19 January 2006

Robotic Helicopters

Unlike the military's unmanned airplane programs which appear to be in a bit of turmoil, the joint Army-Navy unmanned helicopter program, called the MQ-8 Fire Scout, are progressing well.

The Fire Scout, developed from Schweizer’s Model 330P manned light helicopter, can carry a variety of surveillance sensors and has demonstrated the ability to fire 2.75-inch rockets. The B model will have a 600-pound payload, Paynter said, enabling it to carry supplies to Army Special Forces teams operating in dangerous areas.

The cynic in me thinks that this may have a lot to do with the development work going on just down the road from the Pentagon, making it easier for procurement managers to supervise the project.

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