Drones or UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are basically machines that can fly without having any human pilot present inside the vehicle. These are mainly controlled by computers, or in case of toy drones, by simple remote controls.
When it comes down to the classification of these drones, there is no set standard. According to the usage, drones are constructed in various shapes and sizes.
One of the places drones are used regularly is in the military. They use them to conduct surveillance work in areas where there is a potential risk in sending humans to do the same.
Each country has a certain military standard for drones, but for normal people, the drones can be of any shape or size. The better features a drone has, more people would like it. Normally, drones are classified according to their size. They are –
1. Very Small Drones
Very small drones are basically drones which are of sizes ranging from that of larger insects to about 50cm long. Very small drones can be usually found in two forms: Nano or Micro Drones and Mini drones. The nano drones are mainly shaped and designed in the form of insects. These usually have very small rotary or flapping wings.
This particular design is very popular in the micro drones section. Because of their minute size and extremely light weight, they are the perfect weapons for conducting biological warfare and also spying. One can choose between wings or motorized rotors according to the use. The drones having wings can be easily maneuvered into landing and perching in very tiny spaces.
2. Mini Drones
Mini Drones are mainly drones that are a bit bigger than the micro drones. They have at least one side bigger than 50 cm but altogether, they cannot be bigger than 2m. Most of the small size drones have fixed wings. There are also some drones having the designs based on rotary wings.
Due to the relatively small size and lack of high power, these drones usually have to be thrown into the air by hand and then flown. Some examples of these small drones are:
* The RQ7 Shadow used by the US Army.
* The Turkish Bayraktar. This is a special drone weighing just 5kg but having link strength of up to 20km.
3. Medium Drones
These are the drones that are quite bigger and heavier than the small ones, but are still smaller than light aircrafts. Because of their weight and size, these drones cannot be carried by a single person. They are quite big, having an average wingspan of 5-10m and powerful enough to carry weights of up to 200kgs. They are usually designed having fixed wing model in mind. Some of the most prominent medium sized drones are:
* UK Watchkeeper
* Israeli-US Hunter
There are also a number of rotary based drones in the medium category.
4. Large Drones
These drones are basically of the size of small aircrafts. They are mostly found in military facilities. The main use of these drones is in the field of combat where sending normal jets with men controlling is a matter of high risks. These can be used for surveillance purposes of active areas.
For normal people, drones can also be classified in another process. They can be formed into groups according to their performance. Each drone has a different range and different flying abilities in different air conditions. So, by using these fields, the drones can be categorized.
The US Military prefers to use this method rather than the above method. According to this, the drones can be differentiated in the following groups:
1. Very Close Range Drones
These drones are mainly used as toys. They have ranges of about 5km. Their batteries provide them with a fly time of around 20-45 minutes. According to the estimations done in 2012, $10,000 USD. The Dragon Eye and the Raven are some of the types of these kinds of drones. Their main design closely resembles model aircrafts.
2. Close Range Drones
These drones have a significantly higher fly time and range. On an average, they can be controlled within a range of 50km. They have a very high power battery, giving them a flight time of 1-6 hours. Because of their high range and flight time, they are availed by the military in conducting surveillance missions.
3. Short Range Drones
These are much better than the close-range drones and significantly more useful for the military. Their range extends to 150km, which is 100km more than the close-range drones. They have a flight time of 8-12hours, twice of that of the close range drones.
Though its main features are at a higher level than the close-range drones, they are still used for the same purpose, i.e., spying and reconnaissance.
4. Mid-Range Drones
These drones are much ahead than all the previous categories. They are high-speed drones, having a mind boggling range of 650km. they are also used for surveillance purposes, but they do have a much more important work. These are the basic types of drones used in the collection of meteorological data. With its large range and high fly time, they are perfect to collect these data.
5. Endurance Drones
These are the best types of drones possible. They have the maximum flight time of 36hours. They have the capability of reaching to a height of 30,000ft above sea level. This is no mere feat for a drone. These are also used for high-end surveillance.