The Airborne Weapon Re-Arming system - making airforces more efficient

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August 1, 2006 Far Technologies’ latest clever military aviation idea could have far reaching consequences as it enables military air forces to use fewer resources in performing more missions. Jet fighters are frightfully expensive weapons that require a lot of effort getting them to the fight. Aerial refuelling enables fighters to cover vast differences but once they’ve used their onboard firepower, usually in just a few minutes, they need to go back to base, land, re-arm and start all over again. The Airborne Weapon Re-Arming system (ABRA) removes much of that process by re-arming aircraft in the air close to the fighting zone. ABRA doubles most measurables such as attacks executed and operational tempo, without increasing the aircraft fleet. The operational flexibility is both simplified and improved. Aircraft can remain in the vicinity of targets, the density of the attacks can be dramatically increased, response times (from target detection to attack) reduced, pressure on operating bases decreased and there’s a significant reduction in determining and allocating the sequences of the combat forces and formations for the mission along with increased aircraft availability for alternative real time mission allocation. Aircraft can even take off without ordnance and be configured appropriately enroute. On top of that, ABRA would also enable a continuation of aircraft usage when the home base or carrier ship is under attack and greater aircrew familiarity with the constantly changing battle arena.

Isreali-based FAR Technologies Ltd. (FAR) is a conceptual and technological incubator for initiating and nurturing innovative concepts and technologies in the military aviation arena. FAR conducts preliminary feasibility studies, engineering design and patent applications and is seeking partners to develop, sell or license their range of innovative IP.

One of the best ideas we’ve seen for a while, the Airborne Weapon Re-Arming system (ABRA) for fighter aircraft effectively multiplies the effectiveness of a fighter aircraft many times. By re-arming aircraft in the air close to the fighting zone, the much quicker turnaround time means a fighter aircraft can be used multiple times at the same place – one fighter might take the place of three or four or more.

Due to the extremely high cost of fighter aircraft, there is a constant demand for improved operational versatility and efficiency and operational costs would be significantly less for applying the same amount of force.

ABRA allows for the efficient aerial delivery of bombs from a cargo aircraft to an attack aircraft (fighter jet or UCAV) and is a low cost add-on because neither the cargo and combat aircraft will require modification. Closed circuit TV enables the re-arming to take place day or night and the design allows for the cargo plane to carry large quantities of possible armaments enabling attack aircraft to be reconfigured for multiple missions.

In addition to the efficient weapon storage system inside the cargo plane, there’s a remote driven BOOM operating from an aft door, which uses its own aerodynamic lift surfaces to produce it’s own lift as it carries the ordnance, hence reducing the momentum on the tanker

ABRA can be fitted to any combat aircraft, be it fighter. helicopter and UCAV. The fighter aircraft is equipped with "smart pylons", which allow connecting and interface with the cargo Aircraft robotic arm boom system to enable the installation and activation of any weapon on the attack aircraft’s pneumatic multi-action ejection mechanism.

Based on the concept and technology, Professor Asher Tishler, from the Faculty of Management at the Tel Aviv University, conducted an analysis of the potential combined operational, logistical and economical contribution of airborne rearming on 3 – 9 hours bombing missions at ranges of 250 to 1,000 nautical miles from the operating base. For UCAVs, 12 – 30 hour mission durations were analyzed.

The analysis demonstrated a dramatic increase in the number of bombs dropped for a given mission duration:

* Increase of well over 100% more bombs for close-by target zones * Increase of well over 200% more bombs for far away target zones * A dramatic reduction in the time required to drop a given number of bombs on the target zone - Over 60% reduction in the time required for close-by target zones - About 70% (or more) reduction in the time required for far away target zones

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