Missiles, drones, and mercenaries are changing global warfare.
Armed drones are growing in military importance as conflicts around the world have proven the utility of these effective tools of war. Companies in China, Turkey and Russia, among others, have developed advanced remotely piloted aircraft that can use guided weapons on and off the battlefield.
The widespread use of drones in Iraq and Afghanistan by the United States to target and kill insurgents jump started a new chapter in the history of conflict. These high flying and remotely piloted aircraft could engage targets with impunity while the operators work safely in a ground control station.
“At the moment, we’ve seen over 100 states worldwide using military drones and that number is growing significantly” said Wim Zwijnenburg, project leader, Humanitarian Disarmament at PAX. “We have over 20 states that are using armed drones in conflicts or outside of armed conflicts.”
Keeping the crews out of danger also made the drones politically cheap to use over dangerous skies. Now more and more countries are gaining this military capability for their own purposes.
Meanwhile, technological advances have reached missiles. Missile sales are the number two defense export in the U.S. and production is dominated by a handful of companies such as Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
A number of start-ups with cheaper technology are challenging the long-standing status quo of expensive missiles and hypersonic glide weapons. If these start-ups succeed, they’ll change the missile economy.
In addition to drones and missiles, mercenaries are also disrupting global warfare. The private security business in the U.S. is a massive industry employing hundreds of thousands of people. These firms can range from security contracts at shopping malls, to former U.S. special forces soldiers who guard diplomats.
Private security is expected to grow to an $81 billion industry by 2023, and that’s just in the United States, according to the Freedonia Group. It goes way beyond security guards hired to protect industrial areas, commercial areas and residential areas.
00:00 – Why Demand For Armed-Drones Is Surging (May 2021)
10:34 – How Defense Contractors Make Billions Off Missile Sales (December 2020)
21:20 – How The Private Military Industry Went Global (July 2020)
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How Missiles And Drones Shape The Future Of The Military