Wings of Death: How Availability of Combat Drones Will Change War Forever, by Scott Ritter

Drones level the military playing field, even for non-state actors. They are another advance in the asymmetric warfare that has bedeviled regular military forces since at least WWII, and another nail in the coffin of monster governments. From Scott Ritter at RT News via

Drones used to be the exclusive purview of advanced military powers. Today, almost any military can afford cheap drones with high-quality sensors and lethal munitions, and, in doing so, change the course of any future conflict.

The proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, commonly referred to as drones) has brought about a sea-change in the way nations wage war today, ranging from the ability to gather intelligence in ways unthinkable using manned aircraft, to the discreet and precision employment of lethal weapons in a way which delivers a bigger bang for the buck when it comes to battlefield impact. While this technology is well known to the professionals who employ it daily, it remains a relatively obscure capability for the layperson, who often sees the term “drone” used without fully comprehending its implications.

The US military has long had an interest in the potential of remotely piloted unmanned aircraft. During the Second World War, Operation Aphrodite employed modified B-17 bombers which were taken off by an aircrew, who then bailed out of the aircraft. The bomber was then taken over using radio-control by a crew in a following B-17, which then used on-board television cameras to guide the crewless B-17 filled with explosives to its intended target, which it would then crash into, destroying it in the resulting explosion. The program had poor results and was scrapped after a number of missions went astray.

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