Aerial Killing Machine” with a speed of over 400 km/h and a cost of 2.3 billion yen per unit… The latest “military drone” has terrifying performance. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Aerial Killing Machine” with a speed of over 400 km/h and a cost of 2.3 billion yen per unit… The latest “military drone” has terrifying performance.

The invasion of Ukraine has attracted attention, and development is underway in the U.S., China, and Taiwan in preparation for contingencies.

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Taiwan Albatross II was unveiled in mid-March by a Taiwanese weapons developer. It boasts a continuous dwell time of 16 hours and a maximum flight range of over 300 km.

The era of warfare in which people stand on the front lines may be coming to an end. The Ukrainian military has been fighting an all-out war against Russia, and it is said that the background to this is the existence of military drones supported in large numbers by Western countries. Various types of drones, including reconnaissance, attack, and self-destruct …… drones, have been deployed in actual warfare and have produced tremendous results. International journalist Toshihiro Yamada says.

The U.S. has provided 700 Switchblade 300 attack drones and other drones. The portable “Switchblade 300,” which is about 30 cm long and weighs 2.5 kg, has a flight range of about 10 km, and is used by soldiers on the battlefield to attack enemy armored vehicles while watching a monitor screen.

Drones are now becoming a mainstay of battlefield weaponry, and countries are engaged in a fierce development race in preparation for emergencies.

Amidst the appearance of drones with fearsome performance one after another, the “MQ-9 Reaper” made in the U.S., known as the “Flying Reaper,” is said to be the most powerful drone on the market today.

The MQ-9 Reaper was developed as an improved version of the MQ-1 Predator, an attack drone that was used for reconnaissance missions in the Middle East from the mid-1990s. It can fly at speeds in excess of 400 km/h and transmit enemy data in real time from 15,000 meters above the ground. It can also use laser-guided missiles, and in ’20, it pinpointed the location of Mr. Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. He landed at the airport, got into his car, and was assassinated from far above without being noticed. Normally, two operators from the U.S. operate the aircraft remotely, using video images from the aircraft’s camera. The price of one aircraft is about 2.3 billion yen. Last November, the MQ-9 was deployed to the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture for warning and surveillance purposes,” said Yamada.

The Turkish-made Bailaktar Kuzul Erma, which made its first successful flight last December, boasts performance similar to that of the MQ-9.

It is a large aircraft with an overall length of 14.7 meters and a wingspan of 10 meters. It is capable of reaching a speed of 1,100 km/h, close to the speed of sound, and can carry 1,500 kg of cargo and fly for five to six hours at 14,000 m above the ground. It can take off and land on aircraft carriers and is expected to be used as a ship-borne aircraft.

China, too, is making great strides in drone development in order to compete with the United States.

The “Winged Dragon 3,” which was unveiled last November, is a high-performance drone that is similar to the MQ-9 Reaper and can fly for 40 hours with a range of more than 10,000 km. Recently, Chinese military drones have been increasingly flying in the airspace around Okinawa for reconnaissance purposes, and the number of scrambles by the Air Self-Defense Force has been increasing rapidly.

In preparation for an invasion by China, Taiwan is developing drones at a rapid pace. This year’s defense budget is 14% higher than last year’s, a record amount of approximately 2.55 trillion yen. It has also decided to procure 3,000 military drones.

Drones are also being deployed in large numbers in the invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv, the capital, had its buildings destroyed by drone strikes.

In March of this year, new models developed independently by Taiwan were also shown to the press on a large scale.

All eight models unveiled to the public were made in Taiwan. One is equipped with artificial intelligence and can automatically track enemy military vessels for 16 hours over a distance of 300 km, while another model is small and can launch missiles from the air. The timing of the public announcement of the new missile is no doubt intended to check China’s increasing military pressure.

In December 2010, Japan also decided to deploy several hundred military drones, including attack drones, in fiscal 2013 and beyond. The intensifying performance competition and merciless attacks by drones – warfare has never been more brutal. Warfare is beginning to take on an unprecedentedly brutal aspect.

U.S. MQ-9 Reaper

It is considered to have the highest attack capability among unmanned aircraft. In the event of a crash, it can remotely erase sensitive software to prevent information leakage.

United States MQ-9 Reaper

Turkey Bailaktar Kızılırma

Kızılırma” means “target to be conquered” in Turkish. It just made its first flight last December and is an unmanned military weapon in the shape of a large stealth fighter.

Turkey Bailaktar Kuzul Erma

Australia STRIX

Announced in February of this year, this is Japan’s first domestically produced unmanned military aircraft. When taking off, the aircraft rises vertically, and once airborne, it tilts forward and flies like an airplane.

Australia STRIX

China FH-97A

This medium-size reconnaissance aircraft is capable of refueling in mid-air. Equipped with an electronic jamming system, it can paralyze enemy air defense systems, assist manned aircraft, and supply data.

China FH-97A

From the April 21/28, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

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