Thursday, November 17, 2016

Military Drones And Drone Warfare Are Here To Stay

Paul D. Shinkman, U.S. News and World Report: The Drone Age

A controversial technology has solidified its place in modern U.S. wars.

When the history of drone warfare is written, the otherwise unremarkable battle of Manbij that liberated a small city in northern Syria from the clutches of the Islamic State group this summer could end up with a chapter of its own.

Drones played an integral part of the fight for this key terrain roughly 20 miles from the Turkish border, representing a dramatic escalation of war planners' reliance on the remote-controlled machines for intelligence gathering and killing.

Known in military circles as Remotely Piloted Aircraft or RPA, drones accounted for a third of the air missions during a month-long battle and conducted 663 airstrikes on ground targets, according to U.S. Central Command, the military headquarters that oversees conflicts in the Middle East. And some of their missions endured for 19 hours straight or more, with rotating shifts of pilots commanding the unmanned aircraft from the U.S. and elsewhere.

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WNU Editor: And this "Drone Age" is just beginning.