Deadly Drone: Weaponized UAVs Maximize Lethality, Minimize Collateral Damages

Velan Mudaliar (center, black jacket) is one of ARDEC’s skilled engineers working toward advancements in Lethal Unmanned Aerial Systems with the successful testing of a new prototype, featuring a programmable fuze and warhead. The team performed a successful testing of the prototype at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. (Photo: US Army)

Velan Mudaliar (center, black jacket) is one of ARDEC’s skilled engineers working toward advancements in Lethal Unmanned Aerial Systems with the successful testing of a new prototype, featuring a programmable fuze and warhead. The team performed a successful testing of the prototype at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. (Photo: US Army)

Velan Mudaliar is an engineer with the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), headquartered at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. He is a team member on the Lethal Unmanned Aerial System project, which was one of eight ARDEC projects to win a 2009 U.S. Army Research and Development Achievement Award.

I happened to be at the right place and right time when I was given the opportunity to work on the U.S. Army ARDEC’s Lethal Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) program. After working for four years on 120-mm Tank Ammunition, I was glad to have a chance to expand my horizons and play a part in the growing UAS market.

The benefits of the program also appealed to me based on what I had been hearing about on the news. For one thing, U.S. soldiers in the field deserve to have the flexibility to engage urban targets from a safe distance while minimizing collateral damage.

U.S. Army ARDEC’s Lethal UAS concept provides such a capability since it is a weaponized small aircraft that can autonomously fly into an enemy target with the assistance of an onboard GPS receiver. This weaponization stems from the aircraft’s fuze and warhead attachments, both of which were designed in-house at ARDEC’s facilities at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

Unlike other precision munitions such as shoulder-fired rounds and mortars, the Lethal UAS does not require line-of-sight targeting, nor does it have a standardized trajectory that can be retraced by the enemy back to the location of the operator.

An advantage over firing missiles is being able to perform surveillance with the help of an onboard camera that delivers live footage to the ground control station while loitering in the vicinity of possible targets. This loitering capability not only allows extra time (if needed) for target selection, but it also provides the option to abandon a chosen target in favor of a new one.

Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), headquartered at Picatinny Arsenal, N.JA key safety feature has to do with the fact that ARDEC’s fuze is programmable, which allows it to be remotely disarmed by the operator on the ground while it’s attached to an in-flight aircraft. Our team had a successful live-fire systems demonstration in February 2010 at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

In addition to the ARDEC members who were involved (all of whom had made vital contributions to the program), the employees of Latitude Engineering, LLC (the company that provided the aircraft platforms), the Dugway Proving Ground staff and RCAT Systems (provided piloting service and avionics expertise) all deserve much kudos. We would now like to build on this success by modifying and miniaturizing the current design for both shoulder-launched and mortar-launched platforms.”

Sign up for Armed with Science email alerts!

Comments

comments

This entry was posted in Physical Sciences and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Deadly Drone: Weaponized UAVs Maximize Lethality, Minimize Collateral Damages

  1. Anonymous says:

    OMGosh dude no way man that was jsut too funny dude.

  2. Wilson barretoalfonso says:

    please if the test resulted o.k. this drones armed may fighting againts terrorist and narcotrafficant in colombia?? in the name of GOD asked!

  3. lloyd khuc says:

    Believe it ! It is true. Many UAVs operation right now only do the surveillance and reconaissance. This Lethal UAV besides to do the surveillance and reconaissance, if the operator see the interest target like the insurgents are planning the roadside bomb or the IDE; the operator will send remote command to arm the warhead and guide the Lethal UAV home in the target with Kamikaze type to neutralize that target.