Drones, control the sky to capture the ground – new look to the modern warfare

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones have revolutionized the capabilities of the modern warfare. Drones are not just the typical killing machines, with the advancement in technology, it is also used to coordinate infantry, artillery and tanks. It has become a weapon of choice for the future warfare, keeping intact its high level of effectiveness, low price range and a relatively high degree of deniability on the battleground.

It is observed that US has the most advanced technology in terms of drones, but India too is planning to step in by importing UAVs that can carry out strikes on enemy targets with standoff missiles, apart from Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The Indian Armed Forces have invested a huge amount for the same, with the latest add-on being the two predator series drones for the Indian Navy as an emergency procurement against China in Ladakh and the Indian Ocean.

In a recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the latter one captured the former’s national territories by its drone fleet. To have a control on the ground, controlling the sky is a necessity, and integration of drones for counterinsurgency, conventional and counterterrorism operations allows the soldiers to enhance the overall operational efficiency and remain protected from the action.

UAVs nature of persistence, invulnerability and precision helps to minimize collateral damage and casualties by observing, evaluating and then taking the required action. Also, drones are of much cheaper value than aircrafts, therefore, they can be bought in large numbers, giving rise to new concepts in the war front. In 2020, the global military drone market stood at US$10.68 billion and is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 12.2 per cent to reach US$23.78 billion by 2027.

Some of the major operations that can be carried out by drones also include- bombings and intelligence gatherings, minimized loss of lives, targeted assassinations etc. If Electro-Optical or Infra-Red sensors are built in drones, it will help in accurate tracking of targets to provide real time information to the concerned military commanders for successful Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations. UAVs can be of a major help when transferring essential supplies like, food, ammunition, military tools etc., irrespective of how the weather conditions are.

Combat drones are upgraded with Swarm technology, where a swarm of drones looks just like a flock of birds flying together. With the help of biomimicry and Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, a swarm of drones can locate targets in a wider area and destroy them. It can also help in search and rescue operations in inhospitable regions. The high quality cameras and thermal payloads allow the drone swarm to discover unreachable locations and deliver messages for evacuation. Photogrammetry technique of having a 3D image of the battleground with the help of drones helps to have a real time planning for operations.

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