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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Subconventional War

Info: 5453 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 13th Dec 2019

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Tagged: MilitaryWarfare



1. Many military strategists and theorists have concluded, based on recent history, the nature of future wars will be limited to regional and intrastate conflicts. Large interstate wars such as World Wars One and Two and the Persian Gulf War are not likely to be the wars of the future. UAVs are increasingly standard features of the modern combat theaters and Low Intensity Conflict zones where ISR missions may need to be carried out. Today’s ISR missions are sophisticated operations. Covert or overt, they are executed using traditional techniques and modern technology – with expensive equipment and infrastructures often requiring highly skilled operators. Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs)/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are small unmanned aircraft which came into being as man’s quest for newer and better tools of warfare.

2. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will play a key role in dealing with low intensity conflicts abetted by both internal elements and unfriendly neighbours. India’s great neighbours not being really friendly be it Pakistan or China. Avoiding all risk to human life or manned search aircraft operating in hostile territory, poor weather or hazardous environments, UAVs fitted with sensors can be used to safely perform the Search-Locate-Identify elements of importance in a missions. Unmanned (or uninhabited) aerial vehicles (UAVs) are methodically becoming a central theme in the mosaic of Air Force systems and capability. The questions regarding employment of UAVs are not so much about if they should be developed but how to integrate them into Air Force doctrine and organizations. The Study identified reconnaissance UAVs as one of the high leverage systems of the future. Accordingly, the Air Force has made a concerted effort to develop UAVs and sensor technologies with a particular emphasis on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) applications. This paper addresses considerations for improving the future application of UAVs for the ISR mission and their employment in LICO across our vast borders. Specifically, this research illustrates that UAVs in concert with manned and space assets addresses several Air Force ISR needs. Furthermore, the Air Force should seize the opportunity to leverage the rapid advances in sensor and information technology to increase the capability of UAVs to perform ISR while also performing other vital air power missions.

3. Used as drones in the First World War, RPVs since then have been used as targets for artillery guns, missiles and piloted aircraft or to bring exposed film of hostile territory. With advanced technology, RPVs are now being so designed so as to carry payloads for varied purposes and missions, such as for surveillance (TV cameras, Infra Red (IR) Imagers, sensors) or equipment for electronic counter measures (radar jammers, flares or chaff) or strictly for employment as weapon platforms.

4. A number of countries are today engaged in RPV development projects, prominent amongst these being UK, USA, France and Israel. It has been stated that the RPVs will be able to take on a number of missions and assignments, which are currently being performed by manned aircraft. As tactical aircraft are too few and too expensive to launch for random searches for targets in a battle area, manned reconnaissance (recce) in particular is being reduced in emphasis in favour of RPVs, which are cheaper. The comparative cost of a lost RPV vis-à-vis a manned aircraft with a trained pilot is in itself a sufficient and good enough reason for undertaking such a research and development.

5. RPV can provide close recce of troops deployed in depth which would otherwise have to be undertaken by fighter aircraft, perform spotting functions for incoming munitions and designate as well as destroy targets, Jam enemy’s electronic equipment, act as radio relay stations and provide real-time intelligence. Further, by penetrating an enemy’s territory they alert electronic systems and this leads to their early detection. RPVs are therefore about to become an invaluable accretion for providing real-time, over the battlefield surveillance capability. But for all its virtues it is still being debated as to whether an RPV will be able to stand and fight alone or would it only compliment an air force.

6. Of the principles of war defined by Clausewitz the element of surprise has probably made the greatest contribution to success. In the military context therefore the denial of surprise to a potential aggressor is paramount. Equally the acquisition of intelligence is a vital factor in any operational venture. From the very earliest days of aviation the foresighted became aware of the use of aerial platforms for reconnaissance tasks. This has been true throughout the history of warfare. The Second World War saw a quantum leap in reconnaissance from the third dimension. In the Arab Israel wars of 1967 and 1973 the use of aerial reconnaissance enabled Israel dramatically to demonstrate the use of force multiplication through intelligence gained. Air reconnaissance has always been important to the success in war. It is the UAV whose time has come in ensuring that aerial reconnaissance continues to give intelligence in a high intensity air defence scenario. They have proved their worth in reconnaissance and surveillance.

