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Military Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles : A Historical Study


[ 1 ] Instytut Studiów Strategicznych, Wydział Bezpieczeństwa Narodowego, Akademia Sztuki Wojennej | [ P ] employee

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[5.5] Political science and public administration

Year of publication


Published in

Safety & Defense

Journal year: 2018 | Journal volume: vol. 4

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Bezzałogowe statki powietrzne
  • Historia
  • Sztuka wojenna
  • History
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles

EN The following study is devoted to the phenomenon of unmanned aerial vehicles used throughout known history on the bat-tlefield or for military purposes. The purpose of the following text is to familiarise the reader with an overview with thecontemporary and historical employment of the unmanned vehicles on the battlefield. The study also aims to show that theconcept of unmanned combat vehicles, also unmanned aerial combat vehicles, is far more ancient than is it is widely known.The article is based on theoretical research methods, mostly multinational academic literature.The author starts with an introduction on the role of limiting soldiers’ fatalities and the concept of removing military menfrom the battleground. Then, the author presents known examples of using unmanned ships in battles from Thucydides’times to the invention of the Hell-burner of Antwerp. Further, the case of first unmanned combat aerial vehicle is presented,the bombing balloons from the nineteenth century, followed by a more contemporary study of the military use of unmannedaircrafts.The article is concluded with an analysis of the present employment of drones when they tend to substitute manned aircraftson various occasions, especially when a mission is deemed “dull, dirty or dangerous”.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

17 - 21


License type

CC BY (attribution alone)

Open Access Mode

open journal

Open Access Text Version

final published version

Points of MNiSW / journal


Points of MNiSW / journal in years 2017-2021


Publication indexed in

Index Copernicus | CEJSH