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Raytheon Killer Bee UAV  (Source: Popular Mechanics)
Another big contract is on the line for Boeing

Boeing is already locking horns with Northrop Grumman/EADS over the U.S. Air Force decision to choose an Airbus A330-based tanker over a design based on the Boeing 767. It now looks as though Boeing may be in for another fight in a military segment in which it has dominated for some time:  unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the Navy and Marine Corps.

Popular Mechanics is reporting that Raytheon is stepping into the ring with its Killer Bee. The Killer Bee, thanks to the Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System program, is taking direct aim at Boeing's ScanEagle (and its many variants) which is a military favorite.

Civilian versions of the Killer Bee have been used to track icebergs according to Popular Mechanics. The Killer Bee has a wingspan of ten feet and has a range of over 100 miles. The vehicle can carry a payload of 30 pounds, can reach a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet and travel at 105 knots. Raytheon also brags that its militarized Killer Bee can carry more cargo that Boeing's competing ScanEagle and has provisions for infrared feeds and precision munitions.

Unmanned vehicles are becoming more commonplace in today’s U.S. military. The computerized platforms can perform many of the same tasks performed by manned platforms and have the advantage of keeping human soldiers out of harm’s way.

The Army has already seen its use of UAVs skyrocket over the past year. The vehicles have even taken part in military operations including one well-publicized incident where a Hunter MQ-5B/C "took out" two enemy insurgents in September 2007.

Other unmanned vehicles in the military's fleet include the iRobot SUGV Early with its REDOWL system and the BAE Systems Black Knight Armored Combat Vehicle (ACV). Northrop Grumman also has a $636 million contract to develop its X-47B into an unmanned bomber.

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By Hare on 3/18/2008 8:20:17 AM , Rating: 6
After seeing this video of the Big Dog, these "kites" just don't seem cool any more...

RE: Boring
By Proteusza on 3/18/2008 9:08:03 AM , Rating: 2
That "Big Dog" robot is so freaky. The noise it makes reminds me of a swarm of bees.

They could dress it up in camouflage like a native mammal, and you would need to be close to it to tell that it was not in fact a mammal at all. Pretty scary.

I, for one, welcome our new robot masters.

RE: Boring
By Schrag4 on 3/18/2008 12:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
I think you meant:

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords .

I could be wrong, but I'm a bit of a fanatic, and that episode is probably in my top 5. My favorite episode containst the following quote (among probably 20 other well known quotes):

Never mind the fog! (sniffs) That way!

RE: Boring
By tedrodai on 3/19/2008 10:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
Never mind the fog! (sniffs) That way!

Uh...never heard that one.

RE: Boring
By Schrag4 on 3/19/2008 5:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
5th season. Probably the greatest season for the show. If you're not familiar with that season (and the few seasons around it) then I'd dare to say that you've missed out on the vast majority of great episodes.

RE: Boring
By Ringold on 3/18/2008 7:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
That is the best value from my tax money I've seen in a long time, something that agile and life-like for only $10m!

I must say, I'm disappointed though that when that guy kicked it that it didn't kick him back. Then again.. I suppose that would represent the start of our demise if it did.

RE: Boring
By Ryanman on 3/22/2008 4:06:32 AM , Rating: 2
well it can hold 300 pounds. Add in a m249 and some armor and in five years of drive program enchancements you have a hunter-killer drone.
And everyone is STILL sure that our government is looking out for us. A pair of these in the woodlands would be able to kill any sort of insurrection. bu huhuhuh. How are you supposed to kill a faster, smarter, heavily armored version of that?

RE: Boring
By Ryanman on 3/22/2008 4:13:15 AM , Rating: 2
barring of course, 5 rpg's in a corkscrew on easy.

RE: Boring
By BruceLeet on 3/22/2008 1:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
Like the other comments in that link, I felt bad for the thing when he kicked it over I mean it literally looked so life-like, that looks exactly like what a dog would do if you gave it a good shove in that manner, lower its body and regain its footing.

Im gonna found my organization today called PETR, People for the Ethical Treatment of Robots.

Points for cool factor, but...
By Fnoob on 3/17/2008 9:41:15 PM , Rating: 2
100mile range and only 30lbs of cargo doesn't sound terribly impressive. I'm far too lazy to look up the specs, but I recall the Predator staying aloft much, much longer and carrying Hellfire missles (not especially light) among others (500lb bombs?>).

Serious points for looking way cooler than the predator tho.

RE: Points for cool factor, but...
By See Spot Run on 3/17/2008 10:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's called the Predator "B", or Reaper.
An MQ-9 with two 1,000 pound (450 kilogram) external fuel tanks and a thousand pounds of munitions has an endurance of 42 hours

From Wikipedia:

It's also much much bigger than this "killer Bee", having a wingspan of 66 feet, and needing to take off from a runway. This UAV, from the picture, looks like it needs very little room.

By See Spot Run on 3/17/2008 11:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
Darn it, where's the edit button?

Taking a closer look at the picture, you can see the guy in the background. The fact that this thing is launched from a trailer no doubt towed behind a Humvee should give some size perspective.

And yes, I know how much hatred some have for Wikipedia. But since I'm not debating the universe or quantum mechanics, I think it will suffice for the task at hand.

RE: Points for cool factor, but...
By whirabomber on 3/18/2008 7:12:14 AM , Rating: 2
Actually they aren't competing with the predator...

RE: Points for cool factor, but...
By tastyratz on 3/19/08, Rating: 0
RE: Points for cool factor, but...
By elessar1 on 3/24/2008 11:13:37 AM , Rating: 2
you forgot LAPD...

worst predator movie ever...

For civilians too:
By Clauzii on 3/17/2008 9:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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