7. In an age of shrinking defence budgets, expensive manned aircraft and high cost of aircrew training most of the modern armed forces around the world are realising the need to employ RPVs for missions in the dense hostile Air Defence (AD) environment. Missions which were considered extremely dangerous and yet important can now be undertaken by RPVs with relative impunity. Owing to their small radar, IR signature and the ability to spoof the enemy, RPVs can give vital real time data about the enemy to commanders on the ground. RPVs if employed intelligently can make a significant contribution by keeping manned aircraft out of the hostile AD threats while providing real time information and at the same time denying the same by effective electronic warfare to the decision makers in a conflict between adversaries.

Statement of the Problem

8. To study and evaluate the efficacy of employing UAVs in ISR role in sub-conventional warfare in the Indian context with special reference to counter terrorist operation across our vast borders.

Justification of the Study

9. The UAV has shown, in counter-insurgency and in anti-terrorist operations as much as in war, the critical importance of an “eye in the sky”. UAV can be effectively employed in gathering the intelligence in terrorist training camps, their infiltration routes etc, to build an effective databank for use in the future. The Israel Army has deployed a new miniature unmanned aerial vehicle in counter-insurgency operations over the West Bank. The Israeli army has launched operations of the Skylark tactical UAV for counter-insurgency missions in the northern West Bank. Skylark began flying missions in late 2005 in what marked the first operational deployment of the new UAV. The MQ-1 Predator, armed with the AGM-114 Hellfire missile continues to be one of the US military’s most requested systems, assisting in the execution of the global war on terror by finding, fixing, tracking, targeting, engaging, and assessing suspected terrorist locations.

10. Historically unmanned aircrafts have been employed successfully in number of conventional operations. Their relatively low cost and the modest political embarrassment likely to be caused by their loss, seems to make them irreplaceable especially in a LICO environment where the enemy is difficult to identify and the political compulsions are high. UAVs can facilitate employment of aircraft, long-range guns and missiles by accurate target acquisition.. UAVs hold out a promise of providing a range of ISR and other support missions. Some of these are battlefield reconnaissance and surveillance, fire control and direction, communication and radar suppression. This study has been prompted in being able to identify and analyse the technical and tactical requirements of a UAV for aerial reconnaissance and to suggest the principle of employment for the task in sub conventional war..

11. The day of the UAV as a natural ingredient of military thinking is much nearer than it was a decade ago, but there is still a need for clearer and more widespread understanding of what the UAV can be used to do as a tool for reconnaissance in a sub-conventional warfare which is more likely to be faced by our country in the future.


12. UAVs have been proposed for several mission areas including ISR, communications, and weapons delivery. The UAVs were used extensively in recent war. Direction is needed to ensure these maturing UAVs are used in the most effective way. The on-going revolution in sensor technology that will improve the UAV’s ability to perform ISR missions now conducted by high-value, manned assets.

13. Today’s ISR missions are sophisticated operations. Covert or overt, they are executed using traditional techniques and modern technology – with expensive equipment and infrastructures often requiring highly skilled operators. The requirement for information is likely to keep increasing as warfare becomes more oriented towards reconnaissance-strike. In future scenarios, no one system is going to be able t o meet all data collection requirements. Manned aircraft will not be available for all the intelligence needs of the warfighter. Satellite systems also have limitations that will prevent them from being the sole suppliers of information. The capabilities of UAVs make them ideally suited to fill the increasing void between intelligence requirements and existing data collection capability.


14. The scope of this dissertation is to go into the evolution of UAVs, development and employment of UAV in recent wars. It will concentrate on the ISR aspects while identifying the characteristics/requirements of a UAV in a sub-conventional war. As UAVs being one of the high leverage systems of the future, the Air Force has to make a concerted effort to procure UAVs and sensor technologies with a particular emphasis on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) applications. This paper addresses considerations for improving the future application of UAVs for the ISR mission. Furthermore, the Air Force should seize the opportunity to leverage the rapid advances in sensor and information technology to increase the capability of UAVs to perform ISR while also performing other vital air power missions.

15. The scope of this dissertation is to critically analyse the efficacy of employment of UAVs in Armed role in sub-conventional environment which is more likely to be faced by India in future. It aims to study the application of UAV in LICO, study the advantages of employing UAVs in LICO in ISR role and suggest the philosophy for employment of UAVs in LICO in the ISR role.

Methods of Data Collection

16. The information in this dissertation has been collected from the reference material available in the DSSC Library and from the Internet. The bibliography of the sources is appended at the end of the text.

Organisation of the Dissertation

17. It is proposed to study the subject in the following manner:-

(a) Chapter I. Introduction.

