Can a hybrid Surface to Air Missile, UAV loiter for hours and then become a missile to down an enemy aircraft?
Small UAV surface to air missile (SAM), which is air-breathing is a good idea and yields many possibilities to the future of air combat.
Now we need to design a beyond line of sight (BLOS) radar single unit to work without any other help. A net-centric battlespace component, which can operate completely autonomously without the help of satellite communication, AWACS or any other source. This BLOS radar unit can be mounted on a ship for the Navy or trailer for Army or Marines, well then such a single mission UAV, or kill projectile would be one excellent tool. Shoot it, forget about it as it will find its target eventually, even if it has to dog fight it's intended victim.
An incoming force of a hundred Chinese fighters would have to try and dog fight a hundred UAVs, which can pull 18g's as apposed to the manned modern fighter plane of 8-9 G's due to the weakness of the human pilot. Since these UAV SAMs are air breathing they will not run out of rocket fuel or be limited in range and therefore can be very small and stealthy and able to dodge air to air missile defenses of the incoming fighter planes or enemy threat. If the cost to build was high, perhaps we could even fly them back, disarm in the air and parachute them for later use if they did not find a target or if all targets were destroyed already?
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs