I’ve been following the discussion about the role of drones in the Armenia-Azerbaijan war for a couple of months. (I know. I have the best hobbies). This feature in Popular Mechanics is one of the better ones and much easier to read than most mil-technical journals. My thanks to Bob Heather for the link.
I can’t help feeling that Dutts should be dropping a couple of billion on this stuff before he pisses away hundreds of billions on SSNs that won’t get here before China’s demographic collapse half way done.
In the first Gulf War, the U.S.-led coalition exploited the incipient GPS system in order to navigate its forces and target its air strikes against Iraqi forces. The aerial advantage contributed to the rapid destruction of Saddam Hussein’s once-mighty army. Now, 30 years later, Azerbaijan used a similar revolution in aerial technology to reverse a decades-long stalemate in just 44 days. The defensive advantage of Armenian forces meant nothing against an opponent that owned the skies. While drones will not completely revolutionize state-on-state warfare, they can quickly turn the balance of combat in the favor of those who possess them and can mobilize them. It is a development that America’s enemies are closely watching.
There are plenty of smart guys at Russell in Strategy, Policy and Industry Group who have drones foremost on their minds. They are specialists in analysis of intelligence gathered by 'five-eyes' ('Four Eyes and a Wink' according to Alexander Downer) and are well aware of the utility of drones - from modified quads with 82mm mortar bombs hanging off them to the latest Israeli and Turkish 'Hunter-Killer' drones (Harpy and Bayraktar TB2) which can incorporate the full attack cycle (detect, target, attack, assess) autonomously.
ADF is, and always has been hamstrung by inter-services rivalry and political considerations. When SPI forwards proposals, they have to get past all three service chiefs, CDF, CJOPS, SEC, the Minister and then NSCC before being adopted. It only takes one of these to send the idea back to the drawing board.
The Services are the bigest threat because all three will want to control the 'new toys' and CDF and CJOPS will have to dole them out equally to stop them pouting and white-anting them.
The political considerations are even worse. Even before considering the ROE headache, if NSCC okays an idea, it then has to be decided whether they come MOTS, COTS or bespoke. Now if we're anywhere near an election, by-election or crucial State election, the temptation will be to go the bespoke option and have them built in a swinging electorate. The problem is that this is the worst possible outcome for capability (On the positive side, Defence is building a domestic late-gen munitions capability in Australia so we don't have to wait for ships to drop off cargoes of specialised missiles when a shooting war breaks out - especially now that our main force units are finally providing platoon/troop level PGM capabilities through Spike and Javelin and close air-defence has resurfaced as an issue). If its a Labor government, it's even worse - the party left will let their policy be decided by the Guardian and the need to fend off the Greens in the inner-city electorates. So, no drones for us.
Glad to see your mention of China's demographic collapse. The 'one-child' policy coming back to bite. It is also interesting to see the effects of rapid industrialisation on China's water and land resources. Up to 21% of all Chinese water is rated 'V' - the lowest rating WHO can assign. The soil has been all but used up with desertification and massive heavy metal pollution, combined with massive water pollution caused by dam runoffs and industrial dumping and chemical-based farming combining to devastate China's food security.
Anyway, time to relinquish the pulpit. Happy to discuss.
SAM's are to expensive for drones when they are swarms and small,and its really related to LAND versions. Ship or sea drones are easier to handle. Start looking for overgrown 12g auto units and close in CIWis types and they need to be travelling with the armour. Certainly, until HEL units are readily available, compact, and cheap enough etc. Okleron and the likes are going at it hard, but they need to be mobile or Mech forces will take a fkn pounding.
Could we harness drone tech with Xbox? Like log into call of duty , do a drone round but it's a real drone with a shot gun attachment, fly into a battlefield blow away a soldier or maybe an emp attack on a substation, earn a loot crate and then call everyone on your team a f**kwit for using a thermal scope bruh...
I’m unconcerned. Won’t we all be living in Zuck’s Meta-rix by then?
Don’t even need a claymore. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/43015/likely-drone-attack-on-u-s-power-grid-revealed-in-new-intelligence-report
Someone needs to create a working drone jammer system ASAP. Yea, it would screw with US owned drones. But what else can you do about a cheap 'copter-drone with a Claymore mine slapped on the front?
Yeah, this is no surprise and I'm not convinced that the decision makers in the West are paying close enough attention to this. This is especially the case with the USAF; IMO we will see the end of manned combat aircraft in major conflicts soon.
Well, that's Terminator-level scary.
Perhaps "completely" is a relative term; these look like substantial game-changers to me. It's hard to imagine 'conventional' forces and weapons dealing with even small numbers of these; off the cuff, autonomous weapons (including maybe autonomous drone-killing drones) might be one answer. But that level of autonomy in weapons operating, say, 24 hours a day, days or weeks at a time, is a big ethical hurdle.
I'm slightly reminded (probably because it's in my reading pile just now) of the shocks of SA-2 and -3 in the War of Attrition and Saggers in the Yom Kippur War respectively. Interestingly in his autobiographical "Loud and Clear" Iftach Spector describes how, as being in charge of Israeli Air Force force development in the late 70s he advocated drones but, aside from technology issues, had pushback due to continuing belief in the primacy of crewed aircraft. Clearly they have re-thought.
Back to my original comment: the most effective use of drones is perhaps going to be by those with the loosest (or no) rules of engagement.