In 1933, in the UK, the biplane based Fairy Queen created the first remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle of multiple action, called the H.82B Queen Bee.
H.82B Queen Bee
It was then that the era of drones began. Subsequently, this device was used as an aerial target of the Royal Navy. navy From 1934 to 1943, a total of 405 units of target aircraft were manufactured.
The first combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was a German aircraft - a projectile (cruise missile, according to modern terminology) Fau-1 ("Fizeler-103"), with a jet pulsating engine that could be launched from the ground and from the air.
The projectile control system is an autopilot that keeps the projectile at the course set at the start and height during the entire flight.
Flight range control is carried out using a mechanical counter, at which a value corresponding to the required range is set before the start, and the blade anemometer placed on the nose of the projectile and rotated by the incoming air flow twists the counter to zero upon reaching the required range (± 6 km accuracy). In this case, the warhead fuses are cocked, and a dive command is issued.
A total of about 25000 units of this “miracle weapons". Of these, about 10000 was launched across England, 3200 fell on its territory, of which 2419 reached London, causing losses in 6184 people killed and 17 981 injured. The blows of V-1 could not affect the course of the war, however, they had not a small moral effect and demanded great efforts to counter.
In the United States launched the production of UAV-target Radioplane OQ-2 for training pilots and anti-aircraft gunners. Also in 1944, for the first time in the world, the classic shock drone of multiple action, Interstate TDR, was used.
Interstate TDR UAV
Cheapness predetermined low flight characteristics - the car's speed on the tests did not exceed 225 km / h, and the range - 685 km.
The car took off from a normal airfield or from an aircraft carrier with the help of a wheeled drop landing gear. In the nose part of it there was a transparent fairing covering the control camera. Located in the bow, the Block-I camera had a viewing angle of 35 degrees.
The aircraft was controlled by radio from the board of the control plane following the drones. The operator with the help of a disco screen saw the image transmitted by the camera of the machine. A standard joystick was used to control the direction and angle. The flight altitude was set remotely using a dial-up disc, as was the landing gear dropping and torpedo or bomb shooting.
Practice has shown the impossibility of the intended aiming bomb dropping from an airplane. It was decided that, in order to simplify the already prolonged development and training program, the pilots would only attack targets by dropping torpedoes or by ramming a plane into a dive. A number of problems with equipment and with the development of new technology led to the fact that interest in unmanned aircraft began to fall.
In total, more than 100 drones of this type were produced, some of them took part in combat operations in the Pacific Ocean. At the same time, there were some successes, there were attacks of ground-based anti-aircraft batteries on Bougainville, in Rabaul and on Fr. New Ireland. The most successful were the last two attacks on New Ireland, which completely destroyed the strategic lighthouse at Cape St. George. In all, 26 aircraft from the 47 aircraft available were spent in these attacks, and 3 crashed for technical reasons.
After the end of the war, the main efforts of developers were focused on the creation of guided missiles and bombs. UAVs were considered only as training radio-controlled targets for air defense systems and fighters.
The interest in the UAV began to revive, as the troops were saturated with anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) and the improvement of detection tools. The use of UAVs made it possible to reduce the losses of manned reconnaissance aircraft, while conducting aerial reconnaissance, and to use them as false targets.
In the USSR, unmanned reactive reconnaissance aircraft were created in the 60-70-ies: Tu-123 “Hawk”, Tu-141 “Strizh”, Tu-143 “Reis”. All of them were quite large and heavy vehicles.
Tu-143 was released around 950 pieces, shipped to Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq and Syria. Where he took part in the fighting.
