Tags: Emerging Threats | Iran | Russia | predator | reaper | bird | laser

The Drone Warfare Arms Race

a us predator drone

Unmanned combat air vehicle General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (US Air Force). At the Berlin Air Show. (Sergey Kohl/Dreamstime)

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Thursday, 15 August 2019 01:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Computers are not just the future of social media or for the minds of the masses, they also represent the future of warfare. And the soldiers in that war are robots, pre-programmed and remotely controlled by people sitting in front of screens, with joy sticks in hand, located thousands of miles away from the battlefield.

Drones, once a simple plaything, an expensive toy, are now a significant part of our newly created warrior robots. Think of drones as an elite division in the new military arsenal.

Drones come in all sizes — as small as a dinner plate and as large as a 747.

Some drones can hover for hours in one location, others can deliver a massive bomb or missile. Then its vamoose. It’s not that fighter jets are destined for the ash heap or that the cruise missile will no longer be effective. Traditional weapons systems can still travel thousands of miles — striking their targets with bull's-eye precision.

For example, a cruise missile can be shot from a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea and strike an air-conditioning vent 1800 miles away.

Drones occupy a space in modern warfare that never before existed.

Older drone's systems are being outfitted with more sophisticated computer technology making them a hybrid-operated weapon. They represent the best of robot and the best of man. These advances in warfare attempt to protect soldiers and innocent civilians.

So these advances allow for safer more laser precision.

Primarily used for reconnaissance but also effective as an offensive weapon, the drone is one of the cutting edge technologies found in today’s battle arenas.

Different drones, like different units in an army, possess varied areas of expertise.

As of late, drones have become one of the most employed systems in the military world.

The common denominator in all drones is their ability to transmit live intelligence from wherever they are. Every drone is outfitted with at least one camera, and it is that camera which becomes the eyes of operators — and decision makers.

Drone warfare is not merely hypothetical. The U.S. and Iran have come close to war — too close to war, because of one another's drones.

At the end of June, Iran shot down a U.S. drone claiming that the drone was over Iranian airspace. That one drone cost approximately $123 million dollars! And that does not take into account the technology on that drone which was also extremely expensive.

In response, an Iranian drone hovering too close to a U.S. vessel "was downed."

Note the terminology, the drone "was downed," not shot down, not destroyed, "it was downed." It's a significant term.

The U.S., in all probability, employed a technology that is more effective than shooting at drones. It zapped the drone. The drone fell into the sea and was recovered by the United States which then reverse-engineered it.

Now the U.S. knows all the workings of Iran’s drone technology for this type of drone.

For Iran, as for the United States, these were very costly escapades.

As a rule, drones are extremely difficult to defend against. The smallest ones possess evasion technology and are often too small to hit with a rocket — or even with a rifle.

Larger drones hover higher in the air and are often in safe locations.

The U.S. and Israel are developing technology that will do much more than simply zap drones. A subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries has improved on their already very effective drone — the Drone Guard. This improvement is known as the Bird.

One of the many advances the Bird has over the Drone Guard is it can engage in a suicide mission that attacks incoming drones. The new system identifies the drone or set of drones from take-off.

It even predicts the direction the enemy drone will take. This system differentiates the incoming drone from other aircraft. Even if the other drone tries to deceive it with balloons, kites, hot air, or even if it uses live ammo and shoots, the Bird still knows it is a drone.

The Bird also employs the Drone Guard technology of zapping enemy drones with electronic beams and rays, causing the enemy system to implode.

Best of all is technology enabling the Bird to hijack enemy drones.

It’s a safe bet that Iran, Russia and China are also attempting to develop new drones and anti-drone technology. Iran actually got a leg up several years ago when, with the help of Russia or China or both, they hijacked a U.S. drone, flying it back to Iran. It was then broken down and its technology used to catapult Iran's own systems, thus making them more competitive.

There also exists a huge weapons market for drones.

The United States has Predator and Reaper drones which dominate the market.

Israel has made headway in large and small drones. They have already sold 100 Drone Guards and there are countries that are waiting in line for the Bird.

As fast as computer technology moves, that’s how fast this new form of warfare is moving.

That’s not a comforting thought.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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MicahHalpern
The United States has Predator and Reaper drones that are dominating the market. Israel has made headway in large and small drones. They have already sold 100 Drone Guards and there are countries that are waiting in line for the Bird.
predator, reaper, bird, laser
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2019-43-15
Thursday, 15 August 2019 01:43 PM
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