(b) Chapter II . Evolution of UAVs.

(c) Chapter III . Classification of UAVs.

(d) Chapter IV . Characteristics of UAVs.

(e) Chapter V . Importance of UAVs and ISR Sensors.

(f) Chapter VI . Principles of employment of the UAV for aerial reconnaissance.

(g) Chapter VII . Low intensity conflict operations.

(h) Chapter VIII. Employment philosophy for UAVs in sub conventional warfare.

(j) Chapter IX . Conclusion



“UAV technology is a vast field with wide and enough scope for exploration to produce a new and challenging tool of warfare”

VK Madhok

Battlefields of The Early 21st Century.

History of Evolution of UAVs/RPVs

1. Unmanned aircraft have a history as long as that of aviation itself. Even before the First World War a French artillery officer, Rene Lorin had proposed the use of flying bombs to attack distant targets. This aircraft he suggested could be stabilized in flight by a combination of gyroscopes and barometer, guided along the track by radio signal from an accompanying piloted aircraft propelled by a pulse jet or ram jet engine to hit the target.

2. The drones/RPV idea actually goes back to the technology of the First World War. The grandparents of today’s unmanned vehicles were the Kettering “bug” and Sperry “Aerial Torpedo” used in 1917 and 1918. They were winged carts on wheels with engines that somehow managed to lift them into the air after a fast start on a pair of rails. Though they flew, they left much to be desired in terms of sophistication and were not useful as an accurate, winged bomb. More successful, however was the effort that lasted from 1928 to 1932 in which the Curtis “Robin” aircraft was turned into a working drone. Then, in the late 1930s there was a rush of military interest in remotely controlled vehicles, which led to a raft of “special weapons” including a second “Bug”, essentially a surface to surface “buzz” bomb, and the “Bat”, a radio controlled glide Bomb. Out of this pack came the first truly usable weapon: the crude but legal GB 1, which was a 2000 bomb with plywood wings and rudders and a radio control package. These were dropped from B-17s and visually guided by bombardiers to their target. In 1943, 108 GB-1s were dropped on cologne causing heavy damage. Later in the war came the GB-4 “Robin”, the first television guided weapon and Q-2 developed by Ryan Aeronautical Company (now Teledyne–Ryan) in 1946 from which have developed most of today’s modern RPVs/UAVs.

3. In the United States, the UAV has normally been associated with the reconnaissance mission and designed to be a recoverable asset for multiple flight operations. The remotely piloted vehicles (RPV) of the early 1960s were developed in response to the perceived vulnerability of the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, which had been downed over the Soviet Union in 1960 and again over Cuba in 1962.”Red Wagon” was the code name for a 1960 project by Ryan Aeronautical Company to demonstrate how its drones could be used for unmanned, remotely guided photographic reconnaissance missions. As early as 1965, modified Ryan Firebee drones were used to overfly China with some losses experienced.

Vietnam War

4. The best known UAV operations were those conducted by the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. Ryan BQM-34 (Ryan designation: Type 147) “Lightning Bug” drones were deployed to the theater in 1964.[iii] . In addition to the reconnaissance role, Teledyne Ryan also experimented with lethal versions of the BQM-34 drone. In 1971 and 1972, drones were armed with Maverick missiles or electro-optically guided bombs (Stubby Hobo) in an attempt to develop an unmanned defense suppression aircraft to be flown in conjunction with manned strike aircraft.

5. The Vietnam War was notable in two regards with respect to unmanned aircraft. It was the first war in which reconnaissance UAV were employed and it was notable for the ubiquity of the drones which was use throughout the war. An average of one mission was flown each day during this lengthy war.

Employment in Recent Conflicts

6. Yom Kippur – 73


It was in 1973, that the Israelis effectively used the RPV for reconnaissance and surveillance. The main unmanned aircraft were Mastiff, Scout and the Pioneer. These could also be used for Electronic Warfare. The valuable information gained from these sorties, besides the fire drawn from Arab SAM’s which increased the vulnerability of the Air Defence systems found the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle enjoying a pivotal role in the Israeli success.

