In this modest series of articles (although, to be more precise, in the dreams and fantasies of the author), I propose to fantasize a bit about exactly how technologies in the field of information systems and robotics will develop in the near future, and think about the possibilities of their military application.
This series of articles is nothing more than the personal opinion of the author, which by no means claims to be the ultimate truth, but seems important and logical enough to be published in a timely manner.
As a theoretical example of a supposed theater of operations, I propose to consider the conflict of a conditional ally state (it will be, for example, "Mother Rus'") against a hypothetical unfriendly military bloc (for example, let it be a conditional alliance of "North Atlantic Defense Lovers", abbr. C .A.L.O.).
I propose to consider separately both a proxy war with limited forces and a full-scale military conflict of the superpowers.
In the case of a proxy war, by default, it is assumed to conduct hostilities on a front line up to 1 kilometers long, with actions to a similar depth of the territory of a mock enemy, in the role of which any conditional puppet proxy state supported by the hypothetical military bloc S.A.L. .O., with the limited use of advanced weapons of the above bloc and the need to deliver these weapons to the territory of the puppet state.
In the event of a global conflict, a theoretical justification will be given for the possibilities to deprive the conditional S.A.L.O. bloc, in fact, of the desire to unleash this conflict.
In the series of articles there will be no revelations on military topics and information that the author could not easily find in open sources, in general - I will talk more about concepts and theory than about facts and information. Only from time to time we will consider very real weapons and even the capabilities of existing enterprises, of course, using information from official and public sites. So part one...
Drones-kamikaze. Primary requirements
Drones are a new word in the vocabulary of a military man. Someone underestimates them, and someone, on the contrary, is blinded to the loss of reason by the simplicity and efficiency of these machines, but one way or another, this word will have to be returned more than once.
First of all, I would like to point out that kamikaze drones seem to the author to be an extremely promising type of weapon, which is just beginning to reveal its huge potential.
Despite the fact that, for example, the Shaheed-136 drones have already demonstrated high efficiency in practice, further in the article it will be shown in detail that their theoretical potential has not been realized even to a small extent, and ideas are proposed on what needs to be done to implement this functionality to the fullest.
Moreover, there is every reason to assert that even now it is necessary to think about measures to neutralize a new, not yet fully formed, but extremely significant threat.
To begin with, I propose to fantasize a little about what an ideal kamikaze drone could become, consider the necessary qualities, determine technical requirements and think over the most effective tactics of use. In order to better imagine the subject of conversation, we will be forced to use existing drone models as examples and start with the most relevant, namely the modern weapons of the Russian army, as a prototype of the hypothetical "Army of Mother Rus'" from our alternative reality.
So, one of the most important tasks that kamikaze drones (hereinafter - DK) solve on the battlefield is to search for and destroy enemy armored vehicles, artillery pieces, rocket launchers and infantry clusters in open areas and in shelters. In the depths of the theater of military operations, DCs solve the tasks of paralyzing logistics and destroying critical infrastructure facilities if the use of a cruise missile is clearly excessive or impossible (for example, a transformer substation or a wooden footbridge across a stream can become the target of a DC).
Particular attention should be paid to the most valuable possibility of the DK, which has not yet been implemented in practice, to pinpoint the destruction of moving objects deep in the rear of the enemy.
Based on the foregoing, and also not forgetting the conditions and features of the hypothetical conflict between Mother Rus' and the military bloc S.A.L.O. (in an alternative reality), it is already possible to define an outline of the main technical requirements both directly to the DC and to the infrastructure for ensuring their work.
So, DC should:
– have a flight range of at least 1 kilometers;
- be equipped with high-quality search thermal imagers;
– have the ability to receive / transmit data throughout the flight;
- have a sufficiently powerful high-explosive fragmentation warhead;
- equipped with a three-coordinate gyroscopic stabilization system.
DK must have a flight range of at least 1 kilometers.
