Drug runners and pirates beware: a Navy helicopter drone made its first official drug bust on April 3. The U.S. Navy Fire Scout stealthily tailed a "go-fast" boat suspected of carrying narcotics for three hours, and captured video of the boat's refueling rendezvous with a fishing vessel. Not a bad outcome for started as a "routine test flight," according to Navy reports.
The quiet drone surveillance eventually allowed the guided-missile frigate USS McInerney and its detachment of U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement to move in for the seizure. The drug runners dumped perhaps 440 pounds into the water, but the Navy ship still nabbed about 132 pounds.
The MQ-8B drone has been aboard the USS McInerney since October 2009, and the Navy plans to have more operating on the high seas in the near future. The U.S. Army initially had its own order for the helicopter drone, but that version was terminated in a slew of budget cuts.
Still, it's just one part of a growing unmanned sky swarm, given that the U.S. has also deployed Reaper drones to search for pirates in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Marine Corps has been testing its own unmanned K-MAX helicopter as an aerial mule which can move 3,000 pounds across 600 miles.
If DARPA gets its way, we might see drones flying off of self-assembling naval bases in the imagined future.
[via Ares Defense Blog]
Very cool :) and maybe the beginning of Skynet...
Man, that's cool, but all it makes me think, is that means even less cocaine is going to be shipped across the Caribbean, and even more will be shipped by land through Mexico, where i live. Which means the war on drugs in Mexico is going to get even more violent. 18,000 dead so far, in just over 3 years.
I like drones.
Those are gonna be some high fish.
Uh...a guided missile frigate was there and it didn't shoot any missiles at it? why the heck not?
drug smugglers don't need due process or rights. just like pirates, they should get hanged in the open seas...
is that necessary?
yes, yes it is.
Screw the missile frigate, the drone should have had its own missiles and blown the drugs to high hell, screw drug runners. They kill thousands with their drugs only for profit