The Air Force has deployed them to monitor military movements in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Philippines. The CIA dispatched one recently to kill a suspected al-Qaeda leader in Yemen.
Now the Coast Guard is planning to bring the latest in battlefield technology to the waters off Florida.
The maritime service, set to join the new Department of Homeland Security, is planning to deploy flying drones, remote-controlled aircraft similar to those now used for wartime surveillance, to patrol the nation's coastal regions for security threats. Officials say the unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, will enable them to extend their reach into offshore waters by monitoring larger areas less expensively and more efficiently.
The rapidly emerging technology gained prominence last month when the CIA used a Predator drone outfitted with a Hellfire missile to blow up suspected al-Qaeda operative Qaed Salim Sinan...