[High-Tech Weapons] Behold! Weaponized UAV

by Pei-Wen Wang

 

Military drones have been widely used on the battlefield in recent years, and suicide drones that combine drones and missiles are becoming more prevalent.

Drone attacks

Suicide drones, also known as loitering munitions, cruise in areas where the target is located. They can be controlled by personnel from afar to spot certain targets or they automatically identify targets via machine vision, before the drones dive to strike the targets.

There are two main developments, when it comes to attack drones. One is the strategic models for long and constant speed flight at high altitude. Examples types are MQ-9B SeaGuardian that Taiwan purchases from the United States; this model can be equipped with the air-to-ground precision weapon Hellfire missile, AIM-9 air-to-air missiles, and even air-to-air stinger missiles, forming an well-rounded belt for cruising and attack.

Another development qualifies drones as expendable resources, where the system is simplified for a one-time attack without the need for long range cruising. This type of drones, Kamikaza drones, can be controlled by ground staff or with pre-planned long-range routes for autonomous cruising. They are equipped with thermal or photoelectric sensors to identify and locate the target, before making a final dive at targets like a cruise missile.

Taiwan’s layout

In early 2022, Taiwan passed a special procurement budget for enhancing naval and air combat capabilities at the Legislative Yuan, with NTD$ 12 billion out of 237 billion allocated as subsidy for military drones Jian Xiang, featuring anti-radiation weapons.

In addition, the National Chung-Shan Institute for Science and Technology (NCSIST) is aiming at developing UAV swarm that comes in a large volume and high autonomy. The goal is to not only adapt to the complex variables on the battlefield, but also have the capabilities to dispatch 12 drones at a time into combat, if coupled with the use of launch vehicles on the ground. The system is expected to run radar electronic parameter analysis and auto return, not to mention the ability to perform high-speed suicide attack.

What is more impressive is that the NCSIST builds up a three-dimensional map to improve the timeliness of collecting battlefield intel. This allows the Fire Cardinal suicide drone to cruise in between obstacles and among buildings to support ground troops by providing footage on the enemy from the sky. With the advantage of numerous drones in action at the same time and mobile deployment, tactical strategies can be made more comprehensively, while the attack of the UAVs become more effective.

Conclusion

With the advancement of science and technology, weapons for the military are also becoming more advanced; yet, we still pray for world peace, and hopefully, these weapons will never come in handy one day.

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