|Representative Image|The Indian Army announced it has inducted swarm drones into its mechanised forces describing it as a “niche” and “disruptive technology”. The Army said the drones will provide an “edge” in meeting future security challenges.
India’s swarm drone system is equipped with cutting-edge technology that can identify targets using artificial intelligence-driven software. The drones consist of a number of drones controlled from the same station which can be programmed using an algorithm to carry out various tasks including surveillance.
As China continues its military manoeuvres along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Army is set to transform itself into a technology-enabled force.
According to reports, the Army has initiated a Make-II case Autonomous Surveillance and Armed Drone Swarm (ASAD-S).
China showcases Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles at National Day Parade In October 2019, China celebrated its National Day amid great fanfare at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The highlight of the day was China’s military drones which created a worldwide buzz. China has now seamlessly integrated its drones in all three wings of the military – Army, Navy and Air Force with the Rocket Force playing its role to give the communist country an edge in mobile warfare. Reports emerged in July in the Taiwanese press which said China’s “Soaring Dragon” UAV( (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) had carried out surveillance mission on a US Navy ship USS Antietam as it sailed along the Taiwan Straits.
The “Soaring Dragon” was first displayed as model at the Zhuhai Air Show in 2006. In 2016, UAV reportedly went into production.
The “EA-03 Soaring Dragon” reportedly has a combat range of 2,000 kms with turbojet engine propulsion which is mainly used for reconnaissance but the People’s Liberation Army(PLA) intends to use it in combat support later.
AFADS: US drone swarms can finds targets through AI
The US uses MQ-9 Reapers which it controls remotely. Reports claim the US has been fully autonomous Drone swarms (AFADS).
The AFADS target has the ability to lock into its AI to automatically target attacks without human interaction marking a shift in how the US intends to now use drones during combat.
Both the US Army and Navy are reportedly developing autonomous platforms to target enemies amid changes linked to war strategy worldwide.
The use importance of drones has become a key feature in the Ukraine war as Ukraine’s army has targeted several Russian military vehicles and tanks from the sky.
In fact, the US has also addressed public concern over drone swarms being used in a manner like weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
Amid US arms supplies to Ukraine, reports claim Ukraine is targeting the Russian military with “Terminator drones”. The drones are reportedly being used to “trick” the Russians to believe they are being pursued by “Skynet”.
Hellfire missiles fired by drones in targeted attacks have been known for powerful explosions and often extensive collateral damage and deaths. Since 2017, a handful of other finely-targeted attacks show similar results.
Details of the mysterious weapon leaked out, and it was dubbed the “Flying Ginsu,” after a famous 1980s television commercial for ostensibly Japanese kitchen knives that would cut cleanly through aluminium cans and remain perfectly sharp.
The drone strike which killed Zawahiri is also called “ninja bomb,” the missile has become the US munition of choice for killing leaders of extremist groups while avoiding civilian casualties.
US MQ-9 Reaper with Paveway-II and air-to-ground missiles
The US MQ-9 Reaper is used by the US for several functions namely: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-lase, convoy and raid overwatch.
It uses laser-guided munitions including Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway-II and air-to-ground missile-114 Hellfire which is believed to be higly accurate. It has a ceiling of up to 50,000 feet and reportedly costs $56.5 million.
The basic crew of a Reaper consists of a rated pilot to control the aircraft and command the mission, and an enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and guide weapons.
According to the General Atomics, it is collaborating with the US Army to develop a modular open system approach (MOSA) for its MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone.
Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) is a next-generation advanced derivative of the battle-proven Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
GE-ER delivers long-endurance UAS surveillance, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions during wartime. The relevance of drones has become even more significant after UAV have destroyed several tanks and military vehicles helping in surveillance and in hitting Russian targets.
According to the company, GE-ER features an automatic take-off and landing system (ATLS) that allows the aircraft to be launched.
It has a wingspan of 58 feet and is 28 feet long and has Satellite communication points with automatic take-off and landing which greatly reduces a pilot’s workload.
It can launch upto 29,000 feet with maximum endurance of 42 hours. The drones extra fuel supports the Army’s reconnaissance, surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) requirements.