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Oct 09, 2023 | 05:49 pm 577 0

Drones with night vision devices in modern warfare

Drones with night vision devices in modern warfare

Throughout human history, the most popular way to resolve various global conflicts has been war. It always brought a lot of grief and became a natural disaster for human civilization. Unfortunately, it is only possible with fighting in the 21st century. Armed conflicts occur in different parts of the planet, which claim thousands of lives, cause enormous damage to the environment, and radically change people's way of life. The only difference between modern battles and past battles is the use of more lethal weapons and the latest developments in the military industry. The latter include drones with night vision devices. These devices help perform many complex tasks, changing the balance of power on the battlefield.

NVDs used on military drones

NVDs began to be used on various UAVs relatively recently. However, the effectiveness of this combination of devices quickly made it famous and in demand in all modern wars. Not all NVDs are suitable for use on drones. To become one, they must meet specific criteria and have appropriate characteristics. Only in this case will they apply to military personnel and help them bring the war's end closer.

Types of NVDs installed on UAVs

Mostly, NV cameras are installed on drones used for military purposes. They are initially included with the UAV or become a replacement for existing optics. In both cases, the devices must be adapted to perform military tasks. Only in this way can they become an indispensable technique that allows you to achieve any goals.

Types of NVDs found on military drones:

  1. Low light cameras. Military personnel use devices of this type on drones as often as possible. They cope with their tasks perfectly and make seeing a clear image with good detail likely. Such optics work similarly to classic NVDs. It collects available light and then amplifies it using an electron-optical converter. The result is the appearance of an image visible to humans, in which small details can be seen. Thanks to this feature, low-light cameras are ideal for reconnaissance activities, where the drone operator and his assistants need to accurately determine the presence of military equipment and enemy soldiers in a particular area. Cameras installed on military drones always have high-sensitivity sensors. This gives them the ability to work effectively even in deplorable lighting conditions.
  2. Thermal imaging cameras. These devices are intended for military drones searching for hidden enemy soldiers and equipment. The principle of their operation is similar to that of any thermal imaging equipment. This NVD collects heat coming from heated bodies. Next, the received information is transformed, and a thermal image is formed. It allows you to determine the degree of heating of all observed objects, making it easy to find enemy people and military equipment. Thermal imaging cameras do not require any lighting. Therefore, they are most often installed on drones launched to explore the darkest areas. In addition, such NVDs will also be effective during daylight hours when the capabilities of daytime optics are not enough (for example, during heavy precipitation, fog, or smoke in the area).

Critical characteristics of NVDs on military UAVs

For NVDs to be combined with military drones, a particular set of characteristics and functions must be present. Only in this case will night optics work effectively and cope well with the assigned tasks.

Critical characteristics of NVDs installed on UAVs:

  1. Long range. In war, a low-flying drone will become an easy target for the enemy. In this regard, UAV operators try to raise them to the maximum possible distance from the earth's surface. To ensure this capability is available, military personnel exclusively use long-range NVDs. Most often, it is more than 300 meters, from which night optics can capture light/heat and form a high-quality image.
  2. High multiplicity. To conduct surveillance unnoticed, drones are most often launched to high altitudes. This way, they will be invisible to the enemy, and the likelihood of being shot down will be minimized. In this regard, the magnification factor is one of the critical indicators for night optics installed on UAVs. It should be as high as possible so the operator can visually get closer to the object of interest or the inspected area. In most cases, NVDs used on military drones have a multiplicity factor of 4x or more. With lower values, optics can be used exclusively to assess the military situation in a particular territory (it will not be possible to get closer to objects for a detailed examination visually).
  3. Wide viewing angle. Drones and NVDs installed on them are often used for surveillance, assessing the situation on the battlefield, searching for wounded soldiers, and other purposes. In this case, the night optics attached to the UAV must have the widest possible viewing angle. In this case, inspecting a larger area and completing the assigned tasks faster will be possible.
  4. High resolution. The better quality video you can make from a drone, the more helpful information you can get. In modern warfare, this often becomes a critical factor in the successful conduct of military operations. In this regard, it is essential that the night optics installed on the UAV can create high-resolution images. Not all NVD models can do this, so their choice should be approached responsibly.
  5. Small size and weight. Each drone can carry a payload of a specific size and weight. Exceeding the limits set by the manufacturer leads to poor controllability or crash of the UAV. Military personnel use the lightest and most compact NVDs to prevent this from happening. They will not become a problem for the drone or impair its maneuverability.
  6. Wide functionality. In certain situations in war, any function of night optics can be helpful. Therefore, models installed on drones must have the broadest possible functionality. In this case, it will be possible to adapt them to perform a specific task and increase the efficiency of such work.

