Number of countries with military drone programs rises to 95 according a study from Bard College

At least 95 countries now maintain active military drone programs, a 58 percent increase over a decade ago.

The sun rises over an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Dec. 16, 2016. The 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron supports the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron as well as the 9th and 29th Attack Squadrons, enabling the graduation of pilots and sensor operators in support of the Air Force's largest formal training unit. Unmanned aerial systems are not in use by the militaries of 95 countries.
The sun rises over an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Dec. 16, 2016. The 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron supports the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron as well as the 9th and 29th Attack Squadrons, enabling the graduation of pilots and sensor operators in support of the Air Force's largest formal training unit. Unmanned aerial systems are not in use by the militaries of 95 countries.
U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Drones have become standard military equipment around the world. In The Drone Databook, a new study released today, the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College presents an encyclopedic catalogue of military drone inventories, units, bases and test sites, training academies, research and development programs, operational experiences, and exports, showing that at least 95 countries now maintain active military drone programs, a 58 percent increase over a decade ago, and that there are likely at least 21,000 military drones in operation around the globe.

“Drones are no longer the sole domain of technologically advanced militaries,” said Dan Gettinger, co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone and the author of the study. “Military drone programs around the world are maturing and diversifying as more and more countries are seeking an unmanned capability. This will have a significant effect on the future of armed conflict.”

Among other key findings, the Center identified over 260 units that have been activated to operate drones, over 230 bases and test sites, and more than 170 different types of drones in service around the world.

The report is available for free online at dronecenter.bard.edu/projects/drone-proliferation/databook.

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