Monday, June 4, 2012

Drone Deets

In the 1st decade of the new millennium, Great Satan"s spending on dozens of Drones Gone Wild projects has increased exponentially, from like $350 million in 2001 to $4.1 billion in 2011! According to a  thing filled with paper with writing all in it by the Teal Group Corporation, worldwide spending on drone technology will prob be sump like $11.4 billion by 2020!

CIC gives up the money shots on Drone chiz au courant:

Killer Drones
General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator drone (pictured) debuted during the mid-1990s, when it was deployed for surveillance and reconnaissance missions over the Balkans. Today, the Predator and its bigger, more powerful variant, the MQ-9 Reaper, are the  weapons of choice in the War on Terror. Their powerful sensors and loiter endurance of up to 40 hours enable the military and CIA to discretely take high-quality pictures and live-streaming videos, intercept cellphone conversations, and drop laser-guided missiles on enemy targets from five (Predator) to 10 (Reaper) miles above the ground.

According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Great Satan’s growing fleet of hunter-killers has carried out an estimated 272 drone strikes in Pakistan alone under 44 (compared to 52 under 43). An unknown number have also been authorized in Yemen and Somalia. While the legality and long-term effectiveness of drone strikes remain controversial, drone strikes have proven successful in eliminating many of al-Qaeda’s senior commanders – including its second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who was killed by a drone strike in northern Pakistan – and weakening its operational core.

Great Satan"s Customs and Border Protection have also started using unarmed Predators and Reapers to patrol the northern and southern borders for drug smugglers and illegal immigrants.

Tactical Military Drones 
A congressional report released in January 2012 reveals that more than one-third – or 7,494 – of American military aircraft are now unmanned. The most prolific drone is AeroVironment’s RQ-11 Raven (pictured) – there are approximately 5,346 of these aircraft.

The $56,000 hand-launched, battery-powered drone weighs 4.2 lbs. and can fly at line-of-sight ranges of up to 10 kilometres for 60 to 90 minutes at a time. Equipped with colour video and infrared cameras, soldiers on the ground use Ravens to patrol bases and convoys, explore unfamiliar territory, spot snipers and roadside bombs, and conduct other low-altitude surveillance and reconnaissance missions before they enter potentially dangerous situations.

The next generation of Ravens, currently being developed by AeroVironment and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will have both autonomous flight and precision strike capabilities.

Stealth Fighter Drones
December 2011, citizens of Cowley County, Kan., spotted what appeared to be a 30-foot wide flying saucer travelling down Highway 77 on the back of a flatbed lorry. It was soon revealed that the alien cargo was the wingless fuselage of Northrop Grumman’s most advanced stealth combat drone – the X-47B 
The X-47B program, which has cost an estimated US$813 million and consists of two nearly identical unmanned aircraft, is part of the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration program. The computer-controlled X-47B will be capable of taking off from, and landing on, the deck of an aircraft carrier, refuelling itself in flight, and conducting pre-programmed missions using GPS navigation, all without a pilot either in cockpit or on the ground. The X-47B will be equipped with numerous sensors for high surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and will have two weapons bays that together carry up to 4,500 lbs.

 Swarm Drones
In early 2012, robotics researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP lab made headlines when they released footage of their new “nano quadrotors” (pictured). The video shows one nano quadrotor doing flips and another stabilizing itself after being tossed into the air. It also shows a network of 20 nano quadrotors arranging themselves and flying in synchronized formations, including a figure-eight pattern. Each nano quadrotor is self-sensing and therefore capable of autonomously detecting and avoiding obstacles in its flight path. The goal is to combine bio-inspired drones with swarm technology to create a system of vehicles capable of operating in potentially hostile environments – like disaster areas and warzones – with little or no direct human supervision.

Larger drones can also be incorporated into swarm networks. In July 2011, for example, Boeing used two of its ScanEagle drones in a mock surveillance and reconnaissance swarm over eastern Oregon. The portable, catapult-launched drones – which have a wingspan of 10.2 ft., weigh nearly 40 lbs., and can fly as high as 16,000 ft. at 80 mph for 20 hours – simultaneously searched a test area and mapped terrain while communicating with each other, and with operators on the ground. This will improve efficiency by preventing drones from performing overlapping missions. 

Likewise, drone swarms will allow multiple drones to track a target as he or she moves in and out of a drone’s scan area, thus providing operators with better situational awareness.

Spy Drones
In 2009,  Air Force drones over Iraq and Afghanistan collected 24 years’ worth of continuous video footage. Starting this spring, the  Army’s newest unmanned spycraft will collect more than three times that amount – nearly 80 years’ worth of high-definition video – in one day.
The Boeing A-160 Hummingbird (pictured) is a 6,500-lb. helicopter-style drone that, unlike other drones, is capable of autonomous flight, hovering for extended periods of time, and vertical take-off and landing. It can fly as high as 30,000 ft. – approximately three-times higher than conventional helicopters – at speeds of up to 160 mph for 24 hours at a time.

The A-160 Hummingbird’s most coveted feature, however, is its Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance-Imaging System, or ARGUS-IS. Named after the mythological Greek hundred-eyed giant Argus Panoptes, meaning “all-seeing,” the ARGUS-IS is a 1.8 gigapixel camera system with 65 independent and steerable “windows” that allow operators to survey 36 square miles at once. This means that the A-160 Hummingbird can automatically and simultaneously track a group of individuals even when they split up and travel in many different directions.

Over the next year, the Army will deploy and test three A-160 Hummingbirds in Afghanistan. The stated uses are surveillance, reconnaissance and communications missions, target acquisition, and re-supply operations.

Supersonic Drones
DARPA launched its second test flight of a rocket-launched hypersonic drone in August 2011. The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2) (pictured), manufactured by Lockheed Martin, successfully detached from its Minotaur IV rocket and travelled over the Pacific Ocean at 20 times the speed of sound, or approximately 3.6 miles per second, for nine minutes before losing contact with ground control. The HTV-2, which has thus far cost an estimated US$320 million, is part of the U.S. government’s effort to develop technology capable of striking targets anywhere on the globe within one hour.

Pic - "30 years in the future military"


Scott McLean said...

Right now the government is replacing our rights with their wrongs. I just thought that up. Okay have a great day!