This is the easiest requirement to understand - since we are considering combat operations at a distance of up to 1 kilometers from the front line, hitting targets in such a deep rear of the enemy may require following a route around areas protected by air defense and active maneuvering, which means that a reserve of flight range and loitering time.
DCs must be equipped with high-quality search thermal imagers.
With this, too, everything is simple - since the ability to search for a target at any time of the day is required, and in any weather, thermal imaging optics is absolutely necessary.
The resolution of the optical system should ideally allow you to accurately identify the type of target from a distance of at least 5 kilometers, but the greater the range of confident target identification, the better in this case.
It is allowed to work “in aerial photography mode”, with a frequency of one frame per few seconds - this will not become a critical drawback, but in fact I would still like to get at least some kind of video sequence - in some cases it is much more convenient to use video, but in this example the quality images are disproportionately more important than the number of frames per second (this will be explained later).
DC must be able to receive / transmit data throughout the flight.
This requirement is unconditional, although it is difficult to fulfill, due to the significant distance between the DC and the operator.
Despite all the complexity, the task is quite solvable, and the importance of its solution is extremely high.
Without the possibility of transmitting a television image, at least in the format of aerial photography and receiving operator commands throughout the entire flight to the target, the potential of the DC will not be revealed even to a small extent (I will explain this in more detail a little later).
It is reasonable to consider satellite communication channels and related equipment as part of the DC data reception/transmission complex.
DK must have a sufficiently powerful high-explosive fragmentation warhead.
The warhead of the drone should be high-explosive fragmentation, with an interactive choice of the type of charge detonation after the drone is launched.
The required power of the warhead is estimated at 50 kg of explosive plus ready-made fragments. Such a warhead should be no less destructive than the FAB-100 high-explosive aerial bomb, which will make it possible to defeat all of the above standard targets with the very first hit and somewhat reduce the requirements for drone guidance accuracy, and in addition, such a carrying capacity will make it possible, if necessary, to equip the DC with a “special” warhead with a capacity of several thousand tons of TNT.
DC must be equipped with a three-coordinate gyroscopic stabilization system.
This is extremely necessary to prevent unwanted yaw in difficult weather conditions, especially at the moment of attacking the target. This should be discussed in more detail…
The fact is that absolutely all armored vehicles of the military bloc S.A.L.O. can be equipped with generators of noise barrage interference in the radio range (in the professional slang of specialists in the field of electronic warfare, they are also called "radio brooms").
The operation of such a system leads to a guaranteed loss of the possibility of "passing" to the receiver of any radio signal within the range of the system, which is usually measured in tens of meters, but can be more.
All of the above suggests that when attacking high-tech armored vehicles of the military bloc S.A.L.O. the loss of the ability to manually control the drone is very likely and, therefore, at the last moment of the attack, the operator will not be able to correct its trajectory.
In addition, interruptions in radio communications are possible even at a greater distance from the object of attack, which can drastically reduce the number of frames transmitted by the drone per unit of time and also complicate the correction of its trajectory, but this should not interfere with the attack, and therefore there are special requirements for stabilizing the drone in space absolutely necessary.
This means that the drone must automatically “remember” the position in space that was indicated to it by the operator when pointing at the target and securely hold this position in any conditions, not allowing itself to deviate from the course by a single degree.
For a better understanding of the problem, I will show a practical example of the use of Russian-made Lancet drones (RIA News").
At first glance, everything may seem perfect, however, if you look closely, you will notice that the work of the stabilization system, although clearly present, is hardly sufficient. The drone scours the course and, although the stabilization system returns it to its previous position, the operator has to periodically correct the trajectory, i.e. if communication is lost a hundred meters from the target, the target could not be destroyed by a direct hit. However, the Lancet is a very light DK, and a slight yaw is likely inevitable in its weight class.
