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Drones vs. Tanks and AFVs.


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Hunting drones is a lot easier than it sounds. It will just take armies some time to get it done.

@bojan speed filters are a logical thing to look at, but you're dismissing some other factors. Let's assume the most advanced and dangerous scenario - a drone always has LoS to operator regardless of range, and has autonomous operation modes against signal disruption.

First, within the reliable range of an MMW radar, it detects shapes very accurately. They're used as cameras after all.

Second, a drone will not usually be flying on ground level, so a speed filter alone will also be good. Honestly I kinda hate birds.

Third, unless that drone is jet powered, it will have some sort of rotor or fan that will have a speed of its own. An object with varying speeds, with a degree of predictable movement, will be easy prey. And if it's jet powered then it will be even more easily detected cause it's thicc.

Four, modern AFVs are not only equipped with long range, narrow FoV sights, but also surrounded by short range wide FoV ones. These can easily detect drones in short ranges 360° around the vehicle.

Unless there's been some change of plans, the US should receive 4 brigades of tanks equipped with such optical systems soon, and Israel already has 1.

 

The roadmap for a situational awareness upgrade that covers drones is already set and worked on by several nations.

Only thing remaining is a choice of effectors. An HMG or MMG is a decent choice.

Another option is to use drone racing, and on a battalion level drone nets.

Since an average AFV will be able to launch drones of its own via tubes, these can be optimized for crashing into hostile drones. This concept was operationally proven around Gaza, as a placeholder until some more capable but static laser system replaced it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't agree Mighty_Zuk

If the drone is medium altitude(20000ft) capable there is need of specialized vehicle, or maybe we will see in right side of an AFV/MBT turret an anti tank missile pack and in left side a SAM pack but needs to have more range than a manpad.

 

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You really want something with a big PK, a big magazine and preferably cheap. I question whether its possible to resupply killer drones at the rate they are likely to be expended at. You probably want something with a dual role, something like a light AA cannon. For anything heavier and higher flying, a battlefield SAM or a overhead CAP is the way to go.

I dont think it revolutionizes war as much as people think. Air superiority has always been required. All this is doing is reducing the problem to a smaller size, you you have the issue of target identification and engagement. In essence, its no different a problem from a JU87 or a Hawker Typhoon, its just harder to hit. On the positive side, it cant take anything like the damage. On the negative side, there is likely to be a lot more of them.

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Towed/palleted launchers are cheaper and good for defending fixed nodes. Generally easier to conceal as well.  The best way is to check your work with your own drones.

You can have it truck mounted or even track carrier mounted (e.g. M993 Bradley carrier etc.)

Edited by Simon Tan
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Yeah, true. You could tow that fairly easily behind a jeep.

If you put an explosive charge in it, you could have a potential replacement for a grenade launcher. Perhaps even a light mortar, though that still has a utility for laying smoke.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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6 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

I dont think it revolutionizes war as much as people think.

It has very much the potential to do so, once that you let them fly autonomously. As long as there's a 1-to-1 ratio between flying device and pilot, the number of available pilots and the bandwidth and emission control restrictions are the limiting factor. Once that you consider them mass-expendable (if cheap enough) and if you can make them fly with only the most cursory of human guidance you can scale up the deployment to the point where you simply saturate even a very sophisticated defense that doesn't involve a swarm of equally autonomous counter-drone drones.

Drones aren't "just harder to hit". They are much harder to find and to identify. It's probably a solvable problem with sufficient technological sophistication, but at the current tech level a drone has too many charactiristics of a bird, and birds are rather numerous (not as many as at the beginning of the industrial age, but still). If you flip on your Drone-Detect-o-matic Model 1995 and get 40,000 radar echoes, of which one or a handful or several hundred may be valid targets, what do you do? Outlaw birds?

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9 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

It has very much the potential to do so, once that you let them fly autonomously. As long as there's a 1-to-1 ratio between flying device and pilot, the number of available pilots and the bandwidth and emission control restrictions are the limiting factor. Once that you consider them mass-expendable (if cheap enough) and if you can make them fly with only the most cursory of human guidance you can scale up the deployment to the point where you simply saturate even a very sophisticated defense that doesn't involve a swarm of equally autonomous counter-drone drones.

Drones aren't "just harder to hit". They are much harder to find and to identify. It's probably a solvable problem with sufficient technological sophistication, but at the current tech level a drone has too many charactiristics of a bird, and birds are rather numerous (not as many as at the beginning of the industrial age, but still). If you flip on your Drone-Detect-o-matic Model 1995 and get 40,000 radar echoes, of which one or a handful or several hundred may be valid targets, what do you do? Outlaw birds?

You can use existing tech to correlate tracks derived from multiple sources (radar, IR, visible, sound), and filter out those that are not incoming into you area of interest, engaging the remaining with an autocannon. CIWS on land, basically.

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A couple of years ago, there were some videos published of drone swarms used as fireworks in China, because of fire concerns. If hose are not flying autonomously, the day they would be able to do so is not very far.

https://www.newequipment.com/industry-trends/article/22059981/drone-swarms-are-the-new-fireworks-lighting-up-chinas-skies#:~:text=Since China banned fireworks across,for celebrations across the country.
 

 

Edited by sunday
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18 minutes ago, RETAC21 said:

You can use existing tech to correlate tracks derived from multiple sources (radar, IR, visible, sound), and filter out those that are not incoming into you area of interest, engaging the remaining with an autocannon. CIWS on land, basically.

