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Friday, September 18, 2009

UCAV: How to wage a war from your living room

The Tribune has provided a nice illustration explaining America’s Air Operations using Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles [UCAVs] in the battlefield theaters of Iraq and Pak-Af.

A beautiful example of seamless integration of multi-disciplinary technology interplay, all working in tandem to accomplish objectives with pinpoint precision and accuracy.

Had it not been for the termination of an actual human life [technically the targets of such UCAVs can lay claims to the title of being addressed to as humans…technically] at the end of missions it undertakes, it would have been the most serious, awesomest, bad-assly, nerdgasmic setup for playing a flight sim.

An interesting thing I learnt [among the gazillions of interesting thing I learn every day] was that the control of the UCAVs up to the take-off stage and then when it is about to land is in the hand of the operators located in the battlefield theater and not the one sitting 1000s of miles away in America, who controls it in flight and also fires the missiles upon receiving orders. Me wonders how much of this is due to limitations in Technology and how much of it is due to something far more non-technology reasons.

Conductng Wars using UCAVs

You may view the original file here [PDF 3 MB]

Popular Science had done a fairly detailed feature article on this topic some months back - Point. Click. Kill: Inside The Air Force's Frantic Unmanned Reinvention. It includes a video of a UCAV pilot describing the sequence of operation involving the launch of a Hellfire missile from a Predator UCAV targeting Taliban terrorists.

Also worth checking out is their picture gallery – How unmanned airstrikes work

Though obviously this controller setup is not placed in anybody’s living room [duhh!! me for even thinking anybody would have thought so], recent reports co-relating gaming and UAV/UCAV piloting got me to realise that the genesis of metamorphosis of these people in to men waging war lies in the living room – hence the title :-).


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