These flying machines are not hard to come by. If you want some there are companies like this one which will sell you systems complete with surveillance packages.
On the other hand they are also not terribly difficult to make. What you need to do that are some tools and parts that can be bought on-line and a space the size of a two car garage in which to manufacture the machine. The amount of skill required is readily available in any Middle Eastern country, even Yemen.
I took part in a study some time ago concerning the utility of UAVs in the small wars raging all over the ME. What emerged from the work was the evident truth that for countries that have fixed wing or helicopter assets the UAV is an interesting force multiplier at a low cost both for surveillance and strike operations, but for a force that has no air force these little "birds" are a game changer. They vastly extend the ability to screen borders and infiltration routes and to strike where previously there was no ability at all. pl
ISIS have attack drones – they may be rudimentary but they are effective.
“Pinpoint ISIS drone strike obliterates Iraqi Army humvee near Mosul”
I agree these are a game changer particularly against softer forces (e.g., IS vs Iraqi recruits):
however, the current US approach of jamming them will not leave the US with a technical advantage for long as one could survey with a micro-drone at very low altitude and then easily program a followup several armed UAV with GPS coordinates to take over. (technology of a 14 year old in the US)
I suspect at some point, the defensive approach will be to fly a small swarm of attacker drone killers over US troops. Not SOFA as drones are noisy.
They also could allow for example, Yemeni’s to attack in border areas of Saudi Arabia more effectively.
A key question then is how far they can be controlled from. I suspect if you are launching from a mountain, tens of kilometers.
Unmanned boats with only two axes of freedom are thus child’s play to anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of model radio control and marine steering systems.
Defense News had a recent article in which an obvious technical ignoramus sagely intoned that the recently reported “drone boat” attack on that Saudi frigate “must have been planned with the help of Iran”. The tragedy is that many people with little technical background seem to believe that if they themselves couldn’t do it, then there’s no way a “mere Arab” could.
A GoPro drone crashed through a Manhattan woman’s 27th-floor window and landed just feet from her as she sat in her living room enjoying a quiet evening at home, police sources said Sunday.
The 66-year-old resident was working on her computer inside the East River high-rise when the hobby craft smashed through the window at around 5:45 p.m., according to the sources.
The 1-by-1-foot device — which has a 10-inch propeller and a camera — landed on the floor just 4 feet away from her, cops said.
“Poor lady. She’s lucky she wasn’t killed,” said Stephanie Bowden, 23, who was visiting her boyfriend’s apartment 11 floors below at the time.
Police on Sunday were investigating who owns the drone, a remote-controlled 2.2-pound GoPro Karma Quadcopter model, and where it came from.
The ones who have the most to fear from these drones are the forces who have never had to fear a threat from the air. We have no memory of having to operate under threat of air attack or air reconnaissance. We have much to learn.
I recommend “Daemon” and “Freedom™” by Daniel Suarez for some entertaining reading about drones and some other wild aspects of cyberwar.
A programmed gps route can be limitless or you could use a relay system with a drone plane every 100 miles or so
Extensive report from Wall Street Journal today (2/26) re IS drone warfare in Iraq, which is also being used to terrorize civilians and aid workers.
Quote:” Aid groups have said drones make it nearly impossible to set up distribution stations as they are easily targeted.” This can have devastating consequences for people trapped in Mosul.
Report includes pix of 2 Iraqi special forces shooting at a drone and an IS drone that was shot down. I’ve posted the entire text of report, below. The report, posted at 5:11 pm EST, had already picked up 93 comments as of 9:57 PM, none of which I’ve reviewed.
Drones in IS hands is far more advanced and serious than I’d realized before reading the WSJ report. Everyone is scrambling in the attempt to get anti-drone technology….
