“Unmanned flying vehicles”
What are the specifics of the existing conflict?
Armed unmanned aerial vehicles—combat drones—have fundamentally altered the ways the United States conducts military operations aimed at countering insurgent and terrorist organisations. Drone technology is on track to becoming an increasingly important part of the country’s arsenal, as numerous unmanned systems are in development and will likely enter service in the future.
The increasingly frequent use of drones raises profound questions about the nature and morality of warfare involving asymmetrical risks between opposing belligerents. Concerned citizens, academics, journalists, nongovernmental organisations, and policymakers have raised questions about the ethical consequences of drones and issued calls for their military use to be strictly regulated. This level of concern is evidence that the future of drone warfare not only hinges on technical innovations, but also on careful analysis of the moral and political dimensions of war. Regardless of whether drones are effective weapons, it would be difficult to sanction their use if they undermine the legitimacy of U.S. military forces or compromise the foundations of democratic government.
What is the goal or mission that is met by the designed element?
The U.S. military has been, and remains, a world leader in remote targeted killings. The drone has become central to U.S. national security strategy, which has switched from counterinsurgency in the city to counterterrorism from the skies. Whatever the size of the drone, they all essentially perform the same functions: providing war managers with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The U.S. military’s fleet of drones varies by size, shape, and sophistication, from the army’s hand-thrown Ravens to the air force’s Global Hawk, which can reach altitudes of sixty thousand feet.
The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency said algorithms developed in the program could enhance unmanned system capabilities by reducing the amount of processing power, communications, and human intervention needed for low-level tasks, and that although the initial focus of the program is UAVs the technology could be applied to ground, marine and underwater systems that would operate in environments where GPS wasn’t available.
What are some positive effects, negative effects, and/or challenges of this approach?
Urban and disaster relief operations would be obvious key beneficiaries, but applications for this technology could extend to a wide variety of missions using small and large unmanned systems linked together with manned platforms as a system of systems. Regarding propulsion–from tiny gas engines to new high capacity batteries, drone designers are innovating in areas that once seemed stagnant. If electric airplanes ever become practical, it’s a good bet we’ll have drones to thank for it.
The future of military aviation is unquestionably in unmanned aircraft, from bombers to spy planes. That’s bad news for anyone who wants to inspire the next generation of pilots. From airshows to movies, military aviation has long been a powerful source of inspiration for young people. Besides threatening military pilot jobs, drones will seriously impact two other segments of aviation: agricultural application and law enforcement. These two areas are, if anything, ahead of the military in terms of UAS adoption, and are particularly interested in tiny vehicles.
One big challenge of this approach is the new focus on privacy that drones have brought. This has serious implications for private pilots. According to the newspapers, John Doe is worried that tiny drones can appear over his back yard and take pictures of his house with no approval or flight plan. This paranoia, a dangerous combination of NIMBYism and government distrust, is leading to some uncomfortable questions for general aviation. While this is rightly celebrated as the core strength of recreational flying in America, it frightens many in the general public. If a drone can buzz my house anytime, what’s to stop a Cherokee from doing the same
In your view, is the designed element successful in terms of it’s efficacy?
In my view, I think that the designed element is successful in terms of it’s efficacy. Drones have had a revolutionary influence on U.S. military operations over the past 2 decades. This technology is on track to become an increasingly important part of the country’s arsenal as the dozens of unmanned systems currently in development enter service in the future. But, in the other hand, drones have also raised profound questions about the nature of warfare and the morality of fighting in ways that create asymmetrical risks between opposing belligerents.
Concerned citizens, academics, journalists, nongovernmental organisations, and policymakers have spoken out against drones and called for them to be strictly regulated or even prohibited. This level of public concern is evidence that the future of drone warfare not only hinges on technical innovations, but also on careful analysis of the moral and political dimensions of war. Regardless of whether drones are effective weapons, it would be difficult to sanction their use if they undermine the legitimacy of U.S. military forces or compromise the foundations of democratic government.
How does this issue relate to your readings for this week?
This issue relates to one of my readings for this week. In the article; “Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design” the author states that; “The US Army, Air Force, and Navy have developed a variety of robotic aircraft known as unmanned flying vehicles (UAVs). Like the ground vehicles, these robots have dual applications: they can be used for reconnaissance without endangering human pilots, and they can carry missiles and other weapons” (pg.14). The services use hundreds of unarmed UAVs, some as small as a model airplane, to locate and identify enemy targets. An important function for unarmed UAVs is to serve as aerial targets for piloted aircraft.
Reference: https://understandingempire.wordpress.com/2-0-a-brief-history-of-u-s-drones/ http://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2014/12/31/US-military-seeks-new-UAV-perception-technology/6881420035219/ http://airfactsjournal.com/2013/08/drones-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/ December 20, 2008. Patrick Lin, Ph. D. George Bekey, Ph. D. Keith Abney, M.A. “Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design” (pg. 14).