UAVs

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RQ-1 Predator is a long-endurance, medium-altitude unmanned aircraft system for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Surveillance imagery from synthetic aperture radar, video cameras and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) can be distributed in real-time both to the front line soldier and to the operational commander, or worldwide in real-time via satellite communication links. MQ-1, armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, is the multi-role version which is used for armed reconnaissance and interdiction.

A contract was awarded to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in January 1994 to execute the Tier II, medium-altitude endurance Predator programme. The Predator system first flew in 1994 and entered production in August 1997.

Predator UAV operations and deployments
Predators are currently in production for the US Air Force and are operational with the USAF 11th and 15th Reconnaissance Squadrons. Over 125 Predators have been delivered to the USAF. 36 additional MQ-1B Predators (with Hellfire missile installation kits) were ordered in September 2007. Six Predator UAVs are in service with the Italian Air Force. Italian company Meteor was responsible for assembly of five of the six. The Italian system was deployed to Iraq in January 2005.

"Predator is a long-endurance, medium-altitude unmanned aircraft system for surveillance and reconnaissance."
Predator UAVs have been operational in Bosnia since 1995 in support of Nato, UN and US operations and as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying over 500,000 flight hours on over 50,000 flights. The MQ-1 Predator achieved initial operating capability (IOC) in February 2005.

General Atomics is the prime contractor and the main subcontractors include: Versatron / Wescam for the electro-optical Skyball Gimbal; Northrop Grumman for the synthetic aperture radar; L3 Communication for the wideband satellite communications link; and Boeing for the intelligence workstation and mission planning system.

In February 2001, the Hellfire-C laser-guided missile was successfully fired from a Predator air vehicle in flight tests at Nellis air force base, Nevada. In November 2002 in Yemen, a Predator UAV was used to drop a Hellfire missile which destroyed a civilian vehicle carrying suspected terrorists. A Northrop Grumman Bat submunition was successfully dropped and a FINDER mini-UAV launched from a Predator UAV in August 2002.

Predator B Skywarrior
In May 1998 General Atomics was awarded a block 1 upgrade contract to expand the capabilities of the Predator system. System upgrades include development of an improved relief-on-station (ROS) system which allows continuous coverage over areas of interest without any loss of time on station, secure air traffic control voice relay, Ku-band satellite tuning and implementation of an air force mission support system (AFMSS).

The upgrade also covers a more powerful turbocharged engine and wing de-icing systems to enable year-round operations. The upgraded Predator, the Predator B, was first operational in the Balkans.

In August 2005, a version of Predator B, called Sky Warrior, was chosen for the four-year system development and demonstration (SDD) phase of the US Army's extended range / multi-purpose (ER/MP) UAV programme – 11 Sky Warrior systems, each with 12 air vehicles and five ground control stations.

Initial operating capability was achieved in 2009. Two block 0 Sky Warrior UAVs were deployed to Iraq in April 2008.

Also in August 2005, the US Department of Homeland Security / Customs and Border Protection (DHS/CBP) ordered two Predator B systems for monitoring of the USA's south-west border. The first was delivered in late 2005, the second in September 2006. Two further systems were ordered in October 2006, for monitoring operations on the border with Canada.

MQ-9 Reaper Hunter / Killer UAV
In March 2005, the USAF awarded a further contract for the system design and development (SDD) of MQ-9 Reaper Hunter / Killer. 21 MQ-9 have been ordered and eight delivered to the USAF.

The first USAF MQ-9 squadron, the 42nd Attack Squadron, was formed in March 2007, based at Creech AFB in Nevada.

The USAF first deployed the MQ-9 Reaper to Afghanistan in October 2007 for precision airstrikes. The MQ-9 Reaper flew its first operational mission in Iraq in July 2008.

