Today, we share with you the Top 10 Best and Most Powerful Military Drones in the World. Forget your fighter planes and stealth bombers; put your ground attack aircraft out of service; fire your pilots, and with the push of a control console, go into autonomous mode. We need as little interference as possible from spongy humans. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are the future of our air warfare!
Many countries have adopted some form of UAV for surveillance and communication. We witness that a number of them use drones capable of combat. This is either using air-to-ground missiles, laser-guided bombs, or even experimental air-to-air capabilities. Drones can perform most of today’s air missions. This begs this one inevitable question: How long will it take for manned military planes to last before becoming a historical curiosity?
But before that, here is our list of the top 10 best and most advanced military drones in the world for you to ponder.
TOP 10: TAI Aksungur
Aksungur is one of the many responses to the Reaper produced in Turkey. It’s kicking off the Long Life (MALE) Long Life UAV parade at mid-altitude. This is a further development of its smaller predecessors. TAI Anka shows that it is capable of producing a successful fight. It has reported an impressive endurance of 40 hours.
TOP 9: CAIG GJ-2 / Wing Loong II
Introduced in 2017, the export version of this Chinese drone has already proven its effectiveness, as shown in several Middle East conflicts. This is especially in the hands of the UAE. Also, we have seen that Pakistan and Egypt have bought dozens of them. It can carry up to 200 kilograms of bombs and laser-guided missiles. The manufacturer claims that this drone is capable of using air-to-air weaponry.
TOP 8: Altair / Altius
There has been a long and turbulent development of this drone since 2011. This MALE UAV was revealed during its maiden flight in 2019 and is ready to be adopted by the Russian Air Force in 2021. The manufacturer claims it has a 48-hour endurance and a payload of 1000 kilograms for an aircraft that is larger and heavier than most of its competitors. A note should be made as Altair is supposed to be the name of the development program. Moreover, Altius is the name of the aircraft itself. But, those names are often confused even by the manufacturer.
TOP 7: EADS Barracuda
Airbus designed Barracuda as a competition to other European drone programs. Although it lacks the range or endurance of the MALE, it is more of a fighter plane than any other. Also, this drone is designed to carry 300 kilograms of precision munitions in its internal bay which can be dispatched at any time before an enemy can detect the intruder. Unfortunately, almost nothing has been known about Barracuda since its maiden flight in 2006. Even though the project may have been discontinued, it was definitely the first European combat drone of its kind.
TOP 6: General Atomics Avenger
Originally called the Predator C, General Atomics Avenger was a successor to the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper longevity drones. The Avenger drone is more of a dawn with a turbofan engine, internal gun bay, and stealth functions. It can lift nearly three tons of ammunition (including at external hardpoints ). Moreover, it also uses the F-35 Lightning II’s electro-optical aiming system to aim fire at the enemy. The Sea Avenger should also be mentioned. This is considering that it complements the platform with a capability based on an aircraft carrier.
TOP 5: Northrop Grumman X-47
The United States has had plenty of stealth drone development programs since 2000. Examples include the Boeing Phantom Ray, the ground X-74A, and its airport counterpart X-74B, which deserve mention. This is for pioneering and popularizing the concept, with the First Flight of the X-47A in 2003. They had quite impressive capabilities.
The X-47B could carry up to two tons of weapons and still take off from the carrier. Unfortunately, they were only proof-of-concept programs and have now been discontinued. Nevertheless, all the evidence shows that the US Air Forces are adopting some more advanced successors.
TOP 4: Hongdu GJ-11
Almost nothing is known about the Chinese stealth drone with the sharp sword nickname. First launched in 2013, Hongdu GJ-11 was later adopted by the military in 2019 or earlier. Suggesting a focus on stealth, the round afterburner exhaust has been replaced with a low-visibility exhaust. China bragged about the drone’s deep penetration capability. This suggests a large internal compartment for weapons and the ability to deliver laser-guided ammunition. So, this likely results in a similar performance to other stealth drones of this type.
TOP 3: Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik-B
The first operational Russian stealth combat drone continued an earlier MiG project called “Skat.” The aircraft has a regular AL-31 turbojet engine with an unmodified nozzle, which means a partial sacrifice of invisible performance. But what sets this UAV apart from other similar aircraft is its size. It is almost four times heavier than a normal aircraft. X-47B is considerably larger, can carry nearly three tons of weapons, and has an operational range of 6,000 kilometers.
TOP 2: BAE Systems Taranis / Dassault nEUROn
Developed separately, BAE Systems Taranis / Dassault nEUROn is similar in its capabilities and appearance. This is done by the British arms company BAE Systems and a conglomerate of European manufacturers led by French Dassault. These two technology demonstrators are among the most advanced stealth unmanned aerial vehicles.
It was to explore the prospect of delivering up to two tons of well-regulated European explosives in high-risk areas and defending them against ground and air enemies. At least initially, the Taranis was intended to be supersonic. On the other hand, the nEUROn project emphasized functioning in autonomous cooperation with manned aircraft as a loyal wingman.
TOP 1: XQ-58A Valkyrie
Valkyrie is the next logical step in the evolution of drones. It is designed to support combat aircraft relying on direct control of its manned peers or onboard AI. Also, it can spot the battlefield and engage as well. The most impressive part of this ordeal is its price.
Supposedly, the drone costs only $2 million each, par with cruise missiles. Moreover, they are next to nothing compared to the actual fighter jets. Valkyrie is first in our list of Top 10 Best and Most Powerful Military Drones in the World.
What are the Top 10 Military Drones in the World?
We didn’t only provide you with the list of top military drones in the world, but we have also provided you with the 10 cool facts. Now, once again, here are the top 10 best military drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as some of us call them, for your quick reference:
- XQ-58A Valkyrie
- BAE Systems Taranis / Dassault nEUROn
- Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik-B
- Hongdu GJ-11
- Northrop Grumman X-47
- General Atomics Avenger
- EADS Barracuda
- Altair / Altius
- CAIG GJ-2 / Wing Loong II
- TAI Aksungur
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