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Drone Bombsight

It's a drone bombsite
  [vote for,

The problem with bombing with reusable drones is that in most cases the drone has to be directly overhead of the target, with the operator doing a seat-of-the-pants estimate allowing for wind, bomb drift, etc. If there was a way to cue the operator of a moving drone to the right release moment and vector, accuracy would be improved and drone survival would be higher.

Using data from satellite, networked mobile data relays, live ground and recon reports, and the bomb drone's own sensors, genius Ukranian programmers develop AI software for a reticle on an arm like the one on AA guns mounted in front of the drone's own camera. The reticle on the arm can indicate time and distance to target by swinging the reticle on the arm within a wide cone to provide an aim point for the drone's own target reticle. The bombsight reticle would be concentric wire circles on a composite arm that's operated by a gimbal motor that swings the reticle around. The operator then pilots the drone so that the drone's own targeting reticle, usually a small red cross in the middle of the viewfield, comes into alignment with the center of the reticle which has been coaxing the operator to follow it. Pickle! Presently it takes a few vertical drops to suss out the winds at altitude and get aligned correctly. With precise data about speed, altitude, the weather and wind variables are calculated by a purely recon drone and transmitted to the bombsight mechanism to simplify onboard expense and complexity and get much greater accuracy than vertical drops. A drone that is moving at 20-50mph can drop a bomb that is much less affected by wind and weather, and after dropping, that drone is out of there.

minoradjustments, Aug 08 2023


       Wouldn't the target be the bombsite?
whatrock, Aug 08 2023

       // A drone that is moving at 20-50mph can drop a bomb that is much less affected by wind and weather, [...]//   

       Um, what?
I think this is only the case for dive-bombers. Or if you know the wind direction and attack along that axis.
If you're moving to the side, the bomb takes just as long to fall as if you're hovering.

       Regarding the rest of the idea, it seems you've replaced a jammable GPS signal or local drone operator signal with a jammable feed from a jammable, vulnerable ground station. And a lot of complexity I didn't understand.
Loris, Aug 08 2023

       |Loris| By your logic the entire drone effort should be abandoned as ineffective in the light of jammers. Really?   

       As to the "dive-bomber" comment, the flight of a bomb dropped at speed, either dive-bombed or level-release, is infinitely more predictable than one released from a stationary point. Wind direction offset is an elementary part of compensating for speed, direction of flight, projectile flight and CEP (Circular Error Probable) calculation. Planes and artillery do it all the time. The hangup is getting this existing info to the drone pilot and helping him aim. All the data needed is already known somewhere else, but not by the operator at the moment of release.   

       I used a recon drone data hand-off to simplify and obfuscate the control signal to the bomb drone, avoiding jamming. The recon drone can sit further away from the contact line acting as a relay, and work more than one bomb drone.
minoradjustments, Aug 09 2023

       //By your logic the entire drone effort should be abandoned as ineffective in the light of jammers. Really?//   

       No, that's not what I said. I was pointing out that your proposal isn't an improvement, at least with respect to that.   

       //As to the "dive-bomber" comment, the flight of a bomb dropped at speed, either dive-bombed or level-release, is infinitely more predictable than one released from a stationary point.//   

       I don't think it (release from horizonal flight) is more predictable, though.
You drop a bomb while hovering, and the wind blows on it for the time it takes to drop, changing its course. The offset is a function of the height.
If you drop a bomb from horizontal flight, the wind blows on it for the same amount of time, because it falls vertically at the same rate. This is basic physics. So the offset from the still-air impact point is just as significant.
I wouldn't be surprised if it's /less/ predictable if you don't know the wind direction, because the bomb may be blown off-course differently dependent on angle of incidence. Of course, if you do know the direction and speed you could account for it... but you could do that from a stable hover just as easily.

       I still don't get what function the arm you're trying to put on the drone is going to achieve that couldn't be done better and easier with a software overlay on the drone operator's screen.
Loris, Aug 09 2023

       I agree. In the best, EM-free area, I'd like it much better if the display handled it all, like the HUD in a jet, where you fly the ball until it meets the pickle hash. Definitely the best, most accurate solution, all integrated by complex signal data that needs to be updated in milliseconds. I'm after a bolt-on mechanical unit that could be attached to any model and would use its own, simple, clunky control signals not dependent on control inputs from the pilot. Its (the arm's) function is to lead the drone reticle to the target release point. This unit should be less than 3 oz, using mini-motors and an 'arm' that's only an inch long.   

       Stable hovers are not recommended near the contact line. Estimate is thousands of UAF drones are lost a week.
minoradjustments, Aug 09 2023

       OK. A redesign. I think everyone got lost on the 'arm' thing.   

       You have the headset of an FPV bomber drone on and you know you are at 100 meters, going 40 mph. You only need to know which direction to fly and exactly when to drop your bomb. You are NOT a kamikaze drone. You are a bomber, with maybe 1, maybe up to 6 bombs ready to drop. Your standard view has a red or white reticle in the middle of the screen. In addition you can see a strip of 21 LED lights across the top of the screen. This is a small bar of tiny LEDs mounted on the outside of the drone above the camera, that shows up across the top of the regular view. Flying at a steady speed and altitude, LEDs to the right or left of center will light up to refine your direction to the target. (Logarithmically, so that fine adjustments are easier at the center of the display.) Just bring the view so it centers on and illuminates the middle LED. If you stray right or left the LEDs will tell you immediately. When you are at the optimum drop point, already calculated remotely or pre-programmed, as to the speed, altitude, wind, and flight characteristics of the bomb, the center LED will flash. Bombs away! Now take your expensive drone back or on another local mission, to be reloaded and reused indefinitely, rather than trash a thousand cheap kamikaze drones. Reception is much better at altitude and jamming much less effective. The bomber drone could fly any evasive route to and from the target and not get lost. This also allows for much faster bomber drones, 100+mph, where seat-of-the-pants bomb release is not an option. With this bombsight the faster the better. Add a belly camera looking back to get a Bomb Damage Assessment and anti-drone air-to-air missiles and you've got a real threat against ground and air targets. Who wants to build one?
minoradjustments, Aug 28 2023


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