Agree. However the gun has to be placed either high and central on the wing. Or positioned on either side of wing, to clear the props. So the pilot looses the LOS, aim point, if gun was central to his position. The AN-2, would be excellent choice, capable of turning fast. But pilot has to be trained to shoot well, given the off / Centre position of gun. Also, the point about new low RCS plane, is that, it will mix with the swarm. And enemy can not distinguish it, and shoot down. But if enemy Radar is jammed, then it could be used, just as well.
The An-2 is capable of safe low speed flight, it has a large cabin size and decent payload capacity and flight range performance...
Honestly I would modify it with a belly and roof mounted radar... something like the one above the Mi-28NM... the lower one could retract for takeoff and landing... and I would have a turret on the rear fuselage spine top and bottom and side blister turrets too.
Each turret mount will have a 40mm grenade launcher and day and night optics and a laser range finder and target marker and munition detonator.
The turrets would be automatic with men in the cabin sitting at display consoles.
The upper and lower radar balls will locate very small RCS targets and optical systems similar to modern DAS systems will also be used to detect flying objects with little or no radar return... target data will be shared with other aircraft and also ground based air defence.
If one or two drones are detected then the aircraft can close to close proximity and deal with it... the stabilised turrets should be able to deal with these targets using a single shot engagement most of the time... the HE mass of a 40mm grenade plus potential space for fragments is rather good... those grenades are big.
If there are large numbers of drones attacking at once then the information the aircraft is collecting can be shared with other drones and ground forces and air defence vehicles. EMP rounds could be developed too that could be launched into the centre of large groups of drones to take out numbers of them at a time... a 152mm gun battery could use GLONASS guided shell fuses on EMP rounds to fly the payload into the centre of incoming drone groups and disable all drones within 100m of the detonation point...
Of course an aircraft could also be customised for the job with a cheap simple engine... nice stable design that is easy to fly... you could automate the system so instead of men on board at displays the information from the radars could be used to direct the turrets and they can use their EOs to send target visual information to the men on the ground in the control vehicles controlling this anti drone drone...
The thing is that a ground vehicle using radar can be detected and targeted with a drone strike, but an aircraft moves too much for targeting its position so much more complicated and bigger drones would be needed to take it out and with its radar and EO systems it actually has a good chance of defending itself...
It could fly over a TOR battery and they could shoot down anything supersonic coming to get it...
Yes a helicopter, would be easier target for air to air attack drone. But even now, drones have difficulty in dog fighting . They can only perform interception role. So an agile plane, can out manouver a drone.
AFAIK the Serbian use of helicopters was quite successful... the target drones had poor Situational awareness so the helicopters were able to fly along side while door gunners shot them down.
You need to be flexible... it is a cheap and simple solution but you do need to be able to direct your helicopters to where the targets are... which is not as easy as it sounds.
And after talking about the stuff above regarding An-2s I am forgetting that the Russians are modifying their Mi-28NMs to enable them to intercept drones for which I would expect they will use radar and EO and of course their 30mm cannon with laser detonated HE shells... which would be ideal...
The helicopter itself is not cheap but its sensors means it will detect the drones and be able to kill them with a very cheap and simple but effective weapon for the job.
250 odd rounds for the standard load out would mean it could engage a lot of drones in one flight. Wing mounted ATGMs and Verba missiles to deal with larger heavier drones...
There is a tendency for people to dismiss tactics or equipment, that look old or dated. I think it is a result of the Arms industry. Trying to sell new versions.
It was a clever use of available resources but could have easily terribly backfired for them... the Americans could simply have started targeting their helicopters with fighter aircraft to stop them shooting down their drones.
Drones at that stage were more about trying to find targets rather than suicide drones or armed drones... so camouflage and sneaky tactics are useful against such things as well as swatting them down.
Agree that helicopters may not be ideal platform. But one way to hunt down dozens of targets, is to have more planes in the air. Over battle zones. In a holding or loiter position. One plane, should be able to hunt several drones, given right training and weapon.