Tu-143 as part of the BP-3 complex
After serious losses aviation in Vietnam, the United States also revived interest in drones. Basically, they were used for conducting photo reconnaissance, sometimes for electronic warfare purposes. In particular, UAV 147E was used to conduct electronic reconnaissance. Despite the fact that, in the end, the UAV was shot down, it transmitted to the ground station the characteristics of the Soviet S-75 air defense system throughout its flight, and the value of this information was commensurate with the total cost of the unmanned aerial vehicle development program. It also allowed many American pilots to save their lives, as well as aircraft over the next 15 years, until 1973. During the war, American UAVs made almost 3500 flights, with losses of about four percent. The devices were used to conduct photo reconnaissance, signal relay, reconnaissance of electronic equipment, electronic warfare, and as false targets to complicate the air situation.
Subsequent events and technical advances have caused significant changes in the understanding by the leadership of the US Department of Defense of the role and place of UAVs in the weapons system. From the middle of the 1980-ies, US aircraft manufacturing companies began to develop and build automated tactical and operational-strategic unmanned systems.
In 1970 – 1990 and the following years, Israeli military specialists, scientists and designers made a significant contribution to the development of unmanned vehicles.
For the first time, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) encountered unmanned aerial vehicles during the “War of attrition” (1969 – 1970). Static hostilities took place simultaneously on three fronts: against Syria, Jordan, but first of all against Egypt. Then the demand for aerial photography of ground objects sharply increased, but the Israeli Air Force found it difficult to satisfy all requests. Often, the subjects were covered with a powerful air defense system. In 1969, a group of Israeli officers conducted experiments on installing cameras in the case of commercial radio-controlled models. With their use, photographs of the Jordanian and Egyptian positions were obtained. The leadership of military intelligence demanded a UAV with higher tactical and technical characteristics, primarily with a longer range, and the Air Force command was preparing for the purchase of jet unmanned aircraft in the United States at that time on the recommendation of the “buy UAV” group.
In March 1970, the Israeli Air Force delegation left for the United States. At the end of July of the same year, a contract was signed with the American company Teledyne Ryan for the development of the Firebee Model 124I (Mabat) reconnaissance UAV and the production of such vehicles for 12 for Israel. After 11 months, the cars were delivered to Israel. 1 August 1971 was created a special squadron for their operation - 200-I, the first UAV squadron in the Israeli Air Force.
Notable developments and models ordered by the Israeli Air Force in the USA were modifications of unmanned aircraft of the Firebee family - Mabat reconnaissance (Model 124I, Model 147SD) UAVs and Model 232, Model 232B UAVs manufactured by Teledyne Ryan, a also UAV-traps (false targets) to combat the enemy's MQM-74A Chukar company Northrop Grumman, which received the name "Tel" in Israel. In 1973, these vehicles were used by Israel during the Arab-Israeli conflict (“Doomsday Wars”) for observing, reconnaissance of ground targets and setting false air targets. Unmanned reconnaissance aircraft "Mabat" made aerial photographs of dislocations of troops, anti-aircraft missile batteries, airfields, carried out reconnaissance of objects before air strikes and assess the results of these strikes. Shortly after the end of the 1973 war, the Israeli Air Force made a second order for the Mabat 24. Approximate cost of the UAV of this type with additional equipment was 4 million dollars, the aircraft itself cost about 2 million dollars. Unmanned aircraft of the type "Mabat" and "Tel" were purchased before the 1990 of the year and were used as part of the Israeli Air Force in 1995 inclusive; targets "Shadmit" consisted in service with the Air Force 2007 year.
Along with orders and purchases of UAVs from US manufacturing firms, Israel’s own powerful base for the design and construction of unmanned complexes was created in Israel over several years. The most active and far-sighted in the strategy of the UAV was the Israeli firm - manufacturer of electronics "Tadiran." Thanks to the initiative of its director Akiva Meir, in 1974, she bought from AIRMECO the rights to an improved UAV Owl and from that moment became the first industrial manufacturer of unmanned vehicles in Israel. Since 1975, Israel has moved to the development and production of its own UAVs, the first of which was Sayar (the Mastiff export name is Mastiff) of the Tadiran manufacturer. This unmanned aircraft was first introduced to the public in 1978; he and his advanced models were in service with military intelligence. By order of the Israeli Air Force, the IAI company developed and created Scout-type devices (“Scout”), in Hebrew - “Zahavan”. The first combat sortie of the Scout-UAV performed 7 on April 1982 of the year to Lebanon, after Operation Peace for Galilee (Lebanon’s war on 1982 of the year).
