The RAND Corporation released a report today detailing what threat the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, may pose.
Seventy countries around the world that have acquired drones. Of those 70, 23 have militarized drones.
It is worth noting that not all militarized UAVs are the same. Drones are divided into two broad categories based on range, with long range drones being capable of flying further than 300 kilometers.
The complexity and cost of using long range UAVs makes them significantly more difficult to develop and operate than short range drones. This difficult makes it unlikely for advanced drone technology to proliferate.
Instead, drone use among nations will typically be limited to within their own regions. There is the possibility of rogue states or non-state actors using drones as cruise missile equivalents, but drones can be shot down relatively easily limiting the effectiveness of this role.
Currently, U.S. procurement and R&D accounts for over 50% of funds spent on UAVs globally.
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