That is why I focus on the fact that the ideal DC should:
- be heavy enough and at the moment of attack have a high specific power and minimum windage in order to confidently withstand adverse weather conditions with minimal deviation from the set course;
- carry a powerful enough warhead to destroy the object of attack even in the event of a slight miss;
- have a high-quality and reliable stabilization system in space (at the time of the attack, the drone must follow the indicated course, as if on rails).
Below I have given another video from RVvoenkory, and this time, most likely, we see the work of "Product-305". I ask you to evaluate the quality of the stabilization system of this rocket - it keeps the indicated course almost perfectly. It is precisely this accuracy that should be achieved when creating an ideal DC (although the comparison with a rocket is not entirely correct).
In general, if Russia was trying to build an ideal DC, I would have the audacity to recommend completely transferring the television control and data transmission systems from the above rocket to the DC, naturally adapting all systems to the latter and supplementing the data transmission system with a satellite communication channel.
Drones-kamikaze. Tactics of application and ways to protect against them
Drones-kamikaze. Application tactics
I would not like to talk here about the most primitive tactics of destroying stationary objects with the guidance of a DC using a global satellite navigation system - all this has already been demonstrated in practice and is well understood.
It is worth mentioning, however, that such a guidance scheme is the most reliable, since even an interactive change in the coordinates of the target after the departure of the DC (change of the target already in flight) requires minimal operator participation, and the transmitted data packets are measured in bytes only, which greatly simplifies the transfer of data to conditions of electronic countermeasures.
Speaking about the more interesting tactics of using the DK, it is necessary, first of all, to mention the absolutely incredible possibility of destroying moving targets even deep behind enemy lines, and first of all, these are trains and especially locomotives, and here's why:
- the train is an extremely visible target;
- the train is not able to move off the tracks and is generally limited in maneuver;
- the railway range is always the most significant component of any military logistics.
All of the above makes railway tracks especially vulnerable to DCs with the characteristics stated in the previous chapter. All that is required is to send a detachment of 3-5 DK along the enemy’s railway and observe their search cameras, which can even work in the “aerial photography” mode, that is, in the most favorable mode for data transmission.
When a train is detected, it is enough to determine its approximate coordinates, direction and speed. Knowing your own DC coordinates, all this is done elementarily.
Then the DK detachment (all but one of them) is given the coordinates of the attack objects in such a way as to form a continuous chain of destruction with a step of 100–200 meters on the railway track along the train, while at least one of the drones with with a high probability of getting into the train, and the rest will destroy the railway tracks in front of the locomotive and with a high probability will provoke a derailment of the train.
After that, the remaining DK clarifies the coordinates of the immobilized locomotive and finishes it off with one precise blow.
Please note that the above tactic does not require the transmission of a video stream at all, but works exclusively with the transmission of photographs and global navigation systems, which makes it extremely resistant to electronic warfare.
If the enemy does not have a powerful electronic warfare system, then destroying the locomotive with a direct hit from a single DC, induced by a video camera, is a couple of trifles and, probably, even too simple.
Thus, it is possible to completely deprive the enemy of the opportunity to use the railway communication and destroy all of his locomotives in a relatively short time.
All of the above is equally true for the destruction of sea / river transport.
The ability to bring the DC to a stationary target (for example, an airfield) solely according to the data of navigation systems, using only aerial photography to clarify the coordinates of targets (for example, aircraft) and to destroy all targets with precise strikes is an invaluable opportunity for a DC.
Today, DKs fly strictly "in a straight line", as if on rails, which makes them vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire and pursuit aviation, but in fact, the DK is an incredibly maneuverable target, and it would be more correct to lay their routes not in a straight line, but in “broken lines” (this can be easily foreseen programmatically in the DK control system).
Performing active maneuvering along the course and altitude, the DK becomes extremely a difficult target for any interception attempt.
Drones-kamikaze. ways to protect against them. A few words about Starlink
With this part of the article, dear readers, everything was very difficult. When the first version of it was ready, rereading it, I suddenly realized that I did not have the necessary knowledge to cope with this topic, and at first I decided to do without it, but again and again I came to the conclusion that this most important part of this article could not not be mentioned at least superficially.
