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Many don't realize that the history of UAVs started nearly a century ago, and that the modern era of UAVs goes back nearly four decades. It often goes unnoticed that UAV development and employment is being pursued by more than 50 countries world-wide. This paper examines the history of unmanned aerial vehicles including the initial concepts and employment and the role of UAVs in warfare, providing examples from several conflicts throughout the world. An analysis of the reasons for the underutilization of UAV capabilities, the reasons why UAV missions have been successful, and basis for continuing to fund UAV development and employment is given. Finally, current UAV trends are discussed.
Aerospace Conference, 2007 IEEE
Date of Conference: 3-10 March 2007