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art
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How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 2:09 am

The extensive use in Ukraine of drones and kamikaze drones for strikes has shown the problems they present to air defences. What effective countermeasures can be developed? What systems need to be developed to combat these low cost but nevertheless very threatening systems?

Possibilities that occur to me


small, easily moved AA gun systems
low cost missile systems
'fighter' UAV's
helicopters with manned guns
low cost light aircraft fitted with guns

It should not be so difficult to develop systems to neutralise slow moving attack drones inexpensively. Or should it?
 
prebennorholm
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 2:45 am

Dear Art, did you ever figure that a kamikaze drone might be launched....

a) between sunset and sunrise?
b) during daytime on a cloudy day?
 
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Dutchy
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 8:00 am

50% of those kamikaze drones seem to be shot down. But because they are relative inexpensive, there are many.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 8:46 am

You need a platform that can detect the drones over a large area, day or night and in clouds. The platform also needs a cheap way to destroy the drone.

The Apache is by far the best platform for the job.


small, easily moved AA gun systems

You would need thousands of systems to protect a 100km x 100km area.

low cost missile systems

You would need hundreds of systems to protect a 100km x 100km area.

'fighter' UAV's

They would need advanced radar and IR optical sensors costing millions per drone. You would need hundreds to provide 24 hour coverage of a 100km x 100km area.

helicopters with manned guns

Visual range is very short. You would need hundreds of helicopters. Poor visibility at night or in clouds.

low cost light aircraft fitted with guns

No sensors to detect drones. Can't fly low enough so its vulnerable to manpads. It will most likely fly into the ground in poor weather.


The Apache has the sensors to detect the drones and a cheap 30mm cannon to destroy the drones. It has terrain following sensors to allow it to operate safely below enemy radar. It is armoured well enough to handle small arms fire.
 
Alfons
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 10:27 am

regarding airborne counter attackers using bullets; is that really the right way, if during shooting 80% of the bullets will miss the drone and hit the ground (infrastructure, people etc.) behind it? I suppose you will always try to hit a very low flying object slightly from an elevated position.

I believe ground to air missiles have more surgical capabilities, and will destroy a drone in more little pieces. I heard even the Iron Shield is not capable of hitting drones, as they fly too low and the Iron Shield is built for other kind of trajectories.
 
art
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 10:54 am

I am not in a position to know but won't military analysts have foreseen the destructive impact of UAV attack vehicles and have started to look at ways of neutralising them some years ago? Are there systems under development that look promising (high kill rate at modest cost)? Sending waves of attack drones seems a very cheap way to cause immense damage to an adversary.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 12:23 pm

Alfons wrote:
regarding airborne counter attackers using bullets; is that really the right way, if during shooting 80% of the bullets will miss the drone and hit the ground (infrastructure, people etc.) behind it?

No, the Apache would fire a single bullet and hit the drone.


Alfons wrote:
I believe ground to air missiles have more surgical capabilities, and will destroy a drone in more little pieces. I heard even the Iron Shield is not capable of hitting drones, as they fly too low and the Iron Shield is built for other kind of trajectories.

Drones will fly under nearly all ground to air missile systems. Radar horizon is a big issue as radar is still line of site. If the drone is flying at 50m altitude it will be able to easily penetrate closely spaced ground radar systems.

The only solution is to detect them with a radar from above. The Apache with its longbow radar will be able to detect drones easily. It can pop up quickly do a radar scan and save the positions of any drones and then drop back down to safety. It will then fly undetected to the drones location where it's radar and long range optical system can re-aquire the drone before shooting it with a single cannon shot. It can then move onto the next drone.

art wrote:
are there systems under development that look promising (high kill rate at modest cost)? Sending waves of attack drones seems a very cheap way to cause immense damage to an adversary.

Yes, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin have developed the latest version 6 of the AN/APG-78 to detect small drones.

It is fitted to the APACHE HELICOPTER


US Army to receive AH-64E Version 6 upgrade, with ship and UAV hunting capabilities, in August (2020)

https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 63.article
 
zanl188
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 12:45 pm

Best way to defend against a cheap but effective weapon is an even cheaper defense. I would suggest to you: Area EMP generator, control/nav jammers, drone propulsion system disrupters (think barrage balloon’s, chaff launchers)…..

If cost is not an object I would suggest human portable or light vehicle mountable directed energy weapons. It would be expensive so would need to handle multiple threats - anti personnel, drone, helicopter, artillery, etc…..
 
art
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 12:49 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
The only solution is to detect them with a radar from above. The Apache with its longbow radar will be able to detect drones easily. It can pop up quickly do a radar scan and save the positions of any drones and then drop back down to safety.


Sounds like that tactic works. How is Ukraine downing them? They claim to down most of the Iranian Shahed-136 drones launched against them.
 
mxaxai
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 1:57 pm

art wrote:
I am not in a position to know but won't military analysts have foreseen the destructive impact of UAV attack vehicles and have started to look at ways of neutralising them some years ago? Are there systems under development that look promising (high kill rate at modest cost)? Sending waves of attack drones seems a very cheap way to cause immense damage to an adversary.

There have been many warnings, although counter-measures that are comparably cheap and effective don't exist yet.
To an extent, I doubt they ever will. Detecting drones at range requires sophisticated, expensive sensors. Hitting a maneuvering target in the air likewise is a technological challenge.
Strapping a bomb to a UAV and telling it to navigate to a fixed 2D coordinate is comparatively easy.

