by Marilyn Stern
Seth Frantzman, a Middle East correspondent at the Jerusalem Post, executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (MECRA), and author of Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machines, Artificial Intelligence, and the Battle for the Future, spoke to a January 30th Middle East Forum Webinar (video) about the significance of evolving drone technology and its impact on global conflicts. The following is a summary of his comments:
Frantzman’s analysis of drone technology and its transformation of warfare suggests the question, “Are drones for warfare what the tank was for warfare in the thirties and forties?” Available drones range from small, inexpensive handheld models to unmanned surface vessels at sea. The $200 million U.S. Global Hawk, a remotely piloted vehicle, also called an unmanned aerial system (UAV), conducts massive surveillance similar to the U-2 spy plane of the 1950s, but differs in that it is unmanned. The prototype for the U.S. Predator, a UAV regarded as the “sine qua non” of drone technology in the nineties and early 2000s, was developed by an Israeli in America after the U.S. Defense Department applied lessons learned from Israel’s drone innovations. The result was that both countries became known as the drone “global superpowers” of the 1980s and 1990s.