The US Army is making new drones to replace the RQ-7B Shadow which will give brigade commanders’ primary day/night, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition system. Commanders will see and understand the battlespace and gain situational awareness on the battlefield. They will takeoff like helicopters and will not need a runway. The new drones will be quieter and more survivable.
Heavily protected areas will be observable and provide immediate situational awareness on the battlefield.
The US Army is mainly facing sneak attacks, IED (improvised explosives) and attacks from an enemy that is hiding.
The new drones will be loaded up with sensors. They will have modern datalinks, Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/ IR) sensors, Infra-Red/Laser pointer/Laser designator/Laser range finder and data encryption.
If the Army can find the enemy then regular soldiers with current gear can destroy the enemy.
Here are the capabilities of some of the lead competing systems.
Arcturus UAV’s Jump 20 VTOL is a quad-rotor lift system that is a variant of the company’s T-20 fixed-wing tactical UAV. The T-20 has been used by the Navy for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions for several years. The composite Jump 20 has a maximum takeoff weight of 215 pounds (97.5 kilograms), with a maximum speed of 72 knots and a rated ceiling of 15,000 feet. At maximum payload and fuel load, the Jump 20 delivers 12-plus hours of endurance.
The Aerosonde HQ UAS uses a Lycoming EL-005 heavy fuel engine, has 8-hour endurance and a 10,000-foot service ceiling. The airframe, ground support equipment and generators, fit onto a 463L pallet internal to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
SOURCES – Army.mil, Inside unmanned systems
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com