To solve these or other problems, modern armies use unmanned aerial vehicles of various classes and types. Seeing these needs of the military, the industry is developing new designs. For example, the Ukrainian company Matrix UAV (Kiev) has already presented a whole series of helicopter-type UAVs, designed to perform various missions. Its latest development is the Demon apparatus, a new version of a multi-purpose product capable of carrying weapon and attack various targets.
Loud statements about the promising "Demon" appeared on August 17. The head of the company-developer Yury Kasyanov on his Facebook page published several photos from the tests of the device, a short video, as well as information about the characteristics and possibilities of the new development. In this “press release”, far from all the data on the project were present, but the published information allows for a sufficiently detailed picture. In this case, you can find reasons for harsh criticism.
According to official data ...
The product "Demon", while existing only in the form of a prototype, belongs to the class of "shock multi-purpose unmanned vehicles." The UAV is designed to deliver "sudden precise strikes" on the firing points, combat vehicles, air defense facilities and command posts. The range is stated at 10 km. Management is carried out only manually, although the project developers hope to implement a semi-automatic type system. As part of the control system can be used UAV "Chimera" development of the same company. It should perform the functions of a repeater, increasing the radius of the shock apparatus.
It is argued that the "Demon" can carry various combat loads to solve different combat missions. Under the bottom of the vehicle, it is proposed to hang one RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher, one or two RPG-22 "Netto" anti-tank grenades, or Agleni RPG-26 or small arms or high-explosive charge. The mass of such a combat load is determined in 5 kg. With such a load, the device has a combat radius of 10 km.
The new project involves the use of the device in the "kamikaze" mode. In this case, a greater payload is delivered to the target, but the attack is carried out at the cost of the UAV’s “life”, and its return to the operator is not provided. When using 7-kg high-explosive fragmentation charge "Demon" is able to attack the target at a distance of 20 km. Also provides for the option "kamikaze" with a different power plant and a warhead weighing 4 kg. It is alleged that in this case, the unit will be able to fly up to 90 km.
A relatively long range in one of the modes was the reason for very interesting statements. Thus, according to Yu. Kasyanov, the combat radius in 90 km is already the level of operational-tactical missile systems, such as “Tochka-U”.
The published video clearly showed that the new UAV “Demon” is capable of flying according to the commands of the operators. In addition, it is argued that trial shooting from a suspended weapon was carried out. The head of the Matrix UAV claims that after the shot, the UAV behaves normally and is able to continue flying.
Visible and obvious
Unfortunately, the head of the development organization announced only a part of the characteristics of the proposed UAV, without addressing a number of important topics. Fortunately, the "press release" was attached a few photos of the existing prototype, which allow to complete the picture. Of course, the images can not accurately establish all the features of the appearance of "The Demon", but they remove a number of questions.
At the heart of the design of the new Ukrainian drone is a frame assembled from metal or plastic pipes. In its composition there is a pair of longitudinal elements located in close proximity to each other, as well as two transverse beams. Longitudinal pipes are connected by a light casing-platform on which a piece of equipment is placed. Nearby it is proposed to mount weapons. At the ends of the transverse tubes placed engines. Below them are non-removable racks that perform the functions of the chassis.
Apparently, the "Demon" is equipped with an electric power plant. It has four electric motors of unknown type, the power of which is also not specified. The engines are equipped with two-bladed constant-pitch propellers. Energy is supplied to the engines from the control equipment using external placement wires. Necessary cables are literally suspended under the frame elements on the clamps. Why they were not hidden inside the structure is unknown.
Y. Kasyanov also mentioned some hybrid version of “The Demon”. It is possible that at the level of the idea or project there is another version of the drone, in which the electricity for the motors comes not from the battery, but from the generator associated with the internal combustion engine. However, such a modification of the UAV is not yet ready to enter the tests.
On the central elements of the frame on top there is a fairing of a characteristic look, probably containing the control equipment. Under the frame are suspended two textile pouch, from which the wires depart. They can be located batteries. In addition, in front of the frame is another unit in a plastic case. It may include simple optical devices.
In the published photographs, “The Demon” has the configuration of a carrier of a reactive anti-tank grenade. To install it, the drone received a special holder of a rather large size. The holder consists of a frame and a pair of clips with locks. The rectangular frame is located to the right of the grenade and is attached to the drone. With the help of detachable ring clips on the holder is fixed weapon. In the presented configuration, the holder can carry only one product of the type RPG-22 or RPG-26. It is claimed that the device can carry two grenades. Probably, this requires a different suspension system.
Upon careful consideration of the experienced “Demon”, first of all, the low level of performance is striking. The presented unmanned vehicle is similar to a handicraft, assembled in a not very developed workshop of ready-made components. However, such features of its appearance can be explained by the early stages of the project, as well as the limitations associated with testing and refinement.
You can also notice that the new Ukrainian drone is assembled from ready-made components that are present in the civilian market. In fact, engineers from Matrix UAV chose products that fit their needs and assembled them into a single design. The results of this approach to the creation of technology are obvious. "Demon" can be considered analogous to a number of other devices in its class, already present on the market. In this case, the only serious difference from them is the presence of a holder for weapons, whereas in the area of technical characteristics no advantages are observed.
