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back to article Brit forces get hoverstare ducted-fan droid

The British armed forces are purchasing innovative backpackable ducted-fan hoverbots, intending to use them for checking ahead of ground convoys on the dangerous roads and tracks of Afghanistan. In you go, little guy - we're right behind you. The machines in question are the well-known Honeywell Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), known …

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/obligatory Simpsons quote

Commander to graduating cadets:

"The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea.

They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall

mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by

small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is

clear: To build and maintain those robots. Thank you."

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Looks just like a UFO

Were they testing or training with one of these in Lincolnshire the other day?

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Stop

Targetted funds

All the money spent on all these fantastically clever new ways to fight and kill people. Wouldn't it be cool if we could just spend some of it on becoming their friends instead??

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"...

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Coat

Scare

They should put a white sheet on top to scare the insurgents into thinking it's a ghost so that they don't just blow it out the sky with a well aimed shot.

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Anonymous Coward

Are those little hooks on the bottom?

if so, I may just have found the perfect way to get a curry without having to leave the house

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I, for one,

wecome our squirty ducted fan (h)overlords

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You must be joking

Amazing, $5.7 million (£3.8 million) for 5 systems!

Off the shelf model helicopter kit (from a good model shop) plus everything needed to get it into the air - less than £1,000. Add to that video capability for, lets say, another £1,000 and you have a somewhat cheaper solution. Christ, for £2k it's a throw away system compared to the T-Hawk. In fact, at £2k a time you could have almost 2000 of them....

Having flown model helicopters myself and as I'm looking for a job at the moment then, for a reasonable salary and a bit of help, I'll build and fly the first AND I'll train others to do the same.

Offers? Seriously, the Register knows how to get hold of me. <GRIN>

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@ Joe K

ah beaten to it i doth my cap sir

im sure the taliban will welcome their new hoverbot masters with a well placed RPG ;-)

what still no ROTM icon el reg for shame!

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Anonymous Coward

@Anonymous. Curry?

Tip the curry into the fan to simulate the state of my bathroom post Biryani/beer binge. I reckon I could hover to 7 thousand feet as well.

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Black Helicopters

FAIL!

Mark Thomas bough a cheap remote control helicopter, mounted a cheap radio camera on the bottom and flew it over a british Amry base where nukes were supposedly no longer being stored.

I think it cost him a couple of hundred quid. And that was several years ago.

The british army should just hire the guy who won Robot wars 5 years on the trot with "Chaos II" and get him to knock something up for £75.

in fact, it's just a matter of time before chinease firm starts knocking something similar out for a tenner and flogging them on ebay.

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'T-Hawk'?

"Honeywell Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), known to the US Army as Future Combat Systems Class 1 UAV and commercially as "T-Hawk". "

Nah, I would expect our troops to be a bit more realistic with the name.

Micro Air Vehicle 1 System or 'Mavis'. None of yer ' future combat systems' rubbish - though it could end up as 'FUCT'.

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Black Helicopters

One fatal flaw:

It's gonna be a bit of a tell when they fly it over loose dirt, and it kicks up a cloud like a leaf blower. Which, actually, leads to a second question--- does it sound like a leaf blower?

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Coat

Imperial Recon Droid

More to the point, didn't Han Solo and Chewbacca take one of these out on Hoth in the Empire Strikes Back?

Mine's the fur lined one with built in hood and goggles with the laser crossbow.

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Battlefield 2142

That little hover thingy almost looks like it was copied from the game.

Does that mean they have a capsule-launching APV in the works ? Not to mention plasma rifles.

Ooh, is war going to become cool again ?

<shuddering at what I just said>

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@You must be joking

Well, you've (almost) got the right name for it (Sorry, sure that's not the first time you've heard it)

Anyway, is anyone else reminded of the probes the Empire sent onto Hoth in Empire Strikes Back? No? Ok, just me then...

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Anonymous Coward

What on earth has happened?

In the good old days we'd just capture a few dozen of the enemy and make them walk in front of our vehicles across their "mine" fields. Political correctness gone mad I call it. And don't start blithering about the Geneva Convention, because it's actually on my side in this. Yes it is, show me a Taliban fighter in a uniform. If they aren't wearing a military uniform we're allowed to kill them for being spies.

Tell you what, ask a few Afghans whose children have been split apart by roadside bombs if this is an acceptable use of Taliban prisoners. I pretty sure local opinion would be firmly on our side.

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Exterminate!

wow, unlike Brit-Bots in the past, our version has no problems with stairs! :)

But how much should we charge you to mount the plunger and cake mixer? You'll have to provide your own voice synthesizer and halves of table-tennis balls.:)

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Pirate

RE: Nathan Hobbs - failure to read?

I doubt if Mark Thomas's hobbie chopper has the range for forty-five miles or can transmit an encrypted video signal back to the controller. And you also failed to read the bit about how a ducted fan means the T-Hawk can go into enclosed spaces without the danger of the rotor blades hitting anything and crashing the drone.

Having said that, the individual cost seems excruciatingly high, even if as I suspect a lot of that covers clever coms gear rather than just the motor and duct. I can see the advantages for sending the T-Hawk into enclosed spaces, but seeing as it's so pricey I doubt if anyone will risk doing so, which kinda ruins the point. Surely a flight of Robinson R-22s ($240,000 new to the public) with supporting crews would be cheaper, and they can carry real people as well as cameras and sensors, and still be carried around on a medium-sized truck. In fact, my fave carplane the Parajet Skycar would seem to offer even better value, and could roll along the roads under their own steam when not flying ahead to scout for bad guys.

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How long until we have those...

flying cyber-dealybobs (used a technical term there) from "The Terminator" movies? Those would seem to be useful enough that we can disband our militaries and put the robots in charge...wait a second......

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One thing to remember...

...is that these prices usually include more than just the hardware, and aren't comparable to the price you'd see buying a stick of ram off newegg. They're more of a TCO-type thing, if I'm not mistaken.

Not to mention the fact that the specs of these are probably just slightly different than Mr. Sargent's brilliant $4,000 version - you might as well claim to be able to build an F1 car by saying, "Well, it's just a chassis and a big engine, right? I could put one together for fifty k! After all, I built a Formula Ford car once..."

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Coat

I reckon a shotgun would deal to one of those.

You can just see some of the posher bits of the army putting an order in for a brace of Purdeys.

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How long ...

... before the UK Police realise that Tasers are not enough? They'll want Taser-equipped hoverbots!

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bad idea

oops, don't go giving the venerable mad Jaquie any ideas there...

anyhow, my thoughts are that this whole line of expenditure is a farce in the face of the thousands loosing jobs, houses and everything. how do gvt get to spend so much money on this?.. oh, forgot, budget (our tax money). nevermind all this bailout nonsense and economic crisis, eh?

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