Luke TubbsFollow

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2018


College of Arts and Sciences




UAV, UAS, Drones, Kettering Bug, Aphrodite, Lightning Bug, Targeted Killings, Drone Warfare, RPV, REF, Rapid Equipping Force


Military History | United States History


This thesis will trace the United States’ development of unmanned warfare from its initial use in the World Wars through the Cold War to its final maturation in the War on Terror. The examination will provide a summary of unmanned warfare’s history, its gradual adoption, and concerns regarding the proliferation of drones use to understand the emphasis on unmanned weapons in the American Military. In each phase of development, a single program will be focused on to highlight special areas of interest in the modern day. Finally, the modern era of unmanned systems will focus on the growing integration of new weapon systems which no longer fulfill niche roles in the armory but act as fully vetted frontline combatants. Brought together, this examination will show drones have earned their place as integral tools in the American military inventory as faithful defenders of democracy.