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Stop calling Switchblades ‘drones’ — it’s causing policy confusion

dimsum

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Defense media immediately picked up on the description. References to UAVs were rapidly dumbed down to “drones” — or even “suicide drones” or “kamikaze drones.” While such sensational language may drive clicks by tapping into fears of dystopian technology, misleading descriptions do not help leaders make smart policy decisions. We now have a situation where highly sophisticated UAVs, which are mission aircraft by any traditional definition, are being lumped together with a new generation of aerial weapons.

 

Kirkhill

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The differentiator is obvious: Munitions are designed to achieve kinetic effects through self-destruction. UAVs, on the other hand, are designed for reuse. We also need to look to longstanding agreements, like MTCR, and clean up what has been too long confused.

Loitering munitions may be as simple as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with attached explosives that is sent on a potential kamikaze mission, and may even be constructed with off the shelf commercial quadcopters with strapped on explosives.[28]

Purpose-built munitions are more elaborate in flight and control capabilities, warhead size and design, and on-board sensors for locating targets.[29] Some loitering munitions use a human operator to locate targets whereas others, such as IAI Harop, can function autonomously searching and launching attacks without human intervention.[30][31] Another example is UVision HERO solutions – the loitering systems are operated remotely, controlled in real time by a communications system and equipped with an electro-optical camera whose images are received by the command and control station.[32][33]

Some loitering munitions may return and be recovered by the operator if they are unused in an attack and have enough fuel; in particular this is characteristic of UAVs with a secondary explosive capability.[34] Other systems, such as the Delilah[11][35][10] don't have a recovery option and are self-destructed in mission aborts.

Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missiles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. Pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships in what was called a "body attack" (tai-atari) in aircraft loaded with bombs, torpedoes or other explosives. About 19% of kamikaze attacks were successful.[

So were the Kamikaze Loitering Munitions or Mission Aircraft

Clearly they were Mission Aircraft, designed for reuse, that were inhabited by onboard operators who were determined to employ the Inhabited Aerial System as a Loitering Munition by attaching explosives it and flying it into the target. Pk (Probability of Kill) 19%.

A lot lower probability than Cruise Missiles, UAVs or Loitering Munitions.

Cue the lawyers, copyrighters and publicists. :LOL:
 

dimsum

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So were the Kamikaze Loitering Munitions or Mission Aircraft

Clearly they were Mission Aircraft, designed for reuse, that were inhabited by onboard operators who were determined to employ the Inhabited Aerial System as a Loitering Munition by attaching explosives it and flying it into the target. Pk (Probability of Kill) 19%.

A lot lower probability than Cruise Missiles, UAVs or Loitering Munitions.

Cue the lawyers, copyrighters and publicists. :LOL:
Crappy analogy:

If someone pistol-whips someone else (assuming there are still rounds in the mag), is the pistol really a club? :unsure:
 

Kirkhill

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Crappy analogy:

If someone pistol-whips someone else (assuming there are still rounds in the mag), is the pistol really a club? :unsure:

It is a club.

It is a club that can also fire bullets (assuming there are still rounds in the mag).

I know that words have meaning - and sometimes I can be overly flippant - but the problem I have is that time and technology both impact on the meanings of words. And to be blunt I don't think the application of labels is overly useful.

Take mines as another example. Mines are unacceptable. But only if targeted against people. But only if autonomous. Command detonated mines targeting people are acceptable. Autonomous mines with really heavy triggers and massive amounts of explosives are acceptable. Improvised Explosive Devices used as mines are in use if not acceptable.

Ultimately the definition all come down to the detailed specification. And often the detailed specifications reveal an array of capabilities residing in one item.

Another classic example is the ship/boat discussion. It used to be said that the difference between a boat and a ship was you could put a boat on a ship but you can't put a ship on a boat. But what is a ship if it can be put on a larger ship. Does the ship become a boat because it can be put on a ship?

I know that words matter, and that words written on paper enjoy a sense of permanence that suggests some things in life are immutable and understandable. But... I gayly enjoy watching people debating the meaning of words in their context. ;)
 

Colin Parkinson

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Hard also when official terminology changes, along with technological advances happening at about 10 times the speed of bureaucracy. So is a Phantom 4 with the ability to drop bombs a drone, UAV or a ABIED?
 

Spencer100

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It is a club.

