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Showing posts from September 30, 2012

India Expands Over-the-Horizon UAS Capabilities

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Earlier this week, reports indicated that India will spend nearly a billion dollars with Israel Aircraft Industries to upgrade its fleet of Heron UAVs with satellite communications gear.   Interestingly, this story coincides with the launching of India's GSAT-10 heavy communications satellite.  The satellite is positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the central Indian Ocean.  Similar to the way the U.S. controls Predator UAVs in Afghanistan from Nevada, the 12 Ku-band transponders may very well be associated with over-the-horizon control of the Heron UAVs.  The upgrades will likely enable the the Indian Navy's three squadrons of Herons to reach their maximum operating range of 3,300 km as depicted in our previous blog post on the subject.  The ability to perform surveillance from the East Coast of Africa to the Strait of Malacca would provide a significant boost in intelligence support to India's blue water navy.

Reversing Asymmetry with Unmanned Naval Systems

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A constant tit for tat churn in weapons technology has pervaded the history of warfare in many forms: English long bows vs. chain mail armor; carrier-based aircraft vs. dreadnaughts; home-made fertilizer explosives vs. MRAPs, just to name a few.Used creatively in the hands of a determined foe, both archaic weapons and more high technology systems can overwhelm even the most modern naval defenses.  Relatively affordable sea mines, anti-ship cruise missiles, and diesel submarines have proliferated at a startling rate to emerging countries and non-state actors.  The quantities of these weapons globally present a real threat to sophisticated navies, who struggle to keep up procurement rates of ever-more expensive modern combatants and weapons systems in a time of defense austerity.  Unmanned naval systems represent an opportunity to reverse this asymmetry once again.
The cusp of this reversal is evident in recent developments in three important areas of naval warfare. 

Still in its nascent…