A recent study by the Teal Group has predicted that spending on UAVs will double in the decade 2010 – 2020, with total spending on drones in the decade to be around $94 billion. (see graph below)
The report also predicts that the US will dominate the military drone industry, spending 77% of the world’s total UAV Research & Development and 69% of the total spending on UAV procurement. “US dominance will stem from its greater investment in cutting-edge technologies and its head start over other major aerospace centres such as Europe” says Flight International.
After the USA, the biggest spending region will be Asia Pacific, closely followed by Europe. Africa and Latin America will be modest spenders. (The future wasn’t so bright however for a Filipino man who tried to sell an unarmed Raven drone on ebay recently. He was arrested by the US Department of Homesecurity agent posing as a buyer. Unlike the CEO’s of the main UAV companies, he now faces 20 years in prison.)
Meanwhile neither apologies nor explanations have been forthcoming from the US for the massacre of forty civilians in a US drone strike in Pakistan last week. The attack, which as we reported, brought forth condemnation even from senior Pakistan military officials has been dismissed by an anonymous US official as “These people weren’t gathering for a bake sale.”
As human rights lawyer, Chris Rogers says in a thoughtful piece fo the Huffington Post:
Such is the typical U.S. explanation and legal justification of its drone strikes in Pakistan. Instead of public oversight, information and investigations, silence or sly remarks from anonymous U.S. officials are what pass for accountability. As a result, the legal basis for strikes — in this case, specifically, how and on what basis the U.S. identifies and targets individuals as combatants — is unknown.
As the drone industry thrives and the drone wars develop, we will no doubt see even more civilian deaths simply dismissed or ignored.