back to article Aerovironment sells hurl 'n' splash roboplane to US spec-ops

The US Special Operations Command, SOCOM - aka the "snake eater community"* - has just placed a new order for hand-launched aerial surveillance robots which could be worth up to $200m and see hundreds of portable drones delivered. The potentially very lucky company is Aerovironment, already well known for such projects as the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    "Apparently you have to eat snakes during jungle survival training."

    Good source of protein, so they tell me.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Snake eating

    "Apparently you have to eat snakes during jungle survival training" with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

    Yum Yum

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Given the go-anywhere nature of this miniature drone, it seems to me that if Gerry Anderson had made "UFO" with puppets instead of people, it would have been a literally accurate depiction of the modern age, at 1:1 scale. He missed a trick there.

  4. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Station 12, do you read?

    Manhacks from HL2 have just moved 1 step closer to reality...

  5. James Pickett


    So that's $333k for a beefed up model plane, or roughly the price of three Cessna 162's. Ain't military spending wonderful? No wonder America is practically bankrupt...

    (And yes, I do know we're heading down the same path.)

  6. Philip Sagstetter

    Survival school experience

    I went through Jungle survival school in the Philippines during the Vietnam War.

    It was only aircrew training so we didn't eat snakes, only drank water from vines, started fires with a bow, and slept on the ground while rats ran over us. I did hear stories about a guy who survived being shot down by eating raw frogs.

    They did have a couple of captive spitting cobras in a 10-foot plexiglass cage. You could hear the hissing from 20 yards away, and a lot of fluid appeared on the glass in front of your eyes. I was afraid to step off the sidewalk during my first month in up-country Thailand. I still carry my survival knife when I hike in Colorado, in case I run into a mountain lion.

  7. Adrian Esdaile
    Black Helicopters

    Maybe they should try looking on Teh IntarPipes

    It's not all kiddie pr0n and spam you know; heaps of people out there have built hand-launched remote-cam RC planes, and many of them (me included) would be quite happy to build DARPA a water-proof one for ohhh, say $250,000 each - that's a saving of 25%! BARGAIN!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's remarkable... so many commenters here are well-versed in the practical requirements and R&D costs of devices like these. Naturally, given the extensive specifications listed in the article, it's easily possible to determine the precise technical challenge involved in making a "beefed-up model plane".

    It's too bad you guys aren't actually working in R&D for the government. Just imagine how much better off we'd be with your expertise!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    @ Dave W

    David, have you only just noticed that the feedback and comment on this site as with many others also adheres to the 80/20 rule.

    In this case 80% of all comments are useless, spurious, ill informed, delusional, self oppinionated and often wrong (unfortunatley this maps 100% to the IT industry), 20% of comment is passible.

    I think it is a relections of modern society in the guise of domocaracy and inclusions that people unprepared, and ill informed or just plain stupid are invited to comment with little more backing than "A man in the pub told me...."

    They even do it on the national news, where "Mr Richard Head", unemployed of Croydon, is invited to comment through feedback and comment forums, phone in's (or worse sms text) etc managed by the BBC (and others) on the about geo-political or macro economics when they patently dont have a clue.....

    ...still, i suppose this fourm paces a few minutes at the start of the day and lunch!

    (Paris, as 80/20 of site readers are 73.7% more likely to read those posts first)

  10. Robin Bradshaw
    Black Helicopters

    precise technical challenge

    If you fancy having a go at building your own GPS guided UAV have a look at the paparazzi website here:

    A rough estimate it would cost you somewhere in the region of £600ish to build one.

    There is also a video on google of a talk the paparazzi development team gave at the 23rd chaos communications congress demonstrating its capability's you can watch here:

    It definitely on my wishlist for when I have some spare money to waste :)

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    20 for $6m?

    Assembled from a platinum/unobtanium alloy and waterproofed with extract of rocking-horse shit are they?

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