Here’s a great article by Dina ElBoghdady in The Washington Post about the new generation of small and relatively cheap drone aircraft.
But the mini drones are far more common, making up about 75 percent of the military’s pilotless planes. They are cheaper to build, easier to use, and popular with the ground troops because they have saved hundreds of lives, said Steven Zaloga, a senior analyst with the Teal Group Corp., a defense consulting firm in Fairfax.
Aiding their proliferation is the Pentagon’s decision to give millions of dollars to the commands overseas to spend on their most pressing wartime needs without going through the time-consuming purchasing bureaucracy, Zaloga said. Getting rid of the red tape opened the flood gates for small firms.
“These mini drones gave the people with their boots on the ground mini-intelligence systems, which in turn spurred more demand,” Zaloga said. “Drones are no longer just for the general sitting in his Pentagon office.”