The basic problem is that most aircraft have radars that can't track very low speed targets that are also very small... and drones are not like enemy planes... they might be launched from just outside the enemy base they are about to attack so the flight time might be 5 minutes which is not enough time to scramble aircraft or even divert aircraft except possibly ones operating from that base.
I do think helicopters have a role to play... the Mi-28NM has MMW radar and optics that have a much better chance of detecting even hand launched drones from useful distances, but the solution is going to be including an enormous range of things from ground based air defence vehicles and jammers and EMP weapons and DEWs and gun fired rounds and cheap simple missiles to your own drones, but I don't think your fighters will contribute much.
I think 5th gen fighters flying around electronically looking at drones and their wifi connections to the operators that can be used for artillery strikes makes sense too, because if you just chase the drones then you will be doing it forever... take out the sources and the numbers will dwindle making them easier to deal with too.
There is not going to be hundreds or thousands of drones, because the small size, means short range.
There might be at some stage but I agree... anyone who tries to launch more than a dozen or so drones at one target will struggle to manage the attack without good AI and good AI means communications for coordination which can be targeted and exploited too.
Drones are not armoured. At least for now. A shotgun can be used to fire . It should penetrate at 50 meters. Or damage prop or camera. Or use 12 gauge new frag or Hesh round. I never heard of anyone being injured by falling shotgun pellets. 50 meters, should be safe margin, for plane to avoid the worst of the explosion.
The beauty of the shotgun is that the projectiles it fires in mass are like bomb fragments in that they start off fast but rapidly lose speed and therefore become rapidly less dangerous.
Obviously this means their effective range is limited, but that is a good thing to prevent widespread damage too.
Micro - drones are a problem. But at least, they will be slower and lower. Trained shooters from the ground, should be able to bring down. At least easier to shoot down, than a mortar round.
?? trained shooters can't shoot down mortar bombs... micro drones will have very short range and very limited payload and most often will be used for surveillance, so blinding lasers and EM countermeasures would probably be the best solution for them. If the enemy can't see what the drone sees in real time then they don't really benefit from their use.
This, has to be proven in practice. No reason why a manned plane, can not be designed, to also fly as an unmanned drone. Simply replace pilot, with extra fuel tank !
True, and an unmanned drone can perform all sorts of manouvers at all sorts of altitudes without fear of crashing or g forces rendering crew ineffective.
Having said that the best anti drone weapons are probably Mi-28NM and the Pine ground based SAM system... the former because of its sophisticated sensors and weapon optimised for engaging small drones and the latter because of its low cost ammo and non emission detection EO system that means it can see without being seen necessarily... and its cheap missiles.
( 1 ) Is the view good enough to allow dog fights?
( 2 ) Can data link be secured against jamming ?
I would say rather than have a camera that can move it would be better to have multiple fixed cameras that create a complete 360 degree picture of the airspace around the object so you can look in any direction and see what is happening without having to move anything.
Increases the amount of data that needs to be sent but should not be an enormous problem.
Yup. All that remains, is to install a rotational and directional gimbaled laser receiver, on the rear of the UCAV dog fighter, to remember and always point, to the sender......
Eyesafe and invisible to the human eye but not invisible and could be used to locate communication nodes.
This is similar to a system the MiG-35 has and was developed by a Russian company for secure communications between satellites. In space it is secure because there is no atmosphere or dust particles to give the beam away...
Not suggesting it is useless... it is like a Russian laser beam riding missile... to block the signal you have to get between the missile and the launcher which is normally not practical, and because the laser goes from emitter to sensor, unlike a laser guided bomb where the emitted has to shine a beam onto the target and have the beam strong enough that it reflects off the surface of the target all the way to the seeker, so it can be much much less powerful and therefore less likely to be noticed.
With tanks and laser beam riding missiles the brightness of the beam is so much lower most laser warning systems are not triggered. Laser beams for marking targets for semi active laser homing missiles or bombs like Copperhead or Paveway are vastly more powerful because the beam has to travel both ways off a surface that is nothing like a mirror. This means that to get your laser warning system to detect the much much less powerful beam of a laser beam riding missile you have to set it to ultra sensitive... which means laser rangefinders or reflections from your own laser target marker will set it off so it will be going off all the time so you end up turning it off anyway.