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An Air Force Captain maneuvers an unmanned Predator reconnaissance UAV over Iraq by remote control at Balad Air Base, Iraq

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as a unmanned aircraft system (UAS), remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot (called a Combat Systems Officer on UCAVs) or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity. Their largest use is within military applications. To distinguish UAVs from missiles, a UAV is defined as a "powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload".[1] Therefore, cruise missiles are not considered UAVs, because, like many other guided missiles, the vehicle itself is a weapon that is not reused, even though it is also unmanned and in some cases remotely guided.