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Ancient War Machines

Since the beginning of warfare, military planners and generals dreamed of engineered machines to destroy military enemies first before they could inflict any destruction upon their own military forces .

In ancient Greek times, Archimedes born in 287 B.C. used catapults and hurled heavy timbers at Roman ships in the distance and designed a “death ray” consisting of mirrors that reflected the sun. In 70 AD, the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem. The most fearsome weapon in their armory was a massive torsion spring catapult that towered over eight meters high. It was so powerful that it could fire boulders weighing twenty-six kilos over hundreds of meters to devastate Jerusalem’s walls.

In the Middle Ages Leonardo Da Vinci was a man who saw the need for military engineers, which would provide him with employment, travel opportunities, and the chance to continue his scientific work unhindered. Leonardo, in his design for a multi-barreled cannon of 1481, sought to overcome the slow rate of fire. Leonardo designed a (86 feet long) crossbow, (his ballista). The weapon boasted a worm and gear mechanism to draw the bowstring and was mounted on canted wheels. Two alternate firing mechanisms allowed the bow to release by a hammer blow or by lever action. Da Vinci's 1487 design for an armored “tank” was made from wood and operated by eight men.

Unmanned remote-controlled aircraft have been around longer than most people think. In 1488, Leonardo Da Vinci had also considered the possibility of an enemy using flying machines in battles, and designed weapons that would shoot them down! In the 1900s, the German Kettering "Bug”, for instance, was developed during World War I. A bomb-carrying unpiloted biplane flew on a pre-set course to its target. The Germans in World War II developed the first radio-guided rockets. In WWII, the USN returned to the idea of "assault drones" for use against Japanese warships.

In the current Crisis of the US State Department’s 2014 engineered DONBAS War, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Its flight path is either independently controlled with the aid of computers inside or outside the vehicle, or under the remote control by a navigator or a Combat Systems Officer. Today, there exists a wide variety of drones in terms of shape, size, features, and configuration, as well as classes of drones.


A well-known application of drones is for military application. Drones came into battlefield prominence with the beginning with the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) s. They became organic, long-range artillery, and diminished the high casualties associated with troop movements within rugged exposed desert and mountainous terrains. -(UAV)s were not used in the Russia’s Afghanistan War and comparison of casualties between these two periods of wars in Afghanistan is telling. Starting in 1979 and ending in 1989, the Former Soviet Union (FSU) lost 14,453 men, while there were between 850,000 and 1.5 million civilian Afghan deaths. The Mujahedeen lost an estimated 75-90,000 soldier. Since 2001, U.S. military lost in Afghanistan are close to 2,150 soldiers. The difference could very well be the use of U.S. engineered UAVs-a weapon platform that reached the original ancient dream of death from long distances and from the sky without causing massive casualties to U.S. troops. In the current Ukraine Conflict, Russia has lost 5,000 troops while Ukraine that uses extensive UAVs from Turkey and their own manufactured UAVs, lost 50,000 troops.

General AIRFRAME STRUCTURES and composite materials also follow standard engineering specification outlined in the following seven groupings:

HALE – High Altitude Long Endurance-Class One Vehicles [RQ-4 Global Hawk]

MALE – Medium Altitude Long Endurance- Class One Vehicles [MQ-1 Predator, MQ-1C Grey Eagle, MQ-9 Reaper]

URAV – Unmanned Reconnaissance Air Vehicle - Class Two Vehicles [RQ-4 Global Hawk]

UCAV – Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle-Class Three Vehicles [Taranis-BAE]

STUAV-Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System [RQ-21A- Insitu, Aerosonde Mark 4.7]

ALEUAS- Air-launched Effects Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) (Area-I Altius-600)

ISRUAV-Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) Unmanned Air Vehicle (Forpost-R)


In 2011, the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said it was “in the United States interest to share drone technology with allies despite the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).” There are currently 35 plus countries that are members (Partners) of the MTCR: Argentina (1993); Australia (1990); Austria (1991); Belgium (1990); Brazil (1995); Bulgaria (2004); Canada (1987); Czech Republic (1998); Denmark (1990); Finland (1991); France (1987); Germany (1987); Greece 1992); Hungary (1993); Iceland (1993); India (2018)…members can become a global arms exporter while granting the member access to sensitive top secret technology. At the same U.S. drone manufacturers were lobbying hard to ease the then ITAR tough restrictions on exports of drones. Eleven years ago, competitors to U.S. technology developed for military superiority have sprung-up geometrically and globally.