7. Bekka Valley – 1982.

The Israelis once again explored the use of unmanned aircraft during air operations. Besides surveillance and intelligence gathering drones over the Syrian air space were able to gauge reactions of the air defence systems and cater for suitable counter measure. During the Israeli attack, it is reported that RPVs were used to monitor runway activity, activate Syrian fire control radars so that behind the first wave of decoy aircraft, Israeli aircraft could launch their anti, radiation missiles for neutralization of the radars. A large degree of success can be attributed to the employment of this platform wherein the Syrian had losses of 19 SAM batteries and 86 combat aircraft for the corresponding loss of only a solitary Israeli aircraft. The UAV’s used were Teledyne, Scout, Mastiff, Samson and Delilah. It was therefore seen that in a dense AD environment, the use of unmanned aircraft would provide rich dividends.

8. The types of RPVs used were the Teledyne BQM-34, Scout, Mastiff, Samson and Delilah. During the operation certain important lessons were learnt, namely:-

(a) Training under operational condition is essential for success of operations.

(b) Instead of an all-purpose RPV, a family of RPVs with specific task related capability would be more suitable.

(c) Simulation of fighter aircraft with use of corner reflector on RPV could lend an element of surprise.

(d) The RPVs proved to be a major force multiplier.

(e) The low radar, IR, acoustic and optical signature reduced its vulnerability to ground fire and electronic counter measures.

(f) The Bekaa Valley operation proved that RPVs are a cost effective means of conducting reconnaissance, electronic warfare and intelligence gathering.

(g) It is an ideal platform for employment in a dense AD environment of a modern TBA.

(h) The operations re-emphasized the world’s faith in the utility of RPVs in a modern battle.

Gulf War 1991

9. UAVs were used extensively by the US in the Gulf War. The Israeli built Pioneer UAV flew 530 missions into Iraqi territory. The other types of UAVs which were used by the US were the BAI-Exdrone and the French Alpilles-MART. Besides the conventional uses of reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and Arty fire control, UAVs were used innovatively for pre-ingress route reconnaissance of Apache AH-64 helicopters, individual chemical agent detection (ICAD) and command, control, communication and intelligence functions The US Navy used UAVs for detection of enemy vessels, detection of Silkworm anti-shipping missile sites, mine detection and naval gunfire direction. The Multi National Forces employed UAVs like the Pioneer, Pointer, Midge, Mart and the Exdrone for reconnaissance, surveillance and battle damage assessment. The US Marine Corps’ extensive use of UAVs offset the Army’s shortfall in aircraft-based reconnaissance.

(a) Pioneer


Six Pioneer units each equipped with five UAVs were deployed in the theatre, three with the US Marines, one with US army and one each on USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin. It was used round-the- clock, using TV or (forward looking infra-red) FLIR sensors, for (reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition (RISTA). The US Navy used it to search for Silkworm sites, air defence arty guns; and command and control bunkers. The US Marines used them for real-time targeting with attack aircraft. Pioneers flew 307 sorties in the campaign logging 1011 hours. Of these, seven were lost two to AD arty and five to non-combat reasons, and 26 were damaged of which 13 were repaired in theater and re-used. Pioneer, already a veteran of activity in the Gulf, reiterated its value, both from the decks of the battleships of USS Missouri and Wisconsin and with the ground forces. One Pioneer achieved a bizarre ‘first’ for UAVs when a group of Iraqi soldiers, seeing their bunker under observation from the circling craft, emerged waving white flags.

(b) Pointer


Pointer is a low cost, hand launched and battery operated RPV that is equipped with a TV camera. Weighing only 8 pounds, its use was limited due to strong winds. Nonetheless, pointer was used during the early morning and late afternoons when winds were light. It was often used for rear area security, checking for foot prints in the sand that had not been there the night before. It was also sometimes used to scout roads before vehicles moved down them.

(c) F-47A Exdrones


These were deployed during the Gulf War in the surveillance role, carrying miniature colour TV cameras and microwave video transmitters. Amongst other achievements, it detected that Iraqi forces had abandoned their defences in Kuwait, allowing the US Marines to advance more than a day earlier than what had been planned. This was also used in electronic warfare roles such as jamming and communication interception.

10. Some of the important lessons learnt from Gulf War are:-

(a) Diverse family of RPVs are required rather than one all-purpose model like Pioneer with US.

(b) Smaller, target-spotting tactical RPVs would be easier to operate near the front lines.

(c) Larger, long-endurance unmanned vehicles could take off from behind the battle field and yet patrol large strategic areas.

(d) Small numbers of low observable RPVs could carry out recce missions with high chance of survival.

11. Bosnian Conflict


The NATO forces in Bosnia used the Tier-2 Predator to monitor the enforcement of cease-fire. Specific tasks included detection of movement of ammunition at night and detection of tampering of mass graves by Bosnian Serbs at night.



