The production and use of uncrewed aerial systems (UASs) – which include vehicles that can be piloted either remotely or semi-autonomously – has increased. 

This primer introduces the different types of UAS (otherwise known as drones), including fixed-wing systems and rotary-wing systems such as quadcopters. It describes their key components and functions, as well as outlining the main challenges that these systems can pose to international security.

The focus of the primer is on describing the main areas of technological innovation and development related to the key components that comprise UASs, outlining the anticipated areas of progress and potential concern.

Sponsor Organizations: Germany (Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme) and Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Microsoft (Security and Technology Programme).

Citation: Sarah Grand-Clément and Theò Bajon (2022) "Uncrewed Aerial Systems: A Primer", UNIDIR, Geneva, Switzerland.