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Originally posted by Murcielago
though highly unlikely
Highly Unlikely Indeed.....Being that an Unmanned Fighter doesn't even exist.
You know that there could easily be one under a 'black' program.
Firefighters are planning for a new ally in fighting wildfires, a remote-controlled spy plane that does not mind smoke and can see in the dark.
Scientists have been testing whether such planes, similar to the spy drones the American military flies over Iraq and Afghanistan, can help track the direction and behavior of fast-moving flames without putting firefighters in harm's way.
After experimental flights of three unmanned aerial vehicles this summer, the United States Forest Service plans to use the planes next spring. The plan calls for planes to work in 12 Western states, mapping forest fires 24 hours a day.
"Unmanned aircraft have the capability to do what we call the 3-D missions, the dull, dark and dangerous missions where you don't want to put a pilot on," said Vince Ambrosia, a research scientist at the Ames Research Center of NASA at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, home of the experiment.
Ellington Field may yet lose its F-16 fighter jets, but Houston-area officials got a measure of relief Wednesday with word that a squadron of unmanned planes is moving in.
The 12 Predators, similar to the one that helped track down Saddam Hussein in 2003, will be based at Ellington as part of the Texas Air National Guard's 147th Fighter Wing, Gov. Rick Perry announced.
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Reuters) -- Unmanned remote-controlled airplanes used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may be deployed to find people trapped in New Orleans' buildings by Hurricane Katrina's flood waters, a U.S. congressman said Friday.
Five Silver Fox "unmanned aerial vehicles," or UAVs, equipped with thermal imaging technology to detect the body heat of storm survivors, are en route to the crippled city, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Curt Weldon said.
Weldon told reporters in Baton Rouge that he had bypassed government bureaucracy to obtain the drones from a private company to be used in search and rescue operations in New Orleans
"With thermal imaging capability ... you can actually see into the buildings and see the body image of a person still alive," Weldon, vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, said.
They can be used to gather battlefield intelligence.
Weldon said the UAVs were being transported to Baton Rouge and he had requested the deployment of U.S. military personnel capable of operating them. They could be in operation over New Orleans within hours of arrival, he said.
The Silver Fox was originally developed by the Navy's Office of Navy Research as a quick fix to give the Navy's a bird's eye view during exercises, and to avoid migrating whales. It was later drafted into service to provide convoy reconnaissance for the Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services committee has pushed to get the Silver Fox and other UAVs sent to New Orleans to assist in relief efforts.
The Silver Fox also uses off-the-shelf avionics and a hands-off GPS autopilot. The Fox weighs 22 pounds, has a wingspan of 6.5 feet, fuselage length of 4.7 feet, and can be launched by hand or catapult. It carries an infra-red and high-resolution color zoom camera and breaks down to fit into a "super-sized golf bag." Powered by a small gasoline engine, the Fox typically operates at an altitude of around 300 meters with a range of up to 240 kilometers and a max speed of 105 kilometers per hour. It has a flight endurance of 10 hours, but this is expected to increase to 20 or more hours with the JP-8 engine upgrade.
Ten Evolution class UAVs are flying out of the New Orleans Naval Air Station to relay photos of the devastation to the Air Force. These "backpack"-size UAVs are being used to assess damage to the region's infrastructure, including damage to oil and gas facilities, dikes, and berms. This is the largest civilian mission for UAVs to date.
The Evolution weighs 6.5 pounds, is powered by lithium batteries, and can stay aloft for an hour or two, depending on the mission type. It has a range of at least 10 kilometers and can carry a color TV camera, low-light TV camera, or an infrared (heat sensing camera). The Evolution typically operates at an altitude of 300 feet.
Redstone Arsenal is sending two unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to Biloxi, Miss., today to help the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation do reconnaissance over the area.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems office at Redstone dispatched two UAVs - a tiny "Raven" small enough to fit in a backpack and a larger "Shadow" UAV - to Biloxi this morning, said Tarah Hollingsworth, a spokeswoman for UAV Systems.
The original mission for these UAVs - a new class known as the Evolution, an upgrade over the 4-pound Dragon Eye reconnaissance drones used in Iraq - was to help the search for stranded hurricane survivors.
But now the planes are being used mainly to assess damage to oil and gas distribution, dikes, berms and other aspects of the region's infrastructure, said Alfred Lumpkin, director of operations for ISR Group LLC, which provides logistical support for the planes' manufacturer, L-3 Communications Corp.
These UAVs are a far cry from their larger, more robust cousins such as the Predator that are employed by the U.S. military and intelligence services and can fire missiles and fly all day.
ISR and L-3 say this is the largest civilian mission for UAVs to date, but drones have been used domestically.