If reports from Fox News are correct, the "Beast" is out of the bag. U.S. military sources appear to be confirming reports--first circulated yesterday by Iranian state media--that Iran has in its possession one of America's most sophisticated pieces of stealth technology: the RQ-170 drone, a.k.a. "the Beast of Kandahar" (the same drone that provided support for the Osama bin Laden mission back in May). U.S. military sources have confirmed that the Iranians have the drone, Fox says, but say there's "absolutely no indication" it was shot down, as Iran claims.
The stealth club just keeps on growing. China's new mysterious jet prototype, thought to be a stealth fighter prototype to rival America's F-22 Raptor, made its public debut just after the New Year in a series of "leaked" photos and video clips. Now, a Japanese senior military officer says Japan will test its own homegrown stealth fighter in just three years.
Some innovations in flight are huge; for instance, this week we've already seen concepts for a flying car and caught wind of the first fully-autonomous helicopter flight.
But other aviation innovations are as simple as a fresh coat of paint. An Israeli nanotech company is claiming that it has created a special paint that makes planes, missiles, drones, and other aircraft invisible to radar.
The B-2 stealth bomber, assisted by midair refuelings, can fly a 44-hour mission to the other side of the world, take out targets using laser-guided smart munitions, then sneak out of enemy territory undetected. Yet it runs on Intel 286 processors -- state of the art in 1982, but these days, not so much.
By Gregory MonePosted 11.06.2007 at 12:26 pm 8 Comments
Though it looks like an unmanned drone, and probably a tiny one at that, the Waterspout is no flying shrimp. The autonomous craft is designed to fly up to 80 miles, pick up two passengers, and return to its starting point on the open ocean.
The small helicopter, designed by a team from Technion University in Israel and Penn State, would be able to launch from a submarine swimming 50 feet below the surface. The craft would float to the surface, deploy its blades, take off even in rough seas, and fly autonomously to pick up its passengers. And, naturally, it would also use stealth technology, since you can imagine that this robo-chopper won't be deployed for run-of-the-mill pick-ups.—Gregory Mone