DARPA, the US military research bureau occasionally prone to embarrassing tumbles from the teetering kitchen stool of unreasonable risk while groping wildly for the inaccessible biscuit tin of technological dominance secreted atop the unscalable refrigerator of unfeasibility, has done it again. The maverick Pentagon deathnerds …
Description of DARPA, 1st Paragraph
Simply superb. Thank you.
lewis,,,you've outdone yourself again in first-paragraph joy!
How many Mexican landscapers are there in Afghanistan, that they can plant their payload masked by Juan and his leafblower?
Is this a realistic scenario?
Osama: What is that buzzing noise?
Underling: It is Faisal edging the cave lawn.
Osama: Tell him to put the curbstones back this time.
Underling: Look sir! A candygram for you was on the doorstep!
Osama: I love the ginger chockies.
I for one....
.... look forward to the day that the opening paragraph of a DARPA article is so convoluted that it fills more space than the story itself.
...why can't they find osama-bin-laden?
He's not where we're looking?
First paragraph joy
It was almost like Humph had become a defence correspondent.
Go home Lewis, your work here is done.
Stuff it doesn't do
Looks like it can't land and take off without human assistance, which isn't so surprising with the prop so close to the ground. It will need to learn how to do that before it can manage remote package delivery or pickup.
Also, notice that its handler was clutching a Radio Control transmitter? I wonder why, since it allegedly has a fully functional autopilot on board. That makes me wonder how much of those demo flights was under manual control and how much was autonomous. It looked strangely twitchy for something flown by an autopilot, especially during the transition from hover to forward flight.
But control is only electronics
Since commercial jets fly by satnav and model a/c fly by a kid with a box, there is no problem with either. It would be surprising if one of these modes were not provided.
But what happens when it lands awkwardly and falls over?
Unmanned missions with 'tech support' on standby?
I did'nt think they had managed to make it transition autonomously yet, maybe there summer has been made full of making it work. Or they are going to take $360,000 and make it happen!
What's covert about that other than, anyone within a few miles will be deaf after use? Still fair play and good effort with the navigation system
Letters, digits, yadda, yadda...
Best opening paragraph in the history of English language journalism?
Nice Tool For
* attacking armoured columns at long range. Reconnoiter the armour by something like SAR-Lupe or JSTARS, launch 5000 of the two-stokers at 400kms distance. Let the camera & some software guide them into the tanks and detonate a Panzerfaust warhead.
These aircraft are cheap and can terrorize any mobile unit. The raw numbers of attacking planes will make denfense against them very difficult. Also, they could possibly be made in stealthy and night-attack versions.
* deploying acoustic sensors
* deploying SIGINT sensors
* doing optical reconnaissance on the cheap
* deploying landmines
And I shudder to think,...
of the puns that will arise when someone named Scott Tracey takes the controls.
A Very Thin...
... wire would support small payloads. So they could be lowered without "landing" the device.
DARPA just so rocks, in a blam/splat sort of comic book way!
Updated B. H. icon please
"A V-Bat might drop down out of the sky to plant such things as remote cameras/bugs, communications relays, marker beacons, small battery powered groundcrawler or inside-buildings flybots etc etc."
It would leave special payloads behind - Bat Guano, then?
A mere pretender
With vertical takeoff, gps, spy camera and much quieter PARIS will take this toy to school. Oh being paper PARIS is not only recyclable but a few seconds with a match will dispose of any nasty spy plane evidence leaving the covert operative with nothing more than tourist gear and a cozy fire for toasting marshmallows.
It's the *combination* that's cutting edge.
VTOL UAV. So what. Basically helicopters.
But what you have here is the equivalent of the V22 Osprey.
*Without* the swiveling engine pods, bystander cooking turbine exhaust etc.
Tailsitters of various kind were tried in the 1950's.
Without computer controlled stability augmentation the control problem for a meatsack is quite *interesting* (Ejector seat required but I was never sure how well it would work. The rocket blows you 200 feet clear but you're still only about 15 feet in the air)
Simpler is *always* better. Fewer things to go wrong. Up the size of the ducted fan and up goes the payload (even more so if the duct is contoured like another DARPA project was testing).
Difficult to tell if it's *really* DARPA hard but it might be a bit more subtle than it looks. Cautious thumbs up.
Maybe im missing something here...
... but if a 10 foot wingspan bat comes flying into my window (assuming i have a window that large) i think im going to notice it leaving something behind. Not even to mention the noise. So what sort of covert payload can something this big (and loud) leave behind? I think people would notice it in a city. And if your the kind of person who lives in a cave and is a subject of interest to the US warmachine, you would probably have a guard or two watching the cave entrance so i would imagine they would see this coming too.
So not really sure what sort of a covert payload a 10 foot wide delivery vehicle could drop off in any location... ideas?
Coming In the Night, Dropping With Parachutes
..maybe ? INSCOM is a master in all sorts of SIGINT, RADAR and acoustic devices. Whenever the merkins set up a base somewhere, their first act is to emplace a ton of sensors (acoustic and RADAR) around the site to make sure they will not be surprised.
This device could airdrop all sorts of sensors during the night. Running the motor on low power over the dropzone will make it quite silent.
But then why do you need VTOL as opposed to standard UAV's if your going to airdrop the packages? And if you need zero forward momentum whilst doing it, then how does this present a better solution then a helicopter?
I'm all for this thing from a technical point of view and ive done the cost/benefit analysis of tiltrotors versus both fixed wing and standard rotorcraft before (i'm a big fan of tiltrotors i must admit). But i do not see this as being hugely useful in the proposed role of covert parcel delivery. But maybe my idea of what constitutes a covert parcel is different to DARPA's!
To see this done properly by a guy working in his garden shed. DARPA spends nearly as much on dubious purchaes as?
Although very cool
The speed / Range payload is not going to be high enough for the army
But i spose if you scale it up .....