancaster, alright?" "Or 4 P51 Mustangs, Or possibly 2 Mosquitos, now 3 Merlins could be 3 Mustangs, 3 Spits, OR, 1 Mosquito one Spit, or a Lancaster with an engine out OR..." "Stop it Fritz, unless you fancy a trip east"
bs0u0155, Jan 02 2019

       //The IJN was lurking in port,//   

       Sp. The IJN was lurking in sake*.   

       *How they got the battleship Yamato into a bottle is a mystery to me. Fiendish oriental cunning, I suspect.
not_morrison_rm, Jan 02 2019

       They built the ship inside the bottle, of course ...   

       It was quite a big bottle ...
8th of 7, Jan 02 2019


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