I read a thread by a German I follow on twitter. He went over the emerging tactics and counter tactics with the low cost drones.
These drones are terrifying. If a drone pilot is within 5 kilometers of you, he can chase you down and kill you. You can’t round a corner and take cover and you cannot outrun the drone.
The manufacturing is changing fast as the drones are being financed and built in a cottage industry locally, at least in Ukraine. This type of industry and warfare will spread quickly. The innovation is both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because manufacturing, and design are evolving quickly. Terrifying because the battlefield tactics are evolving quickly also.
I am a little confused as it would seem to me that the signals being emitted by the drone and its pilot would be like a beacon for an intense white noise generator that would over load the front end of the receivers and break the communications link with the drone.
Of course I have not worked in signals analysis this century so my knowledge is out of date.
How big are these drones? If propeller driven max speed is probably 300 mph. Plenty fast to track down a human on foot or most vehicles. Electronic imaging especially thermal imaging can probably find any human.
But what munitions can they carry? Machine gun might weigh 50 lb, but ammunition will be depleted quickly. Or be heavy. Automatic shotgun might be best. Or small rockets.
These can probably be inexpensive if minimally equipped. Wingspan maybe 6 ft. But almost defenseless. Not hard to shoot down. Or disable.
Frequency shifting might make communications difficult to jam. But AI makes possible auto tracking once a target is identified. And jamming equipment are easy targets.
At a couple thousand bucks apiece, you would use them as kamikaze drones. Pack C4 or cellulose explosive in a titanium pipe and be done with it. A video camera or thermal imaging system is cheap, lightweight, and could even be automated.
And my advice, since I’m consulting for this thread, is not to send one or two. Biggest mistake the Japanese made was sending in their kamikazes one at a time, making it easier to defend against them. Send in a drone swarm (make a great Hollywood movie scene) and take out the whole village. Sure, there will be collateral damage, but you’ll get the target too.
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As a former infantryman, I don’t claim to have expertise but I do have a bit of perspective.
Using a drone to fight ground troops seems to be a very ineffective use of technology and resources (not to mention expensive). Drone warfare on hard targets, like tanks, artillery, and buildings makes a lot more sense. The number of rounds the drone would need to carry would be less compared to the amount of damage it could do (hitting a tank with a single missile or kamikaze drone is more cost effective and efficient than carrying multiple rounds to be used on individual troops).
As far as signal blocking, there are a lot of complications with the process, including blocking your own communications (your own cell phones and radios are often blocked when trying to use them). Drones can be pre-programs to fly a specific path in the case of signal loss so you might successfully block it from attacking this time, but it will simply return home and come back later when you are not expecting it.
On both sides of the front, the military use of so-called FPV drones is increasing exponentially. In memory of: These are extremely fast, actually civilian copters, which are steered by video glasses from the “first-person perspective”.
Military observers on both sides are now raving that FPV drones could revolutionize warfare, not in the future, but now.
The massive use of the small copter could practically replace artillery, reconnaissance and anti-tank defense.
With FPV technology, you can fly an explosive device precisely into any hatch, window, trench or manhole. Traditional anti-aircraft systems can’t do much against the small parts…at a price of $500 each.
Pretty much everything that can explode is assembled.
Hand grenades, explosive devices, anti-personnel mines, anti-tank grenades from Soviet RPG systems, etc.
Depending on the “installed ammunition” the copters are then used against soldiers, technology or positions.
The big advantage of the small copter and FPV drones compared to classic war drones from industrial production is not only their extensive invisibility for air defense, but their low price, simplicity of manufacture and the resulting quantity.
The front is de facto supplied by private hands.
It is mostly financed by donations.
Individual parts are often printed on 3D printers.
After that, the UAVs are brought to the front units in private cars.
The wildest experiments are with shape and properties.
It all depends which kind of drone. If we are talking about typical military drones, then yes, VERY expensive and wasteful. But if we are talking about simple “homebrew” $1000 drones that can carry a grenade and do a 5 second drop (so it explodes jsut before it hits the ground) above groups of enemy troops, then maybe very inexpensive and efficient.