In Afghanistan, supply convoys have been a favorite target of insurgent fighters, not only because they make warfighting possible for troops at forward operating bases but also because they are so very vulnerable to ambushes and IEDs. But on Saturday, NATO logisticians hit a major milestone in Afghanistan, reaching out and touching one of the holy grails of robotic warfare when an unmanned K-MAX helicopter successfully delivered a sling-load of beans, bullets, and band-aids to an unspecified base for the first time.
Reportedly that first flight, along with a few in-theater test flights that preceded it last week, is part of a run-up to regular operations using the K-MAX, which is manufactured by Kaman Aerospace. The 2.5-ton, GPS-guided K-MAX can heft 3.5 tons of cargo about 250 miles up and over the rugged and mountainous terrain of Afghanistan across which NATO troops are scattered.
That's important. IED and ambush risk aside, the terrain in Afghanistan isn't always conducive to overland resupply. And putting choppers in the air introduces a whole new set of problems, including the risk of being shot down (or simply crashing). It also means you need to have a rested flight crew that hasn't already maxed out its flight hours for a given period.
Automated GPS-guided helos can fly around the clock and do the bulk of their resupply at night since they don't necessarily need to actually "see" anything. In fact, Danger Room reports that the Marine's plan to run K-MAX mostly at night and mostly at high altitudes to keep it away from small arms fire. Because even unmanned aerial systems don't like taking casualties.
this is how we should do the war: behind a pc screen with a beer ^^
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
They've obviously never played any strategic simulation games. What happens when you shoot down enemy supply drones? You get free supplies.
They should make these look like UFO's. Instead of shooting at them with guns, maybe the insurgent fighters will use their cell phones and take pictures. Okay, maybe not...
In space, no one can hear a tree fall in the forest.
Next goal for the Iranians to hack and spoof the GPS system of these robotic automated helicopters and have them land in their back yard getting free helicopters and supplies!
Huh. I wonder how difficult it is to conduct sling load operations when there isn't a pilot to communicate with. Makes the job of the Pathfinder or Air Assault qualified service member harder I would think. It's been a couple years since I did my last sling load OP and directed a bird, I suppose the UAV pilot can see everything through his camera though.
@elchan...obviously you don't realize a manned helicopter delivering supplies getting shot down would have the same outcome as a drone helicopter delivering supplies getting shot down, oh yah, except human casualties vs no casualties, negative cheers
elchan, to answer your question.
"....Marine’s plan to run K-MAX mostly at night and mostly at high altitudes to keep it away from small arms fire...."
Of course shooting at any plane that is at night and at high altitude, the shooter will not know if it is manned or not.
Science sees no further than what it can sense.
Religion sees beyond the senses.