Singapore's Armed Forces (otherwise known as the SAF) are now equipped with their own UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) which can be man-packed, assembled and flown to allow reconnaissance troops to beam real-time video images beyond a soldier's line of vision. Dubbed the Skyblade III (I and II were developed earlier but never field tested), these made-in-Singapore mini spy planes are battery-operated, portable with a wing span of 2.6m when assembled and can stay in the air for up to an hour with a range of about 8km.
Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (3 SIR) showed off the Skyblade III in a military exercise last week where enemy positions were sent via video images to ground commanders so as to allow them to use the up-to-date information to the best of their ability.
By equipping the soldiers with the mini UAVs, the army will not have to rely solely on the air force to deploy its bigger sized Searcher UAVs, a process that would have taken a few hours.
The 40kg Skyblade III, which is carried by two soldiers, can be deployed within 20 minutes without a runway as it can be launched via a bungee-assisted mechanism or even by hand.
The diagram below gives an idea of how it works
In the end, the equipment is only as good as the operator behind it, as with all technology. Never negate the man behind the machine.