Asymmetric Warfare is the name given to a military conflict in which one side is big and the other side is small. Rather like the David and Goliath fight which features in the Bible. I have a new spin on this which came to mind when reading a BBC story about Israel using a $3.2 million missile to shoot down a $500 dollar drone. Pursued to its logical conclusion, a poor country could soon bankrupt a rich one, a real example of “asymmetry”. But this story has made me reconsider the whole concept of modern warfare. For a very long time now “stealth” has been a buzz word in military circles. Stealth fighters, stealth bombers and even stealth ships (in the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies) seem to have become an essential component of every new aerial vehicle, manned or unmanned. Clearly, evading enemy radar is a good thing since invisibility is a kind of superpower which give a very big advantage. But encouraging the enemy to use up all its missiles before your planes arrive could be, I would suggest, a much better plan. How can this be achieved, you ask? The answer is simple. Take a look at the latest FURY drone from Lockheed Martin. It looks like a miniature fighter jet and of course Lockheed sell it as being stealthy, with a minimal visual signature, which of course means it is hard to see. Now with all the surveillance bits added, this is not going to be cheap, but actually, the only electronic bit it really needs as an “image enhancer”, a device which will make it look huge on a radar, in fact make it look like a real fighter. Then the enemy under attack can fire all its missiles at a swarm of these “targets” leaving it defenceless against the wave of stealth machines which will follow along soon after.
Actually the plan is a bit like the “doodlebug” VI flying bombs used by German in the later stages of World War II which was an unmanned flying machine with a very simple jet engine and basic navigation controls. Modern production techniques would make the thing a cheaper to produce. Even with a basic “pulse jet” engine it would probably cost less than $10,000, and that includes an auto-pilot. Now $10,000 might seem like a lot, but up against a $3.5 million it is clearly just a drop in the ocean. Now that is really asymmetrical!