Inside the wild kingdom of the world’s newest and most spectacular species of unmanned aircraft, from swarming insect ’bots that can storm a burning building to a seven-ton weaponized spyplane invisible to radar
New breeds of winged beasts are lurking in the skies. Bearing names like Reaper, Vulture and Demon, they look nothing like their feathered brethren. Better known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, these strange and wily birds are quietly infiltrating vast swaths of airspace, from battlefields to backyards.
With hundreds of different species, from spy craft to airborne sheepherders, UAVs have in the past decade morphed into a full-blown kingdom of creatures deserving of its own taxonomy. Here is our complete guide.
Inside the wild kingdom of the world’s newest and most spectacular species of unmanned aircraft, from swarming insect ’bots that can storm a burning building to a seven-ton weaponized spyplane invisible to radar By Eric Hagerman
While the English use their UAVs to covertly spy on their own citizens, the Scots have leveraged the technology for a much greater social good: helping them beat the snot out of those southern wankers on the rugby pitch.
A general in command of U.S. Army training says that a new generation of video-gaming, computer-savvy but less physically fit soldiers will no longer learn how to disembowel an enemy with a bayonet. The passing of the old infantry standby may simply reflect a modern battlefield that has become both more tech-heavy and more tactically complex, according to AP and other news sources.
Finding and capturing insurgents behind deadly roadside bomb attacks has proven tricky, but an ex-U.S. Air Force officer says that airships could have deployed as early as 2006 to provide steady surveillance that can track bombers back to their lairs. Now he has gone public with his criticism of how the Air Force shunted aside airships in favor of preserving the roles of aircraft and satellites -- an action that he says cost the lives of warfighters.
Judgment Day has come for the machines, or at least two robotic warriors once slated for the U.S. military's arsenal. The budget cut casualties include a mine-sniffing, six-wheeled transport called the MULE, and an autonomous helicopter called the Fire Scout, according to The Hill.
A growing swarm of drones keep watch on the battlefield, but military analysts struggle to watch every second of live surveillance footage so that they can quickly pass on warnings about ambushes or possible targets to warfighters. Now the U.S.
Flying alongside drones might seem a bit strange for U.S. Army chopper pilots, but it has major payoffs. The U.S. Army found that a mixed flight force of manned and unmanned helicopters could locate and kill 90 percent of targets, compared to manned helicopter forces that located just 70 percent of targets, according to DOD Buzz.
For the FAA, it's not the flying that keeps regular joes out of the sky. It's the landing and the navigating. Dealing with air traffic control is so attention consuming and complex that large planes require multiple crewmen, and single-pilot planes have significant restrictions and where and when they can fly.
However, a new flight management system (FMS) created by GE may automate so much of the navigation and landing that commercial flights could use only a single pilot, and the rest of us could get cleared to use flying cars.
The use of drone aircraft for surveillance and bombing has transformed how the US wages war -- a fact not lost on our cunning adversaries. Rather than just sit around, waiting for the next Predator missile strike, insurgents in Iraq have devised a way to intercept the video feed from drone sensors, giving them the same view as the drone's operator. And they did it with a $26 piece of software.