How – and why – U.S. drones went from observers to killing machines

March 30, 2016
PARTICIPANTS: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Scott Swanson

Subscribe to the War College podcast on iTunes

Listen on SoundCloud

Just months before the Sept. 11 attacks, Scott Swanson was piloting an early version of the Predator drone over Afghanistan. Swanson and his team were looking for Osama bin Laden and it looked like they found him.
The predator, though, was unarmed.

“When we started this, we were under the impression that once they had positive eyes on, something would have been ginned up,” Swanson said. “It didn’t happen.”

This week on War College, Swanson takes us through the early history of the drone program and tells us how a skunkworks project became a central part of the U.S. war machine.
One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

The use of drones implicitly assumed that our enemies would never obtain the same technology. That is now false and the genie is out of the bottle. Its a terrible new reality. Thanks droners!

Posted by GetReel | Report as abusive