A drone is an unmanned remote controlled flying vehicle that can also be used for specific work in addition to just being able to fly around. Drones are used for photographic and video recording from above. Some are used to perform scientific or technical measurements. Some carry weapons and are used as combat tools. Still else is used to transport cargo and mail between places. The latest developments are drones that carry installation and repair tools.
The basic technology of a drone consists of a kind of power plant, some propulsion mechanism, a kind of steering mechanism, a kind of sensors for recognizing place and path, and a sender-receiver unit for transmitting and receiving signals for control and recording. Drones are available in all forms that you can find in larger planes, and also in all kinds of exotic forms, such as elongated airships, disks, triangles, donuts, stars or can resemble large insects or birds.
Small or light drones are typically powered by propellers connected to electric motors powered by batteries. Increasingly, very light drones are produced, powered by solar panels, which can in principle fly in the air for weeks. Some drones are held by the ceiling, like a blimp, which also allows the drone to keep itself in the air for a long time. Larger or heavier drones are mostly driven by a kind of internal combustion engine, such as piston engines, turboprop engines or turbojet engines.
It is also possible to construct nuclear-powered drones that can remain high for days or weeks, and especially if these drones are partially manufactured as gas-filled blimps. Such nuclear power sources need not be considered nuclear reactors. The energy source can be special isotopes that radiate intensely, thereby producing enough heat to propel the drone. Some of these isotopes mostly emit alpha rays or beta rays that can be shielded without heavy armor.
As most uses of drones are kept secret or simply not publicized, it is difficult to give a full account of the extent of their use and who uses them, but a fairly clear picture is based on official sources, journalistic and scientific articles, advertisements from drone manufacturers and stories of people coming into contact with drones in use.
Most drones are probably used by civilian authorities and property owners for various domestic surveys, such as border control, road traffic monitoring, fire detection, aerial photography, geographical mapping, pipeline control, electrical grid control and crowd behavior monitoring. Drones are increasingly used to broadcast the prospect of sports championships. Police forces use drones to detect and investigate crimes, a practice that also appears to involve drones directly from private citizens in their homes.
Military forces have long used drones to monitor foreign territories and combat zones. The use of small tactical drones to deliver bombs, missile launches, and shotguns is old, but is becoming increasingly important. In 2014, such drones are widely used to investigate terrorist bases, to bomb such bases, and to kill persons suspected of terrorism. A classic surveillance drone used by both military and civilian authorities is the RQ-4 Global Hawk. The small helicopter drones Northrop-Grumman MQ-8 (A, B and C) fire scouts are examples of the smaller surveillance combat drones used in local operations and launched from small vessels or from land-based troops.
Larger, long-range drones, comparable to bombers, are used both for surveillance and for destroying targets at ground level and at sea. Known examples of these are the Atomics MQ-1 predator, the Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, capable of carrying a heavier load of weapons and the increasingly advanced stealthy jet-powered combat drone Atomics Avenger. The Isreeli Eitan drone is a large long-range monitoring and ground drone capable of staying high for 70 hours.
Effective laser guns have now been invented, and drones armed with laser guns are likely to be a reality in 2014, at least in experimental versions, but these drones must be of some size because the laser needs a large power generator powered by a turbine engine.
However, the technical control mechanisms are probably not so far advanced in 2014 that they have been able to construct fully reliable supersonic drones with fighter aircraft capabilities. However, unmanned supersonic stealthy fighter jets have been under construction for some time, and in 2014 they have long since been flown to the test. By 2014, these Northrop-Grumman stealth bomber drone x47Bs are close to being deployed for realistic airline combat testing.
British company BAE is developing a stealthy supersonic fighter bomber drone in a project called Taranis. French producer Dessault, together with other European participants, is working on a similar project, called nEUROn. Both projects have produced experimental versions that have flown for testing by 2014. There is speculation that the 6th generation fighter aircraft will be unmanned or can be manned or drones depending on choice. Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works and Boeing Corporation Phantom Works are leading U.S. developers of combat vehicles, including unmanned aerial vehicles.
Available information seems to indicate that Lockheed Martin is developing unmanned fighter aircraft using much of the same technology as the F35B stealthy, vertical take-off and landing, supersonic fighter aircraft, and also developing a high-flying, hypersonic unmanned spy aircraft. It is logical to believe that this hypersonic plane will also have bomb functions.
Drones that mimic birds or other small animals have been developed and can be used for espionage, gun, or injection of poison into targets. There are rumors that such drones are already in use by some government agencies. Rumors can tell that even spy and attack drones, reminiscent of insects in shape and size, are under development. Probably the microtechnology has still not come so far that such drones can be made, but the physical opportunity to manufacture such drones is there.
The United States has plans to allow drones constructed as blimps and powered by solar panels to be permanently stationed in the upper zones of the atmosphere for monitoring. Such drones can be made to lower altitudes to avoid clouds and to patrol an area, something you can't do with satellites. But possibly high flying drones that operate high for days or weeks, powered by nuclear power, are already in use for a long time. Certain UFO sightings seem to be pointing in that direction.
One might ask how often people see drones in flight or in use by 2014. Of course, there are no statistics on this. Sometimes people see flying objects that are clearly recognized as drones. Most often, it will be difficult to decide what to see. Most UFO reports in 2014 are likely caused by drones.
Since at least larger drones are comparable to other air carriers, they are required to hold lanterns and other means to warn of the possibility of collision, but since government agencies operating drones typically want to keep the flight secret, such lanterns may only be turned on when other traffic is in the neighborhood or when operators want visual contact. This kind of intermittent light emission is typical of many classic UFO sightings.
Also, the flight pattern of a drone used for surveillance and investigation will mimic the pattern seen by objects in UFO reports: Sometimes they fly forewords at different speeds, sometimes they stop and just hover, they often change direction, they coming from above, doing some maneuvers near the ground and then flying up and away.
Light from drones can also be used to illuminate targets, often at ground level, for image capture, which is also seen in classic UFO stories. Many drones also have the shape of a classic UFO. In addition, drones provide only a little noise, which is also characteristic of so-called UFO's.