Rise of the machines

| September 23, 2008

From Military.com (emphasis mine):

A Virginia-based company is hoping to test-fly a vertical take-off and landing drone before the end of this year that, ultimately, could do triple duty as strike vehicle, medevac or special ops insertion/extraction plane.

The Excalibur is currently being developed as an armed, tactical unmanned aerial vehicle by Aurora Flight Sciences of Manassas, Va., capable of carrying Hellfire anti-tank missiles and Viper Strike missiles. The Hellfire is currently mounted on Predator UAVs, while Viper Strike missiles are used for strikes on the Army’s RQ-5B Hunter UAV, both fixed wing aircraft requiring traditional runway take-offs and landings.

Excalibur anticipates giving the Army — if it chooses to follow through in developing the weapons system — a way of delivering strikes with a VTOL-capable UAV, according to Tim Dawson-Townsend, Excalibur program manager.

The plane uses a turbine-electric hybrid propulsion system for VTOL capability and a turbine engine for horizontal flight, according to Excalibur’s specs. Because the plane’s flight control system would operate with a high level of autonomy, it would not be remotely controlled. The focus of the operators would be on mission planning, locating and engaging targets, the company says.

Didn’t we see these in “Terminator 3”? Hat tip to io9.com.  ..bruce w..

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Category: Avionics, Information Technology, Main, Military, Robots

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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