Monday, January 30, 2012

Latest US drone takes to the skies

(US) Even with the news that a jet powered UAV has fallen into the hands of the Iranians (I wonder what Russia and China are offering Iran for a look at the tech it holds?) the UAV program continues at breathtaking speed in the US. While everybody else's latest models all sport propellers, the US moving up a notch have moved into the jet age. The Army and Airforce have been main movers into the UAV age, however, the Navy (for obvious reasons) have held back, but that doesn't mean the boys in blue have sat on their backsides and done nothing.

What the Navy asked for is a self autonomous vehicle that could be sent away to attack a target without recourse to a backseat driver sat thousands of miles away in the US, and what they have picked as their weapon of choice is the Northrop Grumman X-45B. With a range of over 2000 miles, stealth capable and able to refuel in midair, the US Navy appears to have a formidable strike asset on their hands.

Well, the second kite was delivered the other month, which will enable the Navy to carry out flight testing for the next 12 months, with an aim of an actual hands off carrier landing sometime next year. Here are a few of photos of the X-45B.

And here is a short video: