“Maj. Gen. Michael McCurry, the commanding general of the U.S Army Aviation Center of Excellence that advises the Army on aviation policy, told Newsmax that unmanned drone platforms will be increasingly paired up with AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and other units. It first tested pairing a drone with the Apache in 2020, and McCurry said it is viewed as the future for the Army.
Drones first made headlines after 9/11, when Predator drones manufactured by General Atomics started taking out terrorist targets in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. When many people think of armed drones, these are the types that come to mind.
But a diverse array of sizes and capabilities exist on the modern battlefield.
“I think we’re really seeing unmanned aircraft really come into their own in recent years,” C. Mark Brinkley, the senior director of marketing and strategic communications for General Atomics, told Newsmax. “The war in Ukraine shows that it’s not just desert warfare. Central Command kind of a tool, but actually it has applications in urban environments, in large-scale combat areas such as the Pacific Theater.
“The Army sees that as much as any other of the services … The Apaches of the future will be able to have kind of a manned/unmanned component, where the Apache pilots will be able to control their own drones or to coordinate with [drones] like the Gray Eagle to provide standoff and more safety for the pilots in those helicopters.”
Drones have already proven their battlefield worth in diverse locales, ranging from the rugged Middle East to Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh. They also serve an array of needs, from offense to surveillance to making cargo deliveries at forward operating bases in combat areas.
The Kaman Corporation’s KARGO drone, which was showcased at the AUSA convention, is a quadcopter that can carry up to 800 lbs. of cargo for almost 600 miles. This capability gives battlefield commanders the option to send logistical payloads into contested areas without putting humans at risk
“We see all of these UAV concepts coming together very close to or under the enemy threat umbrella, so it makes a lot of sense to us to design something … that you can afford to lose”
Comment: This is what I like to see, forward thinking and acquisition that raises the capability of the force and reduces the chance of the soldier losing a piece of his/her butt.
The KARGO drone is particularly intriguing. This is a long way from the time when people like me were trained to set up a landing strip on flashlight illumination in a meadow. Having a C-46 come at you in the dark with no lights on is a major trip. Why go to Disneyland? pl