I think what we're really after is not necessarily a UAV being physically controlled by a guy in the section. What we want is individual UAVs dedicated to support soldiers at the section and platoon level - the kind of stuff Thucydides is saying the IDF already has.
If you're looking for that level of support, then you are looking for a TWUAV (Teeny Weeny UAV) operated by someone at that level.
It would have extremely limited range, perhaps just a few hundred metres, and extremely limited endurance, perhaps fifteen-thirty minutes. The motor would be electric. It would have a simple daylight-only camera, and be hand-launched. Max altitude would be a couple of hundred feet. This is hobby-level technology. Forget armament. Something that size would not even be able to carry a single-shot .22 cal pistol. It would be useful for such things as checking dead ground, roof tops, and compounds etcetera prior to an assault or at any other critical time.
I think what we're really after is not necessarily a UAV being physically controlled by a guy in the section. What we want is individual UAVs dedicated to support soldiers at the section and platoon level.
Something is only truly "dedicated" to the level which controls it. Unless that is the section, anything controlled at a higher level will not necessarily be available when the section comd wants it, or could be taken away at any time.
Yep. I believe it's only a matter of time before there are so many armed UAVs in the sky that infantry Ptes are put on courses to qualify them on painting targets for Hellfires.
Armament equals weight. Armed UAVs are, by necessity, then, large and expensive, and you're not going to see "so many...in the sky" in your lifetime. There is still a trade-off between fuel (endurance and range) and firepower - typically one or two Hellfire, good for targets of opportunity. Once those are expended, the UAV reverts to being an ISR asset. Armament is not a huge requirement, as there is usually something else better able to deal with any target found.
As for rank, Sperwer Air Vehicle Operators (AVOs) and Payload Operators (POs) were mostly Air Defence Gunners and Bombardiers, several with rather little time in.
Quick thought however.Flying a UAV is going to have one guy in the section sitting out the battle.
I don't see that. This would be launched, used, and recovered as a short-term recce means, the section commander using sort of airborne binoculars to scope out a likely enemy or important dead ground that cannot be seen line-of-site.
As well how will it work while dismounted?
Like any RC model aircraft. One guy operates it via a small hand-held transmitter with a small PDA-type monitor. A second guy could hand-launch it and then go back to something else useful, but that may not be required.
Suddenly the section is a cordon around the UAV pilot,making the advance to contact problematic.Suddenly a infantry section is constantly in a defensive role to protect it's advancing asset,the UAV.
It would not, and could not, be used on the move as far as I can see, due to its limitations, anyway.
As well think of the deconflicting that will have to go on causing delays in incoming fire,trying to coord between higher (platoon)who then has to report to company then higher.Having a asset at the bottom end of the spectrum will slow down the ability to drop munitions.
What deconfliction, what delays? Reporting would be like any other report going up the line. The section sees something of interest, and calls in a grid and a description.
Not to mention radio's.Were gonna have to add two radio's to the back of the lav for the young PTE to use other net's to talk on supporting arms be it arty or CAS etc.As the C/C need's his radios for communicating within the platoon context. Suddenly the Pte has more responsibility then the C/C or the section commander.
This could be launched and controlled from the back of a LAV, but not likely on the move. The operator would need to be located close to the sect comd and able to communicate verbally. The operator would have no responsibility beyond controlling his TWUAV. Direction is given and decisions are made by the sect comd.
I agree with you that controlling a UAV may be too much for a guy in the back of a LAV.
I don't. Kids can operate this level of technology.
I don't see any reason why your suggestion that the UAVs be controlled from locations farther rear would not work.
I can see communications being a little clumsy for work at that level of detail and immediacy.
All I'd really like to see - one way or another - is infantry platoons with integral UAV assets. I don't think it matters too much where that UAV is controlled from and by who.
Platoon is probably a more practical level, but it still needs to be directly controlled from whatever level it's dedicated to.
Imagine a system where UAVs maintain 24hour coverage on a given AO, but there exists a system where the troops on the ground can establish a voice and data link directly with the pilot.
Let's not dilute the term "Pilot" too much...
UAVs broadcast their video and telemetry. All that you need is a simple receiver and monitor in range and line-of-site. Comms is another matter. Sperwer had an onboard radio for communication between the Ground Control Station (GCS) and Air Traffic Control (ATC). Frequencies were limited to that band, but a similar system could be used, I suppose.
Present UAV coverage is more limited than you think, and it's a big AO. Don't get overly optimistic.
Imagine a system where UAVs maintain 24hour coverage on a given AO, but there exists a system where the troops on the ground can establish a voice and data link directly with the pilot. Similar to the way cellphones search for the closest tower, think of a device that would find the closest UAV and establish a link with it.
I don't see that as manageable.
Once a TIC is declared, that UAV belongs to the platoon/section commander on the ground.
Higher would probably disagree, especially with the type and number of systems presently available. That's why anything that is going to operate at and for the lower levels needs to be owned by them and useless to higher.
This way, the infantry gets quasi-integral UAV assets without overburdening the guys on the ground with overly technical equipment.
Again, the type of equipment suitable for section/platoon level is hobby-level stuff.
Not being a UAV expert,
Me neither, and I do not ever want to be. I did do a tour on Sperwer, however.
I'm under the impression that UAVs operated by the company would have to be of the smaller variety and therefore fly lower. The larger Predators and Reapers fly higher,
Yes. Altitude separation is one method of co-ordination and de-confliction.
so I don't think the FOO has to worry about deconflicting them with fire missions.
That's not his job anyway.
Predators and Reapers are pretty good at what they do. Why would the company tote around a less capable mini-UAV when they could gain all the benefits of the full sized version by just figuring out a convenient way to communicate with its pilot?
Artillery is pretty good at what it does. Why would the company tote around less capable rifles and machineguns, when...
There are not enough Predators and Reapers and Herons. They are higher-level assets, have more capabilities than the section/platoon needs, and would be wasted working regularly for that level. Sections and platoons are not going to get their own F15s, either.
When something significant is going on, either or both of those will be in the area - but still not working for the section or platoon.
I'm not going to go into how BG HQs don't use their UAV/air/avn assets properly as it is or about CCA vs. CAS.
I think that I'm doing a marvellous job of avoiding going off on a side-rant about that for several hours.
And I agree pretty much word-for-word with Cleared Hot's last post.
Any discrepancies are likely due to this being a rather nebulous concept, as far as I see this discussion right now.