The MQ-9 Reaper has an operational ceiling of 50,000ft, a maximum internal payload of 800lb and external payload over 3,000lb. It can carry up to four Hellfire II anti-armour missiles and two laser-guided bombs (GBU-12 or EGBU-12) and 500lb GBU-38 JDAM (joint direct attack munition). In May 2008, a USAF Reaper successfully test dropped four Raytheon GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II 500lb bombs, which have laser and GPS guidance.

The MQ-9 sensor payload can include the General Atomics Lynx SAR (synthetic aperture radar). Lynx also features ground moving target indicator technology. The Predator is to be flight tested with a L-3 communications tactical common datalink (TCDL).

"The Predator B unmanned air vehicle has an operational ceiling of 50,000ft."
In September 2006, the UK requested the foreign military sale (FMS) of two MQ-9 Reaper systems with Lynx SAR, multi-spectral targeting systems and one ground station. Deliveries began in mid-2007 and the RAF deployed the system in Afghanistan in November 2007. In January 2008, the UK requested the sale of an additional ten MQ-9 systems.

In August 2008, Italy requested the sale of four MQ-9 Reaper systems with three ground stations.

System components
A typical Predator system configuration would include four aircraft, one ground control system and one Trojan Spirit II data distribution terminal. The Predator air vehicle is 27ft in length and has a 49ft wingspan. The system operates at an altitude of 25,000ft and at a range of 400nm.

The endurance of the air vehicle is more than 40 hours and the cruise speed is over 70kt. The air vehicle is equipped with UHF and VHF radio relay links, a C-band line-of-sight data link which has a range of 150nm and UHF and Ku-band satellite data links.

Payload
The surveillance and reconnaissance payload capacity is 450lb and the vehicle carries electro-optical and infrared cameras and a synthetic aperture radar. The two-colour DLTV television is equipped with a variable zoom and 955mm Spotter. The high resolution FLIR has six fields of view, 19mm to 560mm.

The Raytheon multi-spectral targeting system (MTS-A) is fitted on the MQ-1/9 Predator. The MTS-A provides real-time imagery selectable between infrared and day TV as well as a laser designation capability. MQ-1 can employ two laser-guided Hellfire anti-armour missiles with the MTS.

The Northrop Grumman TESAR synthetic aperture radar is fitted on the MQ-1 and provides all-weather surveillance capability, has a resolution of 1ft. Other payload options, which can be selected to meet mission requirements, include a laser designator and rangefinder, electronic support and countermeasures and a moving target indicator (MTI).

The USAF equipped a number of MQ-1 and MQ-9 Predators with a version of the Northrop Grumman airborne signals intelligence payload (ASIP) in 2010. Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract for the development and flight testing of the system on an MQ-1 in April 2008. ASIP has also been tested on the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft and fitted on the RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Ground station
The UAV ground control station is built into a single 30ft trailer, containing pilot and payload operator consoles, three Boeing data exploitation and mission planning consoles and two synthetic aperture radar workstations together with satellite and line-of-sight ground data terminals.

"Predator is 27ft in length and has a 49ft wingspan."
The ground control station can send imagery data via a landline to the operational users or to the Trojan Spirit data distribution system which is equipped with a 5.5m dish for Ku-band ground data terminal and a 2.4m dish for data dissemination.

Operation
Predator follows a conventional launch sequence from a semi-prepared surface under direct line-of-sight control. The take-off and landing length is typically 2,000ft. The mission can be controlled through line-of-site data links or through Ku-band satellite links to produce continuous video.

Video signals received in the ground control station are passed to the Trojan Spirit van for worldwide intelligence distribution or directly to operational users via a commercial global broadcast system. Command users are able to task the payload operator in real-time for images or video on demand.

Predator RQ-1 / MQ-1 / MQ-9 Reaper UAV - Airforce Technology
 
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Predator UAV carrying an Hellfire-C laser-guided missile.
 
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RQ-1A Predator is a long endurance, medium altitude unmanned aircraft system for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It has a Ku-band satellite data link to provide over-the-horizon mission capabilities.
 
