Which other nations have them? Did they exist during the Civil War? What do they have to do with tacos and rhinos?—By Asawin Suebsaeng in Mother Jones
If you've checked out the news these past few (or many) months, you've probably noticed some news about drones. Drones used by the CIA to vaporize suspected terrorists. Drones used by the United States military. Drones that deliver food. Drones used by cops. Drones possibly violating the US Constitution. Drones protecting wildlife. Drones in pop culture. Maybe this has left you with some burning questions about these increasingly prominent flying robots. Here's an easy-to-read, nonwonky guide to them—we'll call it Drones for Dummies.
When was the drone invented? Assuming you're talking about the scary kinds of drones that bomb America's suspected enemies, you're probably thinking of the MQ-1 Predator, developed by military contractor General Atomics. This Predator drone was first introduced in 1995 as a surveillance and intelligence gathering tool, and was then tricked-out to launch weapons like hellfire missiles.
The MQ-1 Predator—used mainly by the CIA and the US Air Force—has seen action in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Bosnia and Serbia. The subsequent (and larger) incarnation of the Predator is the MQ-9 Reaper.
Who besides the US has drones for national security purposes? The following 11 governments are known to possess armed UAVs:
- United Kingdom
- United States
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