Rutan's latest: Firebird, pilots optional

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posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 02:14 PM
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I guess it's a logical progression - plug and play computers mean a plug and play or unplug and fly aircraft had to occur ro someone sooner or later!



One of the last designs fully supervised by Burt Rutan before his retirement from Scaled Composites has reached the production level, and pilots are optional.

Northrop Grumman, the parent company for Scaled Composites since 2007, has named the surveillance aircraft Firebird. It can carry two pilots, or not.

A Garmin G3000 avionics suite with three 14-inch displays can be removed, the canopy replaced by a satellite antenna (if operating beyond line of sight), and flown as an unmanned aircraft, staying aloft 24 to 40 hours with a single Lycoming TEO-540E engine. After its mission, the avionics can be slid back into the panel, the canopy attached, and flown by pilots to the next mission site.
- AOPA.org




posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 02:40 PM
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I started a thread about this a few days ago. Neat little bird. Originally one seat, but an undisclosed customer wanted a second seat added.

www.abovetopsecret.com...
edit on 11/21/2012 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 04:07 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


hmmm..I searched for rutan and Firebird and got nothing....

fair 'nuf tho...



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 04:28 PM
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Howe many hellfire missles can they hang on it?



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 09:27 PM
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At a first glance the "Firebird" can easily be confused for a civilian craft.

I am curious what wartime theater this jet could be used for reconnaissance in, and what gains in efficiency would be experienced over current options such as the Reaper and Predator, considering it appears to not place much importance on low observability and the like. Regardless, it's always good to keep developing.
edit on 21-11-2012 by Pants3204 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 09:34 PM
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reply to post by Pants3204
 


The current customer for it is a non-US customer, who has asked to not be named. Even if it's non-LO, it is still supposed to have a decent sensor suite on it, and it's a cheap way to get an optional UAS.



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 09:40 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by Pants3204
 


The current customer for it is a non-US customer, who has asked to not be named. Even if it's non-LO, it is still supposed to have a decent sensor suite on it, and it's a cheap way to get an optional UAS.


Indeed. Perhaps these more affordable options can be advertised towards nations like Iraq and other middle eastern nations looking to quell regional threats to slowly ween themselves off of US support.





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