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unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs .. Their types, uses, features, history, and facts

It is one of the most wonderful inventions of humanity, Those machines that fly brilliantly without a pilot on board, It's drones, unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAVs.

Heron 1 drone UAV, photo, NAVAL STRIKE AND WARFARE CENTER, public domain
Heron 1 drone UAV, photo, NAVAL STRIKE AND WARFARE CENTER, public domain، via wallpaper flare.

It does everything, it is used in photography, from sports matches to cinema. It is also a brave warrior in wars, and even shipping companies have begun to use it as one of the delivery methods.

Police agencies in many countries own them and use them for many law enforcement tasks.

It has even entered areas such as agriculture, it is considered an alternative to spraying agricultural pesticides instead of exposing humans to them..

What is unmanned aerial vehicle UAVs?:

UAVs are planes that are controlled from the ground and not with a pilot flying them in the sky, However, there are some models that can be controlled by a pilot flying the aircraft in the air.

Also, the flight or parts of it can be pre-planned and equipped with the aircraft and it will fly exactly as planned.

It also allows for the possibility of changing the flight path while it is actually being carried out to meet any emergency changes that may require this.

In light of the artificial intelligence revolution we are experiencing, some types of UAVs are now being controlled by it.

A rumor has spread - some still believe it to be true - that an American UAV powered by artificial intelligence one day attacked its operators.

Global Hawk UAV
Global Hawk UAV, Anguskirk, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED, via Flickr.

The rumor details that the drone received instructions to strike a specific target and confront any obstacle preventing it from doing so.

The plane took off and was carrying live ammunition. During the flight, its operators asked it to return to the airport, but the artificial intelligence system on board considered them to be an obstacle to carrying out the mission and attacked them.

This may be using a controller similar to a PlayStation controller, or it may be using a complete station, or  a computer, or a mobile device.

Their sizes and the equipment they carry vary according to their use. Amateur aircraft equipment differs from that used by armies for reconnaissance or even bombing enemy targets.

Some types have become armed in a distinctive way. Some of them carry anti-tank missiles, and some carry anti-air defense missiles or anti-ship missiles.

Some types of drones are originally manufactured as kamikaze drones that carry out suicide attacks against their targets.

There are also current projects considering relying on drones as alternative platforms to satellites for communications purposes.

The proponents of this trend believe that it will be more capable of building a global communications system at a lower cost, and communications will be faster and more stable due to its proximity to the Earth compared to satellites.

Dozor 100 UAV at Engineering Technologies
Dozor 100 UAV at Engineering Technologies, Mike1979 Russia, CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED, via wikimedia commons.

But in general, we can say that many types of uav carry sensors and cameras, and military types carry electronic warfare devices and ammunition.

While some types require a long runway to take off and land, other types can be launched by throwing them in the hand of the person carrying them.

History of unmanned aerial vehicle UAVs:

The first models of UAVs began to appear by the Americans in World War I, but it was very timid and primitive.

The matter expanded in World War II, when drones were then controlled by radio signals usually sent from another manned aircraft.

However, it remained ineffective in battles.

For years, UAVs have been miserable, built merely to be used as training aircraft for pilots and air defense crews to train to shoot down.

Its first real use in warfare was between Arabs and Israelis.

In the 1973 October War, the Israelis exploited it for reconnaissance and information gathering missions.

But they used it as bait in a striking way in the 1982 Bekaa Valley battle against the Syrians, where they consumed a lot of fire from the Syrian air defense batteries, which enabled their F-15 and F-16 fighters to carry out their missions easily, and then they destroyed the Syrian air defense means.

The Israelis had learned a lesson years ago from the Egyptians in the October 1973 War, when they inflicted heavy losses in the air force.

Therefore, they expanded the development of drones, and in addition to their mission of misleading Syrian air defenses, they brought to light other models that performed reconnaissance missions.

They also produced aircraft to carry out the mission of determining the locations of ground targets so that manned fighters can strike it.

The experiment demonstrated an important advantage of UAVs, which is that they are difficult to detect due to their small size in addition to the low sound of their engines, which increased their shares and raised interest in them.

The Americans quickly discovered this technology and produced their masterpiece (MQ-1 Predator), the aircraft that remained on the throne of unmanned aircraft for many successive years.

Then it was followed by the MQ-9 Reaper.

During the past years, drones have proven their ability to influence the conduct of wars.

This was evident in the violent attacks launched by Azerbaijan against the positions of Armenian forces during the Second Karabakh War in 2020, using Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 aircraft.

These drones inflicted heavy losses on the Armenian forces, forcing them to withdraw, and the war ended with a clear victory for Azerbaijan.

The Israelis used it against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip where they were accused of war crimes, some of which drones may have been involved in.

In the southern Red Sea, the Iranian-backed Houthis carried out attacks against American, British, and Israeli ships (military and civilian), or any ship heading to Israel, also using missiles and UAVs.

Advantages and future of unmanned aerial vehicle UAVs:

These types of UAVs are distinguished from manned aircraft by one or more pilots, as they are:

  • If you lose it, you will not lose human lives
  • The costs and time of training an operator are much less than the cost and time of training a pilot.
  • Its operating costs are much lower.
  • It can stay in the air longer than regular planes.

UAVs also proven to be very effective in wars, as happened in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, where the former used them efficiently and helped them win the war 2020.

The matter was repeated, but to a lesser extent, in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

But in all cases, it has proven to be a weapon that, if not decisive, is frighteningly effective.

The ease and cheapness of UAVs will lead countries to continue producing it.

It will provide an excellent solution for many countries that do not have the technology and funds necessary to produce advanced manned fighters, thus causing losses to their enemies.

At the same time, its production for many civilian purposes will also expand.

Certainly, we have entered into an era in which drones constitute a large part of its features, and it seems that it will not end soon.

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