“Islamic State Drones Terrorize Iraqi Forces as Mosul Battle Rages”
Militant group uses increasingly sophisticated drone technology to target troops, civilians
By BEN KESLING in Mosul, Iraq, and GHASSAN ADNAN in Baghdad
Updated Feb. 26, 2017 5:11 p.m. ET
As they advance into Islamic State’s remaining urban stronghold of west Mosul, Iraqi forces are struggling to counter the terror caused by the militant group’s drones.
Iraqi forces have grown accustomed to enemy drones flying over the battlefield since Islamic State seized swaths of the country in 2014. They have used rifle fire and high-tech gadgets to counter them, and even have drones of their own.
But the militants have fine-tuned their drone technology. What were once improvised, remote-controlled aircraft resembling model planes are now commercially available quadcopters—drones with four helicopter-like blades—that have been retrofitted to carry grenades that can be dropped over targets.
Islamic State’s increased drone usage comes as army officials said Sunday they had retaken their first neighborhood west of the Tigris River, raising the Iraqi flag there. The battle for the west is the final step in the offensive to drive the militant group from Iraq’s second-largest city.
The military last week seized the northern city’s sprawling international airport, giving it a foothold into Mosul’s densely packed western neighborhoods. Over the weekend, troops pushed deeper into those areas, led by special-forces units. The army also said it had seized control of Mosul’s main power station.
Islamic State drones have regularly flown over west Mosul during the fight, sending troops running for cover.
Though the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq says Islamic State’s increased drone capability won’t have a major impact on the state of the battle for Mosul, it allows the group to target civilians and aid workers in east Mosul, giving Islamic State the ability to terrorize people no longer living under its rule and hampering the area’s return to normal life.
“The drone issue is worrying,” said Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool. “There is no technical way to [entirely] stop these drones.”
While the strikes don’t always hit their targets with precision, militants are perfecting their technique.
“There are so many videos and images of bombs being dropped with a surprising degree of accuracy that I believe there are skilled operators who can hit with a consistent degree of accuracy,” said Nick Waters, an analyst at research firm Bellingcat, which focuses on open-source information, much of it from social media.
Islamic State typically loads its drones with conventional grenades that detonate on impact, dropping them by remote control as they hover over a target, according to a report this month from Bellingcat.
They often affix plastic tail fins to the grenade to increase its stability and accuracy, the report said. Some bombs employ munitions that Islamic State manufactures itself.
The bombs can be dropped with accuracy from a height of up to 1,000 feet, Bellingcat estimated. Such strikes have also been used by militants to create diversions during suicide attacks, it added.
To counter the drones, Iraq’s army is using high-tech gadgets that can target them using radio waves. But devices available to the military are scarce. Troops are often forced to resort to shooting at the small, nearly noiseless drones with rifles.
At at least one remote base near Mosul last fall, U.S. Army sentries manned their posts armed with machine guns and a device called DroneDefender manufactured by Ohio-based research-and-development outfit Battelle Memorial Institute. The U.S. military is supporting Iraqi forces from the air and ground in the fight against Islamic State.
DroneDefenders are rifle-shaped and feature thick antennas that when pointed at drones can scramble GPS or remote-control units up to a quarter of a mile away, causing the drones to fall.
A spokeswoman for Battelle said it had sold more than 100 units to the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
“We have the DroneDefender and it works,” said Lt. Col. Arkan Fadhil of the elite Iraqi special forces. He said few were available to Iraqi forces, without elaborating why.
Iraqi and American defense officials said Iraqi forces have such technology but declined to give further details, citing security concerns.
Exporting battlefield supplies from the U.S. to certain countries, like Iraq, requires special licenses.
Devices that emit radio frequencies can be subject to international regulations and red tape.
The Battelle spokeswoman said an export control license is required to ship products to foreign governments, but it doesn’t have such a license to export to Iraq. She said the company has recently seen increased interest in the device around the world.
Last week, the U.S. Air Force announced a $15 million contract with ELTA North America Inc., a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, for 21 counter-drone systems to be delivered in the next few months.
