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Reply To: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of UAV weaponry in the Near East? How do you think technological advancements will continue to shape warfare globally?

Stevin Surajin

I believe that the advent of UAV weaponry is a double edged sword, with many of its advantages also proving to be disadvantages to those who now partake in it. There is no denying the fact, that UAV weaponry has been extremely successful in modern warfare as seen in it being a decisive factor in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in 2020. UAV’s have also seen prevalent usage in the Ukraine-Russian war, and have proved that they are here to stay.

Its advantages include its relatively low cost compared to other aircraft that requires a pilot due to no need for training, and reduced maintenance costs. Unfortunately these can also lead to our adversaries having the same advantage, and using UAV weaponry for this same reason. Another disadvantage is that UAV weaponry can lead to non-combatant casualties, as these have been a huge issue that has been faced in the past, as in the case of a wedding convoy being attacked by drones in Yemen on 12 December, 2013. This often happens as a result of faulty intelligence reports. However, at the same time, the advent of precision guided munitions and advances in warfare has reduced collateral damage. A specific example is the RX-9 Hellfire missile that killed the senior most member of Al Qaeda in July 31, 2022. The RX-9 was specifically designed to prevent civilian casualties.

Since time immemorial, conflict has been a central part of humanity, and we have always weaponized technological advancements that would give us even a small advantage in warfare. As such, we can always expect warfare doctrine, strategy, and tactics to be constantly evolving and be affected by advancements and updates in warfare.