The Future of Modern Warfare Could Lie in Drones “Grown” in Laboratories

growing drones
Future could bring lab grown drones (BAE Systems)

Collaborative work between an arms-producing firm and researchers from the Glasgow University is geared towards the development of a ‘‘Chemputer” capable of growing drones.

The processes (from illustrations to flying the finished plane) involved in building a drone from scratch would take many years if one wanted to attempt it using the established manufacturing techniques. The timespan needed has been reduced by the use of 3D printing, but the limitations of 3D printing come to the fore when the discussion shifts to aircrafts that could effectively function in a war zone.

During the course of the 21st Century, engineers and scientists predict that small-sized UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) adapted for precise military tasks could be “grown” in massive laboratories with the aid of chemistry, accelerating the manner in which drones are designed and manufactured, and manufacturing bespoke drones in just a matter of weeks, as against the years it usually take.

Drone-growing with the help of “chemputer”. (BAE Systems)

The “Chemputer”, an absolutely ultra-modern machine could make it possible to reach new frontiers in the chemistry involved in growing aircraft and many of their associated sophisticated electronic systems, possibly building it upwards from the molecular level. This invention, which by the way Is unmatched, is an invention of the UK which is expected to utilize long-lasting  materials that do not pollute the environment, as well as assist military operations in which an enormous amount of small-sized UAVs with sophisticated designs intended to meet special objectives might be required speedily. The technology could equally be used to manufacture several parts needed by big manned aircraft.

These drones could utilize both their ability to reach high elevations and their massive speeds to outpace enemy missiles. The drones could also fulfill a number of different missions in which swift action is of utmost importance. Examples of such missions include the deployment of small-sized surveillance aircraft and supplying elite forces that have penetrated enemy territory by means of a complex release system.

The pioneer Cronin Group PLC Scientific Director and University of Glasgow professor, Professor Lee Cronin, who is the brain behind the development of the “Chemputer” stated that the project constituted a new frontier in the evolution of chemistry. He stated that routes needed to digitize material and synthetic chemistry were being developed, and he envisaged a time when the assembly of complex machine parts could be achieved without much human involvement. He concluded by saying that the development of small-sized aircrafts represented a major hurdle, but he however envisaged that inventiveness in the field of digital technology would make it possible to digitize complicated material and chemical systems.

Combat and surveillance drones could be adapted to meet specific targets, and thus de-emphasize the deployment of soldiers in battle conditions. The obvious advantage of this is that the human casualties suffered by the military would drastically reduce, but this comes with the risk of new wars being fought by drones. Considering that data on the collateral damage on civilians as a result of drone strikes isn’t conclusive, extensive moral and legal soul-searching would have to be done before drone warfare is deliberated.