I'd consider UAVs to be as disruptive as shaped-charge HEAT projectiles were in the 20th century. These were introduced in the 40s but compound armor was only rolled out in the 60s, ERA wasn't deployed until the 80s. Even today, cheap anti-tank missiles remain a threat.

I expect directed energy weapons to become the weapon of choice for short-range defence against relatively slow drones. They avoid the use of projectiles in friendly urban areas and are relatively cheap to "fire". There are some solutions being developed or even offered for sale, though I'm not sure how effective the current systems are.
That said, the current indiscriminate use of such weapons by Russia is more of an act of terrorism than traditional warfare. As such, counter-terrorism methods are likely to be more effective than attempting to shoot down each individual UAV.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 4:52 pm

Taking them out at the source should be a thing.
Since the manufacturer of these particular drones (Shahed-136) is conveniently located in a country (Iran) that is officially a state sponsor of terrorism, there's nothing illegal about bombing ANYTHING within its borders into a moonscape.

And drone factory definitely deserves -- nay is overdue -- to receive such treatment.
 
superbizzy73
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 9:58 pm

https://youtu.be/pb5_F4_Eod8

How about this? It's part of the Rheinmetall Skynex System.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 10:44 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
The Apache is by far the best platform for the job.

If (and that's a big if) Apaches are as wonderful as you and Boeing claim, how many of these 100 million dollar apiece helicopters would be needed to cover a 1,200 mile long front line 24/7?

Let's use the number 96 since that's a handy comparison to the proposed Polish acquisition, that comes out to 12.5 billion dollars - right?
And how soon can these gold plated whirrley birds be brought online? Easily by 2026 - right? And what if the not so clever Russians then unleash even cheaper drones that are only meant to make the Apaches fly around in circles shooting down $250 drones?

Maybe a better idea would be to address a low cost system with another low cost system. A drone flying at 150 feet can be visually (or infrared) located out to about 20 miles, it can be detected by radar out to at least five miles, farther if the radar antenna is elevated (with radar antenna 50' agl radar range would be 12.5 mi).
https://www.omnicalculator.com/physics/radar-horizon

Whatever technology can be packed inside of a helicopter presumably can be packed onto a 5 ton truck, so if we want single shot capability, if it can be done from a helicopter it could also be done from the bed of a 5 ton. But it would probably turn out to be better to use a system that is less costly and can be easily made in quantity, I won't guess at the perfect caliber as that would surely open Pandora's box and bring a least one fellow who knows next to nothing about armament to jump in and post multiple conflicting opinions. But we can say that if it ended up being something smaller and more mobile than a WW2 flack gun, it could also be useful against opposing ground forces if things got hot locally.

Such systems could probably begin to be churned out in a few months time.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 10:48 pm

superbizzy73 wrote:
https://youtu.be/pb5_F4_Eod8

How about this? It's part of the Rheinmetall Skynex System.

That won't work in 99% of situations.

It would only work in a open field with the system placed in an elevated position to give decent coverage. The system would be lucky to last a day before being destroyed in such an exposed position.

If you hide the system in the trees then it then can't detect drones until it is too late. A catch 22 situation. A dozen soldiers spread out with machine guns would do a better job than that system.

Vehicle mounted energy weapons have the same line of sight problem. The US will kill the drones while they are in transit and try and find the launch location. They will not wait for the drones to come.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 11:05 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
superbizzy73 wrote:
https://youtu.be/pb5_F4_Eod8

How about this? It's part of the Rheinmetall Skynex System.

That won't work in 99% of situations.

It would only work in a open field with the system placed in an elevated position to give decent coverage. The system would be lucky to last a day before being destroyed in such an exposed position.

If you hide the system in the trees then it then can't detect drones until it is too late. A catch 22 situation. A dozen soldiers spread out with machine guns would do a better job than that system.

Vehicle mounted energy weapons have the same line of sight problem. The US will kill the drones while they are in transit and try and find the launch location. They will not wait for the drones to come.
What if the operators were real clever and placed it on the forward edge of a tree line instead of in the middle of the forest?
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 11:16 pm

Vintage wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
The Apache is by far the best platform for the job.

If (and that's a big if) Apaches are as wonderful as you and Boeing claim, how many of these 100 million dollar apiece helicopters would be needed to cover a 1,200 mile long front line 24/7?

To cover a 1,200 mile front line. There are multiple options

A) You could have 20,000 soldiers with machine guns spaced 100 metres apart. Then another 40,000 soldiers to provide 24 hours coverage. Minimal protection at night or fog.

B) You could have 2,500 AA guns located every half mile with 10,000 soldiers to man and support them providing 24 hour coverage. Minimal protection at night or fog.

C) You could have 1,200 shoulder launched SAM spaced a mile apart with 5,000 soldiers to provide 24 hour coverage. Minimal protection a night or fog.

Perfect solution.
Have 24 Apache Longbow in the air. 50 miles apart flying in circuits at 200km/h. There would only be a couple minutes gap between the sensor detection of each Apache and a slow drone could not get through. An extra 48 Apache on the ground to provide 24 hour coverage. 1,000 support crew safely located 100nm away from the combat zone.