In 1982, Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles were used during the fighting in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. IAI’s small-sized “Mastiff” UAV “Tadiran” and “Scout” carried out reconnaissance of Syrian airfields, air defense system positions and troop movements. According to information obtained using the Scout, a distracting group of Israeli aviation before the strike of the main forces initiated the inclusion of the Syrian air defense missile radar, which were hit by self-guided anti-radar missiles. Those air defense weapons that were not destroyed were suppressed by interference. The press reported that during the 1982 war of the year, the high point of the IDF’s anti-radar weapons arrived. 9 June in the course of Operation Artsav-19 against the Syrian air defense missile system in Lebanon, the Phantom fighter jets launched a new type of standard-type guided missile (AGM-40 Standard ARM) on the 78 air defense system, and Kakhlilit was simultaneously hit. and Keres. In the course of the operation, false air targets — Tel, Samson and Dalila — were also widely used.
The success of Israeli aviation at the time was really impressive. Syria’s air defense system in Lebanon was crushed. Syria has lost 86 combat aircraft and 18 SAM batteries.
The military experts invited by the Syrian leadership from the Soviet Union at that time concluded: the Israelis used a new tactic - a combination of UAVs with television cameras on board and missiles being launched with them. This was the first such spectacular use of unmanned aircraft.
In 1980 – 1990-s, many aircraft building companies and firms became involved in the development and production of UAVs, not only in the United States and Israel, but also in other countries. Separate orders for the development and supply of UAVs acquired an interstate character: American companies supplied the Israeli Air Force with the Mabat, Shadmite and Telim unmanned aerial vehicles; The Israeli company IAI concluded contracts and supplied the US armed forces with the Pioneer and Hunter systems, and the armies of Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and India — Searcher devices. The serial production and conclusion of contracts for the purchase of UAVs, as a rule, were preceded by long-term work on the selection of models and complexes with the study of the characteristics, test results and experience of combat use of unmanned vehicles. For example, in the Republic of South Africa, Kontron developed a Seeker unmanned reconnaissance aircraft (“Seeker”) with a range of up to 240 km. He received baptism of fire during the war in Angola in 1986.
Remote-piloted aircraft and autonomous UAVs were used by both sides during the Gulf War 1991 of the year (Operation Desert Storm), primarily as a surveillance and reconnaissance platform. The United States, United Kingdom, and France have deployed and effectively used systems such as Pioneer, Pointer, Exdrone, Midge, Alpilles Mart, CL-89. Iraq used Al Yamamah, Makareb-1000, Sahreb-1 and Sahreb-2. During this operation, the tactical coalition UAV carried out more than 530 sorties, the raid was about 1700 hours. At the same time, 28 devices were damaged, including 12, which were shot down.
Intelligence UAVs were also used in the so-called peacekeeping operations by UN forces in the former Yugoslavia. In 1992, the United Nations authorized the use of the NATO air force to provide Bosnia with air cover and support ground forces deployed throughout the country. To accomplish this task, round-the-clock reconnaissance with the use of unmanned vehicles was required. American UAVs flew over the territory of Bosnia, Kosovo, and Serbia. To conduct aerial reconnaissance in the Balkans, several Hunter vehicles from Israel bought the Belgian and French Air Forces. In the 1999 year, in order to ensure the actions of NATO troops and the bombing of objects in the territory of Yugoslavia, American MQ-1 Predator UAVs were mainly involved. As reported by the media, they made at least 50 reconnaissance missions.
