The circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901.55 miles, a fact I learned in my earth science class many years ago. Today, the earth feels considerably smaller thanks to the amazing advances in technology over the past 100 years. While the way we communicate has had the greatest impact on our world; the development of aviation comes in a close second. The past century has seen commercial aviation go from non-existent to an everyday necessity for accomplishing many different tasks and goals. In the early 1900's aviation was solely for military, the wealthy and of course the "crazy" inventors who thought it possible for man to soar through the sky. Fast forward 100 years and aviation has become affordable to just about anyone with a job. In fact, much of the world relies on aviation and if you think about it, there is nothing we do today that is not in some way or another affected by aviation. It has changed the way we travel, how we distribute food and goods, how we respond to emergencies, how we interact with people in other countries, how we wage war, and how we enjoy peace. Most importantly, it has changed how we view the world – and ultimately, ourselves. The aviation industry had large impacts on national and global economies, politics, military, tourism, environments as well as health and medicine.
In 1903, a popular English novelist, George Gessing, said in no uncertain terms, “The invention of the airplane will make war impossible in the future.” It makes sense on paper; meaning if you can see your opponent's every move from the air and they yours, then what would be the point to fighting? Would it not always end in a draw? One hundred and ten years later we know that statement could not be further from the truth. Airplanes had a rough start during WWI due to them being unreliable and causing more lives to be lost than victories to be won. During the span of time between WWI and WWII, technology developed considerably and airplanes became to WWII what U-Boats were to WWI. Airplanes made it possible for the United States to decimate their opponents from the sky with the dropping of two atomic bombs. While Japan brought our country into WWII with airplanes and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States finished the war in the same manor except on a grander scale. This grander scale theme seems to penetrate the military focus of today. While it isn't so much a build it bigger race, it's a build it more deadly race. Today air support plays a large role in war time and peace time, so much so that our military is finding ways to man the skies of all nations day and night without even needing to employ pilots. The next frontier on the military front is drones or UAVs. These "killer robots" in the sky; as they have been called, need no human to get their job done. They can simply be programmed to fly, hover, seek out a target and destroy all from the comfort of an office thousands of miles away. In my research I found out that the United States is not the only nation at the forefront of the drone market. The biggest exporter of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are fast becoming essential to governments worldwide for both military and civilian uses, isn’t the United States, China or other major power. The big winner in this booming global market is Israel. With sequestration taking effect and defense budgets being cut back, the United States and several other nations are scaling back expansive military production. In other, smaller countries; as is proved by the emergence of Israel as a big provider of drones, winds are shifting and Latin America, the Middle East and Asia are now catching up.
Aviation is changing at a rapid clip in the military sector thanks to the introduction of the drone and their great success in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I was watching a documentary entitled "This Is What Winning Looks Like" by Ben Anderson and one of the details that struck me...
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