Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is a type of aircraft that operates without a human pilot on board. It is remotely controlled, autonomously guided, or both, and carries sensors, target designators, offensive devices, or electronic transmitters designed to interfere with or destroy enemy targets. UAVs are also known as drones and can be fully or partially autonomous. They are used for various purposes such as payload delivery, traffic monitoring, moving objects in a seemingly hazardous environment, and surveillance.
The use of UAVs has been explored by RAND research for war and surveillance purposes. After the Vietnam War, countries outside Great Britain and the United States began exploring unmanned aerial technology. In this report, RAND researchers explore current and potential military applications of autonomous systems, with a special focus on unmanned submarine vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles. The authors examine the logistical and sustainment aspects of an emerging operational concept to employ a family of unmanned aerial vehicles that can be launched, recovered and maintained with minimal dependence on runways.
The two areas of regulatory oversight of UAS safety, operations and airworthiness of UAVs, are being supervised supranationally by the Joint Authorities for the Development of Standards on Unmanned Systems (JARUS). UAS are commonly referred to as unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), and drones. This political direction is set out in the Secretary of Defense Policy Memorandum entitled Guide to the Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the United States. The first unmanned aerial vehicle was tested in March 1917 by Great Britain while the first aerial torpedo was tested in October 1918 by the United States. Unmanned aerial vehicles are now used for firefighting and police use, as well as other types of domestic surveillance.
UAVs provide higher capabilities than manned aircraft when sustained endurance efforts are required or infrastructure limitations prohibit the use of manned rotating or fixed-wing aircraft. They are also cost-effective and can be rapidly deployed. In conclusion, unmanned aerial vehicles have become an important technological advance due to their various applications in military objectives as well as civilian uses such as firefighting and police use. They provide higher capabilities than manned aircraft when sustained endurance efforts are required or infrastructure limitations prohibit the use of manned rotating or fixed-wing aircraft.
They are also cost-effective and can be rapidly deployed.