There seems to be a fair amount of buzz on unmanned military drones. Many soldiers love them and swear by them. Many US citizens couple them with their dislike of the war and cite the many civilian casualties associated with them. Whatever your opinion, they are mean fighting machines. Capable of long stakeouts, detailed video, and precise strikes. Perhaps that's why the civilian casualties are so alarming. We expect perfection from our robots even as the people giving the order to fire are only human.
Unmanned helicopters have been an interesting technology to watch. Some manufacturers have taken existing helicopters and retrofitted them to be remotely pilotable. Others have done the development from the ground up. Now NAVAIR has issued a request for proposals for cargo carrying unmanned helicopters and the Marines have done the same.
If anyone wondered what was going to happen to all these drones when the Afghanistan war eventually slows down I think we have our answer. We can expect to see them carrying things and doing reconaissance missions. Drones have been able to survey the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, sweep over the fire-prone areas out west looking for new outbreaks, and even fly over the gulf mapping the spread of the oil spill. Now those same drones might be able to drop much needed supplies to people in remote areas of disaster zones where weather or prep time for mobilization might have prevented a human pilot from flying. It is a hopeful thing I think.