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Military Drones: The Future of Unmanned Wars
Military Drones, the new face of war is where the future of military lies. In an attempt to unman the manned God of wars, the aerial support in any war has taken a new term, Drones. Military Drone or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) is an aerial vehicle with all the facilities required for an aerial support like, surveillance equipment, weapon system, communication zone etc, which flies minus the pilot.
Being unmanned the equipments essential for a human pilot are not required, which results in an aircraft which has a lower weight and smaller size. This aircraft is operated through a remote terminal. Military Drones have been here for decades now and will continue to be here to create a new roadmap for the future wars.
The Technology and its Evolution
Since the introduction of drones, the technology has evolved many folds. From being of surveillance assistance drones are today’s technocratic nightmare loaded with the latest most lethal weapons.
Although today Military drones are operated by humans and carry out mostly preplanned and pre-programmed tasks, the future drones will possess the capability to carry out target attacks without any human interference. They will receive information, perceive, plan and carry out tasks on their own.
Therefore, it will be an evolution of artificial intelligence which would act as a human brain and in the long run keep humans out of the loop of its designated actions. Yet another military objective is to create tiny drones, which may be easily taken as a bird or even insect and are not easily detectable.
Using toy remote controlled helicopters equipped with basic surveillance and reconnaissance features forms part of this project, which can be incorporated at the company and battalion level also.
Future Potential of Military Drones
Predators and Reapers are two tailor made military drones which have been used extensively to assist military requirements in the scenario of counter terrorism and the war zones where there is no possibility of enemy pinning them down.
But these aerial vehicles are not accustomed to handling antiaircraft defenses or air-to-air combat. Therefore, there was a realization that the present UAVs were not of any use in a war like scenario. And the need was felt to enhance its present capabilities of surveillance, reconnaissance and strikes to combat search and rescue and air to air combat and also makes it completely autonomous and human less robots which would be capable of making decisions even in a war zone.
This applies to air, ground and maritime war robots also. With the advancement of artificial intelligence the aircraft is likely to be capable of taking off, landing on their own and completely autonomous flying. Their specific features expand their applicability to areas like conducting electronic attacks, transmission of communication relay, combat search and rescue operations.
They would carry out strike missions, suppression or destruction of enemy air defense. Realizing the potential of these unmanned aircraft as military drones countries like US have decided to increase their fleet by doubling the numbers of the existing one.
Adaptation of RC Flying Helicopters Toys for Surveillance
Adapting the remote controlled helicopter toys for use beyond just pleasure, as they have been providing features like inbuilt digital camera and infrared obstacle avoidance sensor. Armed with these features they can act as mini military drones.
They are smaller, lighter, less energy consuming and equipped with latest state of the art technology. The high definition camera transmits full HD motion picture and video. These fit into the military reconnaissance and surveillance role of sneaking around the area of responsibility and identifying any hidden threat.
They even help in the times when aid to civil authorities is extended by military proving security and safety to the civilians. The images captured are transmitted on a small screen at the hand held terminal to provide real time info. These smaller technologies can emerge as the next IEDs with lower costing and provide limited lethality with low technology weapons.
These mini drones are easily available in the market. Although these are basically toy aircrafts used for hobby or recreation, but their applicability to military use cannot be denied.
Two of the latest and popular models available in the market are:
▪ Extra-long flight times of up to 25 mins
▪ Extra-long flight times of up to 25 mins
1. Walkera QR Infra
This comes in a size as small as 10.8 x 10.8 cm and height of 6.2 cm. It has a flight time of 5 – 7 minutes. It has a Stabilizing system for a reliable and stable flight. It is equipped with a specialized IObstacle Avoidance system which helps the aircraft to maneuver and avoid obstacles in way automatically without any human intervention. With the advancement of technology aircraft can keep on flying at a relative speed using the adopted ultrasonic altitude system.
2. DJI Phantom FC40 FPV GPS
The biggest feature of this remote control helicopter is the Wi-Fi camera which allows capturing high quality videos along with pictures. It comes with a Smartphone App for first person view(FPV) and real time processing of the images. However the images and videos can even be recorded for future reference.
The application of drones can be realized as a reflection of the evolution and advancement of technology in military affairs. On one hand where it comes with breathtaking features and most importantly, human disengagement, critics review the use of drones as emotional disengagement also from the ground war front which is incidentally the very base of a military disposition.
This even results in the killing of innocent civilians which poses a big threat to the humanitarian values and ethics. The unmanned feature at one point excites as it saves the pilot from risking life but raises moral concerns also. One of the aspects here in consideration is in order to save pilot causalities; extensive use of drones is suspected. Thus, it should be preferred and restricted to the missions that may be dangerous or cumbersome for a manned aircraft.