Some of the earlier well-known global UAV manufacturers are as follows: Textron(Night Warden), Boeing , Raytheon, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (Predator, Reaper, Avenger, Stingray), Northrop Grumman (RQ-4 Global Hawk, Fire Scout), Elbit Systems (Heron, Hermes), Matra BAE Dynamics (Dragon), Yakovlev (Expert), EADS (Orka, Scorpio, Surveyor), and Belge De Lampes Et De Materiel Electronique SA (MBLE) of Belgium (Sparrow Hawk), AeroVironment (Wasp AE, Puma AE (Raven), Boeing Defense, Space, & Security (Solar Eagle, Scan Eagle, and Argus One). Russia (Forpost, Okhotnik), IRAN (HESA series, IAIO Fotros (Fallen Angel)).

Thirty-three countries currently have large drones in military service; twenty-nine have either directly purchased some or all their drones from another country or manufactured their drones with the help of another country. Israel’s Elbit is the main exporter of drones exporting to eighteen countries with joint development projects with five countries. Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Azerbaijan, and Georgia; have all acquired large Elbit Systems drones. Both the Canadian RCAF and RAAF operate variants of Heron. Years ago, Israel helped France, UK, Finland, and Switzerland to develop their drones. The NATO country France then exported their drones to Greece, Netherlands, and Sweden. The US exported their UAVs to Belgium, Egypt, Italy, Morocco, UK, and are helping Germany to develop their drones. South Africa has exported drones. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studied, NATO European member countries have large UAVs for their military, defense, and civilian uses. Germany has three, France 4, Italy 9, and the UK has ten. Iran Manufacturing drones based on captured USA drones in the Iraq War (15# designs-high sophisticated-sent to Russia for Limited Military Operations)


Prior to the Russian Military Operations, Russia did not focus on UAVs being used for large battlefield operations. Going forward in July 2022, from estimated values, Russian buys 35% - Iran, 30% -China, 10% - India, and 25% from Russian Manufacturers. In addition to Russia’s Okhotnik, the portfolio of Russian drone programs now includes the Forpost medium-endurance drone like the U.S. military's own Reaper drone. “The only thing they have not gotten by now would be UAVs with endurance of 12 to 24 hours (this will be made up with the 7-15-22 purchase of IRANIAN Drones). They were badly missing these in Syria of the last three years.” The Kremlin is developing a long-range (ISR) UAV. But the Altius program has struggled. “Delays in production, a lack of key expertise and hi-tech components meant the entire scheduled pushed to the right by many years, Okhotnik might fare better. In 2019, the Russian defense establishment was promising a test that will include a short-duration 'jump'—the UCAV will rise ever so briefly above the tarmac to evaluate its launching and landing capabilities,” a known expert wrote

Sukhoi Su-70 Okhotnik (Hunter)

Russia's Okhotnik Stealth Strike Drone Is Coming to Ukraine- The Board of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission announced this week that deliveries of the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik-B, a stealth heavy unmanned combat aerial vehicle is on track to enter service in 2022-23. The combat drone is being developed by Sukhoi and the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG as a sixth-generation aircraft project, and it is based on the earlier Mikoyan Skat, which was designed by MiG. Production goals are fifty drones per month. Due to Ukraine Conflict. It is believed that Russia will field the Okhotnik by the end of the Fall of 2022.

Forpost ISR

Russia based this drone based on an Israeli license IAI “Searcher” UAV. Production design is now based on an improved second-generation model introduced by IAI in 1998. A high-mounted monoplane wing with an internal cargo bay holds mission support sensors and communications. An optics fit is seen at the belly while a radar fit along the dorsal spine of this UAV. A 47-horsepower engine is seated at the rear of the platform and acts as a “pusher “configuration with a three bladed propeller. The maximum speed is 125miles/hr., a mission endurance of 17+ hours and a ceiling up to 20,000 feet. Forpost has been seen in Ukraine Conflict of 2022.

