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Modern Drone Tactics

Discussion in 'Strategy & Tactics' started by Da Nang, Jun 3, 2014.

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  1. Da Nang

    Da Nang New Member

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    I hope this is the right place to ask but what's your opinion on drone usage
    for a modern military?

    Personally, I think drones would make excellent ground support and workhorse aircraft if they were made cheaply and in enough numbers. They might even make
    decent replacements for the retiring A-10s since what they lack in individual
    firepower, they make up for in presence and numbers. They might also be
    good for taking down an air defense network in a brute force kind of way.
    So basically a low-tech complement to manned aircraft instead of high-tech
    replacements. On the other hand, as demonstrated by Iran, non-autonomous drones will always be vulnerable to outside "interference" by persistent opponents.
    But this all presupposes that countries can make capable drones at an affordable
    price say 50 percent the performance of an F-16 at 35 percent of the price. Right
    now, I think countries such as the US, France, and China are trying to put too much capability into individual drones and not emphasizing the fact that drones
    are expendable. The RQ-9 reaper is an okay example, but the price at $20 mil. is still too high for what you're getting.

    Again I'm new so please excuse me if someone has already posted
    something like this.
     
  2. RobWilliams

    RobWilliams Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The first role of most modern UAVs (including the Reaper) is ISTAR, relatively it's a small percentage (10% for the RAF IIRC) of missions which result in a weapons release and even then it's more often than not on unsuspecting targets far into hostile territory than responding to a 'troops in contact' call.

    Not really great for taking down an IADS either, they're great for operations in Afghanistan because they lack the ability to destroy or even locate the aircraft in the sky. Against a technologically competent aircraft both militarily and through cyber there are significant risks to UAVs which is why development of stealth UCAVs has been something seeing development, like the US UCLASS or RQ-170/180, the French nEuron or the UK Taranis.

    These are not cheap, the main cost of aircraft like these are the electronic systems and capabilities. If the aim is to penetrate a proper IADS then i'd not imagine any cheap MALE/HALE UAVs which are not designed for that mission to last for any meaningful length of time.

    Drones are not expendable, any drone worth anything will be too expensive to be deemed disposable IMO.
     
  3. My2Cents

    My2Cents Active Member

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    The last thing any military wants is a fully autonomous UAV killbot that makes its own target selection. Either you would have to constrain its selection so much that it is easy to spoof, or open it up and accept high levels of collateral damage i.e. blue-on-blue and civilian deaths. It would also violate a number of international agreements (written for landmines and booby traps, but those are the only current fully autonomous weapon systems). If a human makes an error and orders a kill of an innocent target you can blame and replace him. When an autonomous UAV makes an error you are likely to have to ground the entire fleet until you can develop, test, and install a software patch, which could take months.

    So you need a man-in-the-loop to authorize the attack. He needs a lot of sensor data to evaluate the situation before authorizing the attack. That takes a lot of bandwidth, which is in short supply, so you can only operate a few UAVs in a single communications “cell”.

    Target identifications also requires a lot of expensive sensor hardware, probably even more in an autonomous UAV due to the limits of the software and the need to be sure of the target, possibly 60% or more of the total cost.

    So fully autonomous armed UAV are out. Cheap large armed drones are out. And you are very limited in the number of operator controlled UAVs you can deploy.
     
  4. Da Nang

    Da Nang New Member

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    I guess I'm too used to thinking of drones as
    tomahawk missiles without the warhead. I was
    thinking more along the lines of using MQ-1s to force
    SAM sites to fire and expose themselves to SEAD aircraft.
    Either you shoot at the drones and expose yourself
    or don't shoot and let them do what they want.
    While the issue of not having enough drone operators is
    valid right now, I don't think it would be in serious wartime
    if you gave someone the choice between being a drone
    operator or being infantry. They'll learn quickly enough.
    I dunno, I guess it just bugs me that you can get 2 MQ-1 Predators
    for the price of an Abrams tank and possibly 30 of them for
    the price of an F-35. An F-35 is great, but it can still only be in
    one place at a time.
     
  5. RobWilliams

    RobWilliams Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A SAM site only has to be activated and transmitting any form of electronic signals of any kind (radar signals + other communications signals) to be picked up, analysed and nail to a location. It's not dependent on firing way beyond the range where visual identification would be able to be done.

    Radar emissions at a certain point actually tell a potential target more than the origin of the emissions because past a certain point the radar does not create any meaningful picture however everybody knows there's a radar transmitting and a possible origin.
     
  6. Jay R

    Jay R New Member

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    Drones

    Actually drones are the weapons of modern war. Drones are one of the best inventions. Drones may save number of lives and can replace many fighter planes. By drones ground force can keep an eye on near by enemies. Drones are expensive but inventions are going on to make them cheaper and better. Hope we will have results soon.
     
