|U.S. drone arrives at Japanese air base|
It has been predicted that the development of drone surveillance by the U.S. would spark a global race to develop new drone capabilities, leading to a potentially dystopian future of drone wars where combat and even assassinations can be performed by fleets of insect-like microbots. The Washington Post reported in July, 2011:
More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is exporting weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies. (Source)The number of countries possessing surveillance drones has now risen toward 90, plus the United Nations itself has launched its own fleet. Armed drones are also proliferating rapidly with at least 20 countries believed to have unmanned weaponized vehicles. Japan is the latest to go full-steam ahead in an effort to keep up - so much so that they actually have rewritten their constitution to ensure more militaristic endeavors.