When people hear the word ‘drone’, the first thing they think of is often the devastating use (abuse?) of powerful military drones. The best-known series of these is the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, which officially was used for the first time in 1995. But it was not the first time that the military showed interest in unmanned aircraft, which most people know as military drones.
The earliest historical source that refers to unmanned military aircraft dates back to 1849 when Austrian forces tried to besiege Venice. Austrians filled balloons with bombs, and when the wind carried them over Venice, the bombs triggered.
There is a long line from that technology to today’s use of unmanned aircraft, which more directly can be traced to WW1. In 1917, the English engineer Archibald Low, who wore the head of the Royal Flying Corps Experimental Works, built a radio-controlled aircraft that became known as “Ruston Proctor AT”.
The intention was to place explosives on the plane and steer it toward the goal, which made it the first cruise missile in history.
Israel’s invasion of Syria in 1982, started a more aggressive use of unmanned aircraft (UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). Israel used among other drones as electronic decoys and jammers, which helped to secure them the victory over the Syrian air force.
After this success, it was almost Inevitably that other military forces wouldn’t take these aircraft more seriously. This led to more advanced drones, which is able to fly semi-automatic and carry missiles that can be fired through remote controls.
The rapid development of this type of vessel has given some governments new opportunities, but military drones are today still very controversial.
Many countries are known for using military drones. Here are some of the countries with confirmed drone activity.