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Soldier launching a Raven
The Air Force and Army continue to rely heavily on UAVs

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) remain a reliable staple in the U.S. Military's winged arsenal. The use of remote drones not only puts less expensive machinery in the air, but it also takes American pilots out of harm's way.

According to the Associated Press, the Air Force's use of UAVs doubled between the months of January and October. During that same time period, the Air Force’s use of the Predator drone increased from 2,000 hours per month to 4,300 hours per month.

The Army also saw its UAV usage increase during the past year. The Army's 361 unmanned Ravens, Shadows and Hunters combined for a total of over 300,000 hours of service through the first ten months of 2007. The Raven, the Army's air surveillance workhorse, is expected to rack up more than 300,000 hours of flying time during 2008 alone -- more than double the figure from 2007.

"I think right now the demand for the capability that the unmanned system provides is only increasing," remarked Army Col. Bob Quackenbush, deputy director for Army Aviation. "Even as the surge ends, I suspect the deployment of the unmanned systems will not go down, particularly for larger systems."

"The demand far exceeds all of the Defense Department's ability to provide (these) assets," added Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Gurgainous of the Air Force's unmanned aircraft task force. "And as we buy and field more systems, you will see it continue to go up."

UAVs saw extensive action in both Afghanistan and Iraq during 2007. A Hunter MQ-5B/C UAV dropped a bomb on two suspected enemy insurgents in early September. The Hunter MQ-5B/C has the ability to loiter in the air for 15 hours and can carry up to 260 pounds of ammunition.

Boeing also gave UAVs a boost with the announcement of the High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAV. The HALE uses a hydrogen-based Duratec 23 four-cylinder engine to power the aircraft to 65,000 feet and stay aloft for up to one week.



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Nice
By SandmanWN on 1/2/2008 9:42:14 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Boeing also gave UAVs a boost with the announcement of the High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAV. The HALE uses a hydrogen-based Duratec 23 four-cylinder engine to power the aircraft to 65,000 feet and stay aloft for up to one week.

Now thats a UAV. A week at a time! Not to mention 65,000 ft. There really is no hiding with this.

Any idea if this one is going to be armed? When will it enter service?




RE: Nice
By mdogs444 on 1/2/2008 9:46:03 AM , Rating: 3
According to one of the articles linked through this DT one....

"HALE is designed to stay aloft for more than seven days and carry payloads weighing up to 2,000 pounds. Potential applications include battlefield persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, border observation, port security and telecommunications. The long endurance autonomous aircraft will be a propeller-driven, lightweight structure with a high-aspect-ratio-wing. "

It appears that its more geared towards recon and suveillance rather than being armed.


RE: Nice
By Amiga500 on 1/2/2008 10:25:51 AM , Rating: 3
There is also talk of mounting massive mirrors beneath them (the airships) and using them as reflector stations for targeting a ground based laser. In this way, several emitters could be reflected onto the same target to ensure its destruction.

It would be kinda like the old Tesla coils in C&C - only the secondary stations will be airborne and won't add to the laser.


RE: Nice
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 1/2/2008 11:38:56 AM , Rating: 2
I think its more like the Prism towers, not the Tesla Coils. See Red Alert 2.


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