Unmanned platforms - from robotic vehicles on the ground to unmanned vehicles in the water and in the air - mean an increase in capabilities in many areas of military operations. The range of operations is mainly characterized by protection and reconnaissance operations. The following scenario describes the securing of coastal waters and port areas through a military operation.
According to their own intelligence, enemy forces have blocked the access to a port with the help of sea mines and thereby threaten the safe access of a maritime task force. He is supposed to ensure the supply for a nearby field camp of the own ground troops via the port.
Comprehensive security and reconnaissance is achieved through the use of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) for the detection and removal of mine threats and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In addition, the support of ground troops from the field camp is necessary to secure the supply routes.
Unmanned systems mean a wide range of capabilities
This deployment scenario points to the increasing importance of unmanned systems in the future. They are used when the use of one's own forces is associated with a high risk. Therefore, two UPSs of the type Seagull ™ launched to search for previously undiscovered mines in endangered areas of the port. Seagull ™ was developed as a flexible and modular component of maritime task forces for coastal waters and takes on tasks in mine clearance and submarine hunting as well as in electronic combat.
The two remote-controlled unmanned boats can be used fully autonomously: the 12-meter-long UPS can reach the endangered areas of the port independently within a very short time. They are well equipped for the detection, classification and removal of the mine threats suspected here (ground mines as well as anchor rope and drifting mines). After the two UPSs have reached their operational area, one UPS, equipped with modular sonar systems (Forward Looking Sonar and Side-Scan Sonar) searches the water and the ground for suspicious and difficult to locate, camouflaged objects, while the other surface drone searches Neutralization of objects using Mine Identification and Destruction System (MIDS). The MIDS is controlled by an operator on board the mother ship. A given area is searched automatically with an adapted algorithm. In addition, unmanned underwater vehicles (Remotely Operated Vehicles; ROVs) are part of the equipment of the UPS, which detect, identify and classify mines with their sensors.
Seagull ™ can be used over long distances of up to 100 km and over a period of up to four days. The UPSs can also replace each other in the hot swap process, so that a continuous operating time is guaranteed. Equipped with an automatic identification system, radar, cameras and means of communication behaves Seagull ™ like a conventional watercraft. The units of the maritime task force communicate with the two UPSs via data link (over distances of up to 20 nautical miles) and satellite communication for greater distances.
In summary, the use of remote-controlled surface drones shows: With Seagull ™ a remote-controlled minehunting ability can be created with the aid of the sea. The risk for your own emergency services is reduced to an absolute minimum. The use is also more cost-effective over the period of use, because only one operator can, for. B. from the home port several Seagull ™ Taxes.
Unmanned systems on the ground and in the air
Meanwhile, an infantry platoon leaves the nearby field camp in the direction of the port city: it is equipped with digital communication devices and modern night vision technology and is operated by unmanned ground vehicles of the type Probot accompanied. The UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) from Elbit Systems Germany takes on important functions, namely the transport of infantry equipment (e.g. ammunition and ordnance) and serves as a weapon carrier for fire support. This increases the range as well as the operational and endurance of the soldiers. Its sensor equipment includes 360 degree cameras with which the sometimes difficult terrain can be explored.
The approach of the infantrymen is additionally triggered by a fixed-wing drone launched shortly after leaving the camp Skylark I-LEX supervised. With its powerful electro-optical sensor equipment, the UAV clears up enemy activities and provides high-resolution images in real time. This happens unnoticed, as the drone does not have an acoustic signature from an altitude of 100 m.
Before reaching the outskirts, the infantry platoon receives reconnaissance results in real time from the airspace of the port city. The reconnaissance data on covert enemy forces can be obtained via the TorchX Battle Management System can be passed on to higher and lower levels for assessing the situation and making decisions in real time. This makes it possible to noticeably shorten the “sensor-to-shooter cycle”.
In addition, the infantrymen use the small and inconspicuous VTOL drone MAGNI one to search built-up areas in the port city for suspected enemy activity. The drone is launched and operated by a single soldier. Their day / night-capable electro-optical sensor equipment enables the forces to clear up areas between buildings that are difficult to see. The use of the drone remains hidden from the enemy, as it has only a very low optical and acoustic signature.
The use of drones makes it possible to monitor the entire port city, detect opposing forces and react to sudden threats at an early stage.
Tactical success through superior reconnaissance and autonomous protection
The application scenario in the area of port infrastructure benefits from unmanned systems in the water, in the air and on the ground. With their carried payloads for communication, control / navigation and reconnaissance, they are decisive for the success of the mission. They not only fulfill an important information, warning and protection function for the forces deployed, but can - equipped with suitable sensors - also provide an important information advantage for real-time situation determination, target and impact analysis and monitoring of geographically limited areas.
The use of the unmanned watercraft Seagull ™ offers the maritime task force a flexible, quickly available, inexpensive and modular solution in the area of mine defense and anti-submarine hunting. Because the systems act completely autonomously, the personnel requirements and the individual risk for the emergency services are sustainably reduced.
UGVs will provide useful and expandable basic qualifications for military operations in the future. Robotic vehicles with a high degree of miniaturization are only just beginning to be integrated into ground operations. The UGV Probot illustrates the importance of their integration in a wide range of operational tasks.
Elbit Systems Germany system solutions enable new capabilities to be integrated into the digital and increasingly networked military environment. Their use means that your own forces are relieved of dangerous and time-consuming tasks.