Skip to main content

Why Armed Drones Are Changing Combat Forever

Could it be that armed drones “are becoming as important to warfare as the tank or the airplane in the past”?
That is precisely what France’s Army Minister Florence Parly explained in announcing recently that the country would begin using armed drones.
“In the future”, she said, “armed drones will bring together continuous surveillance, endurance, discretion and strike capability---at just the right moment”.
The growing added value of armed drones to support military superiority at the ‘decisive moment’ comes from its ‘triple threat’.

“With an armed drone” explains Pierre Bénard of Thales, “you are assured of three key military requirements at once: Surveillance, Intelligence, and Neutralisation of targets”.

This efficiency makes armed drones the perfect complement to support all the other elements of Connected Combat; their built-in, miniaturised smart technologies for precision combat extend military capabilities while reducing both risk to troops and collateral damage around targets.
The drone can remain over an area for as long as required, and its modern sensors assure wide-ranging, continued reconnaissance and identification of hostile elements that can be neutralised through light-weight laser-guided projectiles.
“Continuous connectivity multiplies many times over the military value of the reconnaissance by transmitting critical battlefield intelligence in real time to the operator”, Pierre Bénard explains, “It is the human operator who remains at the center as decision-maker”.
Once the decision to engage is made, precision starts with the right choices of projectile and munition and laser guidance for their delivery. This creates the potential to reduce significantly the risks of collateral damage.
So the quest for extended precision combat with greatly-reduced human risk is becoming a reality through armed drones.
Pierre Bénard concludes, “Thanks to a close relationship with the military forces around the world, Thales is offering complete, end-to-end solutions for armed drones, including the miniaturised sensors and arms as well as the entire chain of secure communication with a guarantee of continual availability to the operator. In that way, we support the critical objectives of protection of soldiers, as well as precision and efficiency of operations, whatever the requirements”.
And Thales’ long experience in tactical combat systems and military applications of Optronics, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Connectivity and Cybersecurity makes it all possible.

This article is part of a series of articles published for the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, 11-15th June 2018.