It is a club that can also fire bullets (assuming there are still rounds in the mag).

I know that words have meaning - and sometimes I can be overly flippant - but the problem I have is that time and technology both impact on the meanings of words. And to be blunt I don't think the application of labels is overly useful.

Take mines as another example. Mines are unacceptable. But only if targeted against people. But only if autonomous. Command detonated mines targeting people are acceptable. Autonomous mines with really heavy triggers and massive amounts of explosives are acceptable. Improvised Explosive Devices used as mines are in use if not acceptable.

Ultimately the definition all come down to the detailed specification. And often the detailed specifications reveal an array of capabilities residing in one item.

Another classic example is the ship/boat discussion. It used to be said that the difference between a boat and a ship was you could put a boat on a ship but you can't put a ship on a boat. But what is a ship if it can be put on a larger ship. Does the ship become a boat because it can be put on a ship?

I know that words matter, and that words written on paper enjoy a sense of permanence that suggests some things in life are immutable and understandable. But... I gayly enjoy watching people debating the meaning of words in their context. ;)

I see what you did there..... :)
 

Dana381

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Another classic example is the ship/boat discussion. It used to be said that the difference between a boat and a ship was you could put a boat on a ship but you can't put a ship on a boat. But what is a ship if it can be put on a larger ship. Does the ship become a boat because it can be put on a ship?

Interesting, I always thought a ship needed a Captain and a boat just required an operator certificate. I have no idea where the line between those two are either.
 

dimsum

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Interesting, I always thought a ship needed a Captain and a boat just required an operator certificate. I have no idea where the line between those two are either.
Subs are referred to as "boats", not "ships". They definitely have Captains.
 

Underway

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Another classic example is the ship/boat discussion. It used to be said that the difference between a boat and a ship was you could put a boat on a ship but you can't put a ship on a boat. But what is a ship if it can be put on a larger ship. Does the ship become a boat because it can be put on a ship?
That's the flippant response to the question from sailors who don't know or don't want to explain the nuance.

A ship has its center of gravity above its freeboard*. This means when it turns the ship heels (tilts) outwards from the turn as centripetal forces push the CoG outwards.

A boat has its center of gravity below its freeboard. This means as the boat turns the boat heels inwards, with the same centripetal force effects.

This is why submarines are called boats no matter how big they are. Their center of gravity is always below their freeboard (aka below the waterline).


*freeboard: the distance between the waterline and the main deck or weather deck of a ship or between the level of the water and the upper edge of the side of a small boat.
 

Kirkhill

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That's the flippant response to the question from sailors who don't know or don't want to explain the nuance.

A ship has its center of gravity above its freeboard*. This means when it turns the ship heels (tilts) outwards from the turn as centripetal forces push the CoG outwards.

A boat has its center of gravity below its freeboard. This means as the boat turns the boat heels inwards, with the same centripetal force effects.

This is why submarines are called boats no matter how big they are. Their center of gravity is always below their freeboard (aka below the waterline).


*freeboard: the distance between the waterline and the main deck or weather deck of a ship or between the level of the water and the upper edge of the side of a small boat.

Thank you for that. That's my new factoid of the month.

Slainte.
 

dimsum

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That's the flippant response to the question from sailors who don't know or don't want to explain the nuance.

A ship has its center of gravity above its freeboard*. This means when it turns the ship heels (tilts) outwards from the turn as centripetal forces push the CoG outwards.

A boat has its center of gravity below its freeboard. This means as the boat turns the boat heels inwards, with the same centripetal force effects.

This is why submarines are called boats no matter how big they are. Their center of gravity is always below their freeboard (aka below the waterline).


*freeboard: the distance between the waterline and the main deck or weather deck of a ship or between the level of the water and the upper edge of the side of a small boat.

Huh. TIL.
 

Kirkhill

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Allow me to be Cliff for a moment :D

When a submarine executes a hard turn while submerged, does it heel inwards or outwards?

Is it a sunken ship? Or a sunken boat?

I do enjoy being obnoxious. Just ask my wife. ;)
 

SeaKingTacco

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Allow me to be Cliff for a moment :D

When a submarine executes a hard turn while submerged, does it heel inwards or outwards?

Is it a sunken ship? Or a sunken boat?

I do enjoy being obnoxious. Just ask my wife. ;)
It rolls towards the turn, like an aircraft. Or so I have heard.
 
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