Let's compare the costs.
Option A has 60,000 armed soldiers but they would easily need another 40,000 to provide food and logistics to the front line. A thousand vehicles/trucks would be required. 100,000 soldier wages at $50,000 each is $5 billion per year. The Apache purchase of $12.5 billion for 25 years is only half a billion per year.

Vintage wrote:
And how soon can these gold plated whirrley birds be brought online? Easily by 2026 - right?
How soon can you get 100,000 extra soldiers to provide dedicated drone defense? Easily by 2026 right? Humans take 18 years to grow to full size.


Vintage wrote:
Whatever technology can be packed inside of a helicopter presumably can be packed onto a 5 ton truck

The truck can't fly up 200 feet into the air. So the sensors will get a nice view of the nearest hill and trees ad the drone 1km away remains undetected.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Sun Oct 23, 2022 11:24 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
You could have 20,000 soldiers with machine guns spaced 100 metres apart. Then another 40,000 soldiers to provide 24 hours coverage.
2,500 AA guns located every half mile
1,200 shoulder launched SAM spaced a mile apart

You can't be serious, this analysis is childish.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 12:42 am

Vintage wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
You could have 20,000 soldiers with machine guns spaced 100 metres apart. Then another 40,000 soldiers to provide 24 hours coverage.
2,500 AA guns located every half mile
1,200 shoulder launched SAM spaced a mile apart

You can't be serious, this analysis is childish.

I'm not the one here suggesting to shoot down drones with short range ground based systems. I'm just pointing out how it is an absolute ridiculous waste of manpower to cover a large area.

These ground based systems are like the close in weapon systems on an aircraft carrier. They are a last resort once everything else has failed.

To patrol a 1,200 mile border you need something in the air as you can't drive on the ground at 200km/h. In peace time a single high altitude drone can do the job. But during war the aircraft must fly low reducing the detection range of its own sensors and reducing the speed it can travel. So this means multiple aircraft are needed. That is why the Apache is the best tool for the job.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:12 am

If air craft were needed, the Apache should be the last choice for the job. If you want to use aircraft, something like a Super Tucano or T-6 Texan II would do the job better and much cheaper. Each can fly at over 300kts so they could cover a lot more territory than a 158kt Apache.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_AH ... _(AH-64A/D)
https://aerocorner.com/aircraft/embraer-super-tucano/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechcraft_T-6_Texan_II
https://aerocorner.com/aircraft/beechcr ... y-trainer/

A problem with aircraft is that they would have to be in the air 24-7. A ground based system can maintain 24-7 coverage much easier and at much much lower cost. The Rheinmetall Skynex System mentioned above is the exact type of system needed for drone defense; I'm sure that there are other manufacturers with similar offerings.

Of course none of these systems are made by Boeing, so I'm sure they won't appeal to you.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:09 am

Vintage wrote:
If air craft were needed, the Apache should be the last choice for the job. If you want to use aircraft, something like a Super Tucano or T-6 Texan II would do the job better and much cheaper. Each can fly at over 300kts so they could cover a lot more territory than a 158kt Apache.


What radar does the Tucano or T-6 carry to detect a drone? The T-6 Texan II doesn't even carry a gun..

A Super Tucano flying at 200+km/h with its gun fixed in the forward position would find it impossible to shoot down a tiny 10kg drone. It would spray hundreds of bullets and be lucky to get a single hit on such a small target.

The Apache can slow right down to the perfect firing distance from the drone. The gun can be aimed at the drone day or night. Single shot and the drone is dead.


Vintage wrote:
A ground based system can maintain 24-7 coverage much easier and at much much lower cost.

A few thousand ground systems to cover the same area as a dozen Apache. The Apache is far lower cost. The Apache can also perform other roles simultaneously. The Skynex can't take out a larger drone at 5,000ft. The Apache has both Stinger and Sidewinder to take out larger drones.


Vintage wrote:
Of course none of these systems are made by Boeing, so I'm sure they won't appeal to you.

If you can list another attack helicopter with a radar that has been updated to detect UAVs please let me know.

You must have missed my rant about Boeing corruption in the T-7 thread. viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1431397&start=200

I have no bias here.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 3:38 am

RJMAZ wrote:
The T-6 Texan II doesn't even carry a gun.
That's easily remedied.

RJMAZ wrote:
A Super Tucano flying at 200+km/h with its gun fixed in the forward position would find it impossible to shoot down a tiny 10kg drone. It would spray hundreds of bullets and be lucky to get a single hit on such a small target.
That's when the Tucano pilot would cut power and deploy flaps if needed. The idea of the Texan II or Super Tucano is just something I threw out as an example, I think either of them would be overkill for this job. Some people have suggested a 182 with a side facing MG, but I don't think a 182 would be fast enough. The plane that pops into my mind is the old Canadian AF trainer, the Chipmunk, I think it would be perfect, but of course they are out of production and there are only a few of them around. I suspect there is something of similar performance out there, but I can't say what it would be; a Maule would be about the same speed as an Apache (at both ends), then there's the Mooney to consider if speed is paramount.