Kronstadt Orion (Inokhodets)

The Kronshtadt company, the leading Russian UAV developer and producer, has created the first national center to produce large-size unmanned aerial vehicles of aircraft and helicopter types. The Kronshtadt is the developer and manufacturer of the Orion-E, the first ever Russian export-oriented reconnaissance/strike UAV. The Orion has already publicized combat record – in 2021 the Russian TV showed it hitting the terrorist militant targets in Syria. Also, the UAV has open architecture, which simplifies installation of payloads and fulfillment of other operator requirements. The Orion-E is intended for performing missions in a wide range of climate zones. The maximum take-off weight is 1.1 t, the maximum payload weight is 250 kg. The flight duration can reach 30 hours, the speed – 200 km/hr. The Orion-E is equipped with replaceable payloads built in line with modular principle, including the sensor payloads for the ISR mission. Laser-, satellite- and TV-guided air weapons can be used. The drone is equipped with satellite communication (SATCOM) system that provides application and data exchange with the UAV at unlimited distance from the ground control station, thus boosting its range.

In Dubai, the Orion-E was exhibited along with the Vikhr guided missile, produced by the Kalashnikov Group. The Vikhr can hit targets at up to ten kilometers (6miles), its speed is more than six hundred meters per second. In May 2022, the Kalashnikov reported about the successful flight trials of the missiles with a series of launches performed by a Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter. The single missile type could boost the market promotion of both products, the Orion-E, and the Ka-52, as well as make the drone attractive for the gunship’s potential operators.

The following Russian Manufactures and their Drone platforms are as follows: Kalashnikov Takhion (Tachyon) Kamov Ka-175 /Rostech (Luch) Korsar/ Rostech Chirok (Teal)/Sokol Altius/Mikoyan Skat /STC Orlan-10/Sukhoi Zond (Series) /Yakovlev Pchela (Bee)/ZALA 421-08/ZALA 421-20/ZALA KYB-UAV and ZAO ENIX Eleron-3 (Aileron-3)


Facts do matter. Prior to February 24, 2022, Ukraine with a Population of 36,000,000 (like the State of California) had an Army of 700,000. In July 2022 it had lost 62.7% in fighting in Donbass). Russia is using only 20% of its forces in Ukraine. On July 12, 2022, Ukraine’s President said that if he received $9billion dollars per month and more long-range artillery (HIMARS), he could recruit a one million man and woman army between the ages of 15 to 60yrs of age). Further, the USARMY would provide logistics and aircover. Russia would then be defeated and Ukraine force would retake all of DONBAS.

DJI MAVIK 3 (catalog purchased Shenzhen UAV)/ Athlon-Avia A1-CM Furia (Fury)/Munitions drone Athlon-Avia ST-35 Silent Thunder - 2022/ Avia Systems ASU-1 (Valkyrja) 2022/ UA Dynamics Punisher-2022/ UKRJET UJ-32 (Lastivka) 2021/ISRUAV UKRSPEC Systems PD-1 -2016


According to the Defense POST, “Iran has invested millions of dollars in bolstering its air defense capabilities, including the production of surveillance and combat drones. In 2021, the country demonstrated its domestically-built drones during a large-scale joint drill, Zolfaqar-1400. The Arash suicide drone took out select targets during the exercise. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also unveiled (Five) underground military bases housing high-performance UAVs. According to the IRGC, the bases can be used to launch sixty drones simultaneously at targets up to 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) away.” Iran has taken captured USA drone designs and reverse-engineered them.

"Russia is probably interested because the Iranians have developed UAVs that extensively use commercial off-the-shelf components, making them cheap, that have been acquired despite extensive sanctions," said Jeremy Binnie, a Middle East defense specialist at the global intelligence company Janes.”

