Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Technician
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An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone and also referred by several other names is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. The flight of UAVs may be controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle. ICAO classifies unmanned aircraft into two types under Circular 328 AN/190:
•Autonomous aircraft – currently considered unsuitable for regulation due to legal and liability issues
•Remotely piloted aircraft – subject to civil regulation under ICAO and under the relevant national aviation authority
The typical launch and recovery method function of an automatic system or an external operator on the ground. Historically, UAVs were simple remotely piloted aircraft, but autonomous control is increasingly being employed.
In the past, unmanned aerial vehicles have mostly found military and special operation applications, but also are increasingly finding uses in civil applications, such as policing and firefighting, and nonmilitary security work, such as inspection of power or pipelines. UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too "dull, dirty or dangerous” for manned aircraft.
History of this career field
The attitude towards UAVs, which were often seen as unreliable and expensive toys, changed dramatically with the Israeli Air Force’s victory over the Syrian Air Force in 1982. Israel’s coordinated use of UAVs alongside manned aircraft, allowed the state to quickly destroy dozens of Syrian aircraft with minimal losses. Israeli drones were used as electronic decoys, electronic jammers as well as for real time video reconnaissance.
The US military is entering a new era in which UAVs will be critical to SIGINT payloads, or Electronic countermeasures systems should be in widespread use following 2010, with the UAVs controlled and relaying data back over high-bandwidth data links in real time, linked to ground, air, sea, and space platforms. The trend had been emerging before the American war in Afghanistan began in 2001, but was greatly accelerated by the use of UAVs in that conflict. The Predator RQ-1L UAV (General Atomics) was the first deployed UAV to the Balkans in 1995 Iraq in 1996 and was proved very effective in Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as Afghanistan.
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