A US military competition aimed at finding a robotic unmanned helicopter able to haul supplies to isolated bases in Afghanistan has a winner, according to reports. The unmanned cargo version of the Kaman K-Max helicopter. Credit: Lockheed OK, flyboy, you go and have your mandatory aircrew sleep time - you've slept yourself …
...Taliban hackers take over the flight control system and intercept the payload.
Nice supply of food, ammo, weapons, fuel, and maybe a new truck or portacabin too.
Well, well, looky here at today's El Reg article:
Dunno, why I was downvoted, but the scenario I described is obviously feasible!
Will they make it to Afghanistan before the Americans leave?
Given the time-lines involved with military procurement, will this latest Pentagon wet dream make it to theatre before the much vaunted pullout or will the Americans go looking for another war to use them in?
Perhaps the Taliban will capture a few and turn them into flying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and send them back to whence they flew.
USA is always fighting
With all those generals wanting to play with their toys, and so much money linked to the arms industry, the yanks are always at war. I did npt bother to add it all up, but the USA have probably had less than 10 years of peace since 1940.
If these machines are not ready for Afghanistan then they'll be ready for the next conflict in a year or two.
Since these machines only carry cargo, I suspect they can bypass a lot of the trialling, testing and training and be pressed into service quite quickly.
Baby steps closer to Black Mesa...
Ok, if they start talking about harnessing gravity to move crew loads, I'm so out of here.
Mines d one wit teh crowbar in teh pokit! Cute huh?
Looks like a decent development, takes chopper crews out of harms way etc.
However, organised resistance will soon figure that knocking one of these birds out of the sky would potentially give them supplies which they might be desperate for. As the article says, the only user input required is to set destination and flight plan, meaning that the bird would follow that route regardless, whereas the carbon based lifeform would be able to react to the situation on the ground.
By removing the human pilots and thus the need for a gunship escort, presumably the Taliban potting these things with RPGs won't pose a problem for the troops needing what they're carrying?
Question for the experts
Why does an intermeshing copter need a tail boom? There's obviously a good reason, I just can't work out what it is...
one reason is to ballance out the weight of the part of the heli in front of the rotor axle ; most of that weigth would be the pilot ect.
Another is that the tail helps to act as "Weather vane" ; keeping the tail in the back (and nose to the front) making forward fligth eazier on the pilot.
If you check there are rotorcraft that are designed as unmanned aircraft and they lack a tail.
would you put the three (count 'em*) vertical stabilisers? So, stability, stability and stability - pretty useful in something as inherently unstable as a helicopter.
*You can't actually in the article photograph but they're there.
Anyone want to bet that these will be shot down on a regular basis?
Like the "stealth bomber" that was downed in the Balkans because it followed the same route home after each mission. What a joke!
Now what is the performance at *altitude*
As I will guess that quite a few of those pesky 'stanies will not be sporting enough to just operate on plains at sea level.
Small point, and obviously nothing to stop a multi-billion dollar arms procurement (AFAIK the *only* sort that LockMart like to get involved with).