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No-Fly Zone Over Syria Could Spark the World’s First Drone-on-Drone War

UAVs fighting each other in Syrian airspace is possible amid escalating tensions.

Technology By

In the not-so-distant future, drones may be battling drones for aerial supremacy.

And that scenario may unfold soon in the civil war in Syria if a no-fly zone is established, according to experts.

Once thought to be impossible, the creation of a no-fly zone has grown more likely in that last few weeks as the United States as shot down a Syrian fighter jet and an Iranian drone in defense of its training base for anti-ISIS fighters in Al-Tanf, a strategic town near the Syria-Iraq border.

Both sides are competing for more territory as it’s taken away from ISIS, and that jockeying for position is expected to spill over into the skies. Air and Space Magazine reports that it wouldn’t be entirely surprising for either side to create a no-fly zone, in which any unapproved aircraft would get shot down.

However, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, would likely still fly in the denied airspace since the risks of loss of life are far lower. Experts expect the escalation to snowball into armed drones fighting with each other. That said, fighter-like drones capable of dogfights aren’t deployed by the military and won’t be for at least a few years.

Airman 1st Class Steven (left) and Airman 1st Class Taylor prepare an MQ-9 Reaper for flight during exercise Combat Hammer, May 15, 2014, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nadine Barclay/Released)
Read full story at Air and Space Magazine