While military officials, politicians, and experts talk about the importance of developing drones for civilian and military uses, others consider it a double-edged sword, and acknowledge the difficulty of deterring its dangers.
ABU DHABI – On the first day of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference, which concluded in Abu Dhabi on February 23, attendees were briefed on swarms of drones and their latest uses in air systems worldwide.
There is no doubt that the show was impressive, as these “bats” that perform their tasks with great skill and accuracy and fly according to coordinated formations, were designed to confuse the opponent to achieve decisiveness in the fight.
Those responsible for its development were able to gain the attention of the audience, who did not hide his admiration and surprise with their comments that accompanied the show.
Taking advantage of artificial intelligence techniques, aircraft share information with each other to track and maintain their locations, and engage with targets in an effective and impressive manner.
In addition, it is characterized by a maximum take-off weight of 8 kg, and a high level of intelligence and response while heading towards the target, which may include enemy combat aircraft perched on a military base, or a moving convoy of enemy armored vehicles.
The aircraft are equipped to operate at mission-successful speeds, with a wide communication range and high flight endurance. The winged drone can also be launched within seconds.
It is no secret that there is a frantic race to develop autonomous systems and smart munitions, due to their enormous important advantages that have made them, within a few years, one of the most important commercially used smart transportation modes. While military officials, politicians and experts praised the features of these aircraft and the solutions they can provide in civil and military uses, they also acknowledged the difficulty of deterring their dangers and considered them a double-edged sword, especially after the use of “small bats that are cheap and easy to acquire” is increasingly used by Terrorist armed groups to threaten civilians and destroy economic institutions.
Fears were not difficult to evoke and remember.
Last month, the UAE was subjected to three drone attacks launched from Yemen. The Emirati defenses succeeded in bringing down most of them, after the first attack resulted in three deaths.
The little-known group “The Promise of Truth Brigades” also claimed responsibility for an attempt to target the UAE with drones at the beginning of February.
The Israeli army had announced that its air defenses had fired at a drone coming from Lebanon that had entered Israel’s airspace, in the second incident of its kind in two days.
These attacks shed light on the dangers posed by booby-trapped drones, which are difficult for radars to detect, while downing them requires a complex process that includes launching missiles while ensuring that no casualties are caused by shrapnel.
Three years ago, Amy Zergat, a researcher at the Freeman Spoogli Institute for International Studies, had predicted that these small planes, with cheap costs and reliable threats, would represent the future of wars, noting that some people err when they consider that the capabilities of drones are weak with their cheap cost, and they cannot fly in Disputed airspace. They also see that its capabilities are limited compared to the more expensive fighters. Technological advances will allow these aircraft to operate in hostile environments. This is what we see happening today.
Moreover, drones offer 3 unique advantages that experts did not expect: sustainability during prolonged conflicts, precision attacks that can affect the psychology of opponents targeting their facilities, and mitigating the costs of war.
Zargat notes that a survey of 259 foreign military officers showed that the most expensive fighters remain less accurate than expected, while the drones have demonstrated their broader capabilities.
He confirmed what Zergat Martin Chulov, the Guardian’s Middle East correspondent, said, saying that small, cheap planes, which do not need a pilot to fly and are difficult for radars to detect, are changing the nature of conflicts across the region.