One Nation Under Drones, Legality, Morality and Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems

The UAV is by no means a new concept but it has now come of age. The development of unmanned systems has long been regarded as a desirable capability in war because it reduces human casualties and can operate in conditions where a manned vehicle would not be deployed, but it is not without its own issues. – Most Highly Recommended

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NAME: One Nation Under Drones, Legality, Morality and Utility of Unmanned 
Combat Systems
FILE: R2774
AUTHOR: Capt John E Jackson USN(Ret.)
PUBLISHER: US Naval Institute Press
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 229
PRICE: US$29.95
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: UAV, drone, remote piloted aircraft, stand off weapon, attack aircraft, 
reconnaissance aircraft, moral, legal, reliability, autonomous vehicles, force extender

ISBN: 978-1-68247-238-5

IMAGE: B2774.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/yavy7akz
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  The UAV is by no means a new concept but it has now come 
of age.  The development of unmanned systems has long been regarded as a 
desirable capability in war because it reduces human casualties and can operate 
in conditions where a manned vehicle would not be deployed, but it is not without 
its own issues. -  Most Highly Recommended

Remote piloted aircraft dated from WWI and were used operationally during WWII. The first 
widespread use was as target drones and the name 'drone' has stuck. These aircraft were generally 
small prop driven aircraft that flew with limited control to provide targets for anti-aircraft guns. 
Modified B-17s were flown off by a crew who then parachuted to safety while their aircraft was 
directed on to a target by radio from a following aircraft. The Germans moved to the next stage by 
marrying a single seat fighter to a modified unmanned bomber, separating before the target. Then 
they began dropping Fritz X guided rocket bombs that were very effective when used against ships 
supporting Allied landings in Italy. In the early 1950s, British politicians believed that the manned 
fighter was already obsolete and would be replaced by missiles. Missiles have certainly replaced 
anti-aircraft artillery and been fired from manned fighters, but a true unmanned aerial vehicle seemed 
a long way off, due to the limitations of radio communications, and no one was very enthusiastic about 
developing armed autonomous robots. Yet here we are today with remote piloted drones being used to 
take out targets, thousands of miles away from the remote pilot, with surgical precession and UAVs 
from the size of a hummingbird to a medium sized jet being produced by a number of countries in 
increasing numbers and with growing lethality. Modern cruise missiles are in effect UAVs that are 
fired like missiles but fly low according to a pre-programmed mission with updates from GPS in flight. 
Increasing choice in-flight would turn these vehicles into autonomous UAVs.

Politicians like UAVs because they can order attacks of questionable morality without the difficulty 
of a pilot being shot down and captured. The added attraction is that it looks like a good way to cut 
budgets. However UAVs also bring with them a range of difficult questions that have to be answered 
and their utility is not always as good as promised.

For naval vessels, expendable UAVs have many attractions. They can be launched from the smallest 
warships and in conditions that are at best marginal. The unit flies its mission, sending back data and 
also able to carry a weapon. It does not have to be recovered but recovery systems, that could not be 
used by manned aircraft, can be used to reduce the cost of expended UAVs. There are also full sized 
aircraft that can be flown by crews or remotely piloted, allowing very high risk missions to be flown 
without hazarding people. Given much more capable aircraft, small but potent carriers could be built 
that are operated by very small crews. The UAV can be handled like a missile by an automated system 
and fired from a launch ramp or tube. If recovery to the vessel is required undercarriage could be 
avoided using a rubber deck, as pioneered some years ago for manned jet fighhters by the Royal Navy. 
However, that may address some utility questions, but not necessarily other questions of legality and 
morality.

The questions increase with autonomous UAVs. As a computer would fly a mission but have the ability 
to respond to situations without human input, there are many who would see uncontrollable robots 
fighting wars as they chose. As the day may be close when truly autonomous UAVs are fully operational 
in numbers, these questions need to be discussed now and decisions taken.

The author has provided a fascinating view of the history and development of the UAV and looked at 
the many issues surrounding these vehicles. This is a book that should be read because it deals with 
matters that have not received the exposure and debate they merit. The UAV can be a reliable force 
extender and it can do some very difficult and dangerous jobs that would otherwise present serious 
threat to a human crew, be that flying SAR missions in impossible conditions or flying ammunition in 
to a battle zone and flying the wounded out. The most difficult areas are likely to continue to be UAVs 
used for assassinations and for covert surveillance but, as was demonstrated at London Gatwick airport, 
one small UAV can cause the closure of a major civil airport for days, massively disrupting transport 
across a very large part of the globe.

Although aerial vehicles have received most attention, a very wide range of vehicles are being developed 
for military use on land, on water, and under water. The author has addressed all these aspects