Created by Keenan Strand

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Commonly known as a drone, the UAV is an aircraft piloted without human on board. Its largest use is primarily in military applications. Over the years UAVs have been used in more civil applications such as firefighting, or surveillance which is not military.


The earliest attempts at a powered unmanned aerial vehicle was A.M. Low's "Aerial Target" of 1916. A number of remote-controlled airplane advances followed, one of which included the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane, used during and after World War I. More were made in the technology rush during World War II; the planes were used both to train antiaircraft gunners and to fly attack missions. Jet engines were applied after World War II, in aircraft such as the Teledyne Ryan Firebee I of 1951, other aircraft were created by Beechcraft, such as the Model 1001 for the United States Navy in 1955. The birth of U.S. UAVs began in 1959 when United States Air Force officers, concerned about losing pilots over hostile territory, began planning for use of unmanned flights. remote control aircraft plans became more intensified in the 1960s whem Francis Gary Powers' secret U-2 plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. Within a few days the classified UAV program was launched under the code name of "Red Wagon". The August 2 and August 4, 1964, clash in the Tonkin Gulf initiated the America's highly classified UAVs into their first combat missions of the Vietnam War. Only of February 26, 1973 did the U.S. military officially confirm that they had been using UAVs in Vietnam. Many airmen during the Vietnam war were killed, missing in action or captured as prisoners of war. The USAF 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing had flown about 3,435 UAV missions at a cost of about 554 lost. The USAF General George S. Brown, in 1972, replied "The only reason we need UAVs is that we don't want to needlessly expend the man in the cockpit." More drones were beginning to be flown regardless of the loss rate being higher because they were willing to save the lives of future pilots. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel developed the first modern UAV, they were pioneered for the use of real-time surveillance, electronic warfare and decoys. The images and radar decoying provided by the UAVs helped Israel to completely neutralize the Syrian air defenses at the start of the 1982 Lebanon War, resulting in no pilots downed. In the 1990s the U.S. Department of Defense began to buy UAVs from Israel. The Navy bought the Pioneer UAV, which is still in use today. Many of the Israeli and newly developed U.S. UAVs were used in the 1991 Gulf War. UAV's were seen to provide a cheaper, more capable fighting machine that could be used without risk to aircrews. Initial generations were primarily surveillance aircraft, however some were armed. An armed UAV is known as an unmanned combat air vehicle or UCAV. Later on, UAVs were used as a search and rescue tool, helping find humans lost in the wilderness, trapped in collapsed buildings or adrift at sea.

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Commercial Aerial Surveillance

with the low cost of UAV systems aerial surveillance is made easy. Surveillance applications involve: livestock monitoring, wildfire mapping, pipeline security, home security, road patrol and anti-piracy. The trend of commercial aerial surveillance technology is expanding rapidly.


UAVs can transport goods using various means based on the type of UAV itself. Most payloads are stored in an internal payload bay somewhere in the frame. For some remote-devices with helicopter configurations, external payloads can be tethered to the bottom of the airframe.

Remote Sensing

UAV remote sensing functions include electromagnetic spectrum sensors, gamma ray sensors, biological sensors, and chemical sensors. A UAV's electromagnetic sensors typically include visual spectrum, infrared or near infrared cameras as well as radar systems. Chemical sensors use laser spectroscopy to analyze the concentrations of each element in the air.

Oil, gas, and mineral exploration and production

Some UAVs are used to perform geophysical surveys. Some are used to calculate the nature of the underlying magnetic rock structure. By figuring out the magnetic rock structure, geophysicists can predict the location of mineral deposits. The InView Unmanned Aircraft System is an example of a UAV developed for use in oil, gas and mineral exploration and production activities.

Scientific Research

New advancements of UAVs have been engineering to go places were a human being cannot. Some of the UAVs are used to hunt hurricanes and monitor the activity of them and communicate near-real-time data directly to the National Hurricane Center in Florida. Some other UAVs manufactured in the UK are being used for scientific research in severe climates such as the Antarctic.

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