The Future of Drones in the Indo-Pacific – The Diplomat By Harun Talha Ayanoglu February 23, 2022
The Future of Drones in the Indo-Pacific
THE DIPLOMAT FEBRUARY 23, 2022
Technological supremacy creates asymmetrical relationships between states. Similar to ballistic missiles, smart munitions, and cyberwarfare capability, can unmanned weapon systems, specifically unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), potentially shape the ways war are fought?
The realist theory of international relations underscores that states avoid fighting each other because of costs. War is politically costly because governments cannot send their people to the battlefield to kill and be killed unless there is a reason worth dying for. War also comes with unbearable economic costs. Hence, “victory but at what cost” is another point of concern for states.
Like realists, the philosopher Immanuel Kant agreed with the cost of war theory and noted that as technology improved, battles became more destructive and costly. Hence, states will not choose violence as their first resort. Nevertheless, instead of eschewing conflicts, states concentrate on reducing the cost of fighting. The rise of drones is helping governments reduce this cost.
Throughout the Cold War and specifically in Vietnam and Cambodia, drones were deployed for intelligence purposes. General Atomics developed the first advanced intelligence UAVs in 1989, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Turkish Air Force were its first customers. Following 9/11, the worldwide military use of drones skyrocketed. Conflict concepts evolved to include the “global war on terrorism and humanitarian intervention” which brought new understandings of both war and enemy. Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were so-called test-beds for UAVs, which were deployed to monitor the activities of resistance forces as well as to neutralize them. The combat-proven success of UAVs was appreciated by other countries. Israel caught the trend and produced the second-most famous UAV, Heron.
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