RJMAZ wrote:
A few thousand ground systems to cover the same area as a dozen Apache.
I think the ground based radar directed gun approach is the way to go. The Oerlikon Skyshield costs about $340,000 for each system* I expect that to be representative of the type. The Skyshield is designed to take out ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. The Apache can do neither. Ukraine could have a thousand of them for about one quarter of the price of 100 Apaches. I suspect a couple of hundred would be enough. They would be used for point defense as opposed to area coverage.
*https://en.tempo.co/read/484417/indonesia-bolsters-defense-with-swiss-skyshield
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 4:03 am

Vintage wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
A Super Tucano flying at 200+km/h with its gun fixed in the forward position would find it impossible to shoot down a tiny 10kg drone. It would spray hundreds of bullets and be lucky to get a single hit on such a small target.
That's when the Tucano pilot would cut power and deploy flaps if needed.

The stall speed of the Super Tucano is 150km/h. 200km/h is about as slow as it can fly while maintaining maneuverability. Trying to hit a small 10kg drone while you are flying at 200km/h with a fixed forward direction gun is impossible.

A helicopter can slow right down and move in close to the drone which makes things much easier. Having an aimable gun is also a must.

Drone hunting requirements:
1) Small radar that can detect drones
2) Above 200 km/h cruise speed
3) Below 100 km/h speed while shooting the drone
4) Aimable gun.
5) Can operate from a small field or road
6) Two crew for situational awareness
7) Lightly armoured to protect from small arms
8) Missile warning system with chaff and flare.

There is only one platform in the world that satisfies all 8 requirements. Unfortunately it is made by Boeing and is expensive.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 4:54 am

RJMAZ wrote:
The stall speed of the Super Tucano is 150km/h.

That 80kts stall speed is without flaps, I can't find the spec for full flaps stall speed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embraer_E ... per_Tucano)

The one aspect of flying I know the most about is low speed aerobatics (I'm a Citabria pilot), so I can say that one could expect a Super Tucano to be perfectly maneuverable at 80kts with flaps, and if the drone is doing 30kts that's only a 50kt difference, which would be about optimum.

RJMAZ wrote:
Drone hunting requirements.................................
This reminds me of Mark Twain's story about the kid who drew the bullseye after shooting the arrow. You're doing the same thing, you draw up your 'requirements' after examining the Apache's characteristics. None of those 'requirements are actually requirements.

And as I said, I believe that the best solution is a ground based, truck mounted, radar guided gun system.

RJMAZ wrote:
Unfortunately it is made by Boeing and is expensive.
That's a huge understatement, $100 million apiece for an Apache vs $340,000 apiece for a gun system.

The Apache isn't just expensive, it's expensive beyond reason. $100 million is not just a number, it's also all the other things that money could buy. You're living in a US DOD world where money is unlimited, everyplace outside of the DOD lives within finite resources.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 5:29 am

Vintage wrote:
And as I said, I believe that the best solution is a ground based, truck mounted, radar guided gun system.

$340,000 for a truck mounted gun system that is radar guided? More like $5 million.

A truck based gun system could probably defend a 5 square kilometres circle at low altitude. That's over 6,000 systems needed to protect only 10% of Poland. At $5 million per system that is $30 billion. That doesn't include the $3 billion per year in wages to keep such a large gun network running.

Every military around the world has retired gun based Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons and now use truck based missile systems. Even Ukraine is using Mistral MANPADS on Fiat trucks.

This is what the US Army uses for short range air defense. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/TWQ-1_Avenger

Your suggestion of a ground based gun system goes against the thinking of every modern military. This is not 1950.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 12:16 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
$340,000 for a truck mounted gun system that is radar guided? More like $5 million.

The Oerlikon Skyshield costs about $340,000 for each system* I expect that to be representative of the type. The Skyshield is designed to take out ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. The Apache can do neither. Ukraine could have a thousand of them for about one quarter of the price of 100 Apaches. I suspect a couple of hundred would be enough. They would be used for point defense as opposed to area coverage.
* https://en.tempo.co/read/484417/indones ... -skyshield

RJMAZ wrote:
A truck based gun system could probably defend a 5 square kilometres circle at low altitude. That's over 6,000 systems needed to protect only 10% of Poland. At $5 million per system that is $30 billion. That doesn't include the $3 billion per year in wages to keep such a large gun network running.
Every military around the world has retired gun based Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons and now use truck based missile systems. Even Ukraine is using Mistral MANPADS on Fiat trucks.
This is what the US Army uses for short range air defense. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/TWQ-1_Avenger
Your suggestion of a ground based gun system goes against the thinking of every modern military. This is not 1950.

Your scenarios are pure hyperbole.

I've made my argument and you've made yours, you can continue on alone if you chose.
 
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par13del
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 12:40 pm

It would be good to get both of you guys in the room where the decision is being made, as you both have good points that work towards a solution, but since you are presently in a battle.......
As stated in your article, the Skyshield is a point defense system, effective against cruise missiles and drones, placing them around important infrastructure targets works well, as in WWII days, they can also be used to place a defensive ring around a city. Since most drones are flying at the speeds of WWII a/c, we can see how many were used and would be required to defend major cities.
Reality is that cheap drones are taking us back to WWII days in terms of engine tech and time on station, that they have modern-day guidance systems does not mean that you need a sledge hammer to kill a fly. I am sure that like coastal watchers in the Pacific, Ukraine troops on the battle lines are seeing those drones going over and making radio calls, that is the first cheap radar warning, if they fly low enough, once in country, radar station's coverage area is reduced.
To patrol any significant area you need an aerial platform, if the enemy has SAM's with significant range the aerial platform has the same limitation as a ground based system, only difference is that it is more mobile and quicker to move to a different area.
Now the issue becomes how to shoot down the drones once located, we can get lasers etc. but that tech is not yet widely available, so back to the old gun system, we have progressed that we do not need piston engine fighters firing forward, we need door or rear gunners.
If I were to say to you that the Apaches are out because they are too expensive to purchase and operate with limited endurance, and the Skyshield is out because we already have point defense systems, what would be your recommendation? I honestly do not think that both of you would throw your hands up and surrender.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 12:54 pm

Vintage wrote:
The Oerlikon Skyshield costs about $340,000 for each system I expect that to be representative of the type.

