unmanned aerial vehicles

September 1, 2017
By Henry S. Kenyon
Although it has no formal program, the Coast Guard is interested in acquiring small, hand-launched UASs such as this RQ-20A Puma, which can be operated from a variety of ships and boats. Coast Guard officials say such small UASs will offer the service great operational flexibility in a variety of situations.  U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Coast Guard needs more unmanned aircraft as eyes in the sky to support key missions such as search and rescue, drug interdiction and maritime patrol. The service will soon deploy these aircraft from its cutters as part of a long-term effort to expand the Coast Guard’s use of airborne robot platforms. Both ships and shore-based installations will be equipped with medium-range unmanned aerial systems to aid manned aircraft and provide real-time, around-the-clock surveillance.

July 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Smoke rises from an unmanned aerial vehicle after it was engaged by a counter system in March during the Hard Kill Challenge in New Mexico. Sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO), the challenge focused on stopping the growing threat posed by unmanned aerial systems. Photo by 1st Lt. Chelsi Spence, USAF, DTRA

Long a tool of allies trying to foil improvised explosive devices, unmanned systems now may be entering the fray against friendly forces. Both terrorists and nation-states are striving to employ these systems, especially airborne platforms, to deploy new types of improvised threats against U.S. and coalition forces.

February 1, 2017
By Adm. Richard C. Macke, USN (Ret.)
Two U.S. Navy officers inspect an MQ-5B Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. The Navy’s increased use of UAVs is changing the nature of its air operations, but it also is raising concerns about manned versus unmanned missions.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles offers new capabilities in a variety of operations. In some cases, the aircraft can replace their counterparts that carry human pilots or passengers. But each mission must be chosen carefully—not to be overshadowed by the rush to employ drones.

November 1, 2016
By F. Patrick Filbert
With its Gremlins program—named for the imaginary, mischievous imps that became the good luck charms of many British pilots during World War II—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) envisions fleets of drones dropping out of bombers. An artist’s rendering shows groups of unmanned aerial systems as they launch from large aircraft that are out of range of adversary defenses.

As people get better at killing each other, the technology they are using to defend themselves also gets better. This applies to both friends and foes of the United States. The world is growing increasingly volatile, with nation-states developing innovative ways to threaten global stability. Russia, for one, is creating anti-access/area-denial exclusion zones with its encroachment on sovereign nations, and China has been establishing air defense zones off its coast while spending heavily on modernized weapon systems that can reach farther into the Pacific Ocean.

July 1, 2013
George I. Seffers


March 16, 2011
By George Seffers

AAI Corporation, Hunt Valley, Maryland, has been awarded a more than $12 million contract to provide for the retrofitting of two Shadow unmanned aircraft systems with tactical common data link. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

September 27, 2010
By George Seffers

Oklahoma State University, University Multispectral Laboratories, Ponca City, Oklahoma, is being awarded a $44 million contract for research and development of electro-optical, radio frequency, and acoustic sensors, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles technologies. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey is the contracting activity.