Academic journal article Military Review

Drone Warfare: The Development of Unmanned Aerial Conflict

Academic journal article Military Review

Drone Warfare: The Development of Unmanned Aerial Conflict

Article excerpt

DRONE WARFARE: The Development of Unmanned Aerial Conflict

Dave Sloggett, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, 2014, 256 pages

Dave Sloggett has penned an ambitious survey of the development and uses of unmanned aircraft (UMAs). An experienced analyst and scientific advisor to UK military forces, Sloggett sets out to document the long history of UMAs, their technical evolution, their operational uses, and their impact on counterinsurgency campaigns in the Middle East and South Asia.

He succeeds impressively in defining parameters: What is a UMA, or "drone" in popular parlance? What does it do? How can it be used? His answers to these questions provide a fascinating analysis of the interplay between technology and operational uses. Drone Warfare draws the reader into the cycles of technological development in airworthiness, reliable remote control, and real-time sensing that broadened UMAs' military utility from an experimental aircraft of questionable reliability to contemporary UMAs that regularly conduct surveillance and carry out precision strikes. Sloggett has collected an impressive set of facts for this work.

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Drone Warfare falls short at times when the author fails to lay out these facts in a coherent narrative. Faced with competing demands for detail and succinctness as he navigates through the abundance of UMAs developed over the past century, Sloggett opts for succinctness. This can leave the reader bewildered by the sudden appearance of a new UMA or concept in the narrative (particularly in the chapter on intelligence collection and defense suppression), without much context or background information. …

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