In a recently fought war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, despite being almost equal in defence capabilities, Armenia lost badly. In the war, Armenians lost 185 tanks, 45 armoured fighting vehicles, 44 infantry fighting vehicles, 147 towed artillery guns, 19 self-propelled artillery, 72 multi-barrel rocket launchers, and 12 radars. Whereas Azerbaijan, while routing the Armenian defence forces, lost only one-sixth of the total equipments lost by the Armenians, and won the war comfortably.
The deciding factor in the war was reported to be the Turkish drone Bayraktar TB2. The unmanned combat aerial vehicle, capable of remotely controlled flight operations, launched successive attacks on the Armenian military hardware and broke the backbone of their military. The drone attack by Azerbaijan on Armenian installations was so comfortable that the attack was called the target practice of the military.
Successful Maiden Flight of Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator
The success of unmanned combat vehicles in successive wars has forced India to aggressively push for indigenous development of state-of-the-art Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for reconnaissance, attack, and logistical support to its defence personnel.
Moving ahead with the development of Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, DRDO, on July 01, 2022, carried out a successful maiden flight of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator.
— DRDO (@DRDO_India) July 1, 2022
DRDO in its press statement said, “Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, waypoint navigation, and a smooth touchdown. This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft and is a significant step towards self-reliance in such strategic defence technologies.”
The brief added that the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, a premier research laboratory of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation). It is powered by a small turbofan engine. The airframe, undercarriage, and entire flight control and avionics systems used for the aircraft were developed indigenously.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulating DRDO said that it is a major achievement towards autonomous aircrafts, and will pave the way for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in terms of critical military systems.
Congratulations to @DRDO_India on successful maiden flight of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator from Chitradurga ATR.
It is a major achievement towards autonomous aircrafts which will pave the way for Aatmanirbhar Bharat in terms of critical military systems. pic.twitter.com/pQ4wAhA2ax
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 1, 2022
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman of DRDO Dr. G Satheesh Reddy appreciated the efforts of the teams associated with the design, development, and testing of the system.
The future of war is drones and drones will decide the future of war
According to a report, the wingspan of Ghatak is 5 meters long and its length is 4 meters long. The overall weight of the unmanned combat vehicle is expected to be 1,050 kg. With the command range of 200 kilometres, it can achieve an altitude of 6,000 meters, providing a flight endurance of 1 hour.
After the successful induction into military use, Ghatak Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle will provide India with complete air supremacy. Its stealth and fully automated capabilities will prove to be a game-changer in modern-day warfare. Its capabilities to launch an offensive strike and suicide mission approach have huge strategic advantages. On one hand, it will reduce the human cost of war, and on the other, its small size and stealth capabilities will enhance its striking accuracy.
In a way, India’s Ghatak Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle is a Stealth Bomber. It has the capabilities to launch multiple silent strikes at distantly located enemy locations with zero human cost. After the complete realization of the technology, Balakot-like air strikes can be a new norm for the Indian Air Forces.
The growth of automation and robotics has not only brought changes in the normal life of civilians but has also revolutionized warfare. Traditional wars, which used to have huge human costs, are now shifting to a process in which more than human, the mechanical cost will be at stake.
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