For more than two decades, the U.S. military owned the skies when it came to the employment of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones. From the tiny, hand-launched Raven and Puma AE (All Environment) to the ubiquitous Predator and its armed cousin, the MQ-9 Reaper and the giant, high altitude RQ-4 Global Hawks, the U.S. developed and deployed an amazing array of UAS. The CIA and military have prosecuted the air campaign against al Qaeda and ISIS largely with armed drones. For a while the U.S. military seemed to have a franchise when it came to unmanned systems.
This time is over now. UAS are proliferating around the world. Our potential adversaries have “discovered” the value of unmanned systems. Russia has developed several families of military UAS, showcasing many of them in its wars in Ukraine and Syria. More significantly, Russia