The advantages of this arrangement are obvious. With appropriate programming it would permit the dronification of any existing aircraft.
Aurora tested it on two types of fixed-wing plane and also a UH -1 Iroquois helicopter. It was even put through its paces at the controls of a Boeing —though those controls were installed in a flight simulator rather than a real aircraft. What has happened to all this hard work is a mystery. And the idea of something that could take the controls of an existing plane with little modification seems an attractive one in the civilian world as well as the military one.
As to future pilotless aircraft, significant benefits come from designing people out from the beginning. Such craft require neither cockpits nor life-support systems. Moreover, freed from the need to sustain a human pilot, they could accelerate faster and manoeuvre more nimbly than is possible for a crewed plane.
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That manoeuvrability and acceleration would be particularly advantageous for a fighter jet. And, although autonomous robot fighters are not here yet, something close to that will soon be flying. The idea is to have strike aircraft fly in small squadrons, with a single human acting as squadron leader. Lockheed Martin tested this idea in by converting an F , an ageing fighter jet, to act as a drone under the command of a piloted lead aircraft.
Boeing, indeed, seems to have appropriated and capitalised the term Loyal Wingman to describe its Airpower Teaming System, which was unveiled on February 26th. Prototypes should fly next year. Kratos, a Californian firm that builds drones used by pilots for target practice, is also working on them.
A more advanced vehicle, the XQ 58a Valkyrie, took to the air on March 5th, making a successful test flight at Yuma in Arizona.
Details of Valkyrie are scarce, but pictures of it suggest the extensive use of stealth technology by its designers. In the field of military drones, America has only one open rival at the moment: Israel. Its state-run arms firm, Israel Aerospace Industries, produces a reconnaissance drone called Heron.
Europe, by contrast, is playing catch-up, and China has said little. It should be ready for deployment by There are no European plans, though, for loyal wingmen. As far as is known, however, China has no production-model military drones. America, meanwhile, is looking beyond the vision of loyal wingmen. Both DARPA and the American air force seem to be trying to scale down the size of unmanned aircraft, in favour of numbers. Gremlins will be drones about four metres long, with a wingspan of 3.
What they lack in size, Gremlins will make up for in quantity—the idea being to overwhelm enemy defences as a swarm of wasps overwhelms a picnic. You can stand with Dr. Michael Youssef each month and impact countless lives with the Gospel—from believers here at home to Muslims in the Middle East.
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Sde Dov slated to close Monday, strikes on the way?
A thick coating of snow could be seen covering cars, roofs and roads as winter came early for Wales. Now temperatures remain chilly, and according to the Met Office , there is yet more snow on the way for the UK. The Met Office warned a band of rain followed by frequent heavy showers is likely to cause flooding and transport disruption.
A second weather warning for rain is in place on Thursday, starting at midnight and ending at WX Charts has forecast snow again reaching Wales, with up to 2.
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