Move that decimal point! Make that 3.4 million each - 200 systems = 700 million.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 12:55 pm

Vintage wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
$340,000 for a truck mounted gun system that is radar guided? More like $5 million.

The Oerlikon Skyshield costs about $340,000 for each system* I expect that to be representative of the type
* https://en.tempo.co/read/484417/indones ... -skyshield

Did you even read your link?

"These six cannon skysheilds cost a total of US$202 million."

That is $33 million each.

Vintage wrote:
Ukraine could have a thousand of them for about one quarter of the price of 100 Apaches.

1000 cannons at $33 million each is $33 billion. Nearly 3 times as much as the Apache purchase.

Vintage wrote:
They would be used for point defense as opposed to area coverage.

Thanks for proving my point. Cannons are for point defense only as it would be extremely expensive to provide area cocerage. The Apache can provide area coverage which is a vastly superior solution.

The Apache can detect and attack the drones as soon as they take off. The Apache can calculate the launch location and then attack any ground vehicles with Hellfire from standoff range. Stopping the drones from launching in the first place is a vastly superior solution.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:31 pm

My mistake, the skyshield that Indonesia is buying is a much more complex system than what I was advocating, it apparently includes a SAM capability as well as an independent search radar.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyshield

In any case, point defense is what is needed, there is no need to protect wetlands and wheat fields.
 
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:04 pm

art wrote:
The extensive use in Ukraine of drones and kamikaze drones for strikes has shown the problems they present to air defences. What effective countermeasures can be developed? What systems need to be developed to combat these low cost but nevertheless very threatening systems?


Perhaps a good starting point would be to see what Ukraine is currently doing and see if there's a way to make it more effective rather than talk about systems that will take several years to develop/manufacture and deploy?
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 8:02 am

Has anybody here heard of any research into long range ammo? I'm thinking of base bleed in 50 cal or even 30 06 sized rounds. As I see it, killing a drone won't require a lot of kinetic energy, drones so far as I know are all built to be as light as possible, they certainly have no armor protection.

Yet targeting drones would best be done as far out as they can be seen and that would be at least five miles for tracking radars. But to reach out five miles with anything resembling normal ammo would require something like a 40mm Bofors AA gun which makes it heavy and makes the ammo heavy which makes cost go up and mobility go down.

So if someone made a much smaller cartridge which had a similar range to a 40mm Bofors (6 miles), that would appear to be ideal for anti-drone work. The cartridge could essentially be a rocket and at max range all that would impact the drone would be an empty casing with a hardened tip, but that would be enough.
 
superbizzy73
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 6:57 pm

Sorry, it's not an Apache, but how about this?

https://youtu.be/8uJouw9uh84
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 7:10 pm

Terrorists are building drones. France is destroying them with eagles. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wor ... th-eagles/

Anti-drone eagles being trained to serve on Geneva police force - https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/society/no ... e/43927044

Eagles could be used to take down "hostile drones" in London after Dutch trial - https://www.dezeen.com/2016/02/10/eagle ... rom-above/

Billed as "a low tech solution for a high tech problem" the eagles have already been used in the Netherlands to catch drones of different sizes in mid-air by grabbing the middle of the aircraft.


Developing custom long range, low calibre ammunition for a billion dollar grounded based gun system is a bad at idea. The system will be useless against manned attack aircraft.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 7:15 pm

Use the electromagnetic spectrum for threats that are dependent on it for targeting, communication, and navigation. Use kinetic means when they are too close for that.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 8:26 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
eagles...................
Developing custom long range, low calibre ammunition for a billion dollar grounded based gun system is a bad at idea.
The system will be useless against manned attack aircraft.
A truck mounted gun system would likely be the lowest cost solution, and I suspect that any dedicated anti-drone system would use specialized guns / ammunition anyway.
Protecting a country the size of Ukraine might wind up costing up to three billion for a couple hundred systems, but it would be a bargain compared to some other proposals.

The radar could be a variant of the US Army's AN/TPQ-53 (or even a standard AN/TPQ-53 which could also be used for its intended purpose: directing counter battery fire).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/TPQ-53 ... lity_Radar

The off the shelf radar might be more than what is needed, with its range of 38 miles; I suspect a lower cost version could be made using lower transmitter power and a smaller array; it could be offered in both versions, one for front line use and a cheaper one for inland point defense. Ukraine is currently using at least 20 of these systems.

The current radar system goes for a little over 12 million apiece.
The Army said it will buy seven more Lockheed Martin [LMT] AN/TPQ-53 (Q-53) Radar Systems for $85 million, the company said Monday.
12.1 million ea
https://www.defensedaily.com/u-s-army-t ... financial/
We should expect that price to come down significantly as there is a potential worldwide market for thousands of these systems; drones are no longer a hypothetical threat.

