The Aerospace Product Line: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned aerial vehicles are remotely piloted and autonomous aircraft that can carry cameras, sensors, communications equipment, or other payloads. UAVs have been used in reconnaissance and intelligence gathering roles since the 1950s. Their development has expanded rapidly since the 1960s, spurred by additional Defense Department and company-sponsored research and development.
Their use is rapidly expanding today, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. UAVs provide battlefield commanders real-time intelligence, assist with search and rescue, and perform operations for many other missions. Because they are unmanned, they can perform vital missions without putting human life at risk.
UAVs have commercial applications as well. They can provide videotape film to movie makers, news reporters, and the tourism industry. UAVs deliver mail and other cargo to hard-to-reach or sensitive facilities like oil rigs, polar zones, or power plants.