In Depth

World of Drones

Examining the proliferation, development, and use of armed drones
Photo: U.S. Air Force photo: Lt Col Leslie Pratt

This In-Depth report from the International Security Program examines the proliferation, development, and use of armed drones. The World of Drones database draws upon media reports and other open source information to track which countries and non-state actors have armed drones or are in the process of developing them; which actors have used armed drones in combat; and which non-state actors are artificially equipping over-the-counter drones with improvised explosives like ISIS, or have obtained military-grade UAVs like Hezbollah.


1. Introduction: How We Became a World of Drones

Who has drones and how are they getting them?

2. Who Has What: Countries that have Conducted Drone Strikes

The small group of armed drone users has expanded in recent years.

3. Who Has What: Countries with Armed Drones

Over a dozen countries in the World of Drones database have armed drones, but not all of them produced their UCAVs at home.

4. Who Has What: Countries Developing Armed Drones

Countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East manufacture armed drones.

5. Non-State Actors with Drone Capabilities

Several non-state actors have incorporated drones into their operations.

6. The Future of Drone Warfare: Striking at Home

Which countries have used drones to kill their own citizens abroad or strike militants within their borders and territories?

7. The Future of Drone Warfare: The Rise of Maritime Drones

Countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia are already looking seaward in terms of drone development.