A system tailored for anti-drone use would have to give up mobility and cost effectiveness if it were to be intended to also used against helicopters or manned fixed wing aircraft, so that's not a concern.
 
mxaxai
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 8:55 pm

Y'all don't understand, glorious BoLockMart R&D has simply devised guns that only need a single bullet since they mastered 100% hit probability. None of your silly foreign Toyota-mounted guns could ever hope to compete, the best they can hope for is spray-and-pray.
So sign a contract to acquire the Apache attack helicopter and gain the ability to erase all drones before they are even born, every single UAV of the past, present and future, with your own hands.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 9:32 pm

Vintage wrote:
Has anybody here heard of any research into long range ammo? I'm thinking of base bleed in 50 cal or even 30 06 sized rounds. As I see it, killing a drone won't require a lot of kinetic energy, drones so far as I know are all built to be as light as possible, they certainly have no armor protection.

Yet targeting drones would best be done as far out as they can be seen and that would be at least five miles for tracking radars. But to reach out five miles with anything resembling normal ammo would require something like a 40mm Bofors AA gun which makes it heavy and makes the ammo heavy which makes cost go up and mobility go down.

So if someone made a much smaller cartridge which had a similar range to a 40mm Bofors (6 miles), that would appear to be ideal for anti-drone work. The cartridge could essentially be a rocket and at max range all that would impact the drone would be an empty casing with a hardened tip, but that would be enough.


Wild guess? The higher the speed, the greater the penetrating ability.
Some of these drones, especially Iranian "mopeds", are built with simple inexpensive materials, that are easy for bullets to penetrate.
Ergo, a direct hit of a high-speed projectile, could result in a clean penetration, and could have, if the drone is lucky, a negligible effect on its airworthiness.
IMHO, a bullet that has bled some of its kinetic energy, could be tumbling at impact, and could transfer a bit more of energy, thus making a damage more notable and a kill more possible. Just IMHO

Then again, nothing beats taking out a drone factory. Tomahawk is the best anti-drone defence -- it blows up drones, factory, designers and shop floor staff. What's not to like? (Yes, these would be Ukrainian Air Force or Navy Tomahawks. As long as we can get them).
 
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Tugger
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Tue Oct 25, 2022 9:41 pm

The development of directed energy weapons are what will take out such things in the future. Are they ready yet? No. Can they be easily defeated? Yes, for now at least, hardening the electronics of an item will protect it.

As to a "now" weapon? It would be simpler and cheaper to build a weapon that target the drone and fires a deploying "net" (something that goes maybe 100 yards in diameter and can reach up to 1000 feet) of fibers that envelope the target drone and render it unable to fly. It won't really harm things if it misses and comes back down.

For detection a good network of microphones around cities and targets can be done. Software systems already exist that can triangulate and track sounds a drone makes.

Tugg
 
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kitplane01
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Wed Oct 26, 2022 12:35 am

Perhaps the mission is not to defend every single square mile of some large nation. Costs might force one to defend only the critical places. Does this mean the enemy might blow up a sewage treatment plant or local electric transformers? Yes. Also, war sucks. Also, you can blow up their stuff too.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Wed Oct 26, 2022 12:39 am

About the Apache as the anti-drone platform of choice:

That platform cost $8,500 per hour, and that's likely an underestimate and without ammo. If drones become a more serous threat, a lower cost platform would be easy to produce. No need for the armor, maybe no need for a two-person crew.

An OH-58 is only $2,200 per hour and has some very nice infra-red tracking systems. I'm sure on can fit a radar above the mast if needed.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Wed Oct 26, 2022 12:44 am

mxaxai wrote:
Y'all don't understand, glorious BoLockMart R&D has simply devised guns that only need a single bullet since they mastered 100% hit probability. None of your silly foreign Toyota-mounted guns could ever hope to compete, the best they can hope for is spray-and-pray.
So sign a contract to acquire the Apache attack helicopter and gain the ability to erase all drones before they are even born, every single UAV of the past, present and future, with your own hands.
May I ask why this glorious gun that never misses can't be detached from the 100 million dollar helicopter and mounted on the bed of a $100,000 5 ton?
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Wed Oct 26, 2022 12:47 am

Vintage wrote:
The current radar system goes for a little over 12 million apiece.

Radar is line of site. The system detection range of 38 miles is of a mortar flying high up in the air in a ballistic trajectory.

A quick google search can bring up highly detailed topographic maps of any country. Any drone operator would take advantage of this. Eastern Europe is full of trees and hills so the radar detection would be at most 5 km and it would still have blind spots where a drone could fly within 1 km of the radar completely undetected.

Lets do some math to calculate coverage. 400 radar systems in a 20x20 grid with 5km between each radar. That is 10,000 square km coveraged or approximately 3% of Poland. That is $4.8 billion and you haven't even started to pay for the actual guns.