I ask you to excuse the author in advance for possible inaccuracies - the topic of conversation is technically difficult and, perhaps, somewhere I did not have enough knowledge, but in no case should I touch it.
We will talk about the simplest and most effective way to counter the DC, namely depriving the enemy of the ability to use satellite data transmission systems, without which the realization of the huge potential of the DC to destroy critical infrastructure in the deep rear will be significantly difficult.
As an example of a satellite data transmission system, I propose to consider Starlink as the most technologically advanced and complete example of such a system.
Let me remind you that Starlink is a constellation, which in the final version may have about 40 low-orbit satellites, which will make it possible to form a continuous data transmission field over most of the surface of our planet.
Particular attention should be paid to the military potential of the system, as well as to the military satellites of the Starshield system, which are equipped with multiple more powerful data transmission systems and are integrated into the Starlink constellation, thanks to the equipment unified with it.
In addition to the above, mention should be made of:
- extremely high combat stability of such systems;
- some non-obvious, but their most important qualities;
- how to deal with them.
Speaking of high combat stability, it should be noted, firstly, the practical impossibility of destroying a satellite system like Starlink (at least selectively).
The fact is that any attempt to destroy tens of thousands of satellites at approximately equal heights will inevitably lead to the appearance of millions of fragments that will fill outer space and make it almost impossible to distinguish active satellites among them, and this is not to mention the fact that satellites can be equipped with false targets. , which will be used at a certain moment: just imagine how 40 satellites simultaneously shoot 000 decoys from themselves each and change their orbits (they have engines for this).
The above means the possibility of "sudden" appearance of 400 decoys and the simultaneous de-orbiting of 000 satellites, and an attempt to destroy them will only multiply the number of decoys by the number of debris.
In addition, the latest generation of Starlink satellites are equipped with a laser data transmission system. This means that the Starlink laser data network:
- absolutely reliably protected from the effects of electronic warfare;
– does not emit radio waves during data transmission;
– provides communication absolutely protected from any interception.
At the moment, there is no exact information about the possibility of "laser" data transmission, say, from outer space to an object in the Earth's atmosphere and vice versa, but if such a possibility is realized, then connecting enemy UAVs, aircraft and helicopters to the Starlink network will hammer the last nail in the lid the coffin of any anti-satellite electronic warfare system.
Moreover, if we are already talking about electronic warfare, then one cannot fail to note the theoretical possibility of using the Starlink network as a global electronic warfare system.
Of particular note are the satellites of the Starshield system - they are much heavier than standard Starlink satellites and are designed to install an additional load, which can include anything - including electronic warfare systems, the operation of which will absolutely not affect the operation of the indicated satellite constellation with a laser data transmission system, but as for less advanced satellites, the inclusion of several thousand electronic warfare stations at once in low orbits can allow the enemy to completely disrupt data transmission over radio channels.
Thus, with the help of Starlink, two key problems can be solved at once in the context of combating DC (kamikaze drones) and ensuring their operation. On the one hand, it becomes possible to suppress the work of an enemy satellite constellation with the help of an orbital electronic warfare system, and on the other hand, to provide their DCs with reliable communications anywhere in the world. If the DC can be equipped with a laser data transmission system compatible with the satellite system, then technical perfection and reliability become almost absolute.
Returning to the alternative reality to the confrontation of "Mother Rus'" against the military bloc S.A.L.O., we can say the following.
As the only possible strategy for combating such satellite systems, the author considers the real possibility of creating an orbital constellation consisting of several dozen satellites equipped with thermonuclear warheads with a capacity of at least 10 megatons of TNT or more.
Simultaneous detonation of, say, fifty sufficiently powerful thermonuclear warheads at altitudes of 300-400 kilometers or more is guaranteed to lead to the formation of the strongest artificial radiation belts, including in low orbits of interest to us in this context, on which the above satellite constellations are located.
