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Ethical Issues Related to Military Drones

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Unmanned aerial vehicles or UVA’s, commonly called drones are used in areas from warfare, border enforcement to tracking wildfire and crop dusting. It is an aircraft that flies without a human being on board.

As drone technology is evolving very fast every single day to the ways it expands the capabilities of the user in varies way, but also comes with the concerns of privacy and security issues.

Military drones are used for a variety of purposes such as reconnaissance, surveillance, remote sensing, armed attacks and warfare; further uses include target monitoring and designation, as well as the elimination of designated targets. Each of these purposes for which drones are deployed have their own ethical issues. Drones can be systemized in many ways, some of which include the air space within where they run, as well the roles it plays within the airspace within which they operate in.

In order to understand the ethical issues involved with military drones, we first must have an understanding as to what is ethics. As Dwight Furrow quotes “ethics is related to evaluating actions and actions are performed by those capable of being moral agents”.

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One of the main concerns around military drone use is the incidence of civilian casualties. We may think that drones are meant to be very accurate, but the most recent studies indicate that manned aircraft are more accurate than their drone counter parts.

Along with the concerns of civilian casualties there are also concerns about the accountability of drones. Part of the issue that we might face in the coming future is how to move forward in a way that will get the good uses of drones and get the harmful uses drop off to the side. In military context, it can be harder but in the civilian context there are some possibilities of very cost-effective uses of unmanned ariel vehicles that would be very useful.

Another concern of using drones is that even when legitimate military attacks are destroyed with the use of military drones, there is a possibility of collateral damage.

There are some positive outcomes as to using drones as well. These are that when using drones in the context where killing is involved, it takes into account the threats to operators of drones and when it operates from a distance lessens the possibility of the loss of equipment. Military drones are also useful because they are much cheaper than traditionally used military weapons and are improving day by day to become accurate.

In conclusion, drones improve military capability and create an influential element of force protection, allowing humans to be removed from dangerous environments and mundane jobs. However, there are moral, legal and political dangers associated with their use. There may come a time when drones could be developed and are able to independently and ethically engage a legitimate target with greater reliability than a human, until then we must take into consideration about the benefits and dangers of drones and act accordingly.



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Ethical Issues Related to Military Drones. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“Ethical Issues Related to Military Drones.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
Ethical Issues Related to Military Drones. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Sept. 2023].
Ethical Issues Related to Military Drones [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2023 Sept 25]. Available from:
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