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Artist rendering of the X-47B in combat  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  (Source: Northrop Grumman)
Northtrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy will fly the X-47B in late 2009

The U.S. military is furthering its funding of unmanned vehicles for combat. Just last week, DailyTech reported on the U.S. Army's new SWORDS unmanned robots which roam the Iraqi battlefield carrying M249 machines guns -- and in turn put human soldiers out of harm's way. The military's latest unmanned project leaves the desert behind in order to take to the skies.

The U.S. Navy on Friday awarded Northrop Grumman a six-year, $635.8 million USD contract to further develop the X-47B fixed-wing unmanned air system (UAS). The funding for the Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program will allow Northrop Grumman to conduct take-offs and landings from the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

"We are proud of our legacy of innovation and creativity in developing new combat capabilities and are pleased to be selected to lead this revolutionary advancement in unmanned systems capabilities," said Northrop Grumman's Scott Seymour.

"The UCAS-D award is the culmination of several years of effort with the Navy to show the benefit of melding the capabilities of a survivable, persistent, long-range UCAS with those of the aircraft carrier," continued Northrop Grumman's Gary Ervin. "The UCAS-D program will reduce the risk of eventual integration of unmanned air systems into carrier environments."

Northrop Grumman will build two X47-B aircraft for the U.S. Navy -- the first of which will take flight during the closing months of 2009. The company expects to begin the first carrier landings in 2011.

The X-47B, a sister-ship to the X-47A, has a cruising altitude of 40,000+ feet and a combat radius of 1,500 nautical miles. The stealthy vehicle can carry an internal payload of 4,500 pounds and can travel at high subsonic speeds.



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some imagination...
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/6/2007 2:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
I imagine wars where the objective is to jam the other's remote controlling capability and to turn their hardware against the other selves.
Anyways, manned or not, their also unmanned bombs are going to explode in places where "human existence is different from zero", so do not mistake this, such a weapon allows less life losses from one side, but helps maximize the losses on the other side.

Wars are and will always be a practical demonstration of the human incapability to communicate properly.




RE: some imagination...
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 2:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wars are and will always be a practical demonstration of the human incapability to communicate properly.


Really? Where was the failure to communicate in either World War? Negotiation was attempted and failed. Attempted for far to long no less. If that attitude was followed, the entire world would be speaking German. And thats only if you don't look at the centuries of war from the past.

No. War is necessary at times. You can either do whatever you're told and just let whose who try to oppress you do so. Or you can fight back. War is also necessary to prevent greater evil. We could have not attacked Iraq. And let the human atrocities happening there continue. And let Saddam continue to try and acquire weapons (we might not have found them. but if you believe he didn't or at least wasn't trying to acquire them, you're an idiot). But that wouldn't have taken an evil dictator who killed hundreds of thousands out of power. Sure it might not have been our business, affected us at all, or made people like us any more. But it was the right thing to do.

If you wanted to put a generalization on war though, its that it shows the greed in mankind. Any major war thats ever taken place has been about greed. Desire for more land or raw materials.

But that doesn't mean all war is evil. If not for war, the United States wouldn't exist. Neither would most of the countries in Europe. Or Asia. At some point in nearly every countries history, they've had to fight for their freedom.


RE: some imagination...
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/6/2007 4:25:39 PM , Rating: 1
That's a misconception.
Try to negotiate does not imply communication, or will to understand, or even will to solve the problems out in a civilized manner.
War has happened, but not because it was necessary but rather because no possible way was found or attempted to be found to try avoiding it.
If a war starts, it's just because no attempt was hard enough to prevent it.

The fact that almost no country in today's world would exist if not thanks to wars, does not mean that war should keep on being necessary for the mankind.

Humanity used to do many things in many ways that now are just plain anachronistic and utterly inadequate, that's part of our development as a race.
Learning from past mistakes is the way to go, making sure that we're going to repeat them is not.

I don't think humanity is ready for peace just yet, but same day it will, or at least, will need to be in order to avoid auto extinction, which would be the most idiotic thing to happen to an "intelligent" race.


RE: some imagination...
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 6:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yes...Europe wanted two World Wars. In which tens of millions of people were killed.

