SolarEagle concept drawing
“The art of telautomatics, or wireless control of automatic machines at a distance, will play a very important part in future wars and, possibly, in the next phases of the present one. Such contrivances which act as if endowed with intelligence will be used in innumerable ways for attack as well as defense.
They may take the shape of aeroplanes, balloons, automobiles, surface or underwater boats, or any other form according to the requirement in each special case, and will be of greater range and destructiveness than the implements now employed. I believe that the telautomatic aerial torpedo will make the large siege gun, on which so much dependence is placed at present, obsolete.”
The Pentagon currently has a fleet of 19,000 UAVs. Pictured above is a concept drawing and model of the Boeing SolarEagle. Boeing was awarded a contract for DARPA’s Vulture II program in 2010. The result, pictured above, will be a solar-powered unmanned surveillance aircraft designed to remain aloft at altitudes of over 60,000 feet for up to five years at a time.