  7. Blackshoe

    Blackshoe Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Welcome to DT! Please go and read the stickies in the new member thread and introduce yourself there, as well.
     
  8. Jay R

    Jay R New Member

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    Thank you for suggestion!

    I have introduced myself there.

    A reminder to all posting in this thread. The posting of one-liners is a violation of Rule 2 of the Forum Rules. On occasion, the Mod Team may tolerate a post with one-line; but not all the time.

    For new members or members with less than 50 posts, if you post a one-liner in this thread, it will be deleted. Thank you for your attention.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2016
  9. andy_lewis

    andy_lewis New Member

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    Drone usage for a morden drone tectics

    The U.S. military began experimenting with unmanned aircraft as early as World War I. By World War II, unmanned craft could be controlled by radio signals, usually from another aircraft. Vehicles that could return from a mission and be recovered appeared in the late 1950s. Today, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) perform a wide range of missions and are used by all four branches of the military.
     
  10. Cadredave

    Cadredave Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Drones for want of a better word in ground combat are tools nothing more nothing less just like my rifle, real world considerations soon kick in and your tools start to pack up ie batteries go flat, dust & grit get in etc anything man made better be grunt proof light weight and small if not it will be left behind with all the other rubbish and that is a fact of life being a grunt.
     
  11. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    nobody in the military calls them drones.

    the proper terminology is UAS.

    the press uses the term drones and its completely inaccurate.

    we've also moved beyond the issue of driving one over the battlefield to assist in forming the overall combat operating picture.

    future UAS are already about the ability to use them as part of a broader sensor array

    unfort the press just focus on the unmanned strike side of the capability

    and they're far from being a new capability. they first hit their stride in the cold war, and then moved ahead at a rapid rate in the 70's.

    predators and their kindred frames are an extension of developments that have already happened in the past.

    UAS are for more than just the dr strangelove optic of killing a tracked object of interest
     
  12. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Member

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    Swarms

    DARPA is working on developing tactics and uses for modern UAVs and going beyond individual MALE/HALE systems. They're looking at UAV "swarms" or small squadrons of UAVs acting in unison Mission profiles will vary but initial thoughts are to use against IADS as part of a networked force package. They're also looking into UAV swarms that can loiter searching for preprogrammed target profiles and attack as identified.

    Here's some good articles on the idea. Personally, I see it as a potentially evolutionary concept

    http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/2016/03/gremlins-drone-swarms.html


    The USN seems to be the current leader in technology and concept of operations development and have already tested swarming technology this year. The USN seems to be working with UAV swarms for counter A2D2 as well as surface warfare.


    U.S. Navy Plans To Fly First Drone Swarm This Summer |
     
  13. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    A very interesting concept which led to some basic thoughts on countering.

    I've seen bird lovers firing off nets to trap swarms of birds, maybe some extension of this concept, delivered by basic missile, might prove effective if deployed before the swarm spreads too wide, particularly if the swarm is being controlled by/as a single operator/unit.

    I'm looking forward to the development of both attack and defence tactics.
     
  14. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    the swarm AI is interesting as it traced back to work done by CSIRO and DSTO with insects and birds
     
  15. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Member

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    Yes Sir!

    The USN remains at the cutting edge with DARPA close. I've also seen some data DARPA is working on networked "Swarming UUVs) as well. Could be another interesting capability that will need to worked into Operational Concepts
     
  16. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    the array concept has also migrated to UDT concepts as well.... there's some extraordinary opportunities that are getting developed literally day by day.

    it really is a new horizon and has moved well beyond the kinetic and strike effects concepts of even a few years back
     
  17. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Member

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    Manned/unmanned teaming

    The US Army has also proven new CONOPS for AH-64/Reaper teaming. AH64 crews a controlling networked UCAVS as replacements for the LOACH eliminating the need for a crewed LOACH. Concept has worked very well.
     
  18. mooredesigns

    mooredesigns New Member

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    Drones are going to be used in many operations. Because the military battles are challenging, drones give the troops a great edge.
     
  19. Waylander

    Waylander Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    I have actually never understood the reasoning behing letting your AH crews operate drones. The workload of a two man AH crew is already tremendous as it is so in the end they can either fly and fight their own bird or hover somewhere and control an UAV.

    In that case you have a rather expensive flying control station which at the same time ties down one of your AHs. Not to talk of one of your premier tactical assets sitting there emitting constantly which may result in some unfortunate consequences against a near peer enemy.

    I am all for networking different sensor inputs for the crew of an AH to use. But what is the gain in letting them control the UAV instead of them using their bird and someone else in a ground control station controlling the UAV?
     
  20. bdique

    bdique Member

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    If the UAS is capable of lasing targets, perhaps that might permit the crew to better engage targets hidden in complex terrain i.e. valleys? The UAS could lase directly into the valley from above, while the AH-64E crew 'lofts' Hellfires in the direction of the target from a safe distance away.