What Drones Can’t Do

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 20 2012 @ 8:21am

CJ Chivers cautions against overselling their importance:

[F]or the foreseeable future, the roles of traditional military fighter and attack aircraft—flown by men and women buckled inside—remain secure. Drones are a complement, not a replacement, to the aircraft flown by the people within. There are many reasons for this. Stepping past the unsettled questions of morality and law, the restraints on drones are connected to a pair of stubbornly related facts: Technical limits restrict the missions that unmanned aircraft can perform, and drones, for all their abilities, are very vulnerable machines. Whatever futurists predict, in the arena of air-to-air warfare, drones can neither reliably defend themselves nor consistently elude a determined attack.