Spy in the Sky Page 5

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Flight Simming

I haven’t mentioned any computer flight simming throughout this whole article so let me address that now. As UAVs and similar aircraft types become more and more popular, I’m sure that in the future we will see them appearing in flight sims. Already, fans of various combat flight sims have modeled UAVs to be added as mods. No doubt someday a franchise will address the gap and I’ll bet anything there will be expansion packs based solely on remotely-controlled and/or unmanned aircraft. What could be more “real” than flying a UAV? The biggest surprise is why don’t we simulation fanatics have this available already?

A Future Flight Sim?

A Future Flight Sim?

Summary

I tried not to go too deep into any specific area in this article. It’s scary really, what with the fully autonomous aircraft mentioned here. It’s yet another realized area of technology that makes film like The Terminator seems ever closer. Robots really could take over the world, if not handled properly. Of course, these machines look nothing like Arnie, but perhaps are more akin to the creations of SkyNet.

I think it may be a while before we see an actual UAV vs UAV aerial combat, although I’m sure it will be quite possible. It’s really only the wealthiest and most technologically advanced armies of the world that are even beginning to put UAVs into service. At the end of the day, these unmanned vehicles are really made to take the strain off humans, and if they could be used in the combat role, it could mean that people suffer less casualties, which can only be a good thing. I see a future where humans will no longer fight each other on the battlefield. Well, at least the more advanced armies. They will instead sit hundreds of miles away in the safety of their own countries, merely controlling the entities that are carrying out the war. No human lives will be lost, just “hunks of metal”. I use the term loosely. Whatever direction this cutting-edge and somewhat terrifying technology takes, one thing is for certain… the sky’s the limit.

Links

Additional Reading

Unmanned aerial vehicles

History of unmanned aerial vehicles

Miniature UAVs

Video

Russian jet shoots down Georgian drone

Photo Reference (in order of appearance) 

1) The RQ-1 Predator from the mid 1990s: Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flies on a simulated Navy aerial reconnaissance flight near the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) off the coast of southern California on Dec. 5, 1995. The Predator provides near, real-time infrared and color video to intelligence analysts and controllers on the ground and the ship. This is the Predator’s first maritime mission with a carrier battle group. The UAV was launched from San Nicholas Island off the coast of southern California. DoD photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey S. Viano, U.S. Navy.

Source: The photo is from the United States Department of Defense archive, number 951205-N-3149J-006.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:RQ-1_Predator.jpg

2) UAV Monitoring and Control: Airman 1st Class Kyle Bridges sits in the sensor operator’s chair at an RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ground control station at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Photo by Airman 1st Class Jason Ridder.

Source: http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/060327-F-0000J-002.jpg.
Reference: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:RQ-1_Predator_sensor_operator%27s_chair.jpg

3) RQ-11 Raven: Up, up and away it goes, on an aerial reconnaissance mission for Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers on the ground. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Guillory November 22, 2006.

Source: http://www.army.mil/-images/2006/11/22/1024/army.mil-2006-11-22-114612.jpg
Reference: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:RQ-11_Raven_2.jpg

4) MQ-1 Predator armed with an AGM-114 Hellfire missile: No further description available.

Source: http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/030813-F-8888W-006.jpg
Reference: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:MQ-1_Predator.jpg

5) RQ-4 Global Hawk: United States Air Force Global Hawk un-manned reconnaissance aircraft.

Source: http://www.af.mil/photos
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Globalhawk.750pix.jpg

6) RQ-3 DarkStar: The second Tier III Minus DarkStar high altitude endurance unmanned air vehicle flies over the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on June 29, 1998. The vehicle took off from the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards at 6:14 a.m. (PDT). During the 44-minute flight, the vehicle achieved an altitude of approximately 5,000 feet and completed pre-programmed basic flight maneuvers. The system successfully executed a fully autonomous flight from takeoff to landing utilizing the differential Global Positioning System. Photo by Carla Thomas.

Source: http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/Jul1998/980629-O-0000T-001.html
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:DarkStar_Tier_III.jpg

7) QH-50 DASH: A QH-50 DASH anti-submarine drone on board the destroyer USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) during a deployment to Vietnam. The photo was taken between April and June 1967. Photo by Eric Bollin, USN.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:QH-50_DD-692_1967.jpg

8) An Early RQ-8A Fire Scout: A RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV) system takes off for a flight demonstration.

Source: 050627-N-0295M-256 St. Inigoes, Md. (June 27, 2005)
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:RQ-8A_Fire_Scout.jpg

9) Boeing A160 Hummingbird: Boeing A160 Hummingbird helicopter UAV during a test run at Victorville, California. Photo by Alan Radecki.

Source / Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Rotor_uav-051121-vcv-01adj-8.jpg

10) A Future Flight Sim?: Capt. Richard Koll, left, and Airman 1st Class Mike Eulo perform function checks after launching an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle August 7 at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Captain Koll, the pilot, and Airman Eulo, the sensor operator, will handle the Predator in a radius of approximately 25 miles around the base before handing it off to personnel stationed in the United States to continue its mission. Both are assigned to the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron. Photo by Master Sergeant Steve Horton.

Source http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123063918
Reference: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:MQ-1_Predator_controls_2007-08-07.jpg

 


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