The Economist – Killer Drones: Pioneered in Ukraine, the weapons of the future
The main story for this week’s edition of the Economist reports killer drones pioneered in Ukraine are the weapons of the future. The magazine says they reshaping the balance between humans and technology in war.
Precision-guided weapons first appeared in their modern form on the battlefield in Vietnam a little over 50 years ago. As armed forces have strived ever since for accuracy and destructiveness, the cost of such weapons has soared. America’s gps-guided artillery shells cost $100,000 a time. Because smart weapons are expensive, they are scarce. That is why European countries ran out of them in Libya in 2011. Israel, more eager to conserve its stockpiles than avoid collateral damage, has rained dumb bombs on Gaza. What, though, if you could combine precision and abundance?
For the first time in the history of warfare that question is being answered on the battlefields of Ukraine. Our report this week shows how first-person view (fpv) drones are mushrooming along the front lines. They are small, cheap, explosives-laden aircraft adapted from consumer models, and they are making a soldier’s life even more dangerous. These drones slip into tank turrets or dugouts. They loiter and pursue their quarry before going for the kill. They are inflicting a heavy toll on infantry and armour.
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