Even protected from EMP and other damaging factors of a nuclear explosion, space systems will not be able to withstand the impact of high-energy charged particles (penetrating radiation) inside artificial radiation belts for a long time, which can last (depending on the activity of the Sun) up to several years or more, completely blocking any possibility technical use of near space in a given period of time.
Thus, it is possible to destroy all 40 satellites with one blow, if necessary. In general, most likely, 000% of all satellites in near-Earth orbit will not be able to “survive” such a “geostorm” and will be lost within a few weeks or even days from the moment the thermonuclear warheads are detonated, which sharply limits the above possibility in use.
Nuclear explosions in orbit are possible only in a global conflict of superpowers, but it is unlikely that such measures would be approved in a local conflict of Mother Rus' against puppet state entities supported by the S.A.L.O. Wrong format and high risks of nuclear escalation.
Thus, the only really applicable alternative in the context of a local conflict remains the development of a similar satellite system by Russ-Mother, the deployment of a possibly smaller but sufficient number of communication satellites, and the development of secure laser data transmission systems for them.
The conditional "Mother Rus'" has the advantage that there is no need to cover the entire globe with communications satellites - it is enough to provide its territory and the territories of neighboring states with high-quality military satellite communications channels, because a defensive strategy does not require more, which means - for to achieve the same density of the satellite constellation, a many times smaller number of satellites will suffice. In addition, one should not forget about the possibility of urgently hanging a heavy communications satellite into a geostationary orbit over the area of interest.
If we talk about distributed systems, then it is no secret that some corporations not so long ago successfully tested a prototype of the so-called. a radio photon radar, which is characterized by the highest noise immunity, power, compact size and, in theory, can be used not only to obtain ultra-highly detailed radar images, but also for the most secure radio communications and even as an electronic warfare system.
Mother Rus', like its prototype from reality, has already created such a potential, and it would be perfectly reasonable to use it to create a global low-orbit system of ultra-high-detail radar reconnaissance, a satellite network for noise-immune data transmission and even electronic warfare, plus all this on based on the latest technology ROFAR - the latest word in science in the field of radar.
The specified option for building a universal multifunctional satellite network based on ROFAR, if it were implemented in reality, according to the author, would qualitatively neutralize all the advantages of the Elon Musk system, create, perhaps, even a better satellite data transmission system and not empty the treasury to the last pennies.
The presence of an orbital electronic warfare system based on radio photonics technology would allow Mother Rus', for example, to suppress GPS signals throughout the entire territory of the specified system, which would not only be the most effective way to protect its territory from a spacecraft, but would also cast doubt on the characteristics of a controlled by GPS precision weapons in general.
Moreover, even if it is not possible to completely suppress the communication channels, the resolution of the radar based on radio photonics (ROFAR) declared by the developer makes it possible to detect a drone in the Shaheed-136 form factor even from low Earth orbit, while completely eliminating the possibility of an air defense breakthrough on extremely and even at prohibitively low altitudes (and this is one of the most unpleasant advantages of the DC).
The ability to track hundreds and even thousands of DKs, including those breaking through at prohibitively low altitudes, to transmit comprehensive information about each of the attacking drones in real time and to any position is priceless.
So - in the first part of the cycle, we only slightly touched on the truly impressive capabilities of unmanned robotics, in particular kamikaze drones, and very clearly specified the military future of satellite data transmission systems, especially in interaction with the above unmanned vehicles.
I believe that people who make strategic decisions get the most complete picture of what is happening in the world of military robotics. I hope that if once the army significantly underestimated the potential of robotics in the field of light reconnaissance quadrocopters, then the second time nothing like this should happen again.
This means that we will also consider at least the capabilities of light and heavy reconnaissance and strike drones, robotic armies, the essence of the so-called. "gigafactory" and methods of programming society as a format for attacking the state.
To be continued ...