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Drones Within a Drone Riding a Balloon

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the unidentifiable-flying-object dept.

The Military 108

smitty777 writes "Given the U.S.'s recent drone issues, what is the new recipe for sending a drone over another country of interest? Simple, just take a balloon and attach a Tempest drone to the bottom of it. Now, attach two more CICADA drones to that. The balloon climbs to over 55k feet, then drops the first drone, which can travel another 11 miles or so. It then deploys the CICADA drones. These unpowered gliders slip past radar undetected and start sending back information. There are future plans to mount many (count hundreds) of the CICADA glider drones to the Tempest in the future. The article quotes the flight engineer describing the process as 'straightforward.'"

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Nothing new (5, Funny)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613800)

It's just drones, all the way down.

Re:Nothing new (5, Funny)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613838)

"Yo Dawg"

Re:Nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38613968)

...your argument is invalid.

Re:Nothing new (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614024)

I heard you like drones, so I put a drone on your drone you so can drone while droning

Re:Nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614556)

Thanks for that. I think most of us completely missed the joke until you filled us in.

Re:Nothing new (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614502)

And me without mod points for the best use ever of that phrase!

Fill the balloons with drones (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38616020)

Why not fill the balloons with drones, burst them over the targets and let the solar powered drones do the rest for weeks at a time?

Re:Fill the balloons with drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38616300)

YES. Why didn't they think of this? Or we could put them in a rubix cube and launch them with 1,000 bottle rockets and then just use antimatter to power their FTL engines.

Re:Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38619010)

My god it's full of drones

Second Post!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38613834)

I had no chance of getting FP, but it is sometimes fine to be "NUMBER TWO."

Hello, Mr Santorum. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614244)

N/T

Re:Second Post!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614780)

It's NEVER OKAY to be number two!

- Bono

I await the day (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613848)

When some other country gets caught trying to spy on the US in this manner.

How loudly do you think the war drums would beat if Iran launched something like this into our country? Pakistan? China?

Re:I await the day (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614088)

This isn't something you'd want to use for covert, peacetime operations. The only stealth factor in these mini-drones is that they're hard to detect or shoot down in the air, simply because they're bird-sized. Once on the ground, they're painfully obvious. Littering your opponent's landscape with hundreds of sensor-bearing paper airplanes that home in within fifteen feet of their target... that's not stealthy or covert. That's going to be noticed quickly.

Besides, the post-balloon range is only ~50 miles. This isn't useful for deeply penetrating an opponent's airspace.

These are for naval surveillance. A balloon launch can happen from the deck of any ship, even from a surfaced sub. The range is appropriate for scouting around your position at sea, and you don't have to worry as much about detection if these things degrade quickly on contact with the sea. In fact, you might not even be worried about detection at all if you're in international waters.

Re:I await the day (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614174)

Actually, there's more comedy.

Who do you suppose might be able to use these once they fall to the ground (even if disabled, anything short of being blown up)?

Hint: the party you're spying on.

Re:I await the day (2)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615658)

Yes, and your enemies can go and refill bullet casings that you leave on their soil, and might shoot you with them. These are similarly cheap, disposable tech.

Re:I await the day (2)

MichaelKristopeit352 (1968160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614236)

in 3rd grade in wisconsin, i let a punching-balloon full of helium go that had a self addressed postcard attached... i received the postcard back from the person that found it in mexico 3 days later.

given military budgets and access to materials, balloons can be extremely useful for deeply penetrating an opponent's airspace.

you're an idiot.

Re:I await the day (-1, Flamebait)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614426)

Yes, because an unpowered UAV, however tiny, is exactly the same as a flat bit of paper, and useful intel can certainly be gathered by letting the thing flutter about randomly in the wind.

Kill yourself, troll.

Re:I await the day (1)

MichaelKristopeit353 (1968162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614598)

yes, because a 50c budget, however many coins are used, is the same as every other military project budget.

ur mum's face is troll.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen zodiac pizza based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:I await the day (0)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615874)

Troll more with your inarticulate identity theft, loser. And learn where the shift key is.

