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A USAF SR-71 high-speed reconnaissance aircraft

TR-1 version of the U-2

CP-140A Arcturus reconnaissance aircraft

MQ-1/RQ-1 Predator

A reconnaissance aircraft is a manned military aircraft designed, or adapted, to carry out aerial reconnaissance.


Use of balloons for reconnaissance by the French during battles

During the Napoleonic Wars and Franco-Prussian War, balloons were used for aerial reconnaissance by the French.[1]

In World War I, aircraft were deployed during the early phases in reconnaissance roles (eyes of the army) to aid ground forces.[1]

Aerial reconnaissance was mostly carried out by versions of standard fighters and bombers equipped with cameras.[2] After World War II and during the Cold War, when the United States developed several dedicated reconnaissance designs, including the U-2 and the SR-71 to deal with the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union.[3]

Today much of the strategic role has passed over to satellites,[4] and the tactical role to unmanned aerial vehicles. This was proven by the successful use by Israel and by the Desert Storm operation by the United States.[5]

See also


External links

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