A New Call to Arms for Drone Technology

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OPINION — The Senate Armed Services Committee has recognized the vulnerabilities of today’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and called on the Defense Department “to develop new concepts of operations to effectively employ [these] platforms not inherently designed for operating in contested environments.”

The relatively slow flying MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper; RQ-4 Global Hawk; RQ-170 Sentinel and smaller remote piloted aircraft (RPAs) have become the prime ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and attack vehicles for use against terrorist groups over past decades. In that time they have changed military tactics by allowing long, loitering times over targets without endangering air crews.

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