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Thread: US Jets Launch Micro-Drone Swarm

  1. #16
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    13 Nov 07
    Quote Originally Posted by YellowFever View Post
    Imagine if we can get pound or two of high explosives of each of those suckers and let them play kamikaze.
    That's undoubtedly in the works.

    Quote Originally Posted by kuku View Post
    If these drones were like Harpy or Harop then it would be a nightmare, 100s of smart grenades flying around :O
    They even sound like Harpies. Here's the version with sound. Go to 2:18. Change shorts afterwards.

  2. #17
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    09 Oct 10
    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    115 years since the first aircraft...
    Too subtle for me Dok? ;-)

  3. #18
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    25 Aug 08
    Skopje, Macedonia
    Quote Originally Posted by tantalus View Post
    Too subtle for me Dok? ;-)
    I like it short and to the point. Nothing subtle there.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  4. #19
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    08 Aug 13
    Kansas City, United States
    Quote Originally Posted by tantalus View Post
    Within decades one wonders if cheap drone technology will not disproportionately favour smaller nations and a military that is less advanced. Not to mind the tactical potential for terrorists. At the very least the tech will be more readily accessible to many nations than many other military applications.
    It will give smaller nation's militaries access to basic airborne ISR in a manner they've never had before. What it won't give them is the infrastructure to utilize drones the way the US has been for the last decade.

    It's important to distinguish what types of drones are likely to be utilized by smaller nations or paramilitary organizations and how their capabilities differ from what the Tier 1 militaries will be fielding.

    Smaller militaries or other organizations are going to benefit most from drones repurposed from the civilian market. In practice this means small, light weight quadcopters that can provide infantry with a look over the next hill or a peek inside a building. These drones are cheap, small, light, and require no infrastructure beyond electricity but also limited to short range, low persistence, almost no payload, and line of sight communications.

    If you want a smallish drone with persistence, range, and enough useful payload capacity for good ISR, you need one that is essentially a small aircraft. Utilizing wings for lift rather than constantly hovering improves most of these attributes, but at the cost of requiring infrastructure to launch, control, and recover the drone.

    A good example to illustrate this is the ScanEagle.

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    Take a look at the infrastructure needed for a drone that size. You need a catapult to launch it, high powered radio (and generator) to control it, and a net/capture mechanism to recover it. Suddenly instead of a guy with a backpack you have about 2 trucks worth of stuff to cart around and setup in order to utilize a drone of this capability. It's starting to get expensive.

    To utilize a full on MQ-9 Reaper style drone after the US fashion takes billions or even trillions in infrastructure that takes decades to get into place. Multiple constellations of satellites, with some constellations to provide communications and control, while others provide GPS signals. You need airbases near the area of conflict, munitions depots, service depots, and personnel to run them all. You need control centers for the teams of people that actually fly the aircraft, monitor the sensors, and deploy the weapons.

    They are highly capable, but will likely remain out of reach for most middle powers and below for the foreseeable future. Not because they are incapable of building the drone itself, but because they can't afford the infrastructure to use it to it's full potential.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 11 Jan 17, at 20:21.

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