Nowadays, almost every country accepts unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) as part and parcel of their respective munition and created a new era of warfare. This trend started developing over the last decade and achieved marvellous progress. Turkish Bayraktar TB-2, a UAV that has already illustrated its capability in actual combat situations.
The aerial combat robots are always in the way of modernization that provides strength considering the situations. In some years, UAVs and artificial intelligence will become the real meaning of air combats. Even drones and artificial intelligence may work as an alternative to the accustomed manned fighter planes, bombers, Flying tankers, patrolling air crafts and so on.
Still, lots of troubles appear in the way of selecting the best combat drone in the world because most of the countries are engaged in the development of uncrewed aerial vehicles, and they did a great job.
Combat drones are built for several purposes. Besides providing reconnaissance, UAVs can also cause massive destruction. And the shocking fact is, there exists a lot of information about the developments which is still unaware to the world. For example, Chinese developers always claim that they have better UAVs than the United States and Israel. Even they proclaim that few projects of PRC are the best among modern creations. But in reality, Chinese drones are destroyed at ease. Today, we will try to figure out the top five famous combat drones in the world.
Here are some of the Best UCAV in 2021:
Turkish Bayraktar TB2
Turkish Bayraktar TB2 has the fifth rank in the list, and probably it is one of the most well-known combat drones. Turkish Bayraktar TB2 is 6.5 m in length, designed with a 12 m wingspan and supports a take-off weight of 650 kg. In addition, it has the ability to support 55kg maximum payload mass, and its range is 150 km.
Turkish company Baikar Makina, creator of the Bayraktar TB2, has been in service with many countries. Turkish Bayraktar TB2 was created for reconnaissance and to cause devastating destruction in the war. It is the successor of Bayraktar Block-B. It belongs to the class of tactical medium-altitude UAVs and supports a long flight duration also.
This drone is well equipped and developed with advanced software and a control system. In the order of comparison, Bayraktar complex class can carry six drones, power supplies, two ground control stations, and maintenance tools. It contains a crew commander, a pilot, and a weapon operator.
Turkish Bayraktar is developed with modern technology and enriched with a Rotax 912 internal combustion engine of 100 hp. This engine can provide a maximum speed of 250 km/ h and supports a 130 km/ h cruising speed also. This master creation can touch the height of 7300 meters, and its advanced technology gives it the access to execute fully automatic take-off and landing. A variety of video cameras and surveillance system is loaded in this Turkish UAV.
In the weapon section, this Turkish UAV comes with a laser-guided Roketsan. MAM-L or MAM-C gliding ammunition and supports two anti-tank guided missiles. This drone has a lot of advantages, such that it has spent a total time of 24 hours 34 minutes at the height of 8 thousand meters. Above all, Bayraktar TB2 has an excellent performance in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh battles.
Heron -1 holds its position at number four in the list of top drones in the world. It belongs to the category of medium-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles featuring long flight duration. The purpose behind designing such a type of drone model is to execute an excellent performance in the case of reconnaissance, surveillance, and other activities during any extended period. It can provide great performance at an altitude of 10700m for 45 hours. Heron-1 started its journey in October 1994 through its first-ever flight. It is one of the most elderly models of unmanned aerial vehicle technology.
In the section on advantages, Heron-1 offers a variety of features. One of them is a satellite navigation system( SNS), the auto-flight mode which paves the way for performing an autonomous flight for a long duration. In this mode, almost all of the functions of the entire flight can be performed. It also features a special semi-automatic mode in which, sometimes, the operator’s interference is required in certain situations. This Israeli UAV functioned to perform automatic take-off and land, which makes it highly skilled and daunting to the enemies. In addition, it has the unique capability of returning to its base if it loses the connection with the ground command post.
Heron-1 is well equipped with radio and electronic reconnaissance stations, optoelectronic and infrared systems, small radar and so on. Having high potential, UAVs like Heron-1 can easily handle enemy targets and reconnaissance activities. It had performed a significant role in the mission of the Gaza Strip during the time of 2008-2009. At the same time, the modified version of Heron-1 is still in service with India, Canada, Germany, the United States, Turkey, Ecuador, Australia, Brazil and Israel.