Pros and cons of drones with NVDs in war

Various drones with night vision devices are actively used in modern armed conflicts. However, many military commanders still question the need for their use. To confirm or refute their opinion, it is necessary to study in detail all the strengths and weaknesses of such aircraft.

Pros of using drones with NVDs:

  1. No risk to personnel. The main advantage of using drones with NVDs in war is preserving the life and health of military personnel. Thanks to this combination of devices, various actions can be performed from a relatively safe distance, reducing the likelihood of injury and the number of casualties.
  2. The ability to remain unnoticed. Drones with NVDs can fly far from the earth's surface. This allows them to remain undetected in the dark and will enable them to conduct covert surveillance of an unsuspecting enemy. In addition, this advantage helps military personnel to take the enemy by surprise and carry out targeted strikes on their fortifications, ammunition depots, military equipment, and places where manpower accumulates. All of the above increases the chances of a faster end to the war with the desired outcome.
  3. Excellent maneuverability. Even after installing a night vision device, drones remain fast and maneuverable. This makes them indispensable in cases where the speed of performing specific actions is a critical factor in completing a military operation. Thanks to the ability to quickly maneuver, it is possible to avoid collisions with various obstacles (for example, a flock of birds, a tall tree, or power lines) that could disable a UAV or NVD used for night flights.
  4. Wide range of applications. Installing night optics on the drone makes it possible to achieve such aircraft's maximum versatility. In this case, with their help, you can perform dozens of military tasks, regardless of the current time of day. Due to their wide range of applications, drones with NVDs will become helpful in all front sectors where combat operations occur.
  5. Relatively low cost. Drones are inexpensive aircraft. They do not require special maintenance and, with proper use, can serve their owners for an extended period. Night vision devices installed on UAVs are often purchased in large quantities, so their price is significantly lower than the market price. All this makes the combination of devices economical but most effective in modern warfare.
  6. Easy to operate. Simplicity is an essential advantage of any drone and its NVDs attached. It is observed in everything from the management process to care. This feature makes the combination of devices popular in war, where it is only possible to spend a little time doing various related work.

Cons of using drones with NVDs:

  1. It is difficult to distinguish our own from strangers. The main problem with drones with NVDs is identifying military personnel. In this regard, even very high-quality optics are unlikely to help accurately distinguish friends from foes from a long distance. In addition, the devices will not always be able to identify civilians among military personnel, so the likelihood of harm to them will be pretty high.
  2. Relatively small damage caused. Most often, drones with installed night optics obtain information about the enemy. It is essential and valuable, but in some cases, it allows you to inflict significant damage on the enemy. The same applies to attack UAVs. They can deliver only targeted strikes that destroy equipment, soldiers, and ammunition depots.

Application options

Drones with NVDs are versatile devices helpful in performing various tasks. Thanks to this feature, they are in demand on any part of the front and are considered indispensable assistants to military personnel of multiple units.

Popular applications:

  1. Intelligence. The basis for the success of any military operation is quality intelligence. UAVs with night optics installed on them are ideal for this purpose. They can collect intelligence data in the dark, remaining utterly invisible to the enemy. The information obtained makes it possible to assess the enemy's strength and develop an optimal action plan for military personnel. Almost any unmanned aerial vehicles and NVDs with optimal characteristics are suitable for surveillance. If you combine them correctly, you can consistently achieve your goals and gradually change the situation in your favor.
  2. Search for military equipment and manpower. Drones with NVDs will be indispensable when searching for enemy soldiers and military equipment in the dark. Most night optics models make it possible to find even well-camouflaged objects, opening up access to precision strikes in the most vulnerable places. Thanks to the maneuverability of aircraft and the ability of NVDs to see the heat of human bodies and the engines of military equipment used, it will be possible to determine the location of all nearby targets with the possibility of their further elimination.
  3. Assessing the enemy's combat potential. Before attacking or defending strategically important positions, you must know what you will face shortly. This can be done in the dark only with the help of NVDs installed on drones. Thanks to the combination of the capabilities of both devices, it will be possible to assess the enemy’s combat potential, thereby obtaining important information based on which the command will make decisions on further actions of military units. In addition, knowing the enemy’s capabilities, you can better prepare for the operation, reducing your losses to a minimum.
  4. Aiming heavy weapons. After dark, one of the main problems is the difficulty of aiming heavy weapons at the target. The situation can only be corrected with the help of high-quality night optics and drones. Their combination will make it possible to determine the exact coordinates of the target, estimate the distance to various objects, and notice obstacles that may affect shooting accuracy. All of the above will make it possible to reduce the percentage of inaccurate shots and save a lot of expensive ammunition.
  5. Support for soldiers during offensive operations. Attacking is always much more complex than defending. This is explained by the fact that during an attack, you must make various maneuvers in open territory, which the enemy covers well. To reduce losses of equipment and personnel, drones with NVDs are used. Even in complete darkness, they obtain essential information for the command, which allows them to predict enemy maneuvers and coordinate the actions of all units. All this significantly increases the effectiveness of offensive efforts and brings us closer to a positive outcome of the war.
  6. Survey of the territory to detect wounded and killed soldiers. Actual combat is not a computer game where heroes have infinite lives. Many military personnel end their lives on the battlefield or receive serious injuries, so they cannot move independently or provide medical care. In these cases, drones with NVDs will be indispensable. With their help, it will be possible to find wounded soldiers even in complete darkness and choose the best ways to evacuate them from the battlefield. The same applies to killed military personnel, whose bodies must also be evacuated from the site of military battles.
  7. Committing sabotage behind enemy lines. It is tough to see a small drone in a dark sky. This feature is often used in war, sending aircraft behind enemy lines to commit various acts of sabotage (for example, destroying warehouses with ammunition or fuel for military equipment). To enable UAV operators to drop explosives on pre-selected targets, night vision devices are accurately installed on the drones. They guarantee high-quality images and increase the likelihood of completing sabotage activities.
  8. Conducting targeted strikes on strategically essential targets. Just like in the case of sabotage, drones with NVDs can be used to carry out surgical strikes on the night battlefield. The marks most often chosen are the most important objects that pose the maximum threat to one’s army (for example, the enemy’s headquarters, where important decisions are made, expensive military equipment, etc.). This method of warfare is quite adequate since several strikes on the most critical enemy targets may be enough to achieve the goals.

