Drones Unmanned Aerial Systems Uavs  Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

This category can further be divided into six subgroups namely; short-range, medium range, long-range, close range, endurance, Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The long-range UAVs are technologically more advanced as they use satellites in order to overcome the communication problem between the UAVs and the ground stations. This communication problem is generally caused by the curvature of the earth. The medium, short and close range UAVs can operate in limited space majorly because of the lack of satellite communication systems. The Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) can be used for forty hours at a distance greater than three thousand kilo metres. They can also be used to fire precision guided missiles. An example of the Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) is 'Predator'. (Cavoukian 2012, 6)

c. Strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

With the increase in altitude the weight, flight range and endurance of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also increase. The heaviest Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, today, are the High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs. These UAVs have a takeoff weight of up to twelve thousand kilograms. They can fly at a maximum altitude of twenty thousand metres. These are designed to carry sophisticated, larger and heavier equipments. A well-known and sophisticated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle belonging to this category is 'The military UAV Global Hawk'. It has an endurance of about thirty five hours. The example of non-military High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) is Helios. It is operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Helios provides power to the electronically driven propellers by the use of solar panels and it has set the record breaking altitude limit of thirty thousand metres. The general functions performed by the Helios UAV include, observation of earth, atmospheric analysis and mapping. (Cavoukian 2012, 7)

d. Surveillance Drones

Most of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles consist of or employ video cameras that can transfer images and video footages to the ground stations. With the passage of time these surveillance drones have become cheaper and more sophisticated. They can capture images at great distances and have a higher camera resolution as well. Some surveillance UAVs are or can be equipped with sensor cameras. An example of sensor cameras is 'forward-looking infrared camera'. Such a camera can detect infrared radiations that are being emitted from a source, usually a heat source. These cameras can then create a picture of the source assembled with the video footage which is then transmitted to the ground stations. In addition to that, with the help of advanced video analytics, artificial intelligence can be applied to the procedure of collecting and processing considerable amount of video data. This technology is combined with the facial recognition software and this combination is then used to track individuals in public and in even in private as well. It can track individuals even through windows and walls. (Cavoukian 2012, 7)

e. Armed Drones

Armed drones are the pilotless or remotely operated devices that work on the basis of an installed program or software or are operated by various ground stations. These devices are used in army or military operations. They are used to kill people who are identified as terrorists by the government or any other intelligence agency. (Kutyreva 2013, 1)

3. Benefits Associated With the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

There are a number of benefits associated with the use of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). In the homeland security, they provide assistance to the domestic law enforcement and security agencies to have a better control over the law and order conditions of the nation. In addition to that, with the help of this technology the law enforcement agencies are able to handle the threats to the domestic or homeland security in a better way. (Tom 2013, 1-2). In relation to terrorism, these UAVs help us in better combating the terrorist attacks. The Unmanned Aerial system has now been adopted as a weapon of choice by the military and the intelligence agencies of the United States of America to target and kill the terrorists and other extremists in locations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan etcetera. (Pedrozo 2011, 218). Apart from that, Drones also have reduced the ability of the terrorist organizations to operate effectively by having a negative impact on their psychology as they are at a threat of being killed by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and they are aware of the fact that they always remain under close surveillance. (Smith et al. 2013, 315-316)

3.1. Drones and Domestic Security

Drones have been utilized internationally and domestically in the current era. In the domestic area, drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are being employed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to quickly respond to the domestic threats. They are also being utilized to effectively tackle the national security threats and national emergencies. In addition to that, the drone fleet of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the United States of America also assists the law enforcement agencies in relation to the proper and effective enforcements of laws and rules across the nation. (Tom 2013, 1-2)

3.2. Drones and Terrorism

The procurement of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) has increased greatly in various western economies, especially in the United States of America. The United States of America has used this technology in different locations such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. (Strawser 2010, 1) the drones are now excessively being used in the 'war against terrorism'. Between the years 2000 and 2008, the number of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) that were being used in the Department of Defense (DOD) of the United States of America increased from under fifty thousand to somewhere above sixty thousand. In the year 2009, the flight hours that the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) undertook were four hundred and fifty thousand and in the year 2010 this number exceeded five hundred and fifty thousand. In the year 2008, the number of aerial attacks conducted by the United States of America was thirty six and in the year 2010, this number exceeded one hundred and fifty. (Pedrozo 2011, 218)

Over the past ten years, Drones or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have become an essential tool in combating terrorism and in fighting against a large number of militants. Drones have a number of advantages over other weapons and they have proved out to be more effective in the war against terrorism. They can silently observe militants and terrorist groups for a large period of time and then they can attack immediately as and when they get the opportunity. Another advantage of using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is that they can perform all these functions without putting a pilot at risk. The combination of all these capabilities is very unique and it has given the United States of America an evident competitive advantage over the terrorist groups. The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have enabled the United States of America to effectively combat terrorism and with the help of this technology the United States of America has degraded the Al Qaeda group and has been able to get a hold over a number of other terrorist organizations as well. (Zenko 2013, 2)

3.3. Drones and the Psychology of Military Combatants

The United States of America started using the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with the objective of killing the terrorists and militants and reducing the ability of the terrorist groups to indulge in unethical, unlawful and hazardous activities. The drone attacks impair the terrorist organizations and this technology reduces the ability of these organizations to operate effectively and to produce successful results. They have a negative impact on the psychology of the terrorist organizations as the drone strikes are usually targeted towards killing the leaders of Al Qaeda, therefore, when the leaders are being killed this have a negative impact on the psychology of the subordinates and hence they are not able to perform their tasks effectively. The death of the leaders of the terrorist organizations has a negative impact on both, the quality and the quantity, of the operations that are being performed by them. (Smith et al. 2013, 315-316)

In addition to that, when the terrorist organizations know that they are operating under continuous surveillance and are at a threat of being attacked by the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) then they are not able to easily get the resources, both physical and human, that are being required to perform a task effectively. Apart from that, as these organizations feel the threat of attack, they cannot transmit their messages from one place to another with ease. By attacking the terrorist organizations through Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), which are both more effective and more precise, the United States of America is having a negative impact on the psychology of the enemy combatants and hence it is being able to reduce the level of threat that is being posed to the nation by these organizations. (Smith et al. 2013, 315-316)

4. Issues Associated With the Use of the Unmanned Aerial…

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