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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: A Revolution in the Making

Abstract : Since the flight of a kite by some Chinese, thousands of years ago, the UAVs have developed to the level of unleashing immeasurable destruction even without endangering the life of the "man in the loop". This paper traces the history of the drones in the modern times while focussing on the American utilisation of the UAVs in the wars of the twenty-first century. Drones basically address the "friction" element of the war. While analysing the technical aspects of the UAVs, the article assesses the revolution these have brought in the conduct of the warfare. There are issues of collateral damage being labelled against the use of UAVs, but there is no denying the fact that these are the best weapons available in the arsenal to minimise the number of civilian casualties-as compared with the manned aircrafts and the casualties caused by the missiles fired from the aircraft carriers at times stationed hundreds of miles away. Pilotless target aircraft (PTA), Reconnaissance UAVs, and Strike UAVs or UCAVs are the three main types of Drones according to their function. The advantages of the UAVs over the manned aircrafts are the performance of dull, dirty, and dangerous work, their development and use being economical, their tactical advantage of not endangering the life of the controller, and most recently their use in the civilian arena like the flood relief activities, monitoring of the borders, reconnaissance of the areas after accidents or natural disasters, etc. Biggest challenges in the development of the drones are enhancing the endurance and autonomy of the UAVs, in-flight refuelling, increasing the payload capacity, having less numbers of satellites, and most importantly the issues related with the international law and the attached ethical issues. With the successful tests of Burraq, Pakistan has also joined the club of the states developing the UAVs and the race is still "on".
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Contributor : Muhammad Nadeem Mirza <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 28, 2020 - 9:09:13 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:42:06 AM
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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, A Re...
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Muhammad Nadeem Mirza, Irfan Qaisrani, Lubna Abid Ali, Ahmad Naqvi. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: A Revolution in the Making. South Asian Studies - A Research Journal of South Asian Studies, Centre for South Asian Studies, University of the Punjab Lahore, 2016, 31 (2), pp.243 - 256. ⟨halshs-02951743⟩



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