The future of unmanned combat aerial vehicles: An analysis using the Three Horizons framework
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Unmanned combat aerial vehiclesMilitary technologyAir power
Javier Jordan, The future of unmanned combat aerial vehicles: An analysis using the Three Horizons framework, Futures, Volume 134, 2021, 102848, ISSN 0016-3287, [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2021.102848]
SponsorshipSpanish Agencia Estatal de Investigacion PID2019-108036GB-100/AEI/10.1339/501100011033; Universidad de Granada/CBUA
This article examines the future of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). As a foresight tool it uses the Three Horizons framework, which helps understand the process of change underway at present in combat aviation as a result of the advances in technology associated with the fourth industrial revolution. According to this framework, the first horizon corresponds to manned combat aviation, the strategic effectiveness of which is beginning to be called into question. The second horizon comprises different strategic innovations currently in progress which can be viewed as support for the first horizon but also as disruptive innovations that may bring about a change in the dominant model. The article then explores a third hypothetical horizon in which UCAVs take centre stage in combat missions and identifies potential drivers of this alternative and disruptive future.