A drone, or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is an aircraft with no pilot on board, controlled remotely from the ground, and/or flying in part autonomously (either preprogrammed or navigated by automation systems). Today, various types of drones are used by the U.S. military and other countries (at least 30 other countries, including China, Russia, and Iran, build, buy, and deploy unmanned planes) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). Since late 2001, the United States has also been sending drones on combat missions. As recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq show, unmanned warplanes have become a regular feature of contemporary warfare, and the future of U.S. air power seems to belong to unmanned platforms. This entry explores the early development and deployment of drones ...

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