As you, the reader may have surmised, I have a little experience with drones. Most of the time, it was intel that we would get from them. I didn’t have anything to do with targeting. That kind of call was way above my pay grade.
The future of the battlefield, however, will be shaped more and more by the machines, and regular soldiers will operate them routinely. Imagine a portable drone that the average joe could carry that would tell him or her what was behind that wall in front of them. Those would have all kind of uses, and they will be developed. In my books, I write about such a toy, and the impact that the capability will have on the battlefield. It’ll be a real leap forward, kind of like the internet linking of all of the combatants. Mark my word, that will happen too. We are close to it now.
What I’d like to talk about today is another type of drone, one that will be death on armor. I read an interesting article about a requirement that the US Army has put out, they want an artillery shell or a rocket capable of projecting a small swarm of Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) bearing drone ‘copters above the battlefield for the express purpose of taking out scads of armored vehicles.
Oh boy. Imagine what that would do to a mechanized formation headed to Point A. All of a sudden, they would be headed nowhere. If you combined the killer cute little drone helicopters with a weapon that exists today, FASCAM, the column of tanks is going nowhere fast. And if airpower can get there too… it would make the highway of death look pretty tame.
All the more reason I don’t envy tankers, for the same reason I wouldn’t want to be a pilot. You are a big, fat target that everyone who can do so will light up with any available arms.
Of course, for every action there is a reaction, and I am curious what people will come up with to deal with the swarm of drones that will descend upon the combatants in our next war. A quick firing laser? A flechette auto cannon? Flying mines? Enhanced jamming? Hard to tell, really. I can’t imagine that such a defensive weapon would be manually operated, however.
Those little drones will be very hard to hit.