Tiny camera quadcopter

(This isn't meant as an advertisement; the other colour is sold out already and I suppose the red one will be sold out soon anyway.)

A decade or two ago these things were called micro or nano UAVs (before the DoD invented the acronym UAS) and were considered to be sci fi. Now they're for sale for 25 bucks. Sure, they lack radio encryption and jamming would be a piece of cake. Then again, even Predator and Reaper drones didn't have encryption for a long time.

It's practically for certain that a peacetime development and purchase program for such pieces of equipment would take 5+ years until some pieces are available for use. Then add 2-6 more years till field manuals and training caught up with it. The commercial sector is well ahead of the military sector in this area.

Soldiers have purchased commercial equipment to fix shortcomings of officially issued individual equipment for generations, and maybe we should begin to understand such unofficial equipment as normal, and adapt in doctrine and training accordingly. After all, it's not only our troops who do this - it's the opposing forces as well. Doctrine cannot presuppose that our troops are equipped with certain individually sourced equipment, but it can and maybe should presuppose that opposing forces troops do so. 
Let's stop assuming that they will use some well-documented ancient 1980's radios - expect Motorola radios with 256 bit encryption instead, for example. Camo, decoys, ballistic protection, (commandeered) commercial 4x4 motor vehicles, DIY GPS jammers, commercial 800 m laser rangefinders et cetera should be expected as well.


1 comment:

  1. France 24 has an interesting interview from around 2 min onwards about the IS use of bombquadcopters.

    The long retreat and heavy attrition they suffered have greatly reduced their indirect fire support from some to very little indeed. It seems that those mini-bombers are able to harass their opponents a bit and deny them the use of the highest roof but mostly just make their opponents somewhat wary.

    For a conventional force with even a moderate available indirect fire support (a couple of 120mm mortars) such mini-bombers could arguably be counter-productive in the long run by considerably reducing the recce and observation value of those small UAS.

    A micro-drone like the Cheerson xc-10c with live feed video seems to a be a neat squad asset for the short distance fight. In fact the 30 odd meter range with weak radio signals makes a electronic detection unlikely and the lack of encryption less problematic.*

    It could give squads a quick look over a wall, on dead ground or into houses. If you pre-program a flight path and camera route, jamming will be much harder. Direct control would be useful in other occasions...

    To sum it up, smart foes will use plenty of commercial products like those mentioned by you. At the very least smart OPFOR should let of the leash to aquire, test, train and fight with such tools. Rapid procurement of superior alternatives would be the logical next step...


    *Ideally it should have it of course - however at what cost and when?