Further details weren’t available. The Defense Department didn’t respond to request for comment. An ELTA spokeswoman said the company doesn’t discuss specific clients. But it recently touted a counter-drone system made expressly to down quadcopter-type machines.
At least one Popular Mobilization Unit, a militia allied with Iraq’s army, says it has received counter-drone technology from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Iran backs a number of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim militias and recently developed numerous anti-drone technologies, including a drone-jamming antenna unveiled in December, according to semiofficial Iranian news agencies. Iranian officials haven’t said whether these technologies are in use in Iraq.
“Either we get such tactical weapons directly from the Islamic Republic or we make them locally here, but in consultation with our brothers in revolutionary guards,” said Jaffar al-Hussaini, spokesman of Hezbollah Battalions, a large militia operating west of Mosul.
Iraqi forces have also been using their own commercial drones for reconnaissance and to help identify Islamic State fighters posing as civilians.
On a recent day in west Mosul, Lt. Col. Fadhil was at an aid station near the front, his foot bandaged after being struck by a drone grenade.
“It’s annoying, with someone always tossing a grenade on you,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the east, citizens freed from Islamic State occupation now fear their drones. Near the ruins of Mosul University, Mohammed Yasin worked at a falafel stand.
“Every two to three days there’s a drone attack,” he said, and the army recently stationed a machine gun on the street to fire at the next one.
Aid groups have said drones make it nearly impossible to set up distribution stations as they are easily targeted.
—Asa Fitch, Awadh Altaie and Majd Helobi contributed to this article.
Write to Ben Kesling at email@example.com
Whoops forgot to add link to WSJ drone report
Small drones will be a menace for many coming years. They are difficult to defend against. Autonomous drones make any electronic interference useless. My current camera drone has a “come home” feature that flies back to the starting point when contact is lost. That could easily be changed to a “continue mission” profile.
Machine guns help but they put up lots of ammunition in the air that will come down some place, probably a friendly one with ones own forces.
To keep attack drones in the air 24/7 as a defense is for most units prohibitively costly. The energy storage needed on board is exhausted too fast. Small local radar on no-stealth frequencies (UHF?) with very small precise SAM will likely be the best way to medium sized drones down. But a swarm attack will overwhelm nearly any defensive systems.
The armies will have to relearn some rudimentary lessons of camouflaging against air observations/attacks. I have yet to see one vehicle in Iraq with camouflage netting etc that is not run by ISIS. ISIS fighters actually do hide and do active camouflaging of their vehicles and use mock-ups to deceive enemy reconnaissance.
BTW: Allegedly the Al-Qaeda no 2 in Syria, al-Masri, was killed in a drone attack yesterday. The missile used did not explode but was purely kinetic. It was also an extremely precise one going right through a car roof onto the back seat where al-Masri was sitting. It is the first time I have seen evidence of such ammunition. Is there any non-classified information of what this actually is?
I find the turn towards turboprop and UAV to be one of interest. The Archangel planes (heavily modified air tractors) look like an amazing trend.
There will be some shocking bombings and assassination attempts from these in the future.
In addition to direct control (which the Iraqis are now jamming), I’m sure they can be programmed to fire and forget at some GPS coordinates.
The “Yemeni” drones are, of course, sourced from elsewhere.
The first is a Chinese or Iranian copy of the RQ-11 Raven. Iran captured two of those in 2011/12. Lebanon operates a dozen of them so Hizbullah might have made a copy too. Hizb trained some Houthi on intelligence issues.
The third one in the picture is by FPV Models – it cost $170.
The fourth one is a copy? of one shown at an Iranian exhibition but could also be of Chinese origin. It has to my knowledge never been seen in the wild and may not be operational.
New types come up weekly now from various toy manufacturers in Asia. The “military grade” drones by now only differ in their (more or less) secured communication channel added for exorbitant prices.
