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Every branch of the U.S. military uses drones for surveillance and combat operations. Some can fly for 52 hours — and the most expensive costs a staggering $40 million! Today we bring you the history of drones:
In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, an obscure inventor in New York City looked to the sky and had an idea for the world’s first unmanned aerial vehicle. The inventor, Charles Perley, believed that hot-air balloons loaded with timed explosives could be directed into enemy territory and made to drop their deadly cargo on vulnerable troops below.
The idea intrigued both Union and Confederate military leaders, who were desperate for a battlefield advantage. But despite being tested by both sides, Perley’s balloon drones proved to be dangerous and unwieldy, and his patent was lost in the annals of time. Nearly 150 years later, Perley’s idea — that unpiloted military aircraft could be deadly and efficient — has proven remarkably prescient.
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