You said it yourself. Sometimes there is no way of averting war. You can choose to either fight, or not to. In the case of the World Wars, there was no choice but to fight or to be conquered. Perhaps all of Europe should have just chosen to be conquered because Germany felt it was the supreme race that should rule over all others. It would have averted war right?

Since you have all the answers though. How would you propose to solve the situation in Iraq? Pull all US troops out? Will that stop the religious killings and political fighting? No. But hey. Then the US isn't at war with Iraq and its ok. Maybe all the minority religious sects should just get on their knees and let those who wish to kill them for believing differently do so. That will stop that fighting. Hundreds of thousands will die needlessly but hey, then theres no war.

Any time that someone wants to kill you for your beliefs or take from you that which is yours, war is necessary. Whether its between two people, or two major countries. Yes one day perhaps mankind will be above that. But that is not today.


RE: some imagination...
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/7/2007 9:27:19 AM , Rating: 2
In the case of Iraq, do you really think it's because of religion and internal Iraq's policies? (which, by itself, would be quite silly... I thought the inquisition times were long overdue)
Do you actually believe that the USA started that war at Iraq (and for the sake of it, the previous Persian gulf war, too...) because of humanitarian intentions?
Don't you smell any bit of oil there?

In Africa there are still tribes in which their religion says they should cut a woman's clitoris when she's born because it is something bad and the USA does not engage into a war with them.
Not even does the USA try to go and convince them that what they do is plain abusive. Or does it?
In the case of WW2, Germany was the offensive party that started the war moves, the targeted ones needed to take a defensive approach first.
As on any other war, www2 was also fought because of concrete, material interests, be it economical expansion or defence from invasion.
Iraq was neither invading nor threatening the USA directly, so USA's actions were not defensive but offensive.
You can choose weather to be an offender or not, the most difficult choice is to decide weather to stay with your arms crossed while you're being offended, or to defend yourself by attacking back.

I'm not at all for Saddam, he preferred to face a much greater force like the USA and jeopardizing Iraq's population when they had no chance of winning, than to say something like
"hey, I don't have any nuclear weapons facility here, come take a look and see for yourself..." (in some unofficial communications not controlled by the USA, this was said to be true
but the USA didn't accept that kind of answer and went on with the war anyway)...
The question is, why does the USA care what kind of weapons other countries do have, is USA the only country allowed to build and create any kind of weapon known or not to imagination?
Why didn't the USA start a war with China when they recognized they had nuclear technology and didn't mean to stop building nuclear weapons at all?
Could USA easily wipe China of the map as they did with Iraq?
What about the almost 2 billion Chinese in the world, many of them spread out everywhere?
Can they be stopped so easily, specially when China is beginning to profile itself as the most powerful economy in the world?
The obvious answer is NO. USA won't attack when projected possible losses seem higher than possible wins. I'm not saying that's bad, just that if USA does "humanitarian warfare", and they believe the
Chinese are evil because of their nuclear technology, they should engage in war and see how well the USA could withstand the backfire.

It's well known that the USA's economy was always activated and strengthened by war, production ramps up, warfare labours give lots of job positions not only in the battlefield but
also in science, technological and technical matters and the whole industry instantly jumps on the war bandwagon...
But does this keep on being so valid in today's world? USA's financials aren't looking very bright and this last Iraq war didn't do anything to help....

And please, stop with those comments like "if you think [something you don't like here], then you're an idiot" or "you seem to have all the answers", and crap like that.
I'm neither being offensive to you nor taking this as a personal thing...
If you think you're right and I'm not, you can make your point without needing to start a personal attack on he who thinks different than you do.
Everybody of us would like the whole world to think like oneself does, but that's neither realistic nor attainable, the only thing we can choose
about that is the way we cope with it... And at least for me, violence is not the correct answer.
I'm not the enemy, I'm just someone who likes to exchange ideas ;)

PS: no, I don't have all the answers, and I don't have any problem on standing corrected once I found the counter arguments to my ideas solid enough to make me change my mind. Your arguments by now are as convincing to me as mine seem to be to you. And that doesn't bother me at all. Not every argument ends in agreement, but with an open enough mind, you at least end up knowing about thoughts very different to the ones you have, and if you're open enough, you can even try to understand them even if you don't like them at all...


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