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  • UITED 40 block 5



    Overview

    UNITED 40 block 5 is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, designed and manufactured by ADCOM Systems for strategic missions including:

    • Near real time (NRT) combat assessment
    • Battle damage assessment (BDA)
    • Intelligence preparation of the battlefield
    • Special operations, reconnaissance operations and humanitarian aid
    • Border surveillance and communications relay.

    The ultra-long endurance of the UNITED 40 block 5 comes from its glider-like, high aspect ratio wings. It can carry a gimbaled camera platforms.



    Specifications:

    Wingspan 17.53 m57.53 ft
    Length 11.13 m36.54 ft
    Height 4.38 m14.37 ft
    Total lifting area24.3 sqm261.56 sqft
    Empty weight 950 kg2094 lb
    Max. take-off weight 2000 kg4409 lb
    Payload weight 1050 kg2315 lb
    Fuel tank capacity1400 lt370 gallon


    Flight Performance:

    Stall speed90 km/h[25 m/s]49 kt
    Cruise speed120-200 km/h[33-55 m/s]65-108 kt
    Enduranceover 100 hrs
    Ceiling8000 m26000 ft
    Power230 hp


























  • UNITED 40
    Overview


    UNITED 40 is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, designed and manufactured by ADCOM Systems for strategic missions including:


    • Near real time (NRT) combat assessment
    • Battle damage assessment (BDA)
    • Intelligence preparation of the battlefield
    • Special operations, reconnaissance operations and humanitarian aid
    • Border surveillance and communications relay.



    The ultra-long endurance of the UNITED 40 comes from its glider-like, high aspect ratio wings. It can carry a gimbaled camera platforms.


    Specifications:

    Wingspan 20 m65.61 ft
    Length 11.13 m36.54 ft
    Height 4.38 m14.37 ft
    Total lifting area24.3 sqm261.56 sqft
    Empty weight 520 kg1146 lb
    Max. take-off weight 1500 kg3306 lb
    Payload weight 1000 kg2204 lb
    Fuel tank capacity900 lt237 gallon

    Power
    Hybrid
    • Main engine: 115 hp
    • Electric power : 80 hp


    Flight Performance:

    Stall speed50 km/h[14 m/s]26 kt
    Cruise speed75-220 km/h[20-60 m/s]40-120 kt
    Endurance120 hrs
    Ceiling7000 m23000 ft


    Dimensions
    Wingspan20 m65.6 ft
    Length
    11.13 m

    36.56 ft
    Height

    4.38 m14.37 ft

    Payloads:


    • Two gyro-stabilized platforms
    • 4 PODs located under wings with 100kg weight capability each
    • SAR and sonar terrain avoidance











    SMART EYE 1

    Overview


    SMART EYE 1 is a high performance UAV optimized for efficient cruise with high aspect-ratio wings and laminar airfoils.
    The flying qualities are superb; it is very stable, good turbulence resistance and docile stall.
    Climb is excellent, even at a high angle of attack.
    Due to the small dimension it can be used as tactical UAV."


    Specifications:
    Wingspan 4.4 m14.4 ft
    Length 3.26 m10.7 ft
    Height 0.9 m2.95 ft
    Total lifting area2.4 sqm25.83 sqft
    Fuselage length3.0 m9.84 ft
    Empty weight 50 kg110 lb
    Max. take-off weight 100 kg220 lb
    Payload weight 20 - 40 kg44 - 88 lb
    Fuel tank capacity20 lt5.2 gallon
    Power2 x 17 hp

    Flight Performance:

    Stall speed70 km/h[19 m/s]37 kt
    Cruise speed150 km/h[41 m/s]80 kt
    Endurance2 hrs
    Ceiling3000 m9800 ft

    Dimensions:


    YABHON-R

  • Overview


    YABHON-R is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, designed and manufactured by ADCOM Systems for tactical missions including real time day and night reconnaissance and surveillance, search and rescue, border surveillance, remote area monitoring and other similar missions.


