The Impact of Technology on Warfare

by Jonathan Lister ; Updated September 26, 2017

Technology has always played a role in warfare. Improvements to military weapons throughout history have forced armies to continually adopt new fighting tactics to win battles and conquer armies. This is still true in the modern era where advances in robotics and targeting systems have lead to smarter weapons with deadlier payloads.

Decreased Collateral Damage

According to Air Force military college Air University, the advent of sophisticated targeting systems and stealth technology has lead to less collateral damage in warfare. This is because military personnel can target strategically important buildings and military emplacements more accurately and minimize the chances that a civilian structure may be struck. Precision or "smart" munitions were first used most prominently during the 1991 Persian Gulf War in Iraq.

Lower Civilian Casualties

Technological improvements in warfare also means fewer civilian casualties. Since buildings and fortifications are being targeted with better accuracy, fewer civilians are placed in harm's way by military fire. This has helped military forces conduct combat actions in a way which affects the civilian population of a country as minimally as possible. Such a strategy can go a long way to establishing goodwill with the native people when a government is overthrown and the nation must be rebuilt.

Deadlier Weapons

Just as munitions have become smarter in the military's ability to target them with increasing accuracy, they have also become deadlier. According to Fox News' website, the United States military has some of the world's deadliest weapons in its arsenal. For example, the AC-130 aerial gunship mounts a 75-mm cannon which is able to blow through buildings, pierce armored vehicles and remove cover from the enemy. The high rate of fire from a craft like the AC-130 leads to a higher rate of military casualties.

Fewer Soldiers on the Ground

Technology in warfare has meant an increase in air support for wartime missions as well as an increase in unmanned aircraft. This has meant fewer soldiers on the ground during the initial stages of wartime efforts which translates into fewer military casualties. Fighter and bomber pilots can remove the defenses of an opposing army utilizing precision munitions without needing direct ground assault. When ground troops move into the combat zone, they confront a significantly-depleted fighting force. This strategy was employed by the U.S. military during the first and second Iraq wars to remove defensive capabilities and demoralize the existing military force.

About the Author

Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.