Weaponizing Drones

The first time I covered the major drone show (AVUSI) back in 2011, it was almost taboo to talk about arming UAVs. I’d ask companies about UAVs that could be weaponized (like the one owned by a sheriffs office in Texas that could be equipped with a grenade launcher) and most people tried to shift the conversation away from that or said something like "we just make them, the end users decide what they use them for."

At this year’s show, it was the complete opposite. I saw at least a half dozen mock-ups of weaponized UAVs showing military and law enforcement applications.

These two are obviously marketed to defense departments with big budgets. A new missile that can be fired from a drone:

and a drone boat with a mounted rifle:

But who's going to be using the smaller ones? Local law enforcement:

It's strange how the shift from "These will greatly help you with search and rescue and give you better situational awareness" to "look what weapons you can put on here" happened in just two years.

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