    YABHON-R is designed for short take off and landing using a semi-prepared short runway. It can land on wheels or by emergency parachute system.


    Features

    • Fully autonomous operation with ADCOM 3D FCU system for auto Navigation
    • Mission pre-planning capability, online mission profile update and recording
    • Wide range of payload sensors including IR, thermal imager, LDRF, and EO sensors
    • Retractable, steerable nose wheel for optimal operation
    • Capability to update third party SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar)


    Specifications

    Wingspan 6.5 m21.3 ft
    Length 5 m16.4 ft
    Height 2 m6.5 ft
    Total lifting area8 sqm86 sqft
    Fuselage length4 m13.1 ft
    Empty weight 270 kg595 lb
    Max. take-off weight 570 kg1257 lb
    Payload weight 60 -120 kg132 - 463 lb
    Fuel tank capacity240 lt63 gallon
    Power80/100 hp

    Flight Performance

    Stall speed92 km/h[25 m/s]50 kt
    Cruise speed120-240 km/h[33-66 m/s]65-130 kt
    Endurance27 hrs
    Ceiling6700 m22000 ft


    Dimensions

    Wingspan
    6.5 m21.3 ft
    Length

    5 m
    16.4 ft
    Height
    2 m6.5 ft
    Fuselage length
    4 m13.1 ft
    Total lifting area8 sqm86 sqft





    Payloads

    Wide range of payload sensors including:



    • IR
    • Thermal Imager
    • LDRF
    • EO sensors












 
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YABHON-RX

Overview


YABHON-RX is a tactical UAV used for day and night surveillance, search and rescue, border control, environmental monitoring and related unmanned missions.The airframe consists of a mid wing configuration with pod fuselage, single pusher engine, twin boom tail unit and fully retractable landing gear.

The airframe is made mainly as a sandwich of high density structural foam between glass fiber/epoxy skins. Airframe modules can be assembled easily in the field.

YABHON-RX is intended to be operated from a launcher and designed for fully automatic take-off and landing. An emergency parachute system provides full safety if power or command link failed.



Specifications

Wingspan 5.8 m19 ft
Length 3.75 m12.3 ft
Height 1 m3.28 ft
Empty weight 70 kg154 lb
Max. take-off weight 160 kg352 lb
Payload weight 50 kg110 lb
Fuel tank capacity50 lt13 gallon
Power50 hp



Flight Performance

Stall speed75 km/h[20 m/s]40 kt
Cruise speed204 km/h[57 m/s]110 kt
Maximum speed240 km/h[67 m/s]130 kt
Climbing rate (sea level)[27 m/s]
Endurance6 hrs
Ceiling (theoretical)5500 m18000 ft

Dimensions

Wingspan
5.8 m19 ft
Length

3.75 m
12.3 ft
Height
1 m3.28 ft


















  • SMART EYE
    Overview


    SMART EYE is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, designed and manufactured by ADCOM Systems for strategic missions including:

    • Near real time (NRT) combat assessment
    • Battle damage assessment (BDA)
    • Intelligence preparation of the battlefield
    • Special operations, reconnaissance operations and humanitarian aid
    • Border surveillance and communications relay

    The ultra-long endurance of the SMART EYE comes from its glider-like, high aspect ratio wings. It can carry two gimbaled camera platforms.

