A battle lost…

Don’t Use the ‘D’ Word: They’re ‘UAVs’ or ‘RPAs’ But Definitely Not ‘Drones’

I came across this article on the Information Dominance Corps Self Synchronization (yes, it is bit of mouthful) Facebook feed…once upon a time this argument may have mattered but now it is nothing more than ambient noise. We have far more important things to worry about in the UAS world than mindless semantic games…


Does it matter really if I call this a plane, an aircraft or an airplane?


Or this a helicopter, a whokka, a helo, a rotary-wing aircraft or a whirlybird.


Or this, a car, an automobile or a vehicle?

No…it doesn’t, not in normal colloquial speech and writing…many years ago, I remember great battles ranging over whether vehicles like LAVIII and Stryker were medium infantry, mech infantry or some weirdo thing called heavy infantry. This went on for months and about the points of agreement were that they were neither the light infantry or tanks so dear to our hearts. In the end, the general issued an all-points stating that he didn’t care if they were called the Third Pink Flying Pig Brigade and that he was more interested in what we could do with these things.

Dictionaries have already added the unmanned aircraft definition of ‘drone’ so there is not much point arguing the toss anymore. What is important is that we use the correct terminology when we talk about unmanned aircraft within our community and when we engage with external audiences. The general public can quite happily refer to them as drones, just all of us equally happily refer to cars, planes and choppers…

Personally I think that we need to stop treating UAS as something mystical and special and start to treat them simply as what they: unmanned aircraft…aircraft that do not normally operate with an onboard pilot…and within unmanned aircraft, we have , in our  technically correct lexicon, remote-piloted aircraft, optionally-piloted aircraft, remote control aircraft, drones (in the technical sense), etc,etc…

The more that we treat UAS as something special, the harder we make it employ properly and integrate them in to our airspace. Do we really need Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle or UCAV, or would unmanned combat aircraft suffice? …and unmanned fighter, unmanned bomber, unmanned transport etc? Hmmm…


Just call me Al

2 thoughts on “A battle lost…

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