Turkey’s first-ever armed drone looks less like a Predator or a Reaper, and a lot more like a commercial-off-the-shelf quadcopter carrying what appears to be none other than a light machine gun chambered for 5.56 NATO.
While the concept of an armed light drone has generally been ignored with most modern fighting forces because it doesn’t really fit in with the way these militaries prosecute warfare, the Turkish military seems to be entertaining going in a slightly more novel direction.
Developed by Turkish defense contractor Asisguard and dubbed the Songar Armed Drone System, this 55-pound drone is designed to be portable and easily deployed by infantry units and small security elements during both day and night operations.
Instead of being utilized for hours on end as a roving attack platform waiting for targets of opportunity, the Songar simply hangs around within a 10-kilometer range from its point of deployment and relays live video back to its control station, acting as a sentry of sorts.
Should the drone’s operator spot a target worth shooting at, he or she can activate the computer-stabilized 5.56 mm LMG slung under the main body of the drone, in between its two skids. The Songar is designed to carry 200 rounds of ammunition in its magazine.
After shredding a target with its machine gun, the Songar can perform a visual battle damage assessment.
Here’s where Songar starts to change things up just enough to make it interesting as a potential export platform for foreign nations.
The drone can make use of both GPS and GLONASS (the Russian alternative to GPS) guidance, and should it lose its signal with one system, it can latch onto the other and keep itself functionally navigational.
Songars aren’t condemned to flying solo (pun totally intended) either — if there are other Songars in the area, Asisguard maintains that they can all work together to accomplish objectives and form a protective aerial umbrella over friendly units in the area of operations.
While the Songar appears to currently be Asisguard’s flagship product, the company also seems to have its toes dipped in the micro-drone pool, with a smaller pocket-sized device that can fly up to 2 kilometers away from its originating point and even detonate (if equipped with a destructive charge) when in attack mode.
Now, where have we seen something like this before...