Nuances of use

For drones with NVDs to be helpful in war, they must be used correctly. There are many essential nuances in this matter that UAV operators and the military leadership issuing specific orders need to pay attention to. Knowing every little detail, you can increase the efficiency of such aircraft, get the maximum benefit from them, and avoid various troubles.

Essential nuances of operating drones with NVDs in war:

  1. One of the critical nuances that must be considered when operating a UAV with installed night optics is the ratio of the capabilities of both devices. For example, all unmanned aerial vehicles have a maximum flight altitude that cannot be exceeded. For NVDs, a similarity to this parameter is the range; if the limits are exceeded, the device cannot form a high-quality image of the inspected area. In this regard, only that combination of devices will work effectively if the maximum flight altitude of the drone and the maximum permissible range of night optics are approximately the same.
  2. Drones and NVDs installed on them operate autonomously. At the same time, knowing that a UAV uses up energy reserves faster than the most advanced night optics is essential. In this regard, the maximum duration of continuous operation of the devices must be calculated based on the characteristics of the drone. If you make a mistake in this matter, you can lose the UAV and the night vision device attached to it. In some cases, increasing the drone's battery life is possible by using additional power sources. However, this option is rarely used in war due to existing restrictions on the weight an unmanned aerial vehicle can lift.
  3. During the war, the number of mistakes must be minimized. Because of this, it is essential to test-fly a drone with NVDs before using it. It will make it possible not only to make changes to the settings of the aircraft itself but also to adjust various parameters of the night optics in use. This approach will allow you to avoid unpleasant surprises during an important task and get a picture of the highest possible quality. If you refuse a test launch, there is a risk of equipment failure or malfunction, so it will not be possible to return the drone and night vision device.
  4. Any model of night optics is designed to operate in specific temperature conditions. The same applies to unmanned aerial vehicles, which can fail or lose contact with the control panel due to sudden temperature changes. Therefore, during various military operations, it is essential to determine the difference in temperatures on the earth's surface and at the altitudes at which the UAV will fly. Otherwise, the risk of equipment loss will be high.
  5. When flying drones with NVDs, remember possible weather changes. For example, a sharp increase in wind speed at the flight altitude of a UAV can make it extremely difficult to control the aircraft or even lead to its collision with some obstacle (for example, a rock or a tall tree). Various precipitation can also degrade the performance of both devices. To avoid any adverse outcomes, you need to monitor weather conditions regularly. If any sudden changes are detected, you must adjust the UAV flight process or temporarily refuse to launch it.

In the modern world, most civilized states build friendly relations with their neighbors, establish trade relations with other continents' representatives, and resolve conflicts that arise diplomatically. However, in parallel with them, some countries live in the past. They unleash all modern wars, which bring a lot of grief and suffering to peace-loving people. In such armed conflicts, a variety of lethal weapons are used, as well as drones with NVDs. The latter are indispensable on the battlefield. They provide a huge advantage and help you cope with dozens of complex tasks. Correctly using such devices can radically change the situation and bring the war’s end closer.

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