UAVs and their Role in Defense Forces

What are UAV?

UAV basically stands for Unmanned Armed Vehicle. UAV is defined as an aerial vehicle that does not carry any of humans but is powered by humans. These use Aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or can be controlled remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or non-lethal payload.

The term UAV was adopted by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). UAVs carry warheads and are completely different from missiles with warheads because the vehicle itself is munition.

Importance and widespread use of UAVs in defense

UAVs and their Role in Defense Forces have got significant consideration and recognition in different aspects of the military and services because of their enhanced capability, stability, and endurance in several operations.

The application of UAVs is expanding exceptionally with the advancement of technology and increasing demand for UAVs. These UAVs have been used in a variety of application over the last decade which includes-

  • Tracking
  • Public security
  • Traffic surveillance
  • Object detection
  • Military operation
  • Exploration of hidden and hazardous areas
  • Atmospheric sensing

Various types of UAVs

UAVs are basically categorized on the basis of their framework, Payload carrying capacity, range, Purpose, etc.

Here is an outline of the types of UAVs that are currently being developed-

1. Multi-rotor UAVs:

These are the most commonly used UAVs which are used by professionals. These are the most common and the cheapest option that is available in the market, one can afford legally. These are widely used for aerial photography, Aerial mapping, and recreational sports. They can be further classified based on the number of the rotor – Tricopter(three rotors), quadcopter(four rotors), and hexacopter(six rotors).

Though Multi-rotor is the cheapest option that is available they have some disadvantages which are- they have limited flight time and endurance compared to other types of UAVs. The average flight time of multi-rotor UAVs is approximately 20-40 minutes.

2. Fixed-wing UAVs:

These types of UAVs are most commonly made like regular airplanes. Unlike Multi-rotor UAVs they do not require a lot of energy to stay in the air because of the perfectly aerodynamic framework which lifts their structure. And due to this reason, they can fly for a longer time as compared to multi-rotor UAVs.

The average flight time of fixed-wing UAVs can be approximately something around 1-2 hours. The major concerning disadvantages of these types of UAVs are they need a lot of space for takeoff and lack the ability to hover which makes them difficult to fly and control.

3. Single-rotor UAVs:

These types of UAVs are very similar looking to a helicopter which has a large rotor on the top of it that helps to take vertical lift using high thrust force and has a small rotor on the back side at the tail which helps to define and maintain the direction control of the UAV.

The major disadvantages of the single-rotor UAV are the operational danger because of their large rotor wings size. They also need a highly qualified operator as they are powered by gas engines, and they cost more than multi-rotor and Fixed-wing UAVs. They have high payload and warhead-carrying capabilities.

4. Hybrid UAVs:

Hybrid UAVs are equipped with electric propulsion and internal combustion. They have extended flight duration, improved efficiency, etc.

They are featured with an electric motor that initiates the take-off during the crucial phase.

The internal combustion engine is fueled by gasoline diesel which is responsible for the creation of electricity which subsequently charge the batteries.

In modern days hybrid Unmanned armed vehicles (UAVs) are used with advancements in technology due to this reason these are widely used in defense.

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Key Components and Features of UAVs:

1. Frame

  • The frame is the skeleton of the UAV which determines its aerodynamic properties of UAV. It should have sufficient strength to hold the rotor, propeller, cameras, and payloads.
  • It determines the momentum and aerial motion of the UAV.

2. Propellers

  • Propellers are used for the direction of aerodynamic lift of Unmanned Armed vehicles (UAV). It depends on the shape size and the number of propellers that are used in UAVs.
  • Propeller is the only component that provides the thrust force to the UAV due to which it is able to fly.

3. Motor

Motors are the most essential part of UAVs because it is the only reason which a UAV can be made functional. There are two types of motors that are used in UAVs-

  • One is a Brushless motor
  • And the second one is the Brushed motor.

Brushless motors are very powerful and very efficient but they need an electronic speed controller(ESC).

4. ESC

  • ESC basically stands for Electronic Speed Controller and it is used to connect the battery to all the basic components like a motor.
  • Electronic speed controllers (ESCs) are devices that allow drone flight controllers to control and adjust the speed of the aircraft’s electricity.
  • ESC also has a refresh rate which is represented in Hertz which tells how many times a motor speed can be changed.

5. Battery

The battery is used to supply power to all the components of the UAV. Basically, a Lithium-ion battery is used to power the system. UAV can have 3S (3 cells ) or 4S(4 cells).

6. Flight Controller

  • It is the brain of the computer which controls the ESC and the motors. It has a processor which manages balance and telecommunication.
  • It is built with sensors for the accelerometer, barometer, magnetometer, and GPS.
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Role and Application of UAVs in Defence Forces

  1. It is used for the tracking purpose.
  2. It is used for remote sensing.
  3. It is used for border security.
  4. Precision strikes and target identification.
  5. Logistics and supply chain support.

Challenges and the Future of the UAVs

1. Safety

Unmanned aerial vehicles rely on global positioning technology for navigation. This gives controllers an accurate read on the location of a vehicle, even at a significant distance.

UAVs can hinder the flight patterns of the aerial vehicle like aircraft which poses potential safety threats.

2. Privacy

The unmanned armed vehicle is also known as “eyes in the sky”, these compromise the privacy of the civilian people as they are almost spied on and each of their activity is being watched. So people can see this collection of data as Intrusive.

 the systems might also include sensors that detect sounds, magnetic fields, and chemical composition, among other information.

3. Power

The economic part of the UAVs is also very crucial because as they have to in the sky for so long for delivering packages and medicine to distant places power consumption is something that is considerable.

With the advancement in the technology of batteries, the weight of Unmanned armed vehicles is also an important consideration. By designing and manufacturing lightweight parts for your system, it’s possible to achieve longer flight times and advance the applications of your technology.

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So far we have discussed the UAVs and their Role in Defense Forces and their usage in the defense forces , types of the UAVs and their advancements in technology. These are really helpful in defense forces in various aspects for the welfare of the citizens and the country’s security from external threats.

In the future UAVs are going to be game changers in defense forces as they have high caliber capability to surprise their enemy and with the advancements in the technology of the developments of UAVs, they have got a bright future.

Thanks for reading the post, share it with your Defence Lover friends!

Frequently Asked Questions-

How many UAV does Indian Armed Forces have?

Ans-Currently Indian armed forces have 200+ UAVs

Which is the most advanced UAV?

Ans-MQ-9 is the most advanced UAV

Which is the biggest UAV in the world?