Drones are the big thing in warfare at the moment, and they’re already in use by the British military across both Afghanistan and Iraq — eyes, ears, and killers in the sky. Unfortunately they keep getting busted, shot down, or just plain lost, and we’ve apparently gone through around 450 of the things in just five years.
The complete list apparently includes: One Reaper drone (worth £10m), which carries Hellfire missiles; eleven Hermes 450s (£1m each); 25 Black Hornet and Tarantula Hawk UAVs, and a colossal 412 Desert Hawk 3s, which are small hand-launched things.
I know these things are meant to be more disposable, keeping people safe from harm, but it’s rather staggering that we’ve managed to destroy so many of the things. In fact, according to a note to the House of Commons, there are only 335 drones currently in service now, meaning they’ve crashed more than are currently still flying. The Ministry of Defence has admitted that is has to “to increase airmanship standards in a number of areas” or in other words, train our UAV pilots better.
I’m all for drones being put in situations where people could get killed if you used them instead, but perhaps it’d be better if we tried to not break so many of the things. Especially considering the tiny ones still cost £125,000 a pop. Ouch. [Guardian, House of Commons (PDF)]
Image credit: Reaper from MoD