    Features:


    • Full autonomous operation with advanced FCU system
    • High glide ratio 30:1
    • Mission pre-planning capability, online mission profile update and recording
    • Wide range of payload sensors including IR, thermal imager LDRF, and EO sensors
    • Retractable, steerable nose wheel for optimal operation
    • Capability to update third party SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar)


    Specifications

    Wingspan 21 m68.9 ft
    Length 7 m22.97 ft
    Height 2 m6.5 ft
    Empty weight 450 kg992 lb
    Max. take-off weight 1000 kg2205 lb
    Payload weight 70 - 550 kg154 - 1212 lb
    Fuel tank capacity900 lt237 gallon
    Power80/100/115 hp


    Flight Performance

    Stall speed55 km/h[15 m/s]30 kt
    Cruise speed65-130 km/h[18-36 m/s]35-70 kt
    Maximum speed222 km/h[62 m/s]120 kt
    Endurance120 hrs
    Ceiling7300 m24000 ft


    Dimensions

    Wingspan
    21 m68.9 ft
    Length

    7 m
    22.97 ft
    Height
    2 m6.5 ft






    Payload

    Wide range of payload sensors including:


    • Two gyro-stabilized platforms
    • 4 PODs located under wings with 100kg weight capability each
    • SAR and sonar terrain avoidance

















 
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Global Hawk


Global Hawk
A combat-proven HALE UAS with extraordinary ISR capabilities, providing near-real-time high resolution imagery of large geographical areas all day and night in all types of weather. The Air Force Global Hawk evolved from DARPA technology and was deployed overseas shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Today, the active Global Hawk enterprise is made up of three complimentary systems. The Global Hawk Comms Gateway was unveiled in 2006 and operates the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), a communications system that receives, bridges, and distributes information among all participants in a battle. The Global Hawk Multi-INT is important for situation awareness and intelligence across huge areas of land and carries the sensor systems EISS (Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite) and ASIP (Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload). The Global Hawk Wide Area Surveillance carries the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP), which provides game-changing situational awareness and targeting information on both fixed and moving targets. The original Global Hawk model is now flown on scientific research missions by NASA.

Background:
Global Hawk has its origins in the 1995 High-Altitude Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (HAE UAV ACTD) program initiated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO). The Global Hawk effort succeeded because it focused on the design and construction of a practical air vehicle that was developmentally mature enough to be transitioned into an operational weapons system. While still a developmental system, the Global Hawk system began supporting overseas contingency operations only two months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The system has surpassed 125,000 flight hours and midway through 2014 had 100,000 combat/operational flight hours.

Distinctions:
World Records
  • April 23, 2001: Global Hawk became the first unmanned, powered aircraft to cross the world's largest ocean when it landed in Australia at 8:40 p.m. local time after a 23-hour, 20-minute trip across the Pacific Ocean.
  • March 29, 2013: Global Hawk set the endurance record for a full-scale, operational unmanned aircraft when it completed a 34.3 hour flight at altitudes up to 60,000 feet based out of Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. The pilots and crew were all women, which all set a record for the longest all-female Global Hawk flight.
Awards
  • Dr. James G. Roche Sustainment Excellence Award: The Global Hawk program received this prestigious award from the U.S. Air Force for demonstrating the most improved performance in aircraft maintenance and logistics readiness in fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Global Hawk showed significant improvements in aircraft availability, mission capability and total non-mission capability for maintenance and supply.
  • U.S. Air Force Safety Record: Global Hawk has been designated as the platform with the best safety record in the U.S. Air Force in 2013.
  • Robert J. Collier Trophy: In 2000, Northrop Grumman along with key government and industry partners received this coveted trophy for designing, building, testing, and operating Global Hawk.
  • Airworthiness Certification: Global Hawk is the first UAS to achieve a military airworthiness certification, which along with the certificate of authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, recognizes Global Hawk's ability to routinely fly within national airspace.
Specifications (Multi-INT and Wide Area Surveillance models)
Wingspan: 130.9 ft (39.9 m)
Length: 47.6 ft (14.5m)
Height: 15.4 ft (4.7 m)
Gross Take-off Weight: 32,250 lbs. (14,628 kg)
Maximum Altitude: 60,000 ft (18.3 km)
Payload : 3,000 lbs (1,360 kg)
Ferry Range: 12,300 nm (22,780 km)
Loiter Velocity: 310 knots True Air Speed (TAS)
On-station Endurance at 1,200 nm: 24 hrs
Maximum Endurance: 32+hrs

Global Hawk
 
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ANKA Multi-Role ISR System


ANKA, advanced Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) class Unmanned Aerial System, performs day and night, all-weather reconnaissance, target detection / identification and intelligence missions with its EO/IR and SAR payloads, featuring autonomous flight capability including Automatic Take-off and Landing.

