Rise of the Drones Drones are saving lives, cutting costs, and replacing humans on the battlefield.

Lt. Leon Crane was a soldier in the US air force, who fought in World War II. He was a copilot in what started out as a routine test flight but it quickly became a disaster. One of the plane's four engines malfunctioned, and it began to freefall. In the panic, Leon managed to get on a parachute before he jumped out of the bomb bay doors, while four others crashed to their deaths. After that, he had to make an equally perilous trek through Alaska in the middle of winter, lasting 84 days. Leon narrowly made it out with his life. With new drone technology, Leon and the four other men wouldn’t have had to be on that test flight. They could have been safe at a military base, flying a drone with a joystick.

The model Crane was flying: B-24 Liberator

A Short History

Drones were first introduced in 1849 by Austria, when they attempted to attack Venice with pilotless balloons loaded with explosives. The attack did little damage and the balloons were considered ineffective, but it put the idea of drones on the field for the first time. Eventually, they were used again during World War I, with the US Navy’s flying bomb, a propeller-driven Curtis biplane. This was the forerunner of modern drones. They were 12 feet long and weighed 530 lbs, it could travel 50 miles on a pre-set course, but they often crashed after takeoff. Later on in World War II, the US Navy used remote-controlled B-24 bombers to bomb German and French targets. Soon, the US developed cruise guided missiles, and drones were becoming much more effective on the battlefield. Not only were they becoming more effective on the battlefield, but they were becoming more cost effective too. Eventually, places like Israel could afford to make and use drones.

Saving Soldiers and Civilians

Modern day drones are much more advanced than they were in the past. For example, they can be controlled by someone instead of flying on a preset course. New capabilities like this can save the lives many soldiers, and even innocent civilians in the area. New drones with advanced technology, like the Reapers, have sensors that can detect a single footprint from a mile above. With sensors like these, drones can easily do recon, without being spotted by the enemies. With regular planes, you can’t fly that high because people can’t handle that type of air pressure. Drones also keep soldiers off the battlefield. Instead of flying in a plane to battle, drones allow it so people can control a plane from across the world. This way, soldiers can be safe at a military base and fly a drone into battle, instead of flying themselves and risking their lives. Not only do drones also help save American soldiers, but they’re helping save civilians too. Drones now have small laser guided gyroscopic missiles, to make sure they hit their targets. These missiles help minimise civilian casualties, while still taking out their targets. In fact, because drones are keep soldiers and civilians safe so well, now they are being used more and more often, on missions that we would never send soldiers on. The government claims that drones did 70% of the work to take out Al Qaeda’s top leadership, and drones provided crucial intelligence to take out bin Laden.

Cost Effective

Not only are drones safer and effective on the field, but their effective in costs too. An average military jet plane costs a staggering $100 million. One of the most expensive drones, the MQ-9 Reaper, costs only about $13 million. That’s less than 50% a fighter jet costs. With that money, the US could buy seven drones before adding up to the cost of one jet. Keep in mind this is one of the most expensive drones. The average drone cost is only $1 million. This is because most drones, unlike the MQ-9 Reaper, are made not to last, but to go into the field in bulk. These cheaper drones make it so that the military can send them somewhere without being so worried about them coming back or not, because despite big drones being cheaper than fighter jets, they’re still expensive. Also, drones aren’t just cheaper than jets in the short run, but in the long run, they turn out less expensive too. It cost $2.3 million to deploy a soldier anywhere, plus the average cost per flight hour on a jet is $30,000, while on a drone is only $2,600. With drones, you’re not deploying any soldier anywhere, so that eliminates another $2.3 million per soldier, and with the reduced flight costs, longer trips with drones are way cheaper. With drones themselves costing less, and what it takes to operate them, drones are very cost effective, especially for what they can do.

Changing War Forever

Drones are a major game changer when it comes to war. They keep soldiers off the battle ground and civilians out of harm's way, they reduce costs short and long term, and they get missions done quickly, and efficiently. It will change the way we think of war entirely. Drones will replace people in the sky, and they will begin to replace them on earth and sea. Drones will carry out everything, from the reconnaissance, to the execution. War won’t be person versus person anymore. It will be drone versus drone.

Different types of drones: Top right, swarming. Top middle and left, plane. Bottom left, helicopter. Bottom right, ship.
Created By
Arturo Paras


Created with images by R'lyeh Imaging - "B-24 Liberator "Diamond Lil""

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