ISIS buys off the shelf 4 prop heli drones, puts in slightly stronger motors (also off the shelf) and attaches a short plastic tubing from which it releases 40mmm grenade launcher ammunition via radio control. A few test flights to adjust the point of impact with the center of the drone’s camera picture and one has a ready made, precise assassination tool. As various pictures published by ISIS show these are quite effective weapons against soft targets.
I just watched a drone racing competition on TV last night.
the point is that these machines are readily available and will be a major factor for reconnaissance and to a lesser extent for strike operations. pl
For irregular forces using UAVs the line of sight problem with UHF is yet to be solved. I have seen it suggested that one drone could be used to relay signals to another. Perhaps the GPS system is a short term fix. pl
Using machine guns against them seems a little crazy. Why not 10 or 12 gauge goose guns?, make them semiauto with hi-cap magazines, experiment with loads, chokes, sights, and tactics a little to find whats most effective.
What existing DRONE defensive doctrines exist? Any Army pubs unclassified?
According to my latest information no published opinions have been issued by DoJ/OLC on targeted killings (offensive drone strikes by U.S. forces) or defensive actions against drones.
IMO extraterritorial killing of any U.S. citizen (known by U.S. authorities is a Constitutional violation.
PD 63 issued in 1998 was an effort of the Clinton Administration to respond to the now almost 30 years old (September 1997) report of the PCCIP based on statutory mandates. PCCIP=President’ Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection which analyzed CIP as involving physical security and Cyber Security. Former U.S. Senators Bennett (decease) and Kyle introduced the Commission mandate.
Creation of DHS in December 2001 was premised on three principle objectives:
(1)upgrading WMD anti-proliferation and protection efforts; and response and recovery to employment and actual use of WMD; (2) upgrading CIP and in particular cyber security; and (3) upgrading domestic intelligence, including collection, analysis, and dissemination. None of this has happened.
Immigration policy failed miserably in DoJ for 40 years before its transfer by reorganization to DHS.
A significant effort by President George W. Bush and Secretary DHS Michael Chertoff in 2006 and 2007 was defeated by Senate Republicans.
President Trump has decided to try and enforce existing law and overturn unfunded prior Presidential mandates.
There seems to be little understanding anywhere on the FACT that there are civil provisions and regulations to immigration policy and criminal provisions in Title 18 of the U.S. Code and elsewhere in the Code (which has 50 Titles).
Federal civil statutes often have implementing regulations but federal criminal statutes do not.
Keeping the drones indefinitely in the air is possible:
They aren’t just difficult but in reality impossible. It isn’t too hard to imagine home building a swarm of 10 or so autonomous drones which have cheap control boards with facial recognition (any android phone can be adapted) which loiter on the roof of a building waiting for a target say a golfer or Air Force One. The former can be attacked en masse with the swarm which flies an irregular pattern and all plastic parts can be made from rigid plastic explosive which can also be made at home. Each quadcopter drone could easily carry over 1 kg of cargo. For attacking a taxiing aircraft they could easily attach by suction to the underwing and explode later after takeoff. The Same thing could be true for office buildings and they can park on windows and wait for the target to arrive. A snake drone (they exist) can easily slither its way into a resteraunt and take out the entire place. As all of these are autonomous and can be protected by using faraday wire wrap, and they don’t need to communicate with the user at all once released making the “drone guns” useless as they are designed to interrupt communications. At a cost of a couple hundred dollars each this is easily accomplished and there is no way to protect against it.
So we are just seeing the beginning of a new method for remote assassination and attacks.
Drone machine gun.
OMB & WRC
You both are focused on the present use of drones for individual or point target attacks. That will remain but what I am more interested in is a larger mission for UAVs for reconnaissance, screening a flank, maintaining surveillance over infiltration routes, etc. BTW I agree with Babak that drones can be made in-flight refuel able, thus greatly extending their range. Shotguns as a defense? The things we are talking about are not the little pieces of plastic junk that your kids want you to buy. pl
These reconnaissance drones made a big difference in Ukraine where the DNR and LNR used them in their “reconnaissance-strike complex” to spot and adjust artillery fires onto Ukie positions. This was a cheap, effective solution.
