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22 April 2016


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Presumably their sponsors can supply anything they require.

What about very small ones like insects for spying or giving a poisonous sting? Maybe the Russians will produce an anti-bug spray!



Couldn't agree more. Even the baby commercial drones can provide huge tactical reconnaissance ability.

Seriously: Take a look at the Technical Specifications for this drone


Think about the capability that this would give a commander.


similar to the jump from no traditional phone service to satellite or cell in many areas - a great leap ahead



The drone I mentioned goes for 35K complete with thermal and GPS mapping

I think that this is well within the budget for some not-to-be-named middle eastern countries


They are being used in the Ukraine war and have a reasonable range probably Russian made. The biggest problem was to shoot them down; anti aircraft weapons are too big, but I now see, as anticipated, that "drone interceptor" drones are coming out. The video I saw was of one accurately firing a net onto another drone which then crashes to the ground. Soon there will be drone dogfights over the front like WWI in miniature.

Some company here in SA has developed and "armed" drone designed to be used in riots etc. It has paintball guns to mark people and in addition to surveillance, can do other things also. So they will go from toy to weapon as part of the normal evolution of technology.

Regarding use for artillery spotting, Iraq, in the first Iraqi war, had the SA developed G5 canon which had a much farther range than anything the US had. The US military was concerned. The problem was that Iraq didn't have the trained SpecOps front line spotters to correct fire, so being able to fire a shell somewhere around 39 kilometers was pretty useless. Drones may have made a difference then.

The Russian Armata tank formations are also to be equipped with drones.



According to normally reliable friends in Lebanon this is a capacity the Hizballah already have and are actively seeking to expand their capabilties.

Given their record I have say that I believe it.



I a complete ignoramance on this subject, but can't radio signals, GPS signals and cellular signals be jammed? I guess that would only leave wire guided drones which would have a relatively shorter range.


Short range drones (2-4 km) able to carry 155 mm shell would be similar to Hellfire missiles. If the price is low enough a whole new precision will be available to artillery support or as airborne IEDs.


Do comments get displayed immediately or do they go through some type of moderation first?


Actually I guess a smart phone would meet the requirements for guidance and remote control. Or a raspberry pi perhaps.?


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Get an easier handle. We moderate all comments before they are posted. pl


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It's like everything else in warfare. You can if you can. A theoretical ability to jam something us not the same as being able to do it regularly or dependably. pl


In action already

The Syrian Arab Army’s 104th Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard shot down another reconnaissance drone that belonged to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in the Deir Ezzor Governorate. According to a source at the Deir Ezzor Military Airport, the 104th Brigade shot down the drone over the Industrial District (Hayy Al-Sina’a) after it was seen circling their positions on Thursday morning.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-downs-isis-reconnaissance-drone-deir-ezzor/ | Al-Masdar News


Force projection alos:


UAVs as spotters for indirect fire like artillery and mortars are working quite effectively. All major players and even minor ones in the ME are using this combination to some degree.

I submit it is having such an impact, the element of surprise on land is going away just like the use of scout planes plus artillery in early WWI brought mobile warfare to a crawl in the early years. Fighter planes were of course built to shoot down the scouts.

In 2011 Iran, probably in conjunction with Russia and certainly Russian equipment, jammed then GPS spoofed a US drone over Iran into thinking it had flown home to Kabul but instead landed in Iran. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1215/Exclusive-Iran-hijacked-US-drone-says-Iranian-engineer-Video This has led to a five year drone and counter drone scenario playing out quietly in the background.

A state on state drone/counter drone scenario showed up again in Crimea and Ukraine when Russians started bringing down western drones with dedicated electronic warfare units. This was one of the indications that Russians were/are directly involved in eastern Ukraine.

Increasingly we are seeing offensives bog down (Ukraine, Iraq, Syria) and the increased use of artillery to set battle lines (Turkish border with Syria, US marine artillery encirclement of Mosul, and all players in eastern Ukraine). Artillery plus spotter drones is setting boundaries on land.

We will next probably see drones revolutionizing naval warfare in the air, below the surface and so on. Look for the Chinese manmade islands to be recon drone bases. Look to Iran to use drones and speed boats to defeat the stealth of littoral ships we have spent billions developing.

