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Title: The unmanned revolution : how drones are revolutionising warfare
Author: Franke, Ulrike Esther
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 7419
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Are drones revolutionary? Reading about military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or 'drones', one could be led to believe that drones are a revolutionary technology, set to fundamentally change warfare. Their fast proliferation, the association with Science Fiction, combined with the secrecy that surrounds drone use has led many to conclude that the 'Unmanned Revolution' is upon us. This thesis studies the Unmanned Revolution. It develops a framework based on the concept of the 'Revolution in Military Affairs' and applies it to the study of three countries' drone uses and integration into their armed forces. It furthermore explores the role that the designation as revolutionary has played for the integration and use of UAVs in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. It shows that drones have proven their worth in military operations and compares the three countries' experiences. This thesis' detailed assessment of how the different countries have adopted drones and what implication this adoption has had, makes it a work of reference, in particular with regard to the German and British case studies. Assessing five types of changes - operational, doctrinal, strategic, organisational, and social and societal - this thesis argues that the most fundamental, and possibly revolutionary, change caused by military drones is social, namely, the fundamentally changed experience of war by combatants. In addition, it highlights country-specific changes. It concludes that the designation of drones as revolutionary has had an important impact in one country, Germany, although in the opposite way than initially expected. Namely, the intense debate around UAVs has hindered drone procurement and doctrinal thinking. In the other two countries, the Unmanned Revolution narrative was less prevalent and hence less influential. As drones are proliferating globally, I hope my thesis can be of use to policy-makers, military decision-makers as well as researchers worldwide.
Supervisor: Ceadel, Martin E. ; Strachan, Hew ; Kello, Lucas Sponsor: Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft SDW
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International relations ; Strategic Studies ; Drone aircraft ; Revolution in military affairs ; Military Innovation ; Military Technology ; Bundeswehr ; Drones ; British Armed Forces ; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ; Technology and Warfare