In the last decades, drones have become quite famous: they can be seen doing a wide variety of actions, from taking spectacular aerial photographs and high-definition videos to counter-terrorism missions. Drones’ low procurement cost, according to the United Nations (UN), is facilitating their quick proliferation. Their compact size and precise skills make them more likely to be weaponised and deployed surreptitiously by state and non-state actors in violation of transparency and accountability rules.
As it has always been, today’s armies are also updated with the most modern technologies. One of the major breakthroughs in the military field has been the implementation of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (Marcus, 2022). These drones consist of aircraft of different sizes that can operate without a pilot on board.
A team at MIT can now build small drones that fly around with bug-like agility and elasticity because of a new type of artificial muscle. Kevin Chen, senior author of the paper, states that “This opens up a lot of opportunity in the future for us to transition to putting power electronics on the microrobot,".
Loitering munitions are nothing new on the battlefield, but cheaper versions could soon be a game-changer. They first started to appear in the 1980s as Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) weapons, and they were soon dubbed as “suicide drones” and “kamikaze drones”.
The Turkish Bayraktar TB2 is becoming a bestseller on the unmanned combat aerial vehicles’ market, increasing Turkey’s defence industry’s already strong confidence. At the beginning of this month, an €8 million contract between Albania and the Turkish consortium Kale-Baykar was made public (Malyasov, 2021), following agreements signed by the company with Poland, Qatar, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Morocco (Brownsword, 2021). Turkey is slowly catching up to the United States and Israel as the world’s leading seller of surveillance drones by producing and exporting its own indigenous systems. At the moment, a TB2 variant and the Akinci drone are being developed in a joint effort by Turkey and Ukraine, and a MALE-drone is being co-produced with two Saudi manufacturers (Brownsword, 2021). The Turkish combat drone has revealed to be a first choice for countries with smaller budgets and limited airpower capabilities like Azerbaijan and Albania. The more affordable and very efficient Bayraktar TB2 allows these countries to modernise their armies.