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Examining Accuracy: Drönare och drönarangrepp: retorik, praktik och historia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas.
2014 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The military conflicts of the early 21st century have seen the introduction and rise of a new military technology: the armed drone. With the United States acting as the driving force behind this technological advancement, the U.S Air Force and intelligence agency CIA have madedrones their weapon of choice for pursuing suspected terrorists and insurgents in various remotelocations. American military leaders and policy makers assert that the armed drone’s high levelof accuracy make it the best available weapons platform for this task. However, new researchshows that the use of drones may result in more civilian casualties than previously thought, andmay in fact be more fallible than conventional aircraft in this respect. This paper examines this discrepancy between rhetoric and practice, and attempts to find potential causes for this in the development and early use of the first armed drone, the MQ-1 Predator. The paper cites statements from President Barack Obama and CIA director John Brennan and contrasts them with a recent research report on drone-caused civilian casualties, as well as examples of drone strikes where the wrong targets were struck. The analysis of the development and early use of the Predator Drone draws comparisons to Donald Mackenzie’s account of the development of accuracy for cold-war-era intercontinental ballistic missiles, applying the science and technology-concepts he uses to the case of the armed drone. The paper concludes with the argument that the accuracy of the early armed drones is fundamentally misunderstood or overestimated by U.S leaders, and that there are circumstances in the development-history of the system that may have contributed to this inconsistency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 33 p.
Keyword [en]
Armed drones, civilian casualties, accuracy, military technology, science and technology
National Category
History of Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-225414OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-225414DiVA: diva2:720992
Educational program
Systems in Technology and Society Programme
Available from: 2014-06-11 Created: 2014-06-03 Last updated: 2014-06-11Bibliographically approved

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