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Overview of the Global UAV Platform Landscape
The success of unmanned aerial systems in providing real-time information to military commanders has contributed to both mission effectiveness and in protecting personnel. The resulting number of fielded platform is growing, but can be roughly categorized in terms of size, weight and endurance parameters, leading to broadly five main categories. While the initial mission statement for UAVs focused on ISR, weaponization of UAV platforms is also leading to the next stage of development for UAVs with future emergence of UCAVs. The USA and Israel lead the international field in terms of UAV development and deployment, but there are continuing efforts in Europe to bridge gaps and other nations are also getting involved with countries like China and India developing indigenous capabilities that extend across the full range of platform categories.