As for increasing dwell time, the drones don’t have to remain airborne constantly if they are of the VTOL type. they could be landed in an overwatching position on a rise or building or even a tree with cameras and/or sensors still active. Colonel Lang, weren’t remote motion sensors used in Viet Nam?
To defend against drones, I’m reminded of our training on the Big Island of Hawaii where we practiced shooting down rockets known as BATS with small arms fire. The platoon’s two machine guns would converge their fire on the BAT and the rest of the platoon would uses the tracer fire to guide their fire on the BAT. We were often able to knock the BATS out of the sky. I doubt that technique has been taught to the infantry for years.
Col., I thought this article on the sort of technology available at the hobbyist level might be of interest to the committee. It is amazing to me what is available, and presently unregulated, off the shelf. It seems that a good knowledge of local topography can stretch line of sight quite a long way:
A simple mesh network should be a simple solution. That makes all flying drones part of the same routable computer network that can be increasingly omnipresent as the number of drones aloft increases.
Of course, there are always jamming and spoofing issue.
Another drone employment method is to consider them like falcon hunting. Reconnaissance and deep reconnaissance units will augment their capabilities with the smaller drones, some hand launched and some flying off the back of “technicals.” The idea of augmenting current reconnaissance capabilities rather than replacing them is important. Imagine how a scout platoon could screen a battalion’s flank with the aid of a fleet of small drones.
I will be studying some of the latest military drone technology at an international trade display on Thursday and I may report back to SST if there is anything memorable.
What I think may appear shortly is a military grade “anti drone drone” of the fire and forget variety because the current generation of drones capable of use by ISIS are not very stealthy and they fly low and slow so it should not be too difficult to program something with an optical tracker to take out visible enemy drones.
SST readers may not be aware that a New Zealand gentleman, Bruce Simpson, started a DIY cruise missile project 13 years ago using then available model aircraft parts. His project was “aggressively shut down” by the government. One can only imagine what is now possible.
How serendipitous. Read an article in my local paper about a 16 year old girl who developed an app for an Intel Edison mini-computer board that uses a drone to locate people by their smartphone signals. “She was honoured Jan 7 in Las Vegas for developing Bluejay, a smartphone app that helps emergency responders find people stranded in natural disaster areas. Rescuers can fly a drone that collects data, such as GPS, from the smartphones of those missing and create a map.” Here’s the article in another paper.
With so many damned idiots carrying smartphones on the battlefield, just think how valuable this could be as a reconnaissance sensor. Then pass that location/homing data to a larger drone carrying guided sub-munitions.
Don’t underestimate the small ones. I have a DJI Phantom 4 which becomes invisible 100 meters out and has fantastic imagery and it can easily carry another 1.5 kg at the expense of range. I can fly it up to 10,000 feet no problem and people have flown them 5 Miiles out and back. The smaller racing drones can be had for under $100 and can be used as small guided missiles and can fly over 100 mph. This is a growing industry and it doesn’t take much imagination to scale them up. Aerial refueling is unnecessary if fuel cells are used which can extend the flight time to hours.
Off Topic, but committee members will be interested in this, I’m sure:
“Open Letter Concerning Wikipedia Suppression of SouthFront Information”
Convection (and other upwinds) combined with solar cells give unlimited range during day-time for small, low speed winged drones. They would be a kind of plastic vultures. Sentry quadcopters can be run by being wired to the ground. Battery is probably heavier than 200m of wire and beaming energy by micro wave works even though it is not exactly healthy and energy wise very inefficient. Flying up a battery or refueling with liquid fuel is possible but seems to me to complicated
Noting the use of manually applied toxins against Kim Jong-Un’s 1/2 brother in Malaysia, it’s time to add medieval poison-craft to our list of active threats. Deploying B/C agents from drones has surely been on the minds of attackers and defenders. Probably a question of when, not if. Racing drones are amazingly maneuverable in tight indoor spaces, vertical and horizontal, thus adding another dimension to portal defense. I’m guessing DARPA’s all over this.