“Knowledge of an enemy’s dispositions and movements has always been a key to success in war”

John WR Taylor, David Mondey

Spies in the Sky.

1. Classification of UAV’s may be based on important attributes such as range, endurance, flight altitude and launch or recovery methods. Broadly UAV’s can be classified into tactical and strategic categories. A further sub division may also include offensive UAVs and Decoys.

2. Relevance.

It is important that we understand the broad classification of the UAV tree as it would thereafter be easy to associate roles that can be assigned to the UAV in context of tasks which manned aircraft are required to perform. For any comparison with the manned aircraft, a generic understanding enables us to be able to oversee the debate between manned aircraft vis a vis manned aircraft from an overall objective and broader perspective.

3. Tactical UAV:

(a) Micro UAV . Mainly useful for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA), sampling NBC and Electronic Warfare (EW), the range is limited to 10 kms with endurance of less than an hour and max altitude of 250 metres.

(b) Mini UAV . Mostly for civil use and similar to micro UAV except that the endurance is greater upto two hours.

(c) Close Range UAV . With a range of 10 to 30 Kms, and endurance of 2-4 hrs, ceiling of 3000 meters, this group is used for RSTA, arty correction and mine detection.

(d) Short Range UAV . Range of 30-70 Km and an endurance of 3 to 6 hrs, This could also be employed for NBC sampling and post strike damage assessment.

(e) Medium Range UAV . The range is enhanced up to 70-200 kms with endurance of 6-10 hr and the altitude band from 3000-5000 metres. This is used for communication relays also.

(f) Low Altitude Deep Penetration UAV . The main feature is its ability to escape enemy radar cover. It has an endurance of up to an hour with a range of beyond 250 Km and ceiling limits of 9000 m. This is mainly armed to provide commanders the capability to look deep into enemy territory.

(g) Long Range UAV. With a range of up to 1000 kms and endurance of 6-13 hrs, the UAV is mainly employed on RSTA, Post strike damage assessment and communications relays.

(h) Endurance UAVs. As the name suggests, it has the ability to operate upto 24 hrs and ranges greater than 500 kms. Utilized for RSTA, post strike damage assessment, relay, Electronic Warfare and NBC sampling.

4. Strategic UAV

(a) Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE). The striking feature is that it can be used for weapons delivery. Operating in a range of 500-700 Kms from 234-48 hrs, it can also be used in tactical roles upto a ceiling from 5000 to 8000 metres.

(b) High Altitude Long Endurance . Operating in the 15000 – 20000 metres band, it can be utilized as a missile launch vehicle. It operates for ranges upto 6000 kms.

5. Offensive UAV.

This category caters for weapons which are anti-tank/vehicle, anti-radar or antiship.

6. Decoys

. Certain aerial and naval decoys with endurance ranging from a few minutes to several hours, these may be launched via canisters, rockets or air launched.

22. Sensor Systems . The sensor systems are required for the various modes of reconnaissance which can be carried out by the UAV. These will be discussed in detail further in this paper. The various modes of reconnaissance are:-

(a) Photographic Reconnaissance . The main sensor for photographic reconnaissance is the camera. The various types of camera systems for photographic reconnaissance are:-

(i) Vertical Photograph Cameras.

(ii) Oblique Photograph Cameras.

(iii) Pin point Photograph Cameras.

(iv) Split Vertical Photograph Cameras.

(v) Trimetrogon.

(vi) Multi-Camera Fan.

(vii) Panoramic.

(viii) Long Range Oblique Photography and Long Range Aerial Photography.

(ix) Sonne Strip Photography.

(x) IR Camera.

(b) Infra- red Reconnaissance . The infra-red spectrum is used in reconnaissance in two distinct forms. The reflective portion of the infra-red is made use of in infra-red photography. The emissive portion of the infra-red is used in reconnaissance with the aid of appropriate sensors by a process called thermal imaging. This mode of reconnaissance uses emissive infra-red radiations and employs thermal detectors that transform infra-red radiation into detectable electrical signals. The output electrical voltage is recorded either on a magnetic tape for digital analysis by computer or on a film. The main types of infra-red reconnaissance systems which can be used by the UAV are:-

(i) Infra-red Line Scan.

(ii) Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR).

(c ) Reconnaissance by Electronic Means . Reconnaissance by electronic means involves the use of radar and TV i.e. they need microwave sensors and light sensors. The two main types of reconnaissance by electronic means are thus radar reconnaissance and TV reconnaissance.