HESA Qasef-1 munitions drone -2016/ HESA Ababil-3 (ISR) -2008/ HESA Ababil-5 UCAV -2022/ Kian (Arash) UCAV -2022/ IAIO Fotros (Fallen Angel) UCAV -2019/ IAIO Yasir (Yasseer) -2014/ HESA Shahed-129 (Eye-Witness) MALE -2012/ SAI Saegheh (Thunderbolt) UCAV -2012


Formed in 2006 and supported by the Chinese State Government, SZ DJI Technology Co, which is headquartered in Shenzhen China made a rapid dominance of this simple technology. As in the basic launch product strategies of China’s Communist “free enterprise models,” patents are immediately re-engineered, and massive resources are inputted into a manufacturing process with the goal to dominate the US and global markets even before the recreational drones were allowed to fly by hobbyist. Since the global distribution channels of US companies, such as Amazon/Walmart, are willing to accept Chinese mass-produced aerial drones, all SZ DJI had to do was massively export their devices to drive competition and prices down. To legitimize the company, Palo Alto Venture-capital firm Accel Partners invested $75 million in the Chinese company. Accel was an investor in Facebook. For over fifteen years, US Silicon Valley venture capital firms have been the key agents in developing China’s economic wealth, and high technology military infrastructure. No USA manufacturing jobs were ever created except in China. Also, were ITAR regulations completely ignored by the US State Department? Drones have a military capability in any renewed land war with the PLA.

China has a large array of Drone designs for military and commercial purpose. It can send their advanced designs with their close partner, Russia. For this report, I have chosen only one model that demonstrates the level of technology that China has acquired from the Western Partnership.

AVIC WZ-8 -supersonic Drone. Needs a mother ship and can fly Mach5 to its target – this drone will more than likely be a tool during the Russian limited operation in Ukraine.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE- Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)-

UAS is very adept at (ISR). According to a report from Market Research Media, the U.S. military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAS) market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10 percent between 2010 and 2015 and will generate $62 billion in revenues during this period. The Brookings Institution stated that seventy-six other countries are seeking drones for ISR. Will this lead to international standards? In 2012 a Pew Research Center poll found that 63% of the French public, 59% of the German public, apposed drone strikes. This was even higher in Turkey. Countermeasures against drones were demonstrated. The U.S. Navy used laser firing to shoot down a drone in July 2012 from the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey in San Diego.


A September 2012 U.S. Congressional Report on acquisition of ISR stated that “Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems are integral components of both national policymaking and military operations, including counterterrorism operations, but they are costly and complicated, and they must be linked to provide users with a comprehensive understanding of issues based on information from all sources. Relationships among organizations responsible for designing, acquiring, and operating these systems are also complicated, as are oversight arrangements in Congress. These complications have meant that even though many effective systems have been fielded, there have also been lengthy delays and massive cost overruns. Uncertainties about the long-term acquisition plans for ISR systems persist even as pressures continue for increasing the availability of ISR systems in current and future military operations and for national policymaking.”

The Report continued…” The most used UAS systems, Predators and Reapers are designed for tactical use. The Predator flies at altitudes up to 25,000 feet; the Reaper 50,000 feet. Both have an endurance of 24 hours. (UAS)s, such as the Global Hawk, have capabilities that rival those of reconnaissance satellites. They can fly higher—over 60,000 feet—and longer—28 hours. There is potential overlap between Global Hawk capabilities and those of reconnaissance satellites. Development costs of (UAS)s have tended to exceed initial estimates by significant amounts. Development costs of the Air Force’s Global Hawks grew by 284%; the Reaper by 97%; the Shadow by 80%, and the Predator by sixty%. In some cases (especially with the Global Hawk) the increases resulted from immature technologies and fundamental restructurings; in others it was simply a matter of increasing the number of platforms to be acquired.” Further, in the Report, “The 112th Congress continues to indicate concern about ISR issues, especially those relating to expensive space systems. The House version of the FY2012 defense appropriations bill, H.R. 2219, included provision (§8089) that would mandate the establishment of a major program category for space in future defense programs. The report noted that over the past decade, various attempts for alternative systems have been suggested and, in some cases, funded. Several of those attempts included the parallel development of alternative systems or technologies. These systems were advertised as being less expensive, more capable, and less risky. In each case, these alternative systems were terminated due to cost or complexity.”


