Drones armed with cameras and increasingly, with bombs and missiles are fast becoming a key weapon of modern warfare. The US regards the pilotless aircraft as vital in operations in Afghanistan, but particularly in attacks on suspected insurgents and al-Qaida remnants across the border in Pakistan. There has been an increase in the use of drones, not only along the Afghan/Pakistan border but in Yemen and Somalia. Israel is at the forefront of drone technology. Britain and France have been slow to invest in these increasingly sophisticated aircraft. Think-tanks have, however, warned that the growing use of unmanned aircraft in combat situations raised huge moral and legal issues and threatened to make war more likely as armed robots took over from human beings. As drones are operated remotely and are targeted using intelligence that is often ambiguous or flawed, occasionally innocent civilians are hit.
American scientists have been exploring options of developing nuclear powered drones since range and endurance are vital to their effectiveness. There will however always be the risk of nuclear powered drones crashing into own territory.