Yes, your Drone-Detect-o-Matic Model 2025 will probably do all that. But most armies still operate with model 1995 and older, and have model 2015 in the procurement process, and it will still be inadequate. And even then a widely dispersed, autonomous swarm could easily saturate the defenses when you have a few hundred airburst rounds that you can fire before the barrely overheat (and let's not forget the price tag of a single KETF round: 3,000.- EUR). So if you need two six-round bursts to down one drone we're talking about 36,000.- EUR per kill x 200 drones = 7.2 M just in ammo expenditure; 2400 rounds need to be fired from a gun with a cadence of 300 per minute and a thermal load limit of maybe 400 rounds, so you need to deploy eight guns minimum for an attack lasting about a minute.

Good luck.

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5 minutes ago, Simon Tan said:

ZU-23-2s on autonomous

Forget it. Airburst munitions are the only ones that promise a soffuciently high fragment density to reliably kill a drone. When 99% of your medium caliber rounds miss the target, AA guns are nothing but a very expensive and very dangeround fireworks show to celebrate enemy victory.

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A Sergey is quite adequate to engage most lower altitude and suicide drones like Harop. The primary reason to use a Sergey is you can get them cheap as a base AAA solution. MALEs are engaged with Tamir/CAAM etc.

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35 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Yes, your Drone-Detect-o-Matic Model 2025 will probably do all that. But most armies still operate with model 1995 and older, and have model 2015 in the procurement process, and it will still be inadequate. And even then a widely dispersed, autonomous swarm could easily saturate the defenses when you have a few hundred airburst rounds that you can fire before the barrely overheat (and let's not forget the price tag of a single KETF round: 3,000.- EUR). So if you need two six-round bursts to down one drone we're talking about 36,000.- EUR per kill x 200 drones = 7.2 M just in ammo expenditure; 2400 rounds need to be fired from a gun with a cadence of 300 per minute and a thermal load limit of maybe 400 rounds, so you need to deploy eight guns minimum for an attack lasting about a minute.

Good luck.

Well, then you deploy your newly bought Aliexpress killer drones and saturate your enemy's likely launch points with them, killing the trucks used to control and deploy them.  Or you just buy BM-30s and flatten all and be done with it.

The Armenians ignored the drone peril because they weren't paying attention to Azeri buys and thought they were better than they really were. A problem shared with the Georgians, and probably by many Western nations, but until you get fully autonomous drones, EW is likely to be the way. It's already being used to defeat the cheap drones.

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45 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Yes, your Drone-Detect-o-Matic Model 2025 will probably do all that. But most armies still operate with model 1995 and older, and have model 2015 in the procurement process, and it will still be inadequate. And even then a widely dispersed, autonomous swarm could easily saturate the defenses when you have a few hundred airburst rounds that you can fire before the barrely overheat (and let's not forget the price tag of a single KETF round: 3,000.- EUR). So if you need two six-round bursts to down one drone we're talking about 36,000.- EUR per kill x 200 drones = 7.2 M just in ammo expenditure; 2400 rounds need to be fired from a gun with a cadence of 300 per minute and a thermal load limit of maybe 400 rounds, so you need to deploy eight guns minimum for an attack lasting about a minute.

Good luck.

You clearly have a point about locating drones, Gatwick airport illustrated it. That said there are numerous projects to destroy drones, whether they be microwave guns, lasers, a drone equipped with a net or, prosaicly, birds of prey. 

It's kind of like tanks in the 1930s. If a drone is capable, it's unlikely any army is going to be able to mass procure them. If they are cheap enough to buy en mass, they are going to be unlikely to do much other than inspiring military shows. Vickers Tankette for the 21st Century In other words.

I'm reminded when anyone talks about cyber or drone, I'm reminded about the practical lessons of strategic bombing. it will revolutionise warfare, make war on the ground obsolete, deter people even from fighting wars because the bomber will always get through and leave devastation in its wake. So people invested in it and despite the assurances, it was near useless as a weapon, and costly to procure, vulnerable even to the vagaries of the weather. It took 5 years of war before it became a viable weapon, it proved far more useful for things other than they were originally designed for, and were largely obsolete inside 20 years by newer weapons and radar systems. Was it worth the cost? Probably. But it must be doubted whether they would be invested in at all, if it was realised how off base the early plaudits like Drouhet, Trenchard or Mitchell were, and how much investment it took to unlock their potential. Yes, drones are cheap now. So was the wright flyer.

I don't know drones will be like that, but I'm wary when I'm told there is a revolution underway, all you need to do is sign on the dotted line. I can see great utilities, sure. I can also see handicaps, not least cost, range, sensor range, weapon capacity if any. Yes, in time there may be a revolution. But it's rather like looking at a Sopwith Camel and predicting an eventual B2 stealth bomber. If there is a revolution in detection systems and battlefield lasers 10 years away, people may suddenly wonder what the fuss was about. 

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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4 hours ago, Ssnake said:

... (and let's not forget the price tag of a single KETF round: 3,000.- EUR). So if you need two six-round bursts to down one drone we're talking about 36,000.- EUR per kill x 200 drones = 7.2 M just in ammo expenditure; 2400 rounds need to be fired from a gun with a cadence of 300 per minute and a thermal load limit of maybe 400 rounds, so you need to deploy eight guns minimum for an attack lasting about a minute.

Good luck.

Don't forget that drones are not exactly cheap - Harop is 300-400k a pop, Bayraktar in TB1 unarmed config i 5mils, about 6.5-7 in TB 2 config. It is a two players game and guns offer relatively good efficiency for a money.

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The good news is that a 50mm+ caliber KETF wouldn't cost much more (if you want more altitude). The price is in the fuze, not the materials and production. I mean, yeah, war is expensive as hell.

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