As a new air combat force, UAV is favored by all countries because of its characteristics of zero casualties, non-contact and long-range operation. With the development of energy technology, chip technology, flight control technology, navigation technology, communication technology and space management technology, military UAV is embedded in the battlefield more and more deeply, revolutionizing the new mode of modern war. UAV has its own operational advantages, which is the source power for it to move from “shallow” to “deep”. At present, the relationship between military UAV and battlefield can be summarized in two words – “deep embedded”. This is not only the new practice of military UAV at present, but also the general trend of UAV in the future battlefield.
This new practice is different from the previous “shallow” mode when UAV is only used as reconnaissance or attack means. It is characterized by integrating into a certain combat system, and the combat effect is twice the result with half the effort. The formation of this trend is because UAV has many advantages in combat, which makes it have “capital” and capability in vertical and horizontal battlefields. Zero casualties and less “scruples” in combat. No matter what form of war, reducing casualties on our side is the goal that commanders strive to pursue. Using UAV to replace UAV to perform high-risk combat tasks, even if UAV battle damage occurs, it is usually difficult to fundamentally shake the fighting will of the attacker. Low manufacturing cost and obvious combat effectiveness. With the application of 3D printing, nano and other new technologies and some new materials in the military field, the manufacturing cost of UAV is reduced, but the combat efficiency is improved. Nowadays, the number of UAVs has increased sharply, and the military application range is wider. Strong endurance and fast pace of operation. Restricted by the physiological limit of pilots, usually, the single flight time of tactical aircraft is about 4 hours. If a large-scale air campaign is organized, because the flight time is limited, the manned aircraft can only attack 2 to 3 waves a day, and there is a long interval. The flight time of large and medium-sized UAVs is generally more than 12 hours. After aerial refueling, the empty time can exceed 50 hours. “Tireless” enables UAVs to carry out “uninterrupted” continuous operations.
Intelligent upgrade, there is a lot of room for improvement. After experiencing the development stages of manual remote control and autonomous flight control, UAV is now entering the stage of “intelligent autonomous mission control”. A new generation of UAV with actuarial mode is being endowed with autonomous combat function to a certain extent. The U.S. military conducted experiments. One large stealth aircraft cooperated with four medium stealth UAVs to confront eight F-22 supported by early warning aircraft, and achieved a battle damage ratio of 8:0! From this, we can see that UAV cluster operation has considerable room for improvement. The eye-catching actual combat performance and the frequent “appearance” of new technologies and new combat methods have accelerated the embedding of UAVs into a broader battlefield. Since UAVs are applied to the battlefield, their effectiveness and power have gradually appeared. Not to mention that the current drone swarm attack has achieved the purpose of increasing efficiency by quantity – the attack of multiple drones on Saudi oil facilities in 2019 can be exemplified. Just talking about the old profession of drone reconnaissance and surveillance is enough to make UAVs “settle down” on the battlefield. With the integration of observation and combat and the use of relevant combat methods, UAV has an irreplaceable position and role in the battlefield with a series of eye-catching actual combat performance. In 2002, an MQ-1 predator unmanned reconnaissance aircraft quickly found and locked down the leader of Al Qaeda, Harris, according to information. After receiving the instruction, the UAV fired a “Hellfire” missile at Harris’s off-road vehicle and killed him, thus opening the prelude to the UAV’s use in air raid.
