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? - Pathfinder

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?

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    • #1510
      pathfinderlms
      Keymaster

      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?

    • #2703
      Evan Crain
      Participant

      Advantages include lethal power, potential volume of strikes, small footprint, low cost, adaptability, unmanned, potential asymmetric advantage over more complicated tech. Disadvantages includes tech requirements, payload power, existing defense systems, mass adoption of tech and development of counter capabilities with additional adoption (i.e. loss of advantage over time). Drones present a terrifying addition to modern warfare as small devices can carry specific payloads to a precise location with minimal detection/counter risk (i.e. drop a grenade from a “WalMart” amid a platoon) without loss of life of the operator. Tech like this has shaped warfare globally and demanded strategic shifts toward adopting unmanned, AI, and cyber capabilities and a pace of change that is necessarily aggressive – this year’s tech may not be relevant next year. The challenge is the actors who stay ahead of the others. The DoD, despite its exceptional budget, has proved inept increasing the pace of adoption and frequency of change in tech, continuing buying massive platforms intended to last decades from monopolistic gov contractors which consistently experience cost overruns and schedule delays, while countries like China and Iran adapt and innovate particularly within the cyber domain, waging open cyber warfare with the world seemingly without consequence. Finally, it’s worth noting the Russia / Ukraine war. I don’t know the details, but much advanced tech (i.e. digitally connected / fast response platforms) has been deployed by Russia but Ukraine has figured out how to respond and push back. That’s worth paying attention to, and adapting to, should the US ever enter conventional warfare with one of the state actors mentioned in the lecture like Iran.

      • #2991

        I agree with you on the impact that technology has on shaping warfare globally and it is honestly quite scary to even think about the idea of adopting unmanned AI in warfare. These weapons are meant to kill human beings and any small technological failure can be extremely detrimental to the safety of civilians in the region. How can we guarantee that there will be little to no civilian casualties if the weapons used are unmanned? Cybersecurity concerns also come to mind when thinking about technology used in warfare. How can we protect this technology from hackers, especially hackers will ill intentions or hackers in enemy nations? The pace at which technology is transforming warfare is quite concerning to me for these reasons.

    • #2966
      Sean Moore
      Participant

      There are some strong benefits, as well as downsides to UAV’s. First, the benefits. The biggest benefit is you can put a drone in a dangerous situation that a pilot never should or would go into. For example, the famous Blackhawk down mission in Somalia. If there had been drones in that city, we never would have had a helicopter shot down, which required more soldiers to fight and die to rescue the survivors. Also, drones are far smaller and quiet then most aircraft. This makes them hard to detect. Overall, their stealth and unmanned abilities make them far safer then traditional aircraft.

      Now for the downsides, a pilot can only see what is on the camera and sensors. There is not a human there, which means that there is a lack of initiative. Now, privacy. These have been big concerns, since drones are almost too stealthy. They can be used in our own country and never be detected, which makes it easier for the government to spy on us. Also, drones can be easily used to trespass in other countries. Again, good for us if we are being sneaky, but can be bad if we are the country that has drones taking out our citizens.

    • #3284
      Stevin Surajin
      Participant

      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.

    • #2967
      Sean Moore
      Participant

      Very true. Our enemies can use this technology as much as we can. I remember some random drone fanatic got a drone to literally fly over the White House a few years back. What if he had used the drone to drop a bomb? Now, since then they have put in some type of mysterious countermeasures that block drones from flying around the white house. Maybe some way of blocking the pilot from communicating to the drone. Still, it is unnerving.

    • #3170
      Sarah Victor
      Participant

      Preserving the value of life within the context of war while employing UAV requires not only improving technology to increase the accuracy in hitting military targets but also commensurately the legal infrastructure in terms of the governance mechanisms, accountability, and laws surrounding use of UAV weaponry. UAV can be valuable in reaching hard to access targets, but must be supported by careful intelligence-gathering to ensure that civilians are not caught unfairly in the crosshairs.

    • #3286
      Stevin Surajin
      Participant

      I do agree with you on that drone warfare has greatly extended the reach of modern military forces that greatly reduce time, especially when acting on time-sensitive intel. One thing that also entered my mind as I read your comment, was the fact that UAV weaponry has added to the mystique of America’s uncontested and nigh invincible status as one of the world’s most powerful military organizations. However, just as there might be such a perception, so too does exist the idea that the US is a power hungry nation unconcerned with the status and wellbeing of the countries that they operate in to achieve their goals. A good example of this is the civilian casualties that have arose as a result of drone warfare thus greatly turning public perception and support against the United States.

    • #3285
      Stevin Surajin
      Participant

      Well said! I think that unfortunately one of the biggest blunders of the US has been the excessive usage of drone warfare that has led to the death of innocent civilians, thus turning public perception of the war against us. The effectiveness of drone warfare has unfortunately led to an over reliance upon it, which has led to a lot of civilian casualties thus turning away the very people whom we are supposed to helping.

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