Drones are nothing new to the military. However, they have evolved quite a bit since the first time they were used as a weapon or as any part of the military. The future for the military and drones is bright and will likely include artificial intelligence and other robotic platforms.
For the United States Military, it’s likely that drones will become the weapon of choice in the future. They will likely be used for attack and counter-attack with multiple platforms making drones one of the easiest weapons to use n history. However, drones are not just a weapon for the military.
Drone Uses in the Military
Known as UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to the military, drones have the ability to do far more than just be used as a weapon. This technology has already been deployed all across the globe for many uses in many industries. The military is no different and has adopted UAVs for a number of tasks.
One of the main uses for drones in the military is surveillance. Many drones are used for surveillance in different ways. These drones can range from very small to rather large, depending on the type of surveillance needed.
Along with surveillance, many drones are used for reconnaissance in the military. They can be great for gathering intelligence on the battlefield before any soldiers actually have to go into the area.
Drones or UAVs can also be deployed to help with industrial facilities. They can be used to inspect military facilities including areas, such as:
- Main Gates
- Flare Towers
- And More!
In addition, the military uses UAVs to help keep the borders protected and to watch the perimeter fences of an area. There are several great uses outside of deployment as a weapon, but the future of drones in the military will likely be found on the battlefield.
A Dangerous Weapon Protecting American Lives
Will the future of drones and the military mean war is more like a video game? Are future wars going to be fought on a computer screen as one drone attacks another? Are the days of soldiers on the actual battlefield coming to an end?
Currently, drone technology is a bit limited, but it tends to grow in leaps and bounds every single year. Drones are becoming smaller, quieter and lighter. The technology is allowing for longer flight times with better capabilities. As the technology continues to grow, UAVs will likely become the weapon of choice for the U.S. Military and militaries across the globe.
Drones help to protect human resources because they can handle the job a human used to do. A team of soldiers may have been deployed into an area to gather intelligence before, but now, a drone can go in and gain the same intelligence without putting a single human life in danger.
Reshaping the Future of War
While the history of UAVs can be traced back to 1918, they weren’t used heavily until many technological advances were made. Today, drones are very present on the battlefield, but the future will show the real impact of these unmanned aerial vehicles.
The United States may be the best-known country when it comes to the use of drones in the military, but they are not alone. The United Kingdome, Pakistan, Israel, Nigeria and many other countries have deployed droned for combat and other uses.
Currently, drones are used mainly to change the calculus for counter-insurgency. They have also been used in domestic warfare. However, the future may hold something very different. Drones will very likely change the way nations fight wars against other nations.
As drones become better at avoiding anti-air weapons, they could become the chosen weapon of all military outfits across the globe. Stealth drones are in the works and could make a huge difference to the way wars are fought. Just as the stealth plane changes the warfare, a stealth drone (without a human pilot) could become the next big advancement.
Drone swarms have already been tested and maybe the next step in warfare. In fact, about 100 of them were dropped out of three aircrafts over China Lake, California in a large swarm. They quickly encircled their target.
This test was performed in October of 2016 as the race for drone arms heated up. With China previously testing a swarm of 67 drones, the United States had to take is a step further with over 100 drones in this test.
The growth of drone technology and use in warfare isn’t new, but it’s getting more dangerous. The Bush administration authorized a total of 50 drone strikes, while the Obama administration authorized 506. It only took President Trump a weekend to authorize his first 3 drone strikes. These strikes were aimed at members of al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Many of the drones used in these strikes were known as Reaper or Predator drones operated by humans hundreds of miles away. It’s a bit like playing a video game and the military even calls a drone kill a Bug Splat!
Could Drones be the First Step Towards Robot Warriors?
We’ve all seen the futuristic movies with robots fighting wars or even rising up against humans. Drones are basically flying robots, but with a human controlling them. However, the future of this type of technology could turn drones into flying robots and may lead to robot warriors.
Could you imagine turning on the news to see images of wars being fought with robots? Maybe humans are still behind the controls, but it would be like a strange Transformers movie. Drone technology is just one step towards robot wars.
How Far is Too Far?
Drone usage in the military is highly controversial because of the ability to take the technology too far. As the development of technology continues, will it be too far to allow a machine to make life and death decisions? In fact, warnings have been issued from both Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk about this technology.
Both have described UAV technology as the “third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.” The stakes are very high with drone technology and how it will be governed in the future.