I will be the first to tell you that I am not 100% keen on UAVs. There is no substitute for a pilot in an aircraft and doing the flying him/her self. There is no substitute for the situational awareness of actually being in the aircraft. I can not imagine replacing a close air support aircraft like an A-10 with a CUAV...there is just too much to see. and what is next? replacing a C-130 with a UAV? I could not imagine flying that thing behind a screen...there is just so much to smell and feel in that aircraft.
UAVs have been with us for decades...from the old Ryan's Firebees (BQM-34 series) launched from old DC-130s to the big-mamma D-21 launched from the SR-71 (M-21)mothership.
Where UAVs shine in my book...keeping the ground troops out of harms way while collecting recon. Thank God for these little guys...
FAS.ORG's Posting of the UAV ROADMAP 2005
This is a nice little guide for those of us who are interested in learning a bit more about these little (and some not so little) things.