Re:I await the day (-1, Offtopic)

MichaelKristopeit501 (2018074) | more than 2 years ago | (#38616090)

capitalization is the tool of the weak minded, used to aid their lacking reading comprehension. its use would do nothing to change the logical meaning of any of the statements that i've made. you're an idiot. you're also an Idiot, an IDIOT, and an iDiOt. you're also an IDioT. you're an IdIOt.

i assume you'll be an idiot some more, but i wouldn't be so ignorantly hypocritical as to suggest or command you to do it some more. you're an ignorant hypocrite.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen zodiac pizza based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:I await the day (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617450)

"capitalization[sic] is the tool of the weak minded?!" Okay, that's funny as hell. That's a new low of stupidity even for the MKn++ troll.

At this point, I'm almost sure that you're not the same douche who started this whole campaign of idiocy. The by MichaelKristopeit mantle has to be like the Grey Fox's Cowl or the Dread Pirate Roberts' mask, passing on from dickhead to dickhead.

Re:I await the day (1)

MichaelKristopeit502 (2018076) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617548)

ur mum's face is troll.

you're an idiot... which in this case makes you an ignorant hypocrite as well.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen zodiac pizza based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:I await the day (1)

MichaelKristopeit500 (2018072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617580)

"capitalization[sic][sic]".... you're an idiot.

you quoted me as posing an exclamative question that i never posed. putting words in the mouths of others is the tool of the desperate moron.

cower in my shadow some more behind your chosen zodiac pizza based pseudonym, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:I await the day (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614768)

Please Don't Flame.

Re:I await the day (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615898)

Eh, it's worth the occasional karma hit to troll the trolls. It's been a quiet week with all the holiday chaos being over, and that idiot is just too much fun to countertroll.

Re:I await the day (1)

blindseer (891256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614834)

Besides, the post-balloon range is only ~50 miles. This isn't useful for deeply penetrating an opponent's airspace.

It would be useful in targeting artillery.

Re:I await the day (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38615034)

You're right that this isn't something for covert ops over an opponent you don't want to alarm. But, I don't think it's only for naval operations; the Navy Press release from which these stories have been cribbed (Autonomous Deployment Demonstration Program Completes Flight Testing [navy.mil] , December 5, 2011 -- just reaching ./ a month later) indicates that these replace sensors that would have to be manually deployed by warfighters (or spies), with payloads for acoustic, magnetic, chemical/biological and signals intelligence. That sounds like this could be launched over land, and that the sensors remain active for a while upon landing -- it looks like you could fit a cell phone battery in there, so let's assume there's a one to two week operational time. You'd want to launch a cheap swarm because your enemy (and you'd likely be at war -- think Iraq or Afghanistan) would collect some of them from the ground, but hopefully not find all of them. They'd probably have radio burst communications to a stealth UAV overflying at a preset time, maintaining radio silence otherwise to avoid detection and save power.

For naval use, though, the magnetic sensors might be very handy, and especially if these don't disintegrate on contact with the sea. A swarm of floating magnetic sensors that communicate only when necessary via a mesh network and/or radio to a listening UAV could be useful for creating an adhoc dragnet for stealthy detection of ship hulls (yay for Magnetic Anomaly Detection) without all the helicopters and expense it takes today.

The right tools for the job (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615428)

This isn't something you'd want to use for covert, peacetime operations.

..unless you want to send a message to someone that their secret uranium processing facility isn't fooling anyone and that you can drop in a cruise missile anytime you feel like it.

Re:I await the day (1)

kmoser (1469707) | more than 2 years ago | (#38619492)

I predict sales of shotguns and buckshot will increase as people organize impromptu drone-hunting parties.

Re:I await the day (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38620444)

Besides, the post-balloon range is only ~50 miles. This isn't useful for deeply penetrating an opponent's airspace.

