BLUF

Drones are an essential part of any balanced military force.

Summary

The uses and capabilities of drones are changing fast. Drones now need to be high-tech to be used effectively against today's asymmetric and conventional threats. Modern drones use breakthrough computer processing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recently, an AI-controlled drone repeatedly defeated one of the US Air Force's top fighter pilots. However, to be effective, drones need a lot of support, for example:
  • A ground team
  • Control station
  • Satellites
Drones used by western nations also need a legal team to advise commanders on whether a target meets the legal requirement for use. Australia's Loyal Wingman is an example of human-machine teaming where a pilot of an inhabited aircraft might control several combat drones. Managing several drones means that the loss of one drone will not necessarily prevent the mission from being carried out. Nano-drones are now an essential part of most US Army ground operations and in the future might number in the hundreds. Think about how modern drones might help Australia better defend its territory and interests.