ANKA incorporates a heavy-fuel engine and electro-expulsive Ice Protection System with an Advanced Ground Control Station and dual datalink allowing operational security and ease.

The system is expandable with a Transportable Image Exploitation Station, Radio Relay, Remote Video Terminal and SATCOM.

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Wing Span : 17.3m
  • Length : 8m
  • Powerplant : Heavy fuel engine (155 hp)
  • Payload Capacity : 200kg (full endurance)
  • Power 9kW
PERFORMANCE

  • Endurance : 24 hours
  • Service ceiling : 30,000ft (MSL)
  • Data range : 200km
MISSION CAPABILITIES

  • Day and night, all weather ISR mission capabilities with EO/IR/LD/LRF and SAR/ISAR/GMTI payloads
  • Fixed or moving target tracking capability
  • ATC radio relay over datalink
  • On-board data recording capability
  • Expansion capabilities including SATCOM, SIGINT & communications relay
  • Remote Video Terminal option
SYSTEM FEATURES

  • Fully automous operation
  • Dual-redundant flight control system
  • Dual-redundant automatic takeoff and landing system
  • Dual-redundant electrical power generation
  • Dual-redundant high data rate digital datalink
  • Electro-expulsive ice protection system
  • C-130 Transportability
  • Easy to Maintain
CONTROL STATION FEATURES

  • NATO compliant ACEIII type shelter
  • STANAG 4586 compliant
  • Redundant command and control consoles
  • Mission planning, management, simulation and playback capabilities
  • User-friendly MMI
  • External C4I Interfaces
 
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Not sure if this belongs in this group or not, but thought it would. With the use of drones becoming so much more prevalent, do you think it will eventually reach the level as to where drones are going to replace the human pilot and do aerial combat or are drones going to be only for tactical strikes?
 
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Not sure if this belongs in this group or not, but thought it would. With the use of drones becoming so much more prevalent, do you think it will eventually reach the level as to where drones are going to replace the human pilot and do aerial combat or are drones going to be only for tactical strikes?
I don't know. But all I can say is that many things were impossible in the past turned to be possible now.
 
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I think they are going to end up everywhere, doing everything. Amazon is getting ready to start delivering packages with a drone I take that as an indication that drones have a very big future ahead.
 
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I think they are going to end up everywhere, doing everything. Amazon is getting ready to start delivering packages with a drone I take that as an indication that drones have a very big future ahead.
You are in a defense forum please...we are talking about military UAV not kids copters.
 
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Unmanned drones replacing human pilots has been talked about for something like 5 plus years now, has it not? An unmanned drone can do things a human is not capable of such as extremely high-g manoeuvrers, but it does not have a brain and I think this will be a big block in the way of people who want these drones to replace pilots.

I may be wrong but isn't this generation of fighters supposed, or reputed to be, the last batch of manned fighting aircraft?
 
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What if the scenario would be like this. Drones with their cameras are hovering above the camp, spying by taking photos and videos. The soldiers in the camp below sees what's intruding in their air space. So those soldiers shoot the drones one by one. Isn't it a good skirmish? Not so desctructive and no human life involved. Can wars be like that so there would be less violence in the world? Pardon me if I am dreaming.
 
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Unfortunately in war you will always get bloodshed. That is an unavoidable fact.

The scenario you said about does make a good point and I think operations like that are already taking place around the world somewhere. However as soon as one of the drones were shot down I think the others would be withdrawn rather quickly and an air strike ordered for that position, be it by human pilot or UAV.
 
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"You are in a defense forum please...we are talking about military UAV not kids copters"

Ahahha yes mte
 

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