We lost our stealth-UAV 114 miles from the Iranian border. There's a lot of things within 150 miles of the border. Besides, launched from 55K feet, even with a crappy 12:1 glide ratio (a flying squirrel's is 2, modern sailplanes are 50+) you should have 150 miles of range (660k ft). Baghdad is 80 miles from the Iranian border, Tehran is 66 miles from the Caspian Sea. A balloon will travel 40-60mph once it gets above 100 feet or so.
 
Not to mention, you have an excellent view of the ground while you're gliding down, uninterrupted by the horizon.
 
With 15ft accuracy, you could land these things in the bushes of the garden or balcony of a head of state, who knows what conversations you can pick up from 100ft with modern technology.

Re:I await the day (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38621122)

This isn't something you'd want to use for covert, peacetime operations

But the US does use drones over Iran and China. If Iran did the same back there would be calls for war in the US, as there are in Iran. Somehow though it's okay to spy on Iran.

You can see why Iran wants nuclear weapons. They are literally the only thing that will stop the US/Israel attacking them with spy drones, assassination hit squads and computer viruses.

Re:I await the day (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614336)

Yeah, because the country is so locked down you can't just hop in a car and pretty much drive wherever you want. Or charter a plane if you want some aerial views. It's much easier just to throw a little money at someone and have them collect information here in the US.

Russia Weather Balloon Roswell (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614338)

I think the standard procedure in the USA is to blame it on extra terrestrials.

Re:I await the day (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615192)

Most poor countries spy on us using $300 hookers with hidden cameras or wads of cash that are 2-4 times the annual salary of the government worker they're trying to compromise. A $10,000,000 stealth drone is sorta overkill for espionage.

Re:I await the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38619342)

This is indeed a step in the right direction. This isn't a ten million dollar stealth drone, but rather:

  1. a cheap, off-the-shelf weather balloon
  2. a cheap, off the shelf Tempest UAS (built in the US, used in the civilian world for storm research)
  3. CICADA drones, which are designed to be especially cheap, and whose payloads are easily swapped out by changing the wings

The $10M stealth drones require a landing facility, which means a carrier (or FOB), to be recovered, not to mention maintenance crew and facilities; this system is disposable (no maintenance) and could be launched by trained monkeys aboard the HMS Bounty.

This is the Navy getting around to realizing swarm doctrine: lots of cheap, unmanned units that can be launched en masse at low cost. That's an important paradigm shift for the Navy. They're starting to realize that expensive, singular assets like carriers need to be supplemented with swarms of cheap, disposable assets. Think back to the recent stories on the Iranian Hormuz war games and their tactics of cheap, small, fast boats with anti-ship missiles, or Van Riper's winning strategy in Millennium Challenge '02: swarms of Davids work wonders against Goliaths. This is a system that could be deployed cheaply and repeatedly to monitor an area (like Hormuz) from a standoff distance to safeguard larger, more expensive assets that can project force at will from that distance using the directions supplied by the disposable system. It's an added layer of protection, and most importantly, it embraces a new paradigm of cheap-many-disposable.

Human intelligence (whores and bribes) will always have a place, but that place isn't on the battlefield: it's the realm of the CIA, and the rum-sodomy-lash Navy is happy to leave whoring and bribing to the civilian experts. This system is for battlefield use, whether naval or on ground (as others have pointed out), and it gathers a different kind of intelligence. HUMINT tells you what the enemy's plans are for the future; these things tell you where the enemy's troops are right now in relation to your ships or troops and whether they're using biological or chemical agents, and it gathers SIGINT and audio, all probably within a hundred miles of the troops who released the balloon. Totally different kind of intelligence. This is what you need if you're monitoring a battlefield for immediate tactical information; the CIA's (or ISI's or KGB's or FSB's or whoever's) hookers and paymasters are what you need if you're looking at the enemy's overall strategies.

Yo Dawg.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38613856)

I heard you like drones, so I put drones in your drones so you can spy on stuff while