It is alleged that at the moment UAV "Demon" can only be controlled by the operator. The video signal and other data are transmitted via radio to the operator’s console, which, in turn, transmits commands to the device. If necessary, the control system can enter a drone-repeater, which increases the range of the "combat" UAV. It is expected that in the near future, "The Demon" will receive semi-automatic controls.
Apparently, the "Demon" is completed with controls for civilian UAVs, which also provide work only with the participation of the operator. The disadvantages of this are obvious and actually negate the possibility of using the device in a real conflict. The use of an unprotected radio channel in combination with the lack of autonomy makes the device an easy target for any means of electronic warfare. The suppression of communication channels will prevent the arrival of teams, and the drone will not be able to continue the flight, not to mention the performance of the combat mission.
The presence of semi-automatic control systems can partially solve this problem. With it, the UAV, for example, will be able to fly on a pre-programmed route. However, the “Demon” should not only fly, but also shoot. In the absence of communication with the operator, he will not be able to find the target and attack it with the use of rocket-propelled grenades or small arms.
It turns out that even with a semi-automatic control system, in the presence of electronic countermeasures, the Demon UAV is capable of solving only one task. Due to the simplest automation, he can reach the target with previously known coordinates and destroy it, sacrificing himself. It should be noted that the use of a drone as a "kamikaze" is associated with known problems of an economic nature. The massive use of such technology may be prohibitively expensive and impractical.
In the field of armaments, only high-explosive fragmentation charges — caused by dropping on a target or falling along with a carrier — cause no doubt. Such weapons can really show good fighting qualities. A charge with a mass from 4 to 7 kg can pose a threat to some stationary objects and equipment of a potential enemy. However, for its effective use of the drone, appropriate means of aiming are necessary. So, it is necessary to provide an overview of the lower hemisphere, which requires a separate camera or a movable platform for a single one.
The possibility of equipping a UAV with one or two reactive anti-tank grenades looks interesting and even promising. However, certain questions arise. First of all, the accuracy of shooting from such a weapon is doubtful. The fact is that the grenade is suspended horizontally and parallel to the axis of the drone. Thus, for a shot at a ground target, the device needs to change the pitch and almost go into a dive. Will the Demon have enough stability for such a flight - a big question. In addition, the presence of a jet and a certain recoil impulse adds problems. All this can also affect the accuracy of the fire, and in some cases, the survivability of the device.
Problems with stability and combat effectiveness can be exacerbated when using small arms. After installing a machine gun or other weapons of acceptable mass, the drone will have to deal with recoil, barrel throwing and other phenomena characteristic of firearms. There is reason to doubt that the "Demon" will cope with them. As a result, shooting will be possible only “in that direction” - without precise aiming.
Part of the problems of the suspended armament could be solved at the expense of a movable holder with a variable angle of vertical guidance and some kind of recoil devices. However, a system with a separate drive and means of damping recoil will be different in unacceptable mass and will hit according to flight performance.
Depending on the configuration and execution, the Demon UAV is allegedly supposed to have a combat radius from 10 to 90 km. Its minimum values correspond to modifications with a suspended weapon capable of returning to the base. The maximum radius is planned to receive when using the new power plant and without return. How realistic is the implementation of such plans - must show the test. In theory, this kind of drones can really fly dozens of kilometers, but in this case we are talking about the presence of a serious load. Whether it will be possible to fulfill all the plans and get the desired opportunities is unknown. So far there are grounds for both optimistic and pessimistic forecasts.
Comparison of the drone with the operational-tactical missile system, based on flight ranges, perhaps, should be left without comment. The simultaneous mention and comparison of UAV and OTRK is simply ridiculous.
With a careful study of the UAV "Demon" can draw characteristic conclusions about the essence of the project. It seems that we are talking about another attempt to assemble the drone of the available components and offer it to the army or volunteer organizations in the hope of a large order with appropriate funding. It should be noted that this practice has already become the norm for Ukraine. New “breakthrough” projects appear on a regular basis, supposedly capable of changing the face of the Ukrainian army, and only successful financing is required for their successful implementation.
For obvious reasons, not all authors of such developments receive the desired orders, and with them the opportunity to make money on the actual topic of assistance to the army. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine does not have enough finances to support all such projects; Numerous public organizations face the same problems. In other words, supply exceeds demand with clear consequences.
It should be borne in mind that the Demon apparatus, as it stands, has a number of serious problems, which, at a minimum, make it difficult for its full operation in the troops. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, if offered this UAV, will be able to use this fact as an excuse for refusing to purchase. In this case, such a refusal will be logical and reasonable.
In the current form of the UAV "Demon" from the company Matrix UAV looks curious, but no more. To become a full-fledged combat vehicle capable of working on the battlefield, the drone must receive a number of serious improvements and get all the necessary capabilities. Otherwise, he risks being an unsuccessful attempt to connect UAVs from “civilian” components with military weapons, which have very limited potential. How exactly will end история project "Demon" - until the end is not clear. But it is already clear that any optimism may be superfluous.
UAV "Demon". Statements are loud, and prospects are dubious
- Ryabov Kirill
- Photos used:
- Matrix UAV / facebook.com/groups/matrixuav
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