You are correct. There are apps available such as Litchi which allow you to program the entire flight so it is completely autonomous. I do this regularly for mine and have had zero problems. There are plenty of hacks to over ride the limits for speed and altitude. It is easy enough to fly and out and back with focued targeting from a relatively high altitude. There are also a number of excellent lenses for these that improve magnification a great deal at distance. I doubt anyone could successfully shoot a quadcopter flying at 50 iPhone at an altitude of 1000 meters and flying in a semi erratic pattern. These things are already small and when I fly mine I can’t see it after 100 meters. It is ludicrous for the idiot legislators to demand pilots maintain visual contact or to not bust altitudes. The only way they can regulate at all is by convincing other drone pilots to rat out the pilots or to base investigations on YouTube videos. Otherwise there is no possible way anyone can tell who is flying what where. They are simply too small for radar or visual observation.
Thinking outside the box, but if you want to defend against small drones then why not two “defensive drones” with a Kevlar net strung between them?
You could even have them tethered to a ground vehicle, in which case you can supply power to them indefinitely.
So long as you know the altitude of the enemy drones you want to bring down that net would do the job nicely.
I have no idea how easy it would be to estimate the altitude of an enemy drone, but that would seem to me to be the only technical difficulty to using the drone-equivalent of a butterfly net.
That would be a typical response. Build a million+ dollar machine to kill a $100 dollar drone. But, keep in mind that swarming is the next big threat . It makes for very pretty light shows at night but imagine 1000 of these, each carrying a small explosive shrapnel charge attacking a large group of people. Say, a million man march in Washington. Flying in from the Potomac at an altitude of 1 foot en masse and you can imagine the destruction possible.
From the BBC:
For reference, this is the kind of force multiplier I was talking about.
Speaking of falcons:
The French Air Force has trained eagles to take down quadcopters. I understand they are mainly used to guard against drones over nuclear power plants and other critical infrastructure.
The Dutch may be doing something similar.
They are not to small for radar but below 30 meters or so you have to much building, trees etc. in the way. Also optical finding drones isn’t hard but just an issue of a lot of camera’s pointing up and a slight rewrite for software already written for astronomy(would drones at light on the underside to fool that system?). Echo location is also a way to find them with a directional microphone as they are noisy or you could even find them with sonar (probably called differently in air?)
Maximum speed of a bullet is around 3000km/h so if a drone is 1000m up it takes at least 1.2 seconds to get there. Random movement certainly works at that distance for something that is less than a 1/2 meter big.
It is probably the wifi signal. It gives of a “unique” handshake signal IIRC which can be detected by any other wifi apparatus like the Intel Edison or Raspberry Pi.
There were rumors that Hezbollah did that in 2006 with the phone signal of Israeli soldiers so using the enemies phones as reconnaissance isn’t exactly new.
There are many, many applications for this. Imagine the police application of finding the agitators within a protest march. (or some other variation thereof)
Report of an arrest in Young (Australian country town): Haisem Zahab allegedly coordinating with IS to produce some sort of cruise missile, and other tech weapons.
Some time back a relative Hicham Zahab was arrested for arms smuggling, including SAMS.
Old idea: barrage balloons (for low winds) and barrage kites (for windy days) were used to damage aircraft. They were flown on steel wire, which itself could be a hazard to aircraft, but also had a small explosive device attached to the wire at ground level along with a release mechanism that would allow the explosive to fly upwards when a sufficiently strong tug was detected on the flying line.
Other things I’ve seen to fight against drones are giant laser turrets; preferred by US Navy because although the equipment is expensive, ammo is very cheap and plentiful so you don’t have to be worried about how often to fire the thing.