The American MQ-9 Reaper drone adorns the third-ranking of the top drones of the world. General Atomics Aeronautical developed the American MQ-9 Reaper based on its predecessor successful MQ-1 Predator multi-tasking UAV. In the preliminary stage, the first step to creating this drone was undertaken privately in 1998. NASA got connected to this project by making contributions in the funding sections. The first test flight of this unique prototype occurred in February 2001. The MQ-9 Reaper is the advanced version of the RQ/MQ-1 Predator drone. V-tail, making this drone more traditional than other drones. The Reaper drone has some similarities with MQ-1 in the equipment section. The MQ-9 Reaper drone is well fitted with AGM-114C / K Hellfire ATGM and various guided weapons, making it a multi-purpose combat drone.
The MQ-1 Reaper drone can constantly fly at the height of 13700m for 30 hours. The American Air Force classification claims that this drone belongs to the “hunter-killer” class – capable of destroying the enemy targets. The Reaper drone includes 14 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, but in the present time, the UAVs are contained with only two such missiles. Once fully loaded, this UAV can provide a total 14 hour flight time and reach the maximum speed of 480 kilometres per hour. In August 2008, there was a replacement made by the US Air Force with MQ-9 Reaper to F-16 Fighters in the 174th Fighter Air Regiment of the National Guard.
GAAS Avenger/Predator C
The second place is occupied by another American drone named GAAS Avenger or Predator C. It is the successor of Predator B. It is similarly designed for carrying a payload of one ton. If stealth is not a matter of issue, this drone can execute the mission once the weapons are perfectly fitted on the external suspension of the wing and fuselage. There is also the advantage of installing additional fuel tanks in the internal cargo space. This configuration allows the plane to provide extra 2 hours of flight time.
The integrated vertical V-tail of predator C can deflect radar radiation and lower the infrared signatures caused by engine exhaustion. This drone is enriched with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545B engine that enlarged its speed and boasted a maximum flight speed of 740 km/h. With the advanced S-shaped air intake technology, its cooling system becomes more effective, and it helps reduce the infrared visibility of the drone.
Predator C ensures a 17 degrees wing sweep and parallel empennage edges. This drone is specially deployed in the classic missions of American fighter-bombers based on stealth. Above all of this, this drone has two folding wings that make it capable of providing a short-sized deck and unique survival qualities in critical combat situations.
The first position of the list of the top drone globally is embellished by the Russian drone S-70, also known as the Hunter. In August 2009, the journey of S-70 started with the collaboration of two Russian aircraft manufacturing Sukhoi and MIG and the project was based on a heavy combat UAV. The Hunter made its first test flight in August 2019. The operator performed several overflights of this drone at the height of 600 meters and landed successfully in the airfield. The first flight of the Hunter take precisely 20 minutes to be finished.
Okhotnik, a Russian combat complex drone is created based on the “ flying wing” scheme. Thanks to the special materials and coatings, which helps this UAV to hide from the radar detection technologies. The drone is enriched with various features, such as optical-electronic equipment, radio-technical kits and reconnaissance technology.
In 2019, the Russian Ministry of Defense proclaimed that the S-70 combat drone successfully performed a test flight with a fifth-generation Su-57 human-crewed fighter jet. During the time of this test flight, this UAV extensively worked out with the leader aircraft. According to the sources, the combat complex Russian drone “Okhotnik” may be well equipped with X-58 (supersonic anti-radar air-to-ground missile). According to the experts, four upgraded supersonic Kh-74M2 missiles and eight KAB-250 corrected bombs can also be used as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle weapons.
The Russian UAV “Okhotnik” belongs to the sixth generation fighter because of its artificial intelligence and autonomy. But still, it is not developed to control the weapon system, and in this department, a human participant is needed to execute the performance.