The Iranian government announced earlier in the year it has started UAV development

Iran remains a nation closely watched by the United States and the rest of the western world, especially now that the country is developing a more sophisticated unmanned drone program. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is concerned with the progress of Iranian drone development, and there is a growing concern the drone technology could be sold to terrorist groups.

"Countries like Iran are developing their own UAVs and already have a UAV capability," said Gates, speaking in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  "That is a concern, because it is one of these areas where -- if they chose to, in Iraq, in Afghanistan -- they could create difficulties for us."

The country began development in February, seeking to manufacture "advanced" UAVs able to conduct surveillance and coordinated strikes.  Furthermore, if the country is successful in developing nuclear weapons, there is a grave concern the drones could one day be used to attack major targets.  

Even so, the U.S. military has an advanced air fleet that should be capable of shooting down the drones according to military analysts.

The U.S. military continually uses UAVs in coordinated airstrikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, with the Pakistani military expected to receive UAV technology from the U.S.  Russia also is developing advanced UAVs for future use, with European news reports specifically mentioning their use to prevent attacks from terrorists based in Chechnya.

It's also possible UAVs will be used to patrol the Somali coast to help locate and identify pirates before they are able to hijack commercial vessels. 

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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