The term drone was originally used in Old English to refer to a male bee whose only work is to mate with the queen bee. Because of this, the drones have always been identified as idlers. While the worker bees are worrying about collecting nectar and defending the hive, the drones just idle around waiting to mate. Later in the 16th century, the term started being used to refer to lazy people. This was in relation to the behavior of the male bees. Also, at around this time the word began to be used as a verb to refer to a monotonous buzzing sound. So, how did the word begin to be used to refer to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles?
In 1883 during the Spanish American War, a kite was used to take the first aerial photograph. After this, the World War 1 led to the construction of radio controlled aircraft. However, they became ready after the war had ended. In the 1930s, the British DH 82B Queen Bee, a primitive Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, was developed by the British Royal Navy. It was in the year 1935 when U.S Adm. William H. Standley saw a demonstration by the British Royal Navy of the new aircraft that was remote controlled. Back in the U.S, Standley assigned a commander by the name Delmer Fahrney the job of developing a similar object for the U.S Navy. The Commander used the name ‘drone’ to refer to the aircraft in respect to the British Queen Bee. The term was fit since the drone could not function on its own and had to be controlled by someone on the ground. The British DH 82B Queen Bee could be landed to be used on another day and had the capability of reaching speeds as high as 160 km/h.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was first used as a target by anti aircraft crews during training. Drones were later used as both training equipment’s for by anti aircraft teams and for missions involving aerial attacks at the time of the WWII technology rush. The United Kingdom, USA and Germany manufactured and used different types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. After the World War 1 had ended, jet engines were merged with the remote controlled aircrafts. A good example is the Teledyne Ryan Firebee, which was constructed in 1951. It was manufactured by Beechcraft. Other remote controlled aircrafts that had jet engines put into them include the Fairey Firefly, de Havilland Sea Vixen and the Gloster Meteor. A lot of money was spent on the modification of the aircrafts.
Modern Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles were developed in the US not so long ago. Their production began in the year 1959 when a highly classified Unmanned Aerial Vehicles program was started. The program was under the code name “Red Wagon.” The modern drones were first used in 1964 in the Vietnam War. More than three thousand Unmanned Aerial vehicles were flown during the war and five hundred and fifty four were lost. The United states later flew at around thirty four thousand surveillance flights with the use of AQM 34V Ryan Firebee. The surveillance flights, which were being controlled by operators, were launched from a host plane.
The UAV technology became more famous in the 1980s and 1990s. During this time it became cheaper and many countries could easily produce the drones. Machines that had higher capability of fighting were developed. MQ 1, AGM 114 Hellfire air to ground missile, became one of the initial unmanned combat aerial vehicles to be made. Drones have since been used for attack, surveillance and for transport purposes by the United States. The Unmanned aerial vehicles have without a doubt earned a top rank as some of the deadliest arsenal.
Also read: Can Drones be Hacked?