Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

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An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft that carries no human pilot or passengers. UAVs — sometimes called “drones” — can be fully or partially autonomous but are more often controlled remotely by a human pilot. RAND research has contributed to the public discussion on the use of drones for warfare and surveillance.

  • A B-52 Stratofortress, assigned to the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., prepares for an operational demonstration of the Quickstrike-ER (QS-ER) Naval mine project at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 28, 219. The QS-ER project was initiated by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command as part of ongoing efforts to modernize and enhance military readiness throughout the joint forces in the Indo-Pacific region, photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Comparing the Cost-Effectiveness of Expendable Versus Reusable Small Air Vehicles

    Feb 23, 2021

    When using small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), what are the relative costs of using expendable systems versus reusable systems? Research suggests they should be considered for a range of roles, including as decoys, jammers, or reconnaissance platforms.

  • Drone quadcopter over a background of binary code, photos by Kadmy/Adobe Stock and enot-poloskun/Getty Images; design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Report

    How to Analyze the Cyber Threat from Drones

    Mar 5, 2020

    Unmanned aerial systems—drones—have become more common, more readily available, and more sophisticated. And they have new capabilities, such as increased data collection and autonomous behavior. Their cybersecurity implications demand a coherent strategy.

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