According to the New York Times, U.S. military forces currently deploy 7,000 flying drones in combat operations theaters throughout the world. While the number of robotics deployed by the armed forces is expected to grow, the machines themselves are expected to shrink.
In order to mimic animals and register minuscule radar signatures, military-developed drones are getting smaller and smaller, reported the news source. Eventually, robotics systems resembling hawks or flies in both appearance and physical size may become critical parts of future battlefield operations.
The Pentagon has asked the State Department for an additional $5 billion for research and development relating to these advanced systems.
"It’s a growth market," Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, said, according to the Times.
As the number of robotics drones increases, the number of piloted vehicles being commissioned will likely decrease, stated the media outlet. Accordingly, the Department of Defense has already begun facilitating this transition by providing its pilots and military personnel more robotics training. This year, the number of people trained in unmanned aerial warfare will exceed those trained for manned missions.
Flying military robots have made headlines in recent months. According to the Register, drone robotics devices have the capability of turning traditional cargo planes into strike fighters.