Armed UAVs Have Track Record
Armed UAVs are not new: back in the days when UAVs were known as RPVs (remotely piloted vehicles) Ryan Aeronautical made several proposals to arm its BQM-34 Firebee target drone, the earliest dating to 1953. In 1964 the company successfully dropped 250-pound bombs and SUU-7 cluster bombs from a Firebee under Project CeeBee, and in the early 1970s demonstrated the use of precision-guided weapons by firing Shrike, Maverick and “Stubby Hobo” guided weapons from BGM-34 drones under Project Have Lemon. That second round of tests was aimed squarely at the defense suppression mission to support the aerial campaign in Vietnam. The end of that conflict, and difficulties encountered in finding well camouflaged SAM sites, put an end to the armed RPV and the concept remained on the shelf for another 25 years.