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26 February 2017


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Old Microbiologist

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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