Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology

SARTHAK IAS

The UAV is an acronym for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which is an aircraft with no pilot on board. UAVs can be remote controlled aircraft (e.g. flown by a pilot at a ground control station) or can fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems. UAVs are currently used for a number of missions, including reconnaissance and attack roles. For the purposes of this article, and to distinguish UAVs from missiles, a UAV is defined as being capable of controlled, sustained level flight and powered by a jet or reciprocating engine. In addition, a cruise missile can be considered to be a UAV, but is treated separately on the basis that the vehicle is the weapon. The acronym UAV has been expanded in some cases to UAVS (Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle System). The FAA has adopted the acronym UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) to reflect the fact that these complex systems include ground stations and other elements besides the actual air vehicles.

The term 'Unmanned Aerial Vehicle' was changed to 'Unmanned Aircraft System' to reflect the fact that these complex systems include ground stations and other elements besides the actual air vehicles. The term UAS, however, is not widely used as the term UAV has become part of the modern lexicon.
The military role of UAV is growing at unprecedented rates. In 2005, tactical and theater level unmanned aircraft (UA) alone, had flown over 100,000 flight hours in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). Rapid advances in technology are enabling more and more capability to be placed on smaller airframes which is spurring a large increase in the number of SUAS being deployed on the battlefield. The use of SUAS in combat is so new that no formal DoD wide reporting procedures have been established to track SUAS flight hours. As the capabilities grow for all types of UAV, nations continue to subsidize their research and development leading to further advances enabling them to perform a multitude of missions. UAV no longer only perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, although this still remains their predominant type. Their roles have expanded to areas including electronic attack (EA), strike missions, suppression and/or destruction of enemy air defense (SEAD/DEAD), network node or communications relay, combat search and rescue (CSAR), and derivations of these themes. These UAV range in cost from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars, and the aircraft used in these systems range in size from a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) weighing less than one pound to large aircraft weighing over 40,000 pounds.

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