Military drones — they’re the subject of a lot of conversation. Rock band Muse released an album about drones in 2015. The award-winning one-woman play Grounded by George Brant has become popular in regional theatres across the country, since its initial production with Anne Hathaway.
They are seen a lot in video games, movies, and TV shows — but what are military drones actually used for?
You might be familiar with film drones — they were all the rage a few years ago, helping amateur filmmakers achieve accurate-if-often-dull shots that mimic helicopter or crane shots — but how does the military use this mysterious new type of technology?
If you have questions about drones, you’ve come to the right place. This article will be your brief crash course in military drones and walk you through some of the basics you need to know to understand them.
What are Military Drones?
Military drones are officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. They either self-steer or are controlled by ground operators via remote control. The “work from home”, “online” feel of drone warfare has led many military personal to refer to drone operators as the “chairforce”.
So what exactly are these drones used for?
The most common usage for a military UAV drone is pretty straightforward — surveillance. Unmanned aerial vehicles are small, quick, and are capable of getting behind enemy lines safely. This has led to small military drones becoming the standard for military surveillance.
Military surveillance drones gather intelligence. Intelligence is the military term for information that can wind up important. Intelligence can later turn into evidence and can help develop strategies.
Different drones have different specialties. Certain drones are wonderful at thermal sensing and can help give the military a read on specific targets.
Recon — or reconnaissance — for drones, refers to the process of surveying an area specifically before troops go to the site. The best UAV drones out there for recon are often the same that work for surveillance, since features like thermal help the military figure out what the layout of buildings are like.
Drones work wonderfully for recon missions because they’re able to provide feedback to the military in real-time. Troops no longer have to go out on dangerous reconnaissance missions, and command doesn’t need to wait for those troops to return.
The best military UAV drones out there for recon are equipped with several types of cameras, to capture both video and still images. This ensures that the military doesn’t only get immediate feedback, but a variety in the type of feedback they receive.
The best UAV drones come equipped with rangefinders so that anyone operating will be able to tell the difference between the drone and the objects that they’re measuring. This means that not only will military personnel get a lay of the land, they’ll also get a read on the number of targets (thermal) and the dimensions of the location they’ll be going into. There’s no telling what sort of new depths military strategy can move into.
Previously, military strategy acted a bit like a chessboard: abstract, based on prior rules, a bit black-and-white. Recon drones add a new level of depth to military strategy; now, the particulars of each situation will have to be accounted for. There’s going to be a whole new dimension of strategy.
But drones aren’t just good for scoping situations out, they also have physical, practical, tactical purposes as well.
Many drones are equipped to carry heavy payloads and can bring useful resources to difficult places on a battlefield. Drone payload delivery can also vastly influence the way battlefields are looked at in the future. Gone are the days when a soldier will need to risk their life trying to deliver a parcel to someone across the field.
UAV drones, as they develop more and more, will further combat in the aerial sphere.
While most drones are built for reconnaissance and surveillance, some are built to strike. The significance of a weapon that can strike from a safe distance, whose operator miles away should not be lost on anyone. This function of drones will change the way we look at warfare forever.
Russia has already proven that laser-guided missiles deployed from drones are an effective way to strike. They can also simply drop bombs straight downward if the weather is right.
It’s no wonder that hit is the military use of drones that have been most criticized. Many people talk about whether or not it is ethical to have an unmanned vehicle delivering massive destruction to people down below, since there stands no loss of life on the other side. Other people believe that all is fair in love and war.
Drones aren’t only good before and during a battle — they’re also good after. After a battle, it’s important to understand exactly what the terrain looks like now, and how many enemy targets have been taken out. A drone is perfect for this, allows the military to scope out the field, and figure out where to go from there.
The world of drones hides a lot of fascinating information that the public doesn’t know about. Dr. Drone published a great article on drone usage in the government sector. Check it out to learn more.
Drones For All Purposes
As you can see, drones are proving just how useful they are to the human race. They serve many purposes to the military before, during, and after battles. They’re also proved how useful they are in the world of delivery and film.
While there will most likely always be some level of controversy around them, military drones are the way of the future. Whether you like it or not, the newest, greatest technology will always find a way to survive.
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