What you want is a fully custom developed system that doesn't exist. Radar horizon is the limiting factor in terms of detection range of small low altitude drones so only a very small radar is needed. The seeker from an AMRAAM missile with suitable programming is all that is required. A 30mm gun with lightweight turret from a helicopter such as the M230 on Apache or GIAT 30 on the Tiger could be mounted on the back of an ambushed protected vehicle such as a Hawkei https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkei

A crew of 2, everything powered from the vehicle itself. It might be $1 million per vehicle. Now this makes sense to have a thousand of these vehicles but nothing like it exists. The vehicle could also carry a normal shoulder launched anti tank missile and a shoulder launched stinger missile. It would be a small high mobility multi purpose vehicle.

The current larger systems aren't suitable for small low altitude drones.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Wed Oct 26, 2022 1:44 am

RJMAZ wrote:
Vintage wrote:
The current radar system goes for a little over 12 million apiece.

Radar is line of site. The system detection range of 38 miles is of a mortar flying high up in the air in a ballistic trajectory.

A quick google search can bring up highly detailed topographic maps of any country. Any drone operator would take advantage of this. Eastern Europe is full of trees and hills so the radar detection would be at most 5 km and it would still have blind spots where a drone could fly within 1 km of the radar completely undetected.

Lets do some math to calculate coverage. 400 radar systems in a 20x20 grid with 5km between each radar. That is 10,000 square km coveraged or approximately 3% of Poland. That is $4.8 billion and you haven't even started to pay for the actual guns.

What you want is a fully custom developed system that doesn't exist. Radar horizon is the limiting factor in terms of detection range of small low altitude drones so only a very small radar is needed. A crew of 2, everything powered from the vehicle itself. It might be $1 million per vehicle.
On flat ground, if the drone is at 100' or more altitude it can be seen by radar for 16 miles. If the drone is at 300' it can be seen by radar 25 miles away, (antenna height 10'). Radar isn't the limitation, the limiting factor is the range of the gun.
https://dizzib.github.io/earth/curve-ca ... t=imperial

I don't think the cost could be held to anything like 1 million, the truck alone would probably cost a half a million if it were to be armored.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-a ... 2011-10-27
But I do think it could be brought down to below 6 million. The software is already written by several companies, it would just need some tweaks for the specifics of the final product.

RJMAZ wrote:
The seeker from an AMRAAM missile with suitable programming is all that is required. A 30mm gun with lightweight turret from a helicopter such as the M230 on Apache or GIAT 30 on the Tiger could be mounted on the back of an ambushed protected vehicle such as a Hawkei https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkei
Now this makes sense to have a thousand of these vehicles but nothing like it exists. The vehicle could also carry a normal shoulder launched anti tank missile and a shoulder launched stinger missile. It would be a small high mobility multi purpose vehicle. The current larger systems aren't suitable for small low altitude drones.
An AMRAAM is a big ticket item, if you're going to send some version of AMRAAM to knock out a $5,000 drone you're on the backside of the money curve, that won't sell to most potential customers, especially when you consider that the other guy can send decoy drones that might only cost $500. The potential market for these systems is huge, I assume that Ukraine would want 200 of them right now if they could get them, half for protecting cities, bridges and power stations and half for the front lines. There are probably 100 countries that would want to buy 50 of them.

In a few years the direction this goes will be public knowledge. I'll meet you here then and we'll see how many Apaches have been sold for this job vs how many mobile radar directed gun systems.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Wed Oct 26, 2022 4:31 am

Vintage wrote:
I don't think the cost could be held to anything like 1 million, the truck alone would probably cost a half a million if it were to be armored.

The Oshkosh L-ATV is only $344,000.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oshkosh_L-ATV

It could even be lighter duty like the Raycolt KLTV which is under $250,000.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raycolt_KLTV


Vintage wrote:
An AMRAAM is a big ticket item, if you're going to send some version of AMRAAM to knock out a $5,000 drone you're on the backside of the money curve.
You misread. I said only the radar seeker from the AMRAAM is used not the actual missile. The AMRAAM seeker is small, compact, requires little power and is mass produced. It is also capable of detecting small or low radar cross section targets.

The AMRAAM seeker is then mounted to a pole on top of the vehicle and pointed at the direction of the enemy. The radar then controls the 30mm gun and aims automatically at the target.

$1 million per vehicle is possible. $250,000 for the vehicle leaves $750,000 for the AMRAAM seeker and 30mm gun.

The CROWS remote controlled turret is under $100,000 and handles a 12.7mm gun. http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product4229.html

An entire AMRAAM AIM-120D missile is US$1 million but I'm sure the seeker is under $500,000. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIM-120_AMRAAM.

This system wouldn't be heavily armoured but would instead be highly mobile and cheap. This allows for more systems positioned close together. This means less gaps for low altitude drones to sneak through. The vehicles could even move around making it harder for the enemy. With a stinger sitting on the back seat one of the crew can jump out and take out an enemy helicopter.

Russia would find it very hard to dealing with multiple small ground vehicles. They are be set up for larger formations of heavy armour.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Wed Oct 26, 2022 9:13 am

RJMAZ wrote:
Vintage wrote:
I don't think the cost could be held to anything like 1 million, the truck alone would probably cost a half a million if it were to be armored.

The Oshkosh L-ATV is only $344,000.
It could even be lighter duty like the Raycolt KLTV which is under $250,000.

The AMRAAM seeker is then mounted to a pole on top of the vehicle and pointed at the direction of the enemy. The radar then controls the 30mm gun and aims automatically at the target.

