Game of Drones Oct 24, 16:24
Attacks on oil-related facilities in Saudi Arabia have once again shown to the world that the future military balance may change.
A drone also called a “game changer”. Can Japan protect against the threat?
(Political Department, Yamagata)
The impact of drone bombing
Before dawn on September 14, oil-related facilities in Saudi Arabia were bombed by someone. The facility that was released to the media six days later had a structure with a height of several tens of meters burned in black due to a fire.
The attack stopped the production of crude oil, equivalent to about 5% of the world's supply. The oil market has been confused.
Insist that the neighboring Yemeni anti-government "Fusi", which is in conflict with Saudi Arabia, attacked itself.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and the United States cannot commit crimes by “Fushi” alone, and US-Iran relations are more tense as Iran was involved in the attack.
While the discussion about “who did it” continues, what the security officials of each country paid attention to was “what was used”.
Immediately after the attack, the Saudi Ministry of Defense announced that 18 drones and 7 cruise missiles were used. The wreckage of a drone in the form of a triangular wing called the “delta wing type” that was used in actual attacks was disclosed.
Break through the defense network from "untouched space"
“Open a new battle space”
Naoki Hidani, senior researcher at Keio University SFC Research Institute, who is familiar with drone military use, points out:
“The drone created the concept of making effective use of the“ space that had only been used by birds and insects ”between several meters and 150 meters above the sky. Because no humans are riding on it and no small ones are supposed to be used in any direction, no country has been able to deal effectively with drones. ''
Interviews with the Ministry of Defense officials also support Mr. Tani's analysis.
Saudi Arabia is strengthening its air defense system against “high altitude” ballistic missiles, such as the deployment of the surface-to-air missile “Patriot”.
However, this time, it is said that many drones flew outside the “Patriot” coverage area, that is, in the low sky, passed through the air defense radar network, and bombed oil-related facilities accurately.
According to the data released in April by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which analyzes the world military situation, the military expenditure in Saudi Arabia as of 2018 was $ 67.6 billion, or 7 trillion yen in Japanese yen Super. Its scale exceeds Japan of approximately 5 trillion yen, and is second only to the United States and China.
The drone broke through the defense network of the military power.
Spreading drone threat
The use of drones in the military is progressing in various places, and the users and usage are diversifying.
The US military uses drones for reconnaissance and ground attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
The Israeli army also promoted the use of drones mainly for reconnaissance at borders with the Palestinian and Gaza Strips, and struck tears against Palestinian citizens' demonstrations.
In addition, there are a number of cases where drones are used by anti-government organizations and terrorists.
In August 2018, a drone exploded in South America and Venezuela while President Maduro was speaking outdoors, injuring a soldier.
In Turkey, an attempted drone attack by an armed organization Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) is reported to have occurred in several government facilities.
“Some people say that drones are n’t something that ’s taken a pilot off the plane, they ’re equipped with a propeller on their smartphones.” Because they ’re cheap and easy to use, the weapons themselves are changing. Weapons were “made by the government, better technology than the private sector, and used by the military”, but with the advent of drones, “the civilian-made technology can be used by armed forces to fight more than the government” era Became"
“The United States and China are putting a lot of effort into the use of drones. South Korea has also created a“ Drone Unit ”, and Russia has ordered all troops to train“ Drone Tactics ”. Is not on board, so the cost of failure is low and innovation is easily reflected. ''
"Both peacetime and emergency come at once"
A drone that could change the military balance, but in Japan, the use and defense against attacks are still developing.
In the Self-Defense Forces, the Ground Self-Defense Force owns several types of drones for conducting reconnaissance and surveillance activities and collecting information during disasters. However, according to officials of the Ministry of Defense, there is a big difference in performance from drones equipped with functions such as attack, repulse, and long-distance flight for the purpose of military use deployed by each country.
In addition, there are challenges in defense.
“The attack on Saudi is a wake-up call.”
This can be said by Akihisa Nagashima, former vice minister of defense, who is familiar with security.
In response to the case of Saudi Arabia, Japan points out that it should seriously consider how to defend against drones.
“Drone changes the traditional military balance debate, and the equation for balancing is complicated. Land, sea, and air equipment are visually“ wow ”. It's a weapon, but drones tend to hide how much progress and ability they have, so it's hard to appreciate. ''
`` Until now, it was 'deterrence theory' to set up a threshold and gray zone, emergency and threshold, so that it wouldn't run out of control, but in the drone world, In that sense, there is an impact that blows away the conventional gradual division. ''
Unlike missiles, even if a suspicious drone flies, there is a possibility of being attacked while deciding whether it threatens Japan's security.
Drone VS fighter
There are cases where the Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces actually responded to drones.
Ototoshi, in May, offshore of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, when a Chinese Coast Guard ship invaded Japan's territorial waters, it was the first time that something like a drone was flying while navigating the territory. confirmed.
At this time, the Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Force responded by scrambled emergency start-up scrambled by two F15 fighters and AWACS (early warning control aircraft).
One defense ministry said about the response at this time: “Drones that cost hundreds of thousands or millions per aircraft are facing fighter aircraft that cost about 10 billion yen per aircraft. But in fact, if Japan's territory and security could be threatened, the reality is that we have to deal with all means. "
In Japan, in order to respond to ballistic missile attacks, Aegis ships, ground-based interceptor missiles and PAC3 have already been deployed, and the introduction of the new missile interceptor system `` Aegis Ashore '' has also been decided by the Cabinet. .
The Ministry of Defense said that it would continue to strengthen its air defense system following the launch of North Korea ’s successive ballistic missiles, but the official said, “The SDF is virtually defenseless against drone attacks that occurred in Saudi Arabia.” Point out.
“The drone is too small compared to aircraft and ballistic missiles and does not appear in the radar. If the drone that is not reflected in the radar is used to neutralize the SDF's radar, this will be closed. After that, it is difficult to intercept, but once you can see it, you can only set up a barrage with a cannon, but if you are attacked by a large number of people, the challenge is whether you can shoot it down.
The game has changed
The Ministry of Defense will introduce equipment that makes drones uncontrollable by jamming = radio interference from next year to advance countermeasures against suspicious drones flying around the base of the Self-Defense Forces. In addition, research on coping with the “swarm” of drones called “swarm” is also being promoted, but the officials point out that it is severe.
“Even if you look at it, there is no doubt that Japan is behind. If you keep the idea of dealing with aircraft like before, you will lose balance in terms of cost effectiveness. `` But at the stage where we finally have a budget for research, such as destruction by high-power electromagnetic waves, we must accelerate it. ''
“The concept of how to operate the drone within the Self-Defense Forces is not yet determined. Isn't it weak to say“ for what and how to use it? ”In the current war and operational environment, The issue is how seriously we know how important it is, and how to put it in the operation of the Self-Defense Forces. ''
A security "game changer", a drone.
As technological innovation rapidly advances and the security environment changes rapidly, there are many issues that Japan must overcome.