Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Drone Market

While the Russia, China, the U.S., and just about every other nation under the sun that makes arms is more than happy to sell them to just about anyone who will buy them, not all of them feel the same way regarding drone technology. Namely, the two big competitors are China and the U.S. One is more than happy to flood the market and sell as many cheap knock offs as they can. The other has been hesitant to open its doors to that market, for a multitude of reasons.
            However, now that drone tech is so prevalent that you can buy them in gas stations, and with a market that is growing exponentially every year, the current administration has pivoted from the stance of the Obama Administration. Justified as being able to level the playing field, increase direct sales to authorized allies and partners, and get into a market that is projected to grow to $50 billion in a decade are all reasons used. With these reasons are also the very real issue of seeing Chinese replicas of American drone tech deployed on runways across the Middle East.
            With this comes several good reasons. Having allied partners and future partners being able to use American drone tech not only gives the US a bigger share of the market, it allows the US to build relationships, and help avoid or minimalize civilian casualties and unneeded destruction by giving higher quality products to them. For example, Washington has been criticized by global rights watchdogs for allowing Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen, where there have been unnecessary civilian casualties. With perhaps the use of U.S. drone tech and looser restrictions, some of this may be avoided in the future.
            However, this harkens back to past issues and common problems all arms sellers face. What happens when the guys who are on your side now either get wiped out, or turn against you, and are now armed with modern, dangerous tech you supplied them? What if they are careless and lose it, or what if it is stolen by a third party and used against you? Even worse, what if your ally sends the tech out to another nation that isn’t on best of footing with you, and uses it to exploit or find a weakness in it? These issues will continue to exist, and the threat of theft grows when you consider that this piece of tech flies unmanned and has a ranges over hundreds of miles.

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