UAVs have been under development since the beginning of flight. Laurence "Nuke" Newcome, a former B-52 pilot, who was responsible for the development of several UAVs for the military has published "Unmanned Aviation: A Brief History of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" the go to resource for information on the historical development of AUVs. Nukes monograph covers UASs from the conceptualization by Nikolai Tesla to the present day.
Over a period of about twenty years UAV's have evolved worldwide into stable platforms capable of a wide range of mission profiles including those that receive the majority of press such as the Predator and Global Hawk missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 300 platforms have been developed to date. Twenty are in production, about fifty are conceptual and the balance have been developmental and are production capable. The European NAS and Australian NAS have progressed development of Commercial UAV usage ahead of the United States.
Select the following links for re-direction to a list of the most prominent platforms.
UAV Fixed Wing Platforms
Fixed Wing AAI to AeroVironment
Fixed Wing ALCORE to CEi
Fixed Wing Codarra to EMT
Fixed Wing Freewing to Israeli Aircraft Industries
Fixed Wing Lockheed to RnR
Fixed Wing RUAG to Sagem
UAV Systems Integration
UAV Research Concepts and Projects
UAV - VTOL - Parafoil - Flexible Wing - Lighter than Airship
Rotary Wing Platforms
Lighter than Air Ships