History of unmanned aerial vehicles

History Of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

History of unmanned aerial vehicles

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Unmanned aerial vehicles, known variously as UAVs, drones, and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), have been a feature of aviation for much of its history, though often overlooked. 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. The appeal of a military vehicle in which there is no risk of loss of life is quite strong, so the pace of development of UAVs has always reflected the pace of technology in general. Until recently, UAVs have tended to be small, so they depend on technology miniaturization even more than their manned siblings. In the 21st century, the technology has reached a point of sophistication that the UAV is now being given a greatly expanded role in war fighting.

Early development

The Austrian balloons

The earliest recorded use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for warfighting occurred on August 22, 1849, when the Austrians attacked the Italian city of Venice with unmanned balloons loaded with explosives. At least some of the balloons were launched from the Austrian ship Vulcano. Although some of the balloons worked, others were caught in a change of wind and blown back over Austrian lines. The Austrians had been developing this system for months: "The Presse, of Vienna, Austria, has the following: 'Venice is to be bombarded by balloons, as the lagunes prevent the approaching of artillery....
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