Why drones won't be taking over our wars anytime soon
By C.J. ChiversPosted 04.23.2012 at 9:50 am 22 Comments
Early in 2008 on the Black Sea coast, a Georgian drone flying over the separatist enclave of Abkhazia transmitted an instantaneous artifact from the age of human flight—the video record of its own destruction by an attacking fighter jet. What happened that day was born of incendiary post-Soviet politics. The Kremlin backed Abkhazia and was furious that Georgia had bought surveillance drones to watch over the disputed ground. Georgia's young government flaunted its new fleet, bullhorning to diplomats and to journalists like me what the drones were documenting of Russia's buildup to war.
For everyone looking to go to Tosche station to pick up some power converters, your ride may be here sooner than you think. The Israeli aerospace company Urban Aeronautics has posted pics of its curiously landspeeder-like UAV, as well as news of the craft's first successful lift off.
Now, before dreams of tagging womp rats overtake your feeble imagination, note that the craft, called an AirMule, only managed to get 2 feet off the ground. Still, considering the machine was only concept art in 2008, that's pretty good.
After almost 15 years of spying on America's enemies, and occasionally blowing them up, the venerable Predator and Reaper drones currently used by the Air Force will have to be replaced, sooner or later. The Pentagon has put out a contract for the next generation of UAVs, and Stephen Trimble of The DEW Line has the first shots of Lockheed Martin's stealthy entry, the MQ-X.
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