The extensive use of UAVs by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan has raised debates over issues like civilian deaths, international law, efficacy of strikes and deterrence.
The Israeli Air Force used a weaponized drone, the Pioneer, in the 1982 war in Lebanon which impressed US for increased UAV procurement and research. Nineteen years after, the 9\11 terrorist attack created a new demand to hunt down terrorists in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Today, the US uses three types of drones built by General Atomics with offensive capabilities: the MQ-1 Predator, the MQ-1C Sky Warrior, and the MQ-9 Reaper. The US military uses them in two broad ways: Reconnaissance and hunter-killer missions.
Drone surveillance and attack capabilities have been effective psychologically as fear keeps also plays a major part. While drone attacks are the most effective weapon against terrorism, its net effects are difficult to judge. The presence of armed drones is a reality of the modern battlefield, but only a limited group of countries has the technological ability to produce them or the military capacity to operate them.
Currently, US and China export armed drones, and Israel is in the vicinity. As Russia, Turkey, South Korea and others join the market, a surge in globally available systems for a fruitful market could lead to a new dangerous era.