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Posts Tagged ‘Unmanned aircraft’

Military Launches Unmanned Solar-powered Lighter-than-air Vehicle (Airship)

August 4, 2011 Comments off

ottawacitizen

Akron, Ohio – The U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin launched the first-of-its kind High Altitude Long Endurance-Demonstrator this morning, demonstrating a number of key technologies critical to development of unmanned airships.

The aircraft successfully launched at 5:47 a.m. out of the Airdock in Akron, Ohio. The airship reached an altitude of approximately 32,000 feet, however, a technical anomaly prevented the airship from attaining its target altitude of 60,000 feet and the HALE-D team decided to terminate the flight.
The aircraft descended without incident at 8:26 a.m. in southwestern Pennsylvania to a predetermined landing location. Lockheed Martin is coordinating with state and local authorities to recover the airship. We have confirmed that no injuries or damage were experienced during this landing in a heavily wooded area.

“While we didn’t reach the target altitude, first flights of new technologies like HALE-D also afford us the ability to Read more…

Domestic use of aerial drones by law enforcement likely to prompt privacy debate

January 26, 2011 Comments off

AUSTIN – The suspect’s house, just west of this city, sat on a hilltop at the end of a steep, exposed driveway. Agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety believed the man inside had a large stash of drugs and a cache of weapons, including high-caliber rifles.

As dawn broke, a SWAT team waiting to execute a search warrant wanted a last-minute aerial sweep of the property, in part to check for unseen dangers. But there was a problem: The department’s aircraft section feared that if it put up a helicopter, the suspect might try to shoot it down.

So the Texas agents did what no state or local law enforcement agency had done before in a high-risk operation: They launched a drone. A bird-size device called a Wasp floated hundreds of feet into the sky and instantly beamed live video to agents on the ground. The SWAT team stormed the house and arrested the suspect.

“The nice thing is it’s covert,” said Bill C. Nabors Jr., chief pilot with the Texas DPS, who in a recent interview described the 2009 operation for the first time publicly. “You don’t hear it, and unless you know what you’re looking for, you can’t see it.”

The drone technology that has revolutionized warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan is entering the national airspace: Unmanned aircraft are patrolling the border with Mexico, searching for missing persons over difficult terrain, flying into hurricanes to collect weather data, photographing traffic accident scenes and tracking the spread of forest fires. Read more…