UAV MQ-1 Predator
The United States is a recognized leader in the design and manufacture of UAVs. By the beginning of the 2012 of the year, UAVs accounted for almost a third of the fleet of aircraft in service (the number of UAVs in the armed forces reached 7494 units, while the number of manned vehicles was 10767 units). The most common device was the reconnaissance RQ-11 Raven - 5346 units.
UAV RQ-11 Raven
The first drone of the UAV was the reconnaissance MQ-1 Predator, equipped with AGM-114C Hellfire missiles. In February, 2002 of the year, this unit first struck a blow at an SUV that supposedly belonged to Osama Bin Laden's accomplice, Mullah Mohammed Omar.
At the beginning of the XXI century, the Middle East became the main combat region of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. In operations of the American armed forces in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, medium-height UAVs, in addition to intelligence, carried out laser targeting of weapons of destruction, and in some cases attacked the enemy with their airborne weapons.
With the help of the UAVs, a real hunt for al Qaeda leaders was organized.
During the 2012 year, at least 10 shots were struck, some information became known:
12 March 2012, allegedly American, by UAVs, attacked the military warehouses of the Al Qaeda terrorist group in the area of the town of Jaar (Abyan province in southern Yemen). Six missiles were fired. Victims and destruction are not reported.
7 in May 2012 in Yemen, as a result of an air strike inflicted by an American UAV, killed one of the leaders of the Al Qaeda wing in Fahd al-Kus, who was considered by the US authorities to be responsible for organizing the detonation of the destroyer Cole.
4 June 2012 in northern Pakistan, as a result of an airstrike by an American UAV, Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was considered the second person in Al-Qaida, was killed.
December 8 2012 in Pakistan as a result of air strikes by American UAVs, Abu Zayed was killed, who was considered to be the successor to Al Qaeda Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was killed in June 2012.
The American MQ-9 Reaper drones were based in Pakistan, at Shamsi airfield.
UAV MQ-9 Reaper
However, after making erroneous attacks on “civilian” objects and the death of “civilians”, at the request of the Pakistani side, they left it.
Satellite image of Google Earth: American drones at Shamsi airfield
Infrastructure is being equipped and equipment is being installed to use Global Hawk’s strategic high-altitude reconnaissance RQ-4 in different parts of the world.
UAV RQ-4 Global Hawk
At the first stage, the task is set, on their effective use in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. For this purpose, it is planned to use the US Air Force base on the island of Sicily, on the territory of the Italian WWF Sigonella.
The choice of the Global Hawk type RQ-4 UAV as the primary means of conducting aerial reconnaissance and surveillance, including in the zone of Europe and Africa, is by no means accidental. At present, this drone with a wingspan reaching 39,9 m can be called, without exaggeration, the actual uncrowned “king of UAVs”. The device has a takeoff weight of about 14,5 tons and carries a payload of more than 1300 kilograms. He is able to stay in the air without landing and refueling up to 36 hours, while maintaining a speed of about 570 kilometers per hour. BLA ferry range exceeds 22 thousands of kilometers.
Satellite image of Google Earth: RQ-4 Global Hawk at the home base
According to the estimates of the Northrop Grumman development company, Global Hawk can cover the distance from the Sigonella VBB to Johannesburg and back at one gas station. In this case, the drone has a truly unique characteristics for the air spy and controller. He is able, for example, to collect information using a wide range of special equipment installed on board - a radar station with synthetic beam aperture (developed by Reyteon), a combined optical-electronic / infrared intelligence system AAQ-16, electronic intelligence systems LR-100, other means. At the same time, Global Hawk UAVs are equipped with a set of navigation and communications equipment that allows unmanned aircraft of this family to perform tasks assigned to them with high efficiency (there are satellite communication and navigation systems, radio communication systems, data exchange systems, etc.).
In the US Armed Forces, the Global Hawk RQ-4 UAV is seen as a substitute for high-altitude, a strategic intelligence officer, U-2S, Lockheed. It is noted that in terms of its capabilities, the UAV, in particular in the field of electronic intelligence, is superior to the latter.
