Lethal Drones: A Revolution in Military Affairs

Lethal Drones – A long way from the Wright Brothers

The Wright brothers created the first successful aircraft in 1903. In 1914, less than a decade following its successful test flight, the Wright brothers would use aircraft in World War I combat, including aerial combat, reconnaissance and bombing. Most historians have categorized this as a revolutionary change in military affairs. This revolutionized the way wars were fought. The battlefield that previously included both land and water now includes the skies. New technology brought new strategies, policies, tactics, procedures, and formations.

20 years ago, the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was much less common and more capable. Their threat potential and risk profiles have grown significantly. UASs have improved optics and are more capable. They also have a longer range, faster speed and greater lethality.

The U.S. is a long-time proponent of unmanned aircraft systems. While the MQ-9 Reaper, MQ-1 Predator, and Switchblade are excellent in combat, smaller squad-based UASs, like the RQ-11 Raven, have been deployed. The optimization of friendly UAS capabilities can have great results on battlefields, but the use of unmanned air systems by adversaries can be devastating.