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Unmanned Military Weapons Systems And The Future Of Warfare

1294 words - 5 pages

The art of war is simple...kill your enemy, destroy their resources, and eliminate their ability to wage war against you and your interests. How we accomplish those goals and objectives is more complex and difficult due to political, logistical, and moral complications. In today’s day and age, with the emergence of communications technology, the social stigmatism countries face when innocent non-combatants are killed or injured weighs negatively on the country’s ability to wage war in a very important area of successful warfare, the psychological aspect. The ability to project armaments on intended targets with minimal collateral human and unintended material damage is critical to winning the hearts and minds of the average person. The aim of this paper is to present a brief synopsis of the history and technological advancements in unmanned military weapons systems in modern warfare and the roles that these systems may play in the future, not only in warfare but also in non-warfare roles.
Since the beginning of time, the way humans have waged war has evolved through ingenuity and progressive technology. During the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Bunker Hill, Colonel William Prescott’s famous saying “Don’t fire, till you see the whites of their eyes” (Free Republic) was indicative of the close proximity combatants had to be with each other. Killing your enemy was up close and personal, you actually saw the target you were aiming at. Guns were single shot and slow to reload, often leading to hand-to-hand combat, which in my opinion, makes killing more difficult morally. As the industrial revolution took hold after the Revolutionary War, and with the emergence of automatic guns, tanks, airplanes, and missiles, close combat warfare steadily decreased. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the technological capability of “smart bombs” gave the world a glimpse of the future of modern warfare. The ability of global positioning systems allowed military operators to pinpoint impact points with accuracy within yards of their targets, greatly minimizing the risk of collateral damage and inflicting undo harm on innocent civilians.
Projectiles have been around for many years, from the early days of the catapult to our present day long-range missiles. Although “pilotless drones” were developed for target practice after World War I, when we think of unmanned military weapons systems, it is easy to correlate them with the missiles and bombs most of us are familiar with. However, one main difference is that missiles and bombs are the actual detonating device whereas an unmanned system can deliver the payload and return to base intact, ready to reuse again. These systems are more in-kind with an airplane that delivers munitions, with the major difference being airplanes are limited in flight not only by fuel, in absence of in air re-fueling, but the pilot’s aeronautical ability and physiological limitation. This comes into play from a political and...

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