What the drone invasion looks like

Unmanned aircraft are proliferating; this is what they look like

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Mostly because of amazing military successes, the use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, over the past five years has exploded. Now drones are making their way into the public world as well via the U.S. Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security -- not without controversy, mind you. And more work needs to be done before the drones are allowed to truly enter public airspace.   Here we take a look at the plethora of drones currently plying or soon to ply the skies.

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The Global Hawk, an unmanned surveillance aircraft.

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An unarmed U.S. Shadow drone.

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Computer-controlled U.S. Air Force drone during a test flight in the Micro Air Vehicle lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The Micro Air Vehicles unit of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB is developing small military drones, with the goal of making them so small that they resemble small birds and insects, including some that will have moving wings. The mission is to develop MAVs that can find, track and target adversaries while operating in complex urban environments. The engineers are using a variety of small helicopters and drones in the lab to develop the programs and software.

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A soldier with the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division launches a remote-controlled Raven observation drone.

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An Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) drone.

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A German air force soldier launches an Aladin mini drone.

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Probably the most famous (or infamous) U.S. drone: the Predator. The Predator is capable of more than 50 hours of nonstop flight, has a wing span of 48.4 feet and a length of 26.7 feet, and costs around $3.2 million.

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An Israeli drone from Rafael -- Israel's Armament Development Authority (remote-piloted vehicle), parachutes after its flight during a demonstration for the Israel Defense Forces in Gahash near Tel Aviv in November 2005. The new drone is part of the SkyLite family of mini remote-piloted vehicles that gather intelligence for field and special forces using an electro-optic sensor.

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An unarmed U.S. Shadow drone.

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Israel's Heron TP, also known as the IAI Eitan, surveillance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) flies during an official inauguration ceremony at Tel Nof Air Force Base near Tel Aviv in February 2010.

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U.S. Marines prepare a hand-launched Dragon Eye aerial reconnaissance drone.

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France's air force tests a drone.

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A General Atomics avionics technician sits in the MQ-9 Predator B pilot's seat studying charts. A pilot and sensor payload operator control the drone and its camera from these seats during flights to detect undocumented immigrants entering the United States illegally from Mexico.

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A Belgian air force officer inspects a surveillance drone at the European Union mission's headquarters in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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A model of the EuroHawk drone.

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An unmanned German Luna drone.

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The prototype of Israel's Oblijet supersonic drone lifts off on its maiden flight in 2011. The drone, designed with a unique rotating wing and still in its development stage, would be the only pilotless aircraft to fly at both subsonic and supersonic speeds.

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U.S. RQ-170 unmanned spy plane reportedly captured by Iraq in 2011.

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Another Micro Air Vehicle winged drone.

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Three types of small test drones are shown at the U.S. Air Force Micro Air Vehicles lab.

Northrop Grumman Firescout.

Northop Grumman BAT.