December 12, 2006 The technological progress of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has been astonishingly rapid. At the beginning of the current Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, it’s fair to say that UAVs were regarded as a reconnaissance tool for improving situational awareness but from the time the first Hellfire missiles were fired from an RQ-1A Predator UAV during 2002, the enormous advantage of an armed UAV that can help identify and eliminate a target has been recognised. Predators can prowl and strike where conventional military force cannot. In September we wrote about the first purpose-built hunter-killer UAV, and now the rush is on to add armaments to smaller UAVs. UAVs must be relatively large to withstand the recoil of the weapons they shoot, so weapon caliber has been limited. Now a new recoilless technology is set to revolutionize the small UAV’s role in the battlespace - Recoilless Technologies International (RTI) has signed a Joint Commercialization Agreement with UAV manufacturer, Tactical Aerospace Group (TAG). The new technology offers effective elimination and control of recoil and hence enables very small UAVs to pack a massive wallop. That’s just the start though because the technology can be applied to larger caliber weapons systems so everything that flies, floats or moves on land will also be able to pack a similar increase in firepower. Who knows how small a killer UAV can get? We have visions of a swarm of semi-autonomous, networked, killer microbots shooting miniature poison-tipped darts as in Dan Brown's novel, Deception Point.
RTI has successfully produced lightweight prototypes and the technology has undergone independent ballistic testing and the technology appears a genuine force multiplier.
“RTI has the skills and capability to develop a recoilless ballistic armament system for TAG’s UAVs that will not only satisfy the capability requirements of “Detect First” but combine the much needed “Strike First” capability without placing valuable human resources in harm’s way or disrupting the flight pattern of the TAG rotary wing UAVs,” Mr. Richard Giza, RTI’s Chairman stated.
“Although TAG’s advanced tactical UAVs have been in high demand, this new agreement will redefine the level of their war fighting capabilities and the requirements for all UAVs”, Mr. Giza said.
The global marketplace for UAV technology is expanding, particularly in the United States. While UAV technology has played a key role in the US Future Combat Systems requirements, the development of a new Weaponized Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (WUAV), has the possibility of reshaping not only the capability requirements of the United States but other Allied Countries, including Australia, by adding a valuable tactical advantage to existing “Detect First” systems.
“This is simply the first step of the realization of a larger capability enhancement for all Allied Forces,” the inventor of the Recoilless Technology Mr. Giza said.
The deal with TAG follows the announcement of Major General (Retired) Peter Dunn, AO as new CEO of RTI.
“Major General Dunn enjoyed a distinguished career as an artillery officer in the Australian Army and has since gained further extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. He is ideally suited to lead the company in its program of commercialization of Recoilless Technology,” Mr. Giza said.