In the previous battle in the Bekaa Valley, Israel used two bait UAVs, Samson and witch, to lure the Syrian air defense radar to start aiming and complete the reconnaissance of the Syrian air defense system. Since then, in just a few minutes, under the attack of Israeli electronic warfare aircraft, fighters, attack aircraft and surface to surface missiles, 19 Syrian air defense missile positions were instantly destroyed. It can be said that the actual combat performance of UAV makes it “stand firm” on the battlefield. The continuous emergence of new achievements in UAV research and development may give UAVs a broader place to use “force”. From the perspective of activity range, with the application of new materials and the breakthrough of battery technology, the flight altitude and empty time of UAV have increased sharply. Some solar UAVs can fly at an altitude of more than 20 kilometers, or even reach the stratosphere. If used for military purposes, they can always stay over the target area, making the opponent’s actions impossible to hide. The “Hefeng” solar unmanned aircraft developed by Airbus has been flying at high altitude for 14 days. Some research teams are also verifying whether the aircraft can be propelled by accelerated ionized gas, and have done relevant tests. In terms of the depth embedded in the battlefield, the stealth UAV can go deep behind the enemy to perform tasks. Compared with the previous UAV that only some professional technicians can operate and use, the emergence of individual Tactical UAV will make the real-time reconnaissance and attack in a certain period of time and area more frequent. From the perspective of cluster use mode, the mode of “UAV + UAV” is taking shape. Russia’s su-57 fighter equipped with “Hunter” UAV, the “loyal wingman” project of the United States and Australia, and the attempts of some other countries all reflect this trend. Some countries have also tested “flying” UAVs from military helicopters. The research and development of UAV bee colony is also in full swing, which indicates that UAVs are becoming “weapons of mass destruction”.
In terms of the number of research, development and use subjects, more countries began to pay attention to the research, development and use of military UAVs. Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and other countries have achieved certain results. Many countries buy UAVs and put them in the army. This also indicates that UAVs will be deeply embedded in the battlefield in the future. The future development will pay more attention to the improvement of quality and efficiency, and the main way of UAV “embedded” in the battlefield will not change much. From the current process of UAV R & D and application, the development direction of military UAV will be relatively clear for a long time in the future, and will pay more attention to the improvement of quality and efficiency, and achieve “embedded” through “hard training” in the following aspects The purpose of the battlefield. Higher and faster. High altitude can ensure the safety of UAV; High speed, which can achieve rapid attack on time sensitive targets. Take flying to high altitude as an example. The altitude of 20 km to 100 km may become a new stage for some military UAVs to show their strength. With the support of new aerodynamic layout and power technology, the “ghost eye” and “global observer” of American liquid hydrogen power and the “west wind” of British solar power have broken through a series of key technologies. Russia has also made progress in the development of high-altitude long endurance UAVs. In addition to the bas-62 new strategic campaign UAV, it has also developed two other high-altitude UAVs, one of which can follow the satellite to perform high-altitude continuous monitoring tasks. hide from public notice. The stealth of UAV is still the development trend in the future, so as to better carry out high-end combat tasks such as proximity reconnaissance and penetrating attack.
Following the United States, France, Russia and other countries are also actively involved in this field. In 2019, the Russian “hunter-b” UAV was exposed online, which means that Russia has entered the advanced ranks in the field of heavy stealth UAV research and development. Give equal attention to interruptions. For quite a long time, the implementation of electronic warfare will still be an important decisive means. In addition to carrying out reconnaissance and strike missions, unmanned aircraft should also be able to carry out electronic warfare. One is the UAV used as bait. That is, by mounting a combined vision or infrared visual feature amplifier, simulate the electronic signals and tactical actions of various fighters, lure the other party’s radar to power on, and then spy on the enemy’s radar position and frequency band. Second, it is used as an electronic jammer. That is, by allowing multiple small UAVs to carry jamming equipment and spread over the battlefield in different regions, the whole network coverage jamming suppression of high, medium and low frequencies is implemented to achieve the jamming effect of manned large EW aircraft. Third, the UAV is used as a communication node. That is to meet the communication needs of weapons and equipment in a certain area through the unmanned aircraft network. Saturated clusters. In the future, UAVs with the ability to form a “swarm” will continue to be the focus of research and development. In this regard, the “neuron” UAV jointly developed by six European countries is typical. It has the ability to automatically capture and independently identify targets, and solves the technical problems of formation control, information fusion, data communication between UAVs, tactical decision-making and fire coordination. The new “ghost” UAV developed by Britain can support both stand-alone and cluster operations. This kind of UAV will continue to become the research and development focus of various countries, and eventually develop into a new battlefield weapon with complete functions of automatic navigation, man in the loop command and control and swarm cooperative operation.
Editor in charge: PJ