Among the new aid package to the Ukrainian army announced by the United States, there is a new type of weapon that is particularly eye-catching, that it the Scan eagle small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle. Although this equipment is small, even very inconspicuous, it may become a new force multiplier for Ukrainian artillery.
A senior US defense official told reporters that a new $775 million aid package will include 15 Scan Eagles, 40 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles known as MRAPs with mine-clearing rollers, and 2,000 anti-armor rounds that can help Ukraine troops move forward in the south and east, where Russian forces have placed mines. The official said the U.S. is looking to help shape and arm the Ukrainian force of the future as the war drags on.
As a small unmanned aircraft equipped by the US military, the Scan Eagle unmanned aircraft has a length of 1.2 meters and a wingspan width of 3.I meters. A two-stroke heavy oil engine with an endurance of up to 25 hours and a range of up to 1500 km; The Scanning Eagle drone is equipped with advanced visible and infrared cameras, and there is also a laser illumination indication system, and its communication control distance can reach 100 kilometers, which is enough to cover most targets in the front of the war. At present, in addition to equipping the US military, this aircraft is equipped in many countries including Pakistan.
From the perspective of appearance and importance, the Scan Eagle UAV is characterized by a “small” character, not only the shape of the aircraft is small, but its payload is also very small, and it cannot carry ground attack weapons. However, it is precise because of its small size that this aircraft can better covertly move on the battlefield.
The actual combat experience of the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield demonstrates that larger UAVs have a hard time surviving when both sides have more sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons. The reason is that the vast size and bigger RCS and it is challenging to make a significant difference on the battlefield, regardless of whether it is the Russian Hunter unmanned aircraft or Turkey’s TB2 unmanned aircraft. On the other hand, because of their small signal characteristics, small UAVs on both sides, especially those under 20 kilos, can move around freely on the battlefield. The scan eagle will therefore be able to fully utilise its hidden advantages and accomplish tremendous victories on the battlefield once it enters the fight.
Previously, although the Ukrainian military also had a large number of small unmanned aircraft on the battlefield, because most of them were commercial multi-rotor drones with a short range, they could only search for shallow and deep targets within 10 kilometers of the battlefield and carry out fire-guided strikes. Therefore, the problem of the Ukrainian side can only guide the artillery to attack tanks and armored vehicles in shallow and deep areas, while the Russian artillery hidden at a longer distance lacks effective search and fire guidance means.
In contrast, the Russian army can make full use of its own small long-time UAV Orlan-10, go deep into the rear of the Ukrainian army to search for various artillery systems of the Ukrainian army, and guide its own firepower to strike. It was under the guidance of the Russian Orlan-10 that the Russian artillery posed a great threat to the Ukrainian artillery system. Advanced artillery, including M777, M109, And Caesar, were also destroyed by the help of Orlan-10.
Now the arrival of the Scan Eagle drone provides artillery with a more effective fire guidance system than the Russians. Although the Scan Eagle and Orlan-10 are basically the same size, because the Scan Eagle uses a more advanced heavy oil engine, it can sail 25 hour consecutively, while the Russian Orlan-10 has only 10 hours of endurance.
The Scan Eagle drone has more sophisticated photoelectric detection and search technology, high-definition visible and infrared search equipment, and sophisticated laser irradiation systems. The capacity to locate small ground targets at greater distances and heights. The Russian Orlan-10 features optical reconnaissance equipment, although it is a civilian system that was bought on the world market, and it lags well below the Scanning Eagle UAV in terms of resolution and detection range. Even due to sanctions Russians are using now Canon camera on their UAVs.
The combination of the Scan Eagle drone and the various types of long-range artillery that the Ukrainian army has in place will bring out more powerful combat capabilities. In particular, all kinds of advanced guided artillery shells provided by the United States and Europe will really play a hundred steps through Yang under the guidance of the Scan Eagle unmanned aircraft. So in the near future, the video footage of the Scan Eagle drone guiding the artillery precision strike will appear in large quantities. And Ukraine deep strike inside Russian territory could increase.