Fighting Cheap Drones Becomes A Bigger Issue For The Pentagon

( – Drones were once primarily used for recreation. People would fly the unmanned devices using a remote control and, later, their phones. Today, however, with significant technological advances, they are widely used all over, including to carry out dangerous attacks, and they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase. That leaves the Pentagon in the precarious position of trying to find a way to battle them.

The US military has plenty of defense mechanisms at its fingertips, but using them is costly. Bring cheap drones that are readily available nearly everywhere, and it comes down to a matter of budget. Currently, the US and other countries turn to existing munitions, which cost a lot more than the drones, in the millions of dollars. It’s not cost-effective by any means.

The Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, Bill LaPlante, spoke at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, May 15, and gave the example of “shooting down a $50,000 one-way drone with a $3 million missile.” That, he said, is “not a good cost equation.” He also noted that with the constant advancements in technology, bad actors change their tactics often, which requires maneuvering and will create “a constant fight” for the military.

Putting this into perspective, the US Navy has been in the waters near Yemen, where Houthi rebels have been relentless in their attacks on vessels in the sea. US warships and fighter jets have had to work to destroy the drones, which cost thousands of dollars, with the Navy itself expending around $1 billion in just six months fighting the battle.

Director of Surface Warfare Rear Adm. Fred Pyle said the US is on the “wrong side of the cost curve” and that better solutions are needed. The Pentagon is reportedly in negotiations with contractors in the defense industry, per Axios, but there are no concrete details readily available.

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