It’s one of the most dangerous missions on the modern battlefield — and one of the most important. Crews flying big, vulnerable and sometimes unarmed helicopters brave gunfire, bad weather and rugged terrain to snatch wounded troops from a firefight or the scene of a bomb blast.
Archived posts with tag ‘robot’
Video: HDT Protector
Video outtakes from the U.S. Army’s Robotics Rodeo at Ft. Benning last month.
Armed Predator over Illinois?
As pointed out by David Cenciotti, here’s a video apparently showing an ARMED MQ-1 Predator drone flying near Chicago. Could be real. Could be fake.
Flashback to MIT’s ‘Flip Drone’
A reminder from reader Mike Pearson that MIT tested a “flipping” vertical-takeoff drone five years before the Navy’s and Aerovel’s Flexrotor.
It’s been less than a month since the Marines flew their first robotic supply helicopter on its debut combat mission in Afghanistan. Already, the amphibious combat branch is working on the next generation of pilotless cargo copter — one that’s an order of magnitude more sophisticated, and can be controlled by an iPad or other tablet.
Pakistan is still blockading NATO war supplies passing through the port of Karachi in response to last month’s killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by an alliance air strike. But inside Afghanistan, supply lines are about to get a lot safer for NATO’s logisticians. On Saturday, the Marine Corps flew history’s very first combat resupply mission using a robot helicopter. The unmanned Kaman K-MAX successfully hauled a sling-load of cargo out to an unspecified base, presumably somewhere in southern Afghanistan.
At the Network Integration Exercise in El Paso today, the Army tested out a Raven drone fitted with a new software-defined radio. The radio allows the Raven to retransmit radio broadcasts, boosting the reach of the Army’s battlefield network.
Twentieth-century innovations like pilot training and mechanized-infantry maneuvers led to the vast expansion of military training bases, and big, remote bombing ranges in the West became testing grounds for the Bomb itself. After World War II, the vast reaches of the Pacific soon became the only place to test the really big bombs; during the years of atmospheric testing the Pacific Proving Ground was blasted with more than 100 megatons of nuclear fire.
The U.S. Navy has sent drone helicopters into combat over Libya, a major advancement for a sea service that previously was reluctant to embrace robotic systems.
Wheeled robots are nothing new. Flying bots are old-hat, too. But this is new: a dumbbell-shaped hybrid bot that can roll on thin, end-mounted wheels … and also fly with two sets of counter-rotating chopper blades, as depicted in the video above.
A fast, stealthy fighter. An aircraft carrier. A heavily-armed attack helicopter. Satellites, satellite-killers and maybe even a rocket-powered space plane. After a decade of meteoric economic growth and expanding global ambitions, China now has weapons to match the U.S. in almost every category.