The use of unmanned aerial vehicles has becomes commonplace on the battlefields of today. But more often than not, the types of drones seeing widespread use in combat are of the high-flying, reconnaissance or air-strike launching variety. However, multiple programs all around the world have begun surfacing in recent months with the aim of using small, armed, quad-copter style drones in direct support of ground troops. These “infantry-bots” still fly to get around, but place a large emphasis on a close-quarters-battle (CQB) style of engaging enemy combatants, rather than relying on missiles launched from high above.
China already unveiled their “infantry drone” that would hover through city streets like a Terminator-style creation. Now Turkey’s own Asisguard has unveiled their own version of an armed, personnel support drone that couples the traditional quad-copter design with a machine gun and 200 rounds of ammunition.
Okay, so we can all agree that this demonstration video may include a rather unrealistic (and non-dynamic) depiction of how combat operations might unfold in such an environment — don’t you appreciate it when the terrorists accidentally detonate the IED 200 yards ahead of you and then wait patiently for you to kill them? But once you get past nit-picking the video itself, you may notice that the drone is demonstrating a pretty impressive degree of recoil management while firing its weapon in 15-round bursts.
There’s good reason for that: The drone, dubbed Songar, uses two overlapping systems to keep it locked on target even as physics fight to push it away: The first is a a network of sensors, including a laser range finder, which calculates exactly where the drone needs to lay its cross hairs to effectively engage a target; the second is an advanced arm system designed specifically to mitigate the recoil created by the weapon as it fires.
The result, according to Asisguard anyway, is a surprisingly accurate drone that can engage targets up to 400 meters away, or from 200 meters with a shot group that fits within around 15 centimeters (or just shy of 6 inches). That may not impress expert shooters, but it could prove plenty effective for a flying remote controlled asset. It also comes standard with night vision, can be flown in parallel with up to two others via a single remote and has a flight range of about 10 kilometers (a bit more than 6 miles). Asisguard envisions these drones working in tandem, with one operator for every three drones conducting operations that could include some Songars laying down suppressive fire while others flank enemy positions — withTurkish troops safely out of the line of fire.
The Turkish military is set to start receiving the Songar drones later this month, but it remains unclear when they may enter operational service.