Sunday, June 23, 2024

In Future Wars, Drone Weapons With Minds of Their Own

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SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE BRIEFING — Drone weapons are part of the daily narrative of the war in Ukraine – from Russia’s use of Iranian drones against infrastructure to Ukraine’s drone strikes against Russian territory and Russian vessels in the Black Sea. Beyond those headline-grabbing attacks, both sides are now using drones in nearly every military operation, and as the volume of drone strikes soars, Russia and Ukraine have invested heavily in domestic drone manufacturing to meet a soaring demand.

And if Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine sparked the world’s first true drone war, other global theaters of conflict aren’t far behind. Hamas used drone weapons in its October 7 assault on Southern Israel, Israel has an arsenal of high-end drone weapons, and Iran – beyond its shipments of drones to Russia – used dozens of drones in its weekend attack on Israeli targets, and has armed several of its proxy militia groups with drone weaponry. Meanwhile, experts in drone proliferation and East Asian security say drones will play outsized roles if conflict comes to Taiwan.

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