Defense

special report

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The Defense Department is increasingly using a technology known as UAVs -- commonly called "drones" -- in the Middle East. However, other agencies are using drones in other capacities, such as Homeland Security is also using them to patrol the border. The use of drones is controversial, as some have taken expressed privacy and other concerns.

United States Air Force

NASA Develops Biodegradable Drones

November 17 This biodegradable vehicle, developed to protect sensitive ecosystems, invited a closer look at the positive uses of drone technology.

The amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce (LPD 15) steams through the Red Sea.

This US Navy Ship Is Now Armed With a Drone-Killing Laser Beam

November 17 Will the laser work in actual warfare? Nobody knows exactly.

Meet the Inventors, Tinkerers and Entrepreneurs Behind the Drone Revolution

October 15 Many enthusiasts see a future in which drones could prove as transformational—and as popular—as the personal computer.

Technicians examining the X-37B unmanned spaceplane shortly after landing Friday Dec. 3, 2010 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Top-Secret US Space Drone Returns to Earth

October 14 Experts say the highly classified plane—which returns to Earth today—could be testing spacecraft longevity or developing anti-satellite weapons.

A man takes a selfie with the White House in Washington, DC.

No More Selfie Elbow? Drones Could Soon Be Snapping Your Self Portraits

September 29 This device, now in development, introduces a new way to use drones.

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan.

What Does a Texas Megachurch Have to Say About Drones?

August 28 One pastor is using drones as a metaphor.

So What Exactly Is a 'Killer Robot'?

August 20 Why so many groups are against them, but haven't agreed on what they are

A Bhutanese woman carries her baby on her back as she works on a mountain roadside.

A Revolutionary Drone-Based Delivery Network Is Being Tested—in Bhutan

August 7 This drone project could save lives in far-flung rural communities—and perhaps pioneer the system globally.

'Ubiquitous As Pigeons': Imagining Life in the City of Drones

August 5 An online installation asks us to accept an all-but-certain future of drones in cities, and to rethink our relationship to them.

CIA Director John Brennan

Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?

August 1 It's difficult to cross man with details on every secret drone strike you've authorized—especially the legally dubious ones.

The Rise of the Wedding Drone

July 18 Drones can take photos, even stand in as the ring bearer. But are they legal?

The pan-European stealth combat drone demonstrator Neuron is seen at the Istres air base unit, near Marseille, southern France.

The Democratization of Drone Warfare

July 14 Once a symbol of outright American military superiority, drones are on their way to becoming an ordinary weapon of war.

Amazon Wants Early Permission to Launch its Delivery Drones

July 11 Just don’t expect one at your front porch anytime soon.

An unmanned drone used to patrol the U.S.-Canadian border.

Obama Wants Drones to Be Part of Border Migration Solution

July 8 Proposed emergency funding contains $39 million for aerial surveillance, including unmanned aircraft operations.

At This School, You Can Check Out Drones Like Library Books

June 24 Instead of a library card, you'll need training, a professor's endorsement, and a willingness to assume liability for accidents.

Steve Capachietti pilots his drone with video camera attached on the bottom while taking video.

Hollywood Producers Want to Use Drones to Film Their Movies

June 3 If the FAA approves, filmmakers could be among the first to use commercial drones.

Members of ground staff inspect an engine of a Lufthansa aircraft at Tegel airport in Berlin.

What Happens if a Drone Gets Sucked Into a Passenger Jet Engine

May 15 Last week’s near-collision between a hobby drone and a passenger aircraft portends what could happen as the sky gets a lot more crowded.

Suspected North Korean drones that were recently found crashed near the border with the North are unveiled by the state-run Agency for Defense Development during a press conference in Daejeon, South Korea.

North Korea Apparently Has Drones and South Korea Found Some of Them

May 8 The discovery has fueled worry that the secretive and erratic northern country might soon use armed drones against South Korea.

Why You Can't Fly a Drone at Yellowstone

May 7 The National Park Service says its ban on drones doesn’t just apply to Yosemite.

Indian workers walk past solar panels at the 200 megawatt Gujarat Solar Park.

Want More Renewable Energy? Send in the Drones

April 30 Out in the desert it's hard to know when one solar panel among millions has failed. Unless you're a drone.