Do you think there’s a market for a small Faraday cage box, just a good size to drop your phone into?
Still allows people to pull the phone out and use it (with conscious risk of discovery) when they need to, but the rest of the time it’s screened and invisible.
There would of course be a software equivalent, instead of a physical clunky metal box, but who would trust software in this day and age?
Already happening for some years now, I’m afraid!
You can already buy them but Faraday cage –> no signal –> a phone is useless without signal
Stingray gives off a signal. Useful but would be fat target for the enemy as it is more a man in the middle attack. In an army against army situation i think you would only listen.
Iraqi CTS commander on western Mosul front says 73 ISIS drone attacks on first day of offensive, 40 on second. Now much better.
That is easily defeated by installing a fine wire mesh and running 1 million volts at 0.1 amps. Animals don’t like pain. If you 3D print your own airframe it is easy enough to add this to the outer layer. A simple ionizer transformer is sufficient for these high voltages or one out of a TENS unit and can be driven with a 9 volt battery.
But should a bird get whacked by the rotors then both the bird and the drone are dead.
Maybe okay for single targets but a swarm would be impossible. These lass use a pulse requiring a relatively long recharge. There is only so much juice you can pump at a time. Also, an evasive flight which can be highly irregular would make accurate tracking nearly impossible especially if more than one are operating simultaneously.
I must be the only one here that actually flies one. It is interesting as early you can’t see the damn thing even when you know exactly where it is. Mine is 1.4 kg, has a flight time of 30 minutes, nearly unlimited altitude (limited by the OS which can easily be over-ridden) and a 5 mile range. The thing can easily fly 40 kph and hasn’t been modified at all. Yes, they are noisy when flying close but this becomes less of a problem after 100 meters or so. If you can hear one then it is close. Ducting the propellers or changing the propeller design may eliminate the noise entirely. So far not too much effort has been done for that yet. But, I have been exploring different designs. Most of the noise is from supersonic cavitation which can be addressed by making the propellers shorter with more of them or rotating them slower. As they are now it is just massive energy applied to the rotors and not too much effort has gone into efficiency. This will change over time and stealthy designs will also be performed.
My interest is purely for aerial photography but I am getting into drone racing as well.
Commercial drones are optimized to be quiet for human ears. Not necessary for all sound.
Yemeni drones threaten Saudi Arabia?
Old Microbiologist –
Off topic, but related. Do those TENS units really work in alleviating pain?
I’m pretty sure a computer targeted laser will be faster than your 40 kph drone. The laser is only moving a mirror around, and probably only needs to turn it by a few degrees either way. Time of flight for laser is effectively zero. You probably have a small chance on a very cloudy day only because the clouds will make it impossible to focus the beam, but the general plan is to keep upping the laser power until it doesn’t matter.
As for recharge time… good point, I think that’s not public information, probably isn’t even well established since all these systems are still prototypes. I’ve seen the figure 20 minutes reported, which seems kind of slow… then again better defence than nothing. Over time that will improve of course, arms race between faster recharge vs bigger swarms.
There’s other options in dire situations like the old CIWS (or Phalanx) and also other automated radar targeted machine guns, which aren’t as fast as a laser but they spray out a cloud of metal which cuts up fairly large objects (or many small objects). They cost a lot more to use, probably the bullets cost more than drones. Maybe less trouble to just let the drone hit you and buff out the dent.
A ship will need some anti-missile protection anyhow, the anti-drone systems are as well as that, hoping to get longer range and save money. I remember that the effective accurate range of a 50 cal on top of a typhoon mount with computer assist is about 1000 yards, while on a clear day a laser should be significantly better than that (lets say double). If you are moving at 40kph the laser would have at least 2 minutes to hit you, and the 50 cal would have about 1 minute. If your flight is erratic then you take longer to get there, and at least the 50 cal will get an extra shot or two.
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