Category Archives: Drones

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

MG vs Target Drone

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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Iranian UAV spotted over Syria could be a heavily modified drone (with Predator inputs)

Shahed 129 modified

A better look at the images of the Iranian drone emerged so far highlighted something interesting.

New screenshots coming from Syria give a better view of the Shahed 129 spotted over Damascus on Apr. 10.

Noteworthy, such photos show that the version used by the Syrian Armed Forces of the made-in-Iran UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), is sensibly different by the one unveiled in September 2013 in Tehran.

Indeed, the remotely piloted aircraft features a nose section whose shape resembles that of a U.S. Predator/Reaper and a tall antenna mounted on top of it.

Judge by comparing the image on top with the following one:

US MQ-9

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

This seemingly extensive modifications make the drone’s front part more similar to an MQ-9/1 than a Israeli Hermes 450 model.

Iran is not unfamiliar with domestic modifications to western drones: they have been able to recover/capture some U.S. remotely piloted aircraft, including a Scan Eagle (and the famous stealthy RQ-170).

The question is: did they put their hands on some parts of an MQ-9 as well?

 H/T to Kasra Ghanbari for the heads-up

 

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Iranian Shahed 129 drone appears over Damascus

Shahed 129

Footage filmed in Syria once again shows a made-in-Iran drone flying over Damascus.

A “Shahed 129″, type of drone based on the Israeli Hermes 450 model or the Watchkeeper 450 model, but larger than those types, was spotted over Syria on Apr. 10.

The Shahed 129 is a remotely piloted vehicle claimed to have an endurance of 24 hours and an operative range up to 2,000 kilometers. Noteworthy, in September 2013, Tehran unveiled a version of Shahed 129 domestically modified to carry weapons, making the Iranian drone a real UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle).

Still, the Shahed filmed today doesn’t seem to carry any weapon, at least based on the blurry images currently available.

It’s not the first time a new Iranian drone was delivered to Assad: in November 2013, a Yasir drone, a modified copy of the Boeing ScanEagle (captured by the Iranians in 2012) was filmed over Damascus suburb Hujaira AlBalad, in Syria.

The comment we made back then is still valid today: it’s at least funny how fast any “new” Iranian UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is delivered to Assad’s forces.

 

H/T to @hlk01 for the heads-up

 

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Russia’s new unmanned aerial vehicle “Altius” unveiled

Altius front

Russian TV has released a video showing the first prototype of the Altius UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

1tv.ru has recently posted a video showing the first prototype the Altius UAV.

The footage was filmed during a visit to the Kazan-based Sokol plant by the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Mar. 25.

As already emerged last year, when some images were leaked and Russia allegedly attempted to remove them from Internet, UAV Altius 001 is a high-winged aircraft apparently powered by two turboprop engines, with slab-sided rear fuselage and a V-shaped tail.

According to the information available to date, Altius drone is going to be a long-endurance UAV with capability to perform a wide variety of tasks, including strike missions.

 

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This is the effect of a Brimstone missile launched by a Reaper drone on a SUV

Brimstone

A series of images show the effects of Dual Mode Brimstone missiles fired by an MQ-9 Reaper drone. By the way, the trucks in the opening image are different ones.

With nine direct hits on high speed, maneuvering vehicles, MBDA has successfully demonstrated its Dual Mode Brimstone missile on an MQ-9 Reaper.

The tests were conducted in December 2013 and January 2014 at the U.S. Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, on behalf of UK Ministry of Defence by the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Air Warfare Centre Unmanned Air Systems Test and Evaluation Squadron, Defence Equipment & Support Weapons Operating Centre, United States Air Force’s BIG SAFARI Organisation, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated and MBDA.

According to an MBDA release, “the firings were taken from realistic ‘middle of the envelope’ profiles; typically 20,000ft release altitude and 7km – 12km plan range, with the platform being remotely piloted in operationally representative beyond line of sight (SATCOM) conditions, with tracking and designation of targets being conducted in a mixture of manual-track and auto-track modes.”

Brimstone is a fire and forget anti-armour missile that had a starring role in the Air War over Libya, when RAF fired a good number of these advanced weapons with impressive results.

These small guided missiles have a range of 7.5 miles and use a millimeter wave (mmW) radar seeker with a semi-active laser (SAL) that enables final guidance to the target by either the launching platform or another plane, and are perfect for small targets, individuals, buildings and fast-moving vehicles.

With a warhead of 9 kg, capable of destroying a vehicle with very low collateral damage risk, and an accuracy of about 1 – 2 meters, the dual-mode (radar – laser) Brimstone missile proved to be the weapons of choice of the RAF Tornados when engaging ground vehicles, attracting the interest of other coalition partners.

As Brimstone is an extensive redevelopment of the AGM-114 Hellfire it can be used on fast jets, helicopters and UAV’s: the Dual Mode Brimstone can provide Reaper crews with a weapon that reduces collateral damage risk while preserving first pass, single shot lethality against high speed manoeuvring targets on land and at sea.

MBDA-Brimstone-Reaper

Image credit: MBDA

 

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