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Drone Vs UAV


A drone can also be referred to as the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A Drone simply refers to a semi-autonomous vehicle which is attached to bigger spacecraft and is designed for expansion of the launching capabilities of the ship.

On the other hand, UAV is simply the short form of Unmanned Aerial vehicle and refers to systems of unmanned aircraft that is capable of carrying out its operations without any internal pilot. This is simply the key difference between a UAV and a drone. However, it is worth noting that the terms UAV and drone can be utilized interchangeably and most people alternatively use both of these terms. Another difference is the fact that UAV is a newer term that is utilized to describe cutting edge aircraft whereas drones were utilized in older times.


As we previously stated drone is also referred to as the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). It’s an aircraft that doesn’t have a pilot on the plank and is automatically controlled by the computers or even using a remote control. Use of the drones has developed rapidly because it can be able to stay in the sky for more hours, unlike the manned aircraft. Drones also happen to be cheaper as compared to the military, and since they’re flown remotely, no risk is imposed to the flight crew.

Types of drones

There’re various types of the surveillance and armed drones in Afghanistan and Iraq; the United States has 2 separate ‘squadrons’ of the armed drones whereby one is managed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the other is managed by the United States Air Force. The United Kingdom has many types of the surveillance drones, their most popular one being the Watchkeeper. There are also numerous other drones that are located in other nations. Recently, there has been a certain announcement on the news that Amazon is carrying out tests on delivering various packages using the drones. Although this idea has not yet been finalized, this process is still going on. Just like the definition of, drones can also be utilized in numerous other contexts.

Drones have mainly been utilized by the United States military when shooting missiles to the enemy combatants from various countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the price of purchasing these uncrewed aircraft has precipitously dropped in the recent years, which have made them more accessible by commercial users like small businesses, entrepreneurs and companies.

Advantages of using drones

• Helps in the detection of the forest fires

• Drones successfully struck the militants of various terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda

• The surveillance drones gathered the intelligence hat contributed to Osama Bin Laden’s assassination.

• Drones can be used to find the missing felons and children

• Monitoring of the environmental data such as the population of the animals.


Disadvantages of drones

• The domestic drones tend to violate the privacy rights

• Apart from being used for the purposes of surveillance, some drones happen to be lethal

• Drones make people paranoid since they feel as if they are being observed by the national government.

• Some drone is a worldwide rarity and very expensive

• They are less aviation job opportunities that are available since the drones are flying machines which are unmanned.


UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)

This is simply the short form of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and may also be referred to as the Unmanned Aircraft system. The UAVs are available in numerous different shapes and sizes. Most of these aircraft are designed for very specific application and roles. However, almost all aircraft can easily be configured through the payload interchange so as to perform many other tasks. As per the reconnaissance on the unscrewed vehicle by MSN Encarta; the unscrewed aerial vehicles which can fly above the staging areas and combat zones, dropping various supplies to the troops, release bombs and carry out the reconnaissance on the enemy forces. According to this definition, every person would have to believe that the UAVs can only be utilized in the military scenarios.

Advantages of the UAV

• The UAVs do not have or require a qualified aerial pilot to be on board.

• They can efficiently enter into the environments that could be dangerous or harmful for human life.

• They reduce that risk for exposure of the operator of the aircraft.

• UAVs can remain in the airspace for a maximum period of thirty hours to perform a precise and repetitive raster scans of a certain region, day and night, even in total darkness under the computer control.

• The UAVs are programmable so as to autonomously complete a certain mission even when they have lost their GCS.


Types of UAVs

There are three main types of the UAVs which are classified based on their construction, quantity or different elements that condition their major lift. The main factor that is considered when selecting among these types of UAV is the intended application. Other actors that may be considered include the needed stability and precision and the distance/ speed ability. These major types include; the fixed wing, rotary wing, and the multi-rotor UAV.

• Fixed wing

These UAV type consists the fixed-wing whose surface creates the UAV’s major lift. The rigid wing enables these unmanned aircraft to have a natural gliding capability and be more forgiving when it faces technical or piloting errors while in the airspace. These fixed-wing aircraft can also carry more weight or equipment for long distances using less power.

The features of these types of UAV can be applied perfectly in the longer missions and packages delivery services. However, they can’t be used in performing precision missions. Additionally, because of the air that is moving over this type of UAV so as to generate the lift, they cannot fly within one spot meaning they can’t, therefore, provide a precise positioning of the camera.


Rotary wing

The rotary wing type of UAVs refers to the unmanned aircraft whose propulsion means derives substantial part or the whole lift from the system of rotary wing. This UAV type resembles a helicopter since it only has one rotor.

One of its best qualities is its ability to land and take off vertically, thus allowing the user of the rotary wing to operate it within smaller spaces. The rotary wing’s capacity to perform and hover maneuvering makes its suitable to be applied for inspections where the precision maneuvering happens to be needed for the operation. This may be the inspections of power lines, pipelines, bridges, railroads, and others. However, these types of UAVs need more complicated and longer repair and maintenance process.

• Multi-rotor

The multi-rotor UAVs refers to the unmanned vehicles that consist of many rotor blades which revolve around the fixed masts. These types of UAVs comes in a wide variety of setups namely; tri-copter (3 rotors), quad-copter (4 rotors), hexa-copter (6 rotors) and octo-copter (8 rotors). Additionally, there are other unusual setups that consist of 12 and 16 rotors.

His type of UAVs have similar qualities as the rotary wings, although they are easier to operate and more stable. This indicates that they are designed for precise and accurate missions. They ca perfectly be used for aerial mapping, infrastructure monitoring, and filming. However, it is worth noting that the multi rotor UAVs usually tends to experience short flight range and time, meaning you might require extra flights to be fully complete those operations.


Uses of the UAVS

• Measuring TV, cell phone or radio coverage above any terrain.

• Performing geological surveys – more info

• Performing the thermal or visual imaging of any region.

• Performing an accurate/ precise and repetitive raster scans of a certain region

Disadvantages of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

• Programming limitations

The UAVs may be unable adapt to the changing environment of the battlefield such as attacking a new target which is more desirable and appeared after launching of the aircraft or change course so as to avoid the defenses of the enemy.

• Payload limitations

Due to the fact that the UAVs are basically smaller than the manned planes, they can’t carry large payloads. Nevertheless, when compared to the manned aircrafts, the ratio of the payload to the total weight is higher.

• Less versatile

The UAVs are designed to perform specific kinds of missions. There are therefore less versatile as compared to the modern combat aircrafts which perform many roles.

• Limited range

Since the UAVS are unable to carry much fuel when compared to the manned aircrafts, they tend to have shorter ranges, although this is a limitation that is currently being overcome.

• Contact loss

If the contact with station at the ground level is lost, the UAV may also be lost.



Although the drones and UAVs are mostly used alternatively, we can clearly see that there are some differences between them. A drone refers to the semi autonomous vehicle that is attached to the larger spacecraft and is like a robot while the UAV can be bale to operate without the internal pilot.

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