Also what happens when the MLRS systems with great range are combined with drone spotters that can look directly into Mosul and target specific buildings from miles and miles away all day, every day?


If a camera drone can convert small, portable artillery (mortars and small rockets) into something highly accurate, to be used against patrol vehicles, or possibly for assassination purposes ... that would be significant for insurgent groups.

The other obvious application would be when a bomb has already been placed on or near a road and the camera drone makes it easier to correctly trigger that device from a hidden location. This makes it very difficult for legitimate security forces to operate, and doubly difficult to round up the troublemakers (who are one step removed from the action).

These two concepts might be combined: suppose an abandoned building exists near a major road, the insurgent might have hours to setup a rocket, get it all neatly lined up, and then trigger it remotely some time later from a safe hiding place.

None of this requires a large drone, and small batteries would be sufficient.

Airborne signal relays sounds too sophisticated to be practical (perhaps I'm a bit dismissive) but I'm guessing that a ground based signal relay would be portable and easy to install quickly. If you look at the sort of attacks that were happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, highly guerilla type stuff, there would be plenty of opportunities for local insurgents to hide small relay masts with perhaps 24 to 48 hour battery life... something along those lines. There would also be ways for the security forces to scan for those relay masts, but you find a few and they hide some more.



There is a line of sight problem in the frequencies needed by a lot of drone commo/control systems. pl

C Webb

Here is the youtube channel of http://russiaworks.ru/
(From their videos one can appreciate the difficulties in operating these devices in a war zone.)

They recorded this footage over the battle field

They seem to use a DJI (Chinese) drone w/ 4k camera.


I realize that this will mark me off as "odd" in the current crowd, but my two staple reads are this fine publication and "The Archdruid Report".

Anyway, John Michael wrote a fiction series (In Advance, not his best work) a while back with a post on a "Drone Shoot".

Not truly a military-style analysis, but food for thought.


different clue


I have to assume that anything I could think of has already been thought of by the forces of disorder, and my thinking would be offered just in case the keepers of order have not thought of it yet. So the keepers of order could think of a countermeasure.

So hopefully the keepers of order are thinking about how to defeat tiny little "suicide" drone-bombs.

And how to tell the difference between real hawks and vultures as against drones made up to look like hawks and vultures from below.


Dear Colonel,

I think a soon to arrive drone technology of importance will be when solar panels (new flexible, lightweight) can power a drone. Then daytime distance and time limitations disappear. its easy enough to record it all on a pen drive or telemeter it back.

Also, setting up an aerial and surface web network is very easy. The units we use weigh a few ounces and cost a few kilobucks for half a dozen that can cover 15 kilometers square - line of sight between nodes is important. but it would be easy to have redundancy in drone aerial nodes. Setup is straightforward (almost automatic if you are not trying to be fancy) and they are transparent - type the IP number of whichever camera on the net you want to watch in your browser and done.

scott s.

I think the bigger problem is autonomous systems. If these are simply sensor platforms that might not achieve much, but if they have kinetic or other effects then that can be a game-changer. Then if multiple autonomous systems are able to have some inter-communication capability so they can be self-organized nets that would be a multiplier. We shouldn't assume that these capabilities are limited to only massively-funded militaries.



"We are now glimpsing the shape of insurgent warfare to come.'

This also poses a problem for commercial aviation if folks like those most recently active in Paris decide a plane landing at CDG would be easier to target than a group of people at Stade de France or the Bataclan.




"The shocking footage of the improvised fighter jet rocket demonstrated the ISIS instructors advanced understanding of every part of the missile's highly intricate array of components.

Terrifyingly, those components: the seeker unit, infra-red homing radar, and all the other complex avionics that control the missile and its deadly explosive payload, had all been modified to turn the obsolete munition into a deadly remote controlled surface to air missile that could be fired against a range of aircraft such as helicopters, low flying jets and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The ability to reverse engineer and modify advanced weapons of this type, is something no terrorist group has ever achieved."

different clue

scott s.

What if these inter-communicating self-organizing nets of multiply autonomous system-bots attain self-awareness, discover who they are and who we are, decide they don't like us and go HAL 9000 on us?

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