7. There is today a very clear direction of evolving UAV for specific purposes. Much like manned aircraft which have specified roles such as Air Defence, Air Interdiction and so on. Specialization is the buzz word in the UAV family wherein by changing payloads different functions can be performed. The broad classification above is likely to undergo changes in the future where specific functional UAV’s would be listed.



“Knowledge of an enemy’s dispositions and movements has always been a key to success in war”

John WR Taylor, David Mondey

Spies in the Sky.

UAV And Manned Aircraft – A Comparison

1. Cost

(a) Cost of Aircraft . The high cost of current generation fighter aircraft is a cause for concern to air force planners the world over. What is worse is their unit cost is continuing to escalate inexorably. A few examples will corroborate the fact. At 1985 prices, USAF aircraft like the P-51 Mustang of 1944 would have cost $ 0.5 million; the F- 100 Super Sabre of 1954 would be a little over $ 2 million; the F-4 Phantom of 1962 would be $ 6 million; while the F-15 Eagle of 1974 would cost $ 25 million. Similarly in the UK, the Harrier GR. 1 of 1970 costs four times as much as the Hunter fighter of the fifties and the Hawk training aircraft costs one and a half times as much as its predecessor the Gnat. In our own air force, the Mirage 2000 cost Rs 24 crores a piece when it was inducted in the Indian Airforce in 1985, while today it is in excess of 120 crores.

(b) Cost of In-service Support . It is not just the unit capital cost of aircraft that is rising this way, so is the cost of in-service support. As a rough rule of thumb, the cost of in-service support for an aircraft is about twice the production cost. Statistics from Tactical Air Command of the USAF show that the cost of replenishment spare parts during the in-service life an F-4G aircraft is $ 3.5 million and for an F-15A, it is $ 10.7 million, while the depot maintenance costs for the same aircraft are $ 7.7 million and $ 5.8 million respectively. The total in-service operational and support costs for one aircraft including all items such as fuel, pay for unit personnel, pay for indirect support personnel, support equipment and so on, work out to $ 66.4 million and $ 64.2 million respectively for the two types.

(c ) Personnel Costs . The cost of personnel to operate, service and support the aircraft are also high. Combat fighters in the USAF inventory need an average of 17 maintenance specialists for each machine, and a detachment of 24 F-15s for a 30 day period calls for 621 maintenance specialist in 22 different trades, together with 370 tons of equipment. The aircrew are also an expensive asset and their training costs are rising sharply. For example, it

costs the RAF a little over $ 5 million at 1987 prices to train a pilot of a fast jet aircraft like the Harrier or a Tornado.

(d) Cost of the Training Organization . The ratio of training aircraft to combat aircraft has always been high in any modern air force. For example in the RAF in 1987, there were 758 combat aircraft as compared to 833 in training units (including operational conversion units). It implies that higher the number of combat aircraft in any air force, the number of training aircraft would increase in a higher if not similar proportion.

(e) Cost of UAVs versus Aircraft .

(i) Mini UAVs . UAVs require neither crew nor crew supporting systems. Therefore, they are bound to be simple, smaller and thus a great deal cheaper than their manned counterparts. For example the unit cost of a Pointer RPV is $10,000. On the other hand the cost of Mig 21, which is used for TAC-R in the Indian Air Force, is $ 1 million. Now if we include the costs of in-service support, personnel costs and the cost of training Organization, the cost balance tips heavily in favor of UAVs. This also means that for same investment, we can have more UAVs and the sheer weight of numbers should be able to make up for whatever deficiencies which result from the absence of a crew.

(ii) HALE . Though there are UAVs like the Condor HALE whose unit cost is $ 20 million (at 1993 prices), it would be more appropriate to compare them with satellites; and aircraft like the SR-71, U-2 and Mig 25, due to their role and capability. Then their cost-effectiveness can scarcely be in doubt.

(iii) Mission C osts . A comparison of the mission costs of a UAV and an equivalent aircraft for the same role will further corroborate the economy of UAVs.

2. Mobility .

(a) Tactical . High mobility and reach are two characteristics of air power which can be exploited in a variety of ways, such as to concentrate for effect or to disperse for survival. It is in these fields that UAVs have a major disadvantage vis-à-vis manned aircraft, since they cannot easily transfer their effort between bases. They need to be transported from one operating site to another whereas a

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