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If the future is all about drone warfare, cheap drones will be the Equalizer in the Sky. Every faction can afford drones.The Pentagon was nuts to introduce a cheap weapon every warlord can afford to warfare. From land a drone can be launched from any kind of hidden position with access to the sky, from the sea a fucking kayak is probably carrier enough. No more advantage to the richest nations.

Hell, the animal rights group SHARK used drones armed only with cameras effectively against the Hegins Pigeon shoot. This being a pigeon shoot, it was a difficult environment for drones as the shooters tended to treat them as just more pigeons. SHARK had several cheap drones shot down, but a better drone hovered out of range and got all the necessary footage. That's at a pigeon shoot, perhaps the worst possible place for trying to keep your drones in the air. The majority of cops at a riot will not be nearly as skilled with a shotgun.

BTW, drone subs exist too, just as drone aircraft do. Back to our whaler case, a tiny drone sub slipped into the harbor waters could pop a magnetically attached noisemaker to the bottom of a whaling ship, timed to start scaring off whales just as the ship reaches the whaling grounds.