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Spies That Fly

Program Overview


NOVA follows the development of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that are changing the face of modern warfare.

The program:

  • chronicles the history of the use of UAVs from the Cold War through the Vietnam War and in Afghanistan.

  • demonstrates the advantages of UAVs—they are generally less expensive than fighter aircraft, don't require human pilots, and are more difficult to spot because of their smaller size.

  • reviews the weaknesses of current UAV technology.

  • introduces the Global Hawk, a large UAV that can cruise at 60,000 feet (18,288 meters).

  • features small, laptop-controlled UAVs that are transportable and launchable from any location.

  • examines tiny UAVs designed for indoor spying that fly with insect-like wings.

  • discusses possible peacetime roles for UAVs, including monitoring illegal entry into the United States and providing surveillance over the White House.

  • looks at the potential of UAVs to replace commercial aircraft.

Teacher's Guide
Spies That Fly
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