The Army is making some big upgrades to its oldest UAV:
he Bv2 model has a lot of improvements and the army is in the process of upgrading all 400 of its existing RQ-7Bs to the v2 standard. Among the improvements is the use of the same communications system (TCDL) used in the larger MQ-1C. TCDL is encrypted, has higher throughput, is more reliable and allows data to be shared with other aircraft or ground troops using the latest comm and network gear. The v2 wings are 42 percent larger helping to increase endurance to nine hours. It’s now easier to remove and install different (or just malfunctioning) sensor packages. The sensor packages now come with a laser designator.
Version 3 is already in development, and this one will include a more powerful and reliable engine as well as the ability to use weapons.
We’re damn near reaching a Singularity in the ongoing increase of deadly firepower available to the individual combat soldier. But as each soldier becomes deadlier, he also becomes more expensive to train, equip, supply, and send to war — and to lose.
As a result, we need to get out of the Occupy & Rebuild business we’ve been in since WWII, to declining success rates. Occupation of a relatively civilized place like post-Imperial Japan or post-Nazi Germany can be accomplished with a comparatively light footprint. Defeating the Iraqi Army only took three weeks and about five divisions — but pacification of a place like Iraq or Afghanistan can’t be accomplished without a lot more boots on the ground and the patience of Job. But we lack the patience and Cold War-sized Army is out of the question.
When dealing with great numbers of primitive barbarians, the proper role for a small, professional and deadly military is the same as it was for the professional legions of ancient Rome or imperial Britain: The punitive expedition. Get in, get out, and by the damage done leave one simple and unforgettable message…
“Don’t make us come back here.”