In the 1990s, the author oversaw development of two of the Pentagon's most advanced UAVs. As he looked at the history of unmanned planes, he noticed that each time a conflict broke out, well-intentioned American engineers would get to work on the latest unmanned concepts all but blind to the work of those who came before them. In this book, Newcome chronicles the long history of unmanned aircraft in hopes of ending the cycle of duplicative efforts. If this brief history can help prevent such reinventions of the wheel within unmanned aviation endeavors in the future, then it will have served its purpose, Newcome writes. Newcome traces the family tree of unmanned aircraft all the way back to their roots as aerial torpedoes, which were the equivalent of today's cruise missiles. He discusses the work of leading aerospace pioneers whose efforts in the area of unmanned aviation have largely been ignored by history. The book chronicles the use of unmanned aircraft in times and places where you might not expect them, such as during the Cold War, in Vietnam, and in Israel. Details on the overall trend in UAV design--for instance the recent transition from remotely-piloted planes to the quest for truly autonomous vehicles--is covered, as well as possible future breakthroughs in UAV development.
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