Mini UAVs – a History

Mini UAVs, UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have a history almost as long as manned flights. When airplanes were in their infancy during World War I, governments started experimenting with UAVs for defensive purposes but development was stopped at the end of the war. During World War II research and production was renewed but in different form from before. The United States primarily used UAVs as training tools mostly to give its anti-aircraft gunners live targets to shoot at. Towards the end of World War II the Germans developed unmanned rockets called the V-1s which they used to launch a terror campaign against the civilian parts of London.

The U.S. Military used UAVs for limited reconnaissance roles during the Vietnam War, but not primarily in combat roles. During the 1982 Lebanon War Israel became the first country to use UAVs and mini UAVs extensively in combat scenarios. Using UAVs the Israeli Air Force was able to identify Syrian anti-air missiles and destroy them with out losing a single plane. The success of Israeli UAVs and mini UAVs so impressed the United States that it bought hundreds of UAVs and later gave them a key role in the first Gulf War.

Today there are a wide range of UAVs and Mini UAVs used all over the world by many countries. Recently Mini UAVs have become more popular because of their size, ease of uses and wide range of capabilities. Aeronautics Defense Systems recently launched a new Mini UAV called the Orbiter. What makes the Orbiter Mini UAV so special is that it can be carried in a backpack, assembled in 10 minutes and operated by a single person. It has night vision capabilities, can be launched by hand and has a parachute so there is no need to land it on a runway.

The future of UAVs is moving in the direction of mini UAV systems. Now in development are mini UAVs that are so small they can fit inside the palm of a hand. They can be launched and caught by hand and stay aloft for hours. Someday soon developers hope to make a mini UAV that can be launched by hand, fly through an open window, and stay undetected the whole time.

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