According to a recently released database from The Center for New American Security—a think tank that develops national security and defense policies—and the Bard College Center for the Study of the Drone, over 45 countries have currently developed drones for surveillance, military, or other purposes.
While around 10 countries have armed drones currently, 20 more are in the process of developing weaponized drones. This includes countries such as Iran, Russia, and China.
According to Fars News, Iran is currently using drones such as the Shahed 129, with its “significant payload capacity,” to support forces in Syria, while Russia has developed surveillance drones that it integrates with its artillery battalions to make them more accurate. It’s possible the number of countries with militarized drone programs are underestimated though.
“That line between drones and ‘weaponized’ drones is becoming less clear, given it’s becoming easier to outfit drones with weapons or purchase