UAVs move into the mainstream

JUNE 11, 2009--Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are the quintessential military system.

JUNE 11, 2009--Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are the quintessential military system.

Familiar as reconnaissance drones and even weapons systems, they have seen action in the Middle East and in other areas, and are an increasingly important component in modern battlefield strategy. However, their small size, agility, and versatile payload capacity makes them useful for far more than just military applications. A growing number of UAVs are now being developed for civilian applications, ranging from military-style surveillance to search-and-rescue operations and even climate and atmospheric research.

In the world of UAVs, BAE Systems is a veteran, having been involved in developing military systems for decades. Andrew Mellor, head of civil autonomous systems at BAE's military air solutions division, says, "The work we have been doing with UAVs in the last decade has been focused around the latest generation of UAVs, and our projects using these see us developing new aircraft in six to nine months, right from a new concept design through to flying."

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