Military Drone Technology Outdated?

  • Predator Drone

The military’s first use of modern day drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), can be traced back to the top secret “Teal Rain” project. In 1980, DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) launched “Teal Rain” from which emerged the first high altitude, long range unmanned aircraft.<br>

Jump ahead 21 years to 2001, and the Predator makes the first armed drone strike in Afghanistan. Since then, drone technology has been in stall mode. Of course, there have been technological modifications over the last 16 years, but really nothing new. The Predator is slow and uses decades old weapons systems. While these are effective at taking out tanks during a tactical assault or a major campaign, they are technologically insufficient for surgical strikes on a single target, like the leader of a terrorist group.<br>

Given the needs today for extreme stealth and a lack of collateral damage, the latest and greatest drone-tech advances are coming from military applications. What are these advances and when will we see them? Maybe they’re already here and we just don’t know. There is all kinds of speculation about new drone technology in the infamous Area 51, the U.S. Air Force base in the Nevada desert. These secret, new UAV’s are not likely to be your stereotypical drone. Micro-drones, and drones with technology that can work in space, are the next anticipated breakthroughs. In all likelihood, the military already has drones the size of insects. Expect to see miniature UAVs ranging from micro air vehicles (MAVs) that can be carried by infantrymen, to man-portable UAV’s that can be carried and launched like a portable air-defense system. Sounds like something from a James Bond movie, or a le Carré novel? If we can imagine it, it’s safe to assume it may already be a reality.<br>