French Air Force used in Libya unmanned aerial vehicle "Harfang". The UAV was transferred to the Italian Air Force Sigonella (Sicily) base. It is used for reconnaissance flights in the airspace of Libya in the framework of Operation Harmattan (Harmattan). This was reported by the French Ministry of Defense, which assigned the name "Harmattan" operations of its armed forces in Libya.
The maintenance and support of the UAV flights in Sicily is occupied by a crew of 20 military personnel. Daily UAV spends in the air over 15 hours. On board are installed optoelectronic cameras around the clock.
The obtained intelligence data is immediately transmitted via satellite and other communication lines to the ground control station, where they are processed in real time.
The use of the Harfang UAV increased the intelligence capabilities of France, which are provided by the five Rafale fighters based on Sihonella, equipped with new-generation digital reconnaissance containers.
Prior to that, they were in Afghanistan after performing 511 flights with a total duration of 4250 hours.
The closest combat use of the UAV took place during the operation of the French forces in Africa.
Two weeks after the start of Serval's operation, two medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles of long duration Harfang, which are based in neighboring Niger, flew more than 1000 hours during 50 flights in Mali. These devices, used by the 1 / 33 Belfort squadron (Cognac, France), are used not only for reconnaissance and surveillance, but also for laser targeting of Atlantic-2 Navy aircraft and Air Force fighter-bombers. They turned out to be really necessary in each critical phase of Operation Serval , whether it is the observation of cities occupied by jihadists or in the landing of the 2 th parachute regiment of the foreign legion in Timbuktu. One of the “Harfangs” even managed to break the record, having spent more than 26 hours in the air, thanks to a new configuration with smoother forms of devices.
The Israeli army widely used reconnaissance UAVs with video equipment in operations against neighboring Arab countries and the Hamas movement in the Palestinian enclave, primarily during the bombing and operations in the Gaza Strip (2002 – 2004, 2006 – 2007, 2008 – 2009). A vivid example of the use of UAVs was the second Lebanese war (2006 – 2007).
UAV Heron-1 "Shoval"
Unmanned aerial vehicles of Israeli and American production have the armed forces of Georgia. One of the most well-known and illustrative facts of the armed confrontation of Georgia with the unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was the use of Georgian remotely piloted aircraft (RPNA) of the Hermes-450 type produced in Israel. Until a certain time, the Georgian military-political leadership rejected the fact that the power structures of this UAV were at its disposal. However, the 22 case of April 2008, when Hermes-450 was shot down during the flight, forced Saakashvili to admit this fact.
The complex with the RPV "Hermes-450" (Hermes 450) is a multi-purpose complex with a reconnaissance remotely piloted aircraft (RPV) of a long-range flight. It was created by the Israeli company Silver Arrow (a subsidiary of Elbit Systems) and is intended for conducting aerial reconnaissance, patrolling, adjusting artillery fire and supporting communications in the field.
The Russian armed forces were very limited during the “counterterrorist operation” in the Caucasus, using the “Bee” UAV of the Stroy-P complex. Which today is considered obsolete. With its help, operational interaction with the means of fire destruction of the MLRS "Smerch", "Grad", barreled artillery is carried out.
However, there are no open source application details. Given the small resources of Bees and the extremely limited number of complexes, the effect of their use was most likely not large.
Admission to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation of new reconnaissance complexes with short-range UAVs of domestic production "Orlan-10" is planned for 2013 year.
In July, 2012, the company "Sukhoi" was selected by the developer of the project of heavy impact UAVs take-off weight, most likely from 10 to 20 tons. Possible technical characteristics of the future apparatus are not disclosed yet. In late October, it became known that the Russian companies Sukhoi and MiG signed an agreement on cooperation in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles - MiG will take part in a project, the tender for which was previously won by Sukhoi.