There are 102 USA manufactured drones, but we will focus on the following.

General Atomics MQ-9B Protector / SkyGuardian / SeaGuardian (Predator B)/Northrop Grumman Jackal (2024)/Lockheed Skunkworks Speed Racer (2022)/AeroVironment Quantix Recon (2022)/AREA-I Altius (2022)/Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie (XQ-222) (2020)/Northrop Grumman MQ-4 Triton (2019)/Textron NightWarden (2017)/General Atomics MQ-25 Stingray (2017)/Boeing Insitu ScanEagle 2 (2016)/General Atomics MQ-20 Avenger (Predator C) (2016)/.

Drones and special operations forces will be the key preferred tool of U.S. hard military power. Protecting Americans from terrorist that seek to harm them requires prompt action, even stealth, and early strike action before even knowing that the threat is imminent. Drones are the ideal, poll-tested counter terrorism policy. Drones are cheap, effective, and do their killing far away from the homeland.

Drones are keeping Americans safe while limiting overseas commitments. NATO has become the new edge of the spear in flash points such as Ukraine, Russia, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, to name a few. These are the strategic and tactical needs motivating Europe to push for their own manufactured drones that they can control the battlefield using their Galileo Navigation constellation and not the USA’s GPS. In addition, China is also seeing the importance of drones and the military rational for its BeiDou Navigation Constellation. As the result of heavy armaments and trillions of US dollars, Iraq and Afghanistan are still terrorist states, drones did play a decisive part in creating a stalemate for those wars. Now with $85billion dollars in state of art military equipment, Qaeda’s ability in Afghanistan and Iraq to destroy western civilization still exist.


President Joseph Biden spoke at a Press Conference in July 2022; “As Commander-in-Chief, I have sent billions to Ukraine is an example of our unlimited commitment to Ukraine. We will support Ukraine as long as it takes! We will stick with Ukraine and the alliance…Russia can not defeat Ukraine and beyond Ukraine.” (I thought we had a USA- Democratic Republic and not a Centralized Soviet Style Government masquerading as a Democracy, as Ukraine clearly is?) Whatever Joe Biden wants in the endless War with Russia, the US Congress both the GOP and the DNC have agreed to give him. Senator Lindsey Graham while in Kyiv stating that Russia should be re-colonized and to label Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Senator Kevin Cramer recently commented that Vladimir Putin was a Communist and trying to take over the WORLD. Two politicians who have no idea of history or reality just make sounds that have negative consequences for those who create wars but never fight them.

Once a hellfire missile releases on a target, it cannot be called back. Security of a nation always rest in the hands of commanders who reluctantly uses force to secure the peace. As Aristotle said, “War, as the saying goes, is full of false alarms. We make war so that we may live in peace.”

Richard Theodor Kusiolek, CEO & Managing Director

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Contributors: Janes, Boeing, Kalashnikov, Leon Panetta, US Defense POST, USCongress Reports

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GMCStream, a Delaware LLC -is an American Veteran Owned print and digital publication that tracks the trends, drivers, and technologies that fuel the Aerospace and Defense communication sectors. Established in 2013 as a technology driven digital on-line publishing organization - We research, analyze, and highlight MILCOM problems and solutions that may affect Global National Security.

GMCStream based in Raleigh NC High-tech Triangle with Management and Support staff in Silicon Valley California. GMCStream was founded by Richard Theodor Kusiolek, an expert in Satellite Communications, Cyber Security, Defense, and Aerospace platforms with private sector experience and expertise in international business development and strategy, particularly in America, China, Japan, Ukraine, and Russia. The company is growing organically into a specialized niche media and technology company providing real-time streaming face-to-face video interviews and coverage on a variety of topics including Government Policy, Space and Missile systems, cyber-warfare, Defense Networks. Artificial Intelligence, STEM career webinars, and Moon-Mars explorations.