Finally, a gun on a UAV?

The Aviationist blog has posted a video about an intriguingUAV with a submachine gun, apparently posted in Russia.

While the clip is certainly entertaining – “I don’t think Irecognise any of those guys, let’s take them out” and “That was awesome! Lookat the guy’s head rolling down the hill” – I can’t vouch for the authenticityof the of the UAV itself. 

I cannot discern empty cartridges falling out of the UAV,and why do the mannequins explode?  Ialso can’t make out exactly how the ammo in the 100 round clip gets into thegun.  The operator also seems fairlycasual on the safety front. Say the thing flies out of control, gun blazingaway at full automatic? And when he is casually shooting up that gasoline, hedoesn’t seem to worry that it will set off the explosive charges this thingallegedly carries – which are later demonstrated when he uses the UAV to blowup a car.

On the other hand, there does appear to be a distinct recoilwhen the gun is firing.

Anyway, the clip reminded me of a conversation I had with acolleague at Flight a few years back about the possibility of mounting guns onUAVs. I have seen videos of shotguns and grenade launchers on smaller systems,such as the one depicted in this video, but as far as I’m aware there are noplans extant to mount a gun on a bigger system, such as a Scan Eagle or a Predator.

A gun-armed UAV would have some big advantages. The system wouldhave more flexibility, capable of hitting a point target, such as a singleperson or the engine block of a vehicle, without expending large, expensive guidedmunitions. A sort of sniper in the sky.

The main challenge would probably be mounting it. The bestoption would to have a side firing system similar to the AC-130, operating onthe principle that it is easier for an aircraft to blast a target while circlingit rather than flying straight at it. Apparently the AC-130′s software consistentlyachieves first round accuracy, something which could be scaled down for a UAV-mountedgun system.

While the Charlene UAV depicted in the video may not be thereal deal, the ‘guns on UAV’ space is definitely one ripe for fascinatingdevelopment. 


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