Elon Musk’s Super-Powered Drones for Combat Operations: A Game Changer for the US Military
It is no secret that billionaire inventor Elon Musk is actively cooperating with the Pentagon to increase America’s military power. His help is very useful, especially recently when relations with some countries have become strained, specifically Russia and China. Musk has invented super-powered drones for combat operations, raising questions about which drones America would use if relations with Russia and China deteriorate. In this article, we will explore how military drones from Musk are better than drones from Russia and China.
The Time for Autonomous Military Equipment has Arrived
Humans have always relied on forceful methods to solve their problems, and military conflicts have proven to be a constant in our history. It’s the 21st century, and the idea of a large-scale military conflict should already be deemed meaningless and harmful for all parties. However, humanity has yet to abandon this method completely. Whenever the opportunity arises, the strong try to take everything away from the weak, as seen in the recent military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Everyone knows that the development of military technologies has been ongoing, with many changes happening year after year. But who or what will replace ordinary soldiers on the battlefields? The answer is quite obvious: autonomous military equipment, consisting of weapons capable of conducting combat operations without human participation, or with the help of a remote operator from a combat zone.
Musk’s Contribution to Autonomous Military Equipment
The CEO of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, believes that the time for manned military aviation is over, and that combat drones are the future. Speaking to U.S Air Force pilots at a military aviation symposium in Orlando, Musk stated that he is sure that if the F-35 has a competitor in the form of a combat drone similar in characteristics, he will not leave a chance for the most modern and expensive American fighter.
Tesla is actively developing unmanned electric vehicles, those that already have an autopilot function. Why are such technologies considered the most important? Firstly, it will reduce the number of military losses during battles because if a person does not participate in a battle, they cannot die from it. Secondly, machines are potentially more efficient than humans because they never get tired and do not make decisions based on emotions, making autonomous military equipment indispensable in future wars.
The Rise of Drones
The era of fighters is coming to an end, and the future belongs to combat drones. Musk’s contribution to this technology is already evident. The main task of military drones is reconnaissance and surveillance from the air. Drones freely patrol the area, guard routes, and can work as spotters and fire spotters. This is achieved due to another advantage of drones – their size. The size of one of the smallest scouts, the American WASP, is only 33 centimeters in length and weighs 200 grams. It was adopted in 2008.
The unmanned aerial vehicle industry is growing, and its importance cannot be undermined. Firstly, the pilot does not risk being captured, and the State will not rescue its citizen from captivity, which for political reasons, could be difficult and not always feasible. Secondly, the loss of drones is not as terrible as the loss of fighter jets. They are almost twenty times cheaper than a real fighter. In addition, we need to add the cost of training a high-quality pilot. In a typical European country, training a military aircraft pilot costs three to four to seven to eight million dollars, takes seven to twelve years, while the State pays only two hundred thousand dollars for the skills of a drone operator, and he studies for a whole year.
Thirdly, the autonomy of drones saves energy and fuel. The stay in the air of a medium altitude drone can be very long – more than a day. Turbojet unmanned aerial vehicles with a speed of less than 200 kilometers per hour consume relatively little fuel. They take longer to get to the right place than the fighter, but they can scout more thoroughly than he does.
Musk’s Investment in Artificial Intelligence
The need to develop such technologies was one of the first things Elon Musk understood. That’s why his company, Tesla, has been actively developing its artificial intelligence system for several years now. In this area, the company’s developers have achieved great success, for example, they plan to introduce artificial intelligence into their cars and create the first mass series of self-driving cars in the world market.
Can Elon Musk Start Cooperating with the US Army?
Many have a reasonable question – can Elon Musk start cooperating with the US Army to help his country master new types of weapons as quickly as possible? By 2020, the United States remains the world leader in the field of military drones, but active participants have added to the global market, which closes the gap that existed a few years ago. These are, first of all, China and Turkey. Israel, which held a leading position until 2015, also remains highly active in the international market of military drones.
In 2015-2016, it was considered that the United States is a world leader in the development, production, and use of military drones. There are 11,000 drones in operation in the United States, mainly of the reconnaissance type, but there are also multi-purpose strike vehicles. Most of the American military drones today are intended for use against countries that do not have air defense, or after the air defense is suppressed. The development of supersonic drones, which will be better protected from air defense attacks, was discontinued in 2016.
Currently, unmanned aerial vehicles for various purposes have become widespread in the American armed forces and play an important role in the war on terror declared by the US leadership. At the same time, the number of drones in the USAF NTR is constantly increasing, and new squadrons are being formed. The main reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicle available to the command of the special operations forces of the US Air Force is currently the MQ-9 Reaper, adopted in 2008.
Russia’s Development of Strike Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
The successes of the Russian Federation in the development of strike unmanned aerial vehicles, developed since 2011 by order of the Russian Ministry of Defense, have become a feta complete. The device has come a long way, and now their main development is called Orion.
China’s Unmanned Aircraft
According to American intelligence, in 2000, the People’s Liberation Army of China had a little more than 100 reconnaissance drones. Approximately 70 of the drones available in the troops were light vehicles with piston engines designed to conduct reconnaissance in the enemy’s immediate rear, monitor the battlefield, and adjust artillery fire. The lightest serial Chinese unmanned vehicle is Pterodactyl, which is roughly equivalent to the American Predator.
The development of autonomous military equipment is necessary to reduce the number of military losses during battles. Machines are potentially more efficient than humans because they never get tired and make decisions based on logic rather than emotions. The increasing popularity of drones is aiding in the shift towards autonomous military equipment, and Musk’s super-powered drones for combat operations represent a significant contribution to this shift. If America’s relations with Russia and China deteriorate, it remains to be seen which drones from Musk will be used, but there is no denying their effectiveness.