Amid the many concepts that have changed the skies over the battlefield, loitering munitions have played a significant role. Peter Felstead charts their history and assesses the latest developments in aerial warfare
Backin the 1980s, a number of ‘suicide drones’ and missiles were developed for use in the suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) role. This early incarnation of the modern-day loitering munitions (LM) was initially aimed at offering a persistent presence over the battlefield to target enemy air defences that were not constantly emitting from their radars. Now, as technology has evolved, LMs offer even more versatility.