Stunning video of machine guns shooting at target drones shows how difficult hitting a remotely piloted aircraft can be

Apr 14 2014 - 12 Comments

This video shows how difficult shooting down a small UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) can be.

Along with larger UAVs, armed forces around the world also employ several types of smaller remotely piloted planes. Such drones are used for a wide variety of tactical missions, including battlefield surveillance and targeting.

When we posted the images of the bird-like drone believed to be used by the U.S. Army in Pakistan and Iraq someone argued that these small aircraft, more similar to a RC model than a standard UAV, could be an easy target for small arms fire.

This video shows that, given to skilled pilots, these tiny planes can be extremely difficult to hit, even for some trained shooters, thus explaining why they are used in combat quite often.

Filmed during a shooting event at Big Sandy range, in Arizona, the footage shows several MGs shooting at a small drone flying back and forth along a 1/4 mile firing line at day and night.

“I’m sure to those who have never shot a machine gun outside of Call of Duty, it looks like it would be easy to shoot these down,” says the uploader in the about section of the Youtube video. “The vital components of the plane like the engine, battery, receiver, fuel tank, etc. are very small. The main body of the plane is pretty tough and can take numerous hits without affecting it.”

Hence, unless you have plenty of ammo, skilled shooters and patience, such small drones flying over your position can be extremely difficult to shoot down.

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  • Honokaa Chuck

    No wonder the US Navy is planning to use lasers to shoot down drones! LOL

  • Type 40

    These knob-jockey gun-happy rednecks couldn’t hit a barn door at 10 metres.

  • Allan Schneider

    Brave Guys. Shooting at showing that does not shoot back. I am RC Modeler and would like to rectify that . But I think that is not going to happen.

  • C-Low

    Looked like three guys shooting,one going rambo standing reflex, so I would call that 2 actual shooters. Regardless two points, 1. UAV operators have to fly stable controlled patters not spinning curving patters, 2. looking at the after report there was actually allot of hits in the UAV.

    So this is cool looking but in the real world deployed UAV fly controlled stable routes (often under AI) with no situational awareness to know they are being shot at and the aggressors/defenders will either have one pass or multiple orbits to target.

    My takeaway from the video was those trying to shoot down a UAV they need tracers and incendiary rounds. Tracers would make a big difference in targeting (why every AAgun fires tracers) and incendiaries would make many of those wing hits critical hits.

  • R.Lopaka

    SERPENTINE!!!! Gee, That’s quite a big pile of shot up drones!!! Wonder if any are duck hunters.

  • Gothamite

    So is this 8 minutes of wasting ammunition?

  • Ming the Merciless

    It can be done, A Zero-sen pilot is on record to have been killed by the parachutist, Lt Baggett he was trying to murder in WW II…Japanese authority acknowledge he died of a bullet to the head then crashed the plane.

    http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/m1911-gets-a-zero/

    The Japanese pilots fired on the floating crew killing some and wounding Lt. Baggett in the arm. The story goes that when the pilot who fired upon Baggett came around for a look, the young lieutenant hung limply in his harness as if dead. The ruse worked because the fighter raised his canopy as he flew within feet of the parachute giving Baggett an opportunity. As the plane soared by, Baggett raised his M1911A1 .45 and fired four rounds at the plane, which banked before stalling and crashing into the ground.

  • Jeff Heeszel

    Thanks for sharing my video. It’s difficult enough to track these little planes on camera and even harder to determine where the plane will be when the bullets are sent down range. I think what impressed me the most was how the pilot could maintain orientation of the plane at night with all the tracers and fireworks obscuring his view.

  • Marco

    Hunting ducks a shotgun is much better than a MG.
    Not to mention jamming that signal to the ground operator.

    Drones are great vs banana republics and people think they are the ultimate weapon, while at the moment they are not much more than target practice for the AD (bigger ones) or target practice for hunters (small ones).

  • Rudy

    They should better try with a shotgun !

  • Chris Snake

    There is no comparison to a drone here…the drones we use aren’t cutting ninja flips and barrel rolls like a WWI Flying Ace…so hitting a drone is alot easier at the rate it is going than these BS targets…

  • Slate Riprock

    That is an RC airplane. Drones would not be able to capture images or ‘laze’ targets with all the speed and manuevering that aircraft is doing. This is simply a powered, fiberglass clay-pidgeon. Shotguns would be better weapons than those 30-cals and MG42′s.

    This video isn’t worthy of the Aviationist.