A mini unmmaned aerial vehicle, did not reach the desired landing zone during artillery drills. And disappeared.
The Flyeye drone has lost contact with the ground operator on May 7, near Torun, Poland, when it was going to land and was redirected towards the alternative landing zone near Skulsk. It never reached the place eventually.
Several other UAVs and a ground search group are also looking for the lost drone but where unable to locate it due to the difficult terrain conditions.
The cause for the unmanned aircraft not reaching the landing zone is still unknown. Since the drone was flying a training sortie, representatives of the manufacturer were also present during the drill.
These ruled out the operator’s error as a possible cause for the incident that, instead, might have been caused by Software error, since the new version of code was tested during the drill.
Flyeye is manufactured by the Polish company WB Electronics, which is a part of a larger Flytronic company. Its first public appearance took place in Paris, during the Eurosatory Arms Fair in 2010. Its operational use included SAR operations in Poland and mission flown for Nil (Nile) – one of the Polish Special Operations Units. The mini-UAV has also found a wide application during the Afghan conflict.
The drone, worth 25,000 Euro, has a wingspan of 4 meters and weight of 11 kg. It can be launched by hand. Its max speed is 170 km/h and operational ceiling is 6.000 m. It can fly between 2 and 4 hours. Its main purpose is to conduct recce missions for artillery.
During a press meeting Polish Minister of National Defence, Tomasz Siemoniak, stated laughing that if anyone finds the drone, they should return it to the nearest police station. He also claimed, on Twitter, that the person who finds the drone would be invited to be an observer during the Anaconda-14 drill, which is to be organized later this year.
UPDATE [May 10. 2014]: The search operation has been cancelled according to Polish MoD spokesman, Jacek Sońta. WB Electronics decided to supply a new UAV for the miliitary in order to cover the expenses.
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.
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.
It’s a semi-autonomous pilotless system that will feature an intercontinental range and will be able to carry a wide variety of weapons, including PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions) and air-to-air missiles.
The Royal Air Force already operates a fleet of Reaper drones from RAF Waddington airbase.
Towards the end of September, the Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced that Tehran managed to develop and produce a new type drone, dubbed Ra’ad 85 (Thunder 85).
But, unlike all the other Iranian UAVs, Ra’ad 85 is a suicide remotely piloted vehicle capable of destroying both fixed and mobile targets.
According to the commander, the “mobile bomb-like drone” has been produced in various sizes in order to be used against different types of targets, including enemy helicopters.
Iran TV has recently aired a video about the brand new UAV/PGM killer drone. What is somehow surprising is that the Iranian drone (whose shape reminds the one of the Mohajer family of UAVs) seems to be patched with duct tape, that is particularly evident in the nose and gear area.
The patches may have been applied during the testing activity and considered the unmanned aircraft will be crashed into its intended target there’s no need to use state of the art technology and materials.
Still, the presence of the duct tape gives an idea of an amateurish project, even if the fact that footage includes scenes filmed inside a ground control station is a sign that Ra’ad is probably something more than a large RC model.