Yea, my idea originally was a 5 ton, but this would be operating near the front lines so protection is appropriate. Maybe a truck/cab like the HIMARS uses, to me $344,000 and $500K are in the same ball park, I've also been thinking of a boom of some type to elevate the phased array antenna (or seeker).

All a seeker does is point out a direction to something it has been directed to lock on to. Up in the big empty sky it can lock on to the first thing it sees if it loses its original lock on, but that won't work down low with ground clutter about, so there would need to be a search radar to designate the target anyway. I believe that's the same way an AMRAAM is used in a fighter. If there's two drones, the operator would have to choose the target. But maybe we're getting too detailed here, there are a lot of design considerations we can't be aware of.

On the gun, I like the idea of a smaller round so that more can be available to be expended. Even if 30mm was decided on, I still believe the round should be tailored for maximum range; the kinetic energy of a normal 30mm round isn't needed but more range would definitely be desirable.

BTW on a helicopter firing down, or at lesser ranges, the trajectory will be flat or nearly so, so they can get one shot hits. But firing from the ground up at longer ranges, the shell will have a ballistic trajectory, so the targeting can't be so precise.

It seems that we are in general agreement.
 
mxaxai
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Thu Oct 27, 2022 6:09 pm

Tugger wrote:
The development of directed energy weapons are what will take out such things in the future. Are they ready yet? No. Can they be easily defeated? Yes, for now at least, hardening the electronics of an item will protect it.
Tugg

I agree they're not quite production-ready yet but we're seeing progress from multiple sides. Just today from Germany:
German Frigate Sachsen Engages Drones with Laser Weapon
It was a big step in the direction of fully operational laser weapons. For the time ever, the German Armed Forces fired a shipboard laser weapon. On August 30th 2022, the German frigate Sachsen successfully engaged drones at short and very short range in the Baltic Sea near Putlos Major Training Area. The laser weapon demonstrator was developed by the High-Energy Laser Naval Demonstrator working committee (“ARGE”), consisting of MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH.

Future high-energy laser (HEL) weapon systems for the Navy will be especially useful in defending against drones and drone swarms as well as engaging attacking speed boats at close and very close range. But the system can also be designed for greater output, enabling it to destroy guided missiles and mortar rounds.

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/20 ... er-weapon/

Video of the engagement: https://twitter.com/BaainBw/status/1585525065428369408

I know that there have been multiple similar demonstrations in the US previously. For short ranges, against reasonably small and slow targets, lasers seem to be effective. It took this system ~2-3s to destroy the targeted UAV.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Fri Oct 28, 2022 7:15 am

Vintage wrote:
It seems that we are in general agreement.

Yes, we both want a system that doesn't exist. A defensive system that the US would never purchase let alone develop.

The German Wiesel 2 RMK 30 is probably the closest system. It lacks a radar and networking to be of any use.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiesel_AWC#Wiesel_2

A tiny tracked vehicle the size of a family car.

Mass: 2.75 t to 4.78 t
Length: 4.78 metres
Width: 1.87 metres
Height: 2.17 metres
Crew: 2 or 3
Armor: Protection against small arms only
Engine: Volkswagen 1.9 L Straight-4 turbo-diesel

The RMK 30 version has a 30mm cannon for air defense.

Tugger wrote:
The development of directed energy weapons are what will take out such things in the future. Are they ready yet? No. Can they be easily defeated? Yes, for now at least, hardening the electronics of an item will protect it.
Tugg

Getting 1 megawatt of electricity to the front line to power a directed energy weapon would be an even bigger challenge.

Though hybrid electric vehicles should have the power generation. Armoured vehicles such as the Plasan SandCat sit on top of a normal Ford F350 truck chassis. Doing the same process to the smaller F150 lightning electric pick-up truck would make an amazing light military vehicle. A perfect platform to fit a directed energy weapon on the back. Perfect for recon work as it can run for days off the battery. Lower heat signature.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Fri Oct 28, 2022 10:35 am

RJMAZ wrote:
Yes, we both want a system that doesn't exist.
That's the point of the thread.

RJMAZ wrote:
A defensive system that the US would never purchase let alone develop.
The US is going to need something to fend off drones at the Company and Battalion level as well as for comm/cmd locations, ammo dumps etc.

What do you think it will be?
 
RJMAZ
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Fri Oct 28, 2022 12:35 pm

Vintage wrote:
The US is going to need something to fend off drones at the Company and Battalion level as well as for comm/cmd locations, ammo dumps etc.

What do you think it will be?

The US will have hundreds of radars and cameras over the combat zone. The launch site of any drone will get taken out within seconds. These small drones are extremely short range so the US will probably be watching them unpack the drone before it even takes off.

If an enemy drone does make it into the air every helicopter and ground unit will know exactly where it is. Detecting a drone is the hardest part. Shooting a drone is the easy part. Even an infantry squad will get a notification on their tablet that a drone is about to fly past. So it will probably get shot down by a rifle.

A drone is only dangerous if you don't know its coming.

A ground based defensive gun system would probably result in many friendly helicopters being shot down.
 
Vintage
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Re: How to defend against slow unmanned strike vehicles?

Fri Oct 28, 2022 2:45 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Vintage wrote:
These small drones are extremely short range so the US will probably be watching them unpack the drone before it even takes off
Not all drones are the same. Some have very long legs. Some just sit a couple of miles from the front line and spy with powerful optics. Some navigate via GPS, some via optics.

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