> our title:

Drone Sales Flourish in a Time of Austerity

> original title:

Drone Sales Flourish in a Time of Austerity (excerpt)

(Source: New York Times; published June 16, 2013)


The use of unmanned drones for surveillance and targeted anti-guerrilla strikes has recently been a focus of ethical and political controversy. Yet for all the criticism, and at a time when austerity budgets are causing deep cuts in orders for manned combat, transport and tanker aircraft, drone builders are thriving.

For defense planners and military strategists, the multiple mission capabilities of drones, their sophisticated technologies and their suitability for unconventional warfare gives them a clear edge over manned aircraft programs, which increasingly look like a holdover from Cold War planning.

Ranging in size from hand-launched reconnaissance units for urban combat to giant experimental solar-powered surveillance craft intended to remain aloft for as long as five years, drones, formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or U.A.V.’s, are not cheap, but they are increasingly ubiquitous.

David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency adviser who worked with Gen. David Petraeus of the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, said 70 nations were already involved with drones in some fashion.

Michael Richter, head of aerospace and defense investment banking for the investment bank Lazard, in Los Angeles, said the U.S. budget sequestration law would cut U.S. defense spending to $551 billion next year from $587 billion this year, with a further fall in prospect to $505 billion in 2015 and 2016.

Still, cybersecurity and drone programs are likely to be relatively resistant to cuts because of their perceived critical importance, he said. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the NYT website.

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