Drones are unmanned, remotely directed weapons platforms. The term is most commonly used to refer to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), although terrestrial and maritime drones also exist. Aerial drones consist of unmanned aircraft (i.e., they can be deployed without a pilot or passenger aboard), which operate either under remote control by a human operator, or autonomously. Drones are used to perform different functions including reconnaissance, surveillance and also to conduct attacks. They are increasingly used in armed conflicts and counter-terrorism operations to undertake targeted killings.
See also: aircraft, armed conflicts, attacks, targeted killings, and terrorism and terrorists.