Deterrence pp 115-127 | Cite as

Deterrence and Drones: Are Militaries Becoming Addicted and What Is the Prognosis?

  • Ben Tripp
Part of the Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications book series (ASTSA)


There is little doubt that some militaries would appear to be realising the benefit of utilising armed unmanned aerial systems or drones as they are commonly referred to by academics and the media. There is an obvious allure to drones by the military. They can typically loiter longer than a manned aircraft, observe and strike with lethal force with far more confidence due to their intelligence collection capabilities and decision making process. Furthermore, they eliminate the physical risk to pilots and ultimately reduce the financial costs of projecting military power by negating or reducing the requirement of physically deployed troops to a theatre of operations. A manned alternative of ‘boots on the ground’ in the form of invading troops or hostile over flight in contested airspace is inherently dangerous either in terms of an unfavourable foreign policy decision or from having to sustain number of casualties. Drones appear to nullify this risk by being armed and allegedly deterring a state or individual actor from committing acts that a nation would normally trigger an armed conflict. This paper will discuss key areas associated to the apparent allure and addiction to utilising armed drones in a deterrence role: First, why is there a growing demand by nations on securing armed drones and why are armies becoming dependent on them? Secondly, if this addiction is not going to be remedied, what is the prognosis and is there a better way to manage it in preparation for the next conflict?


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben Tripp
    • 1
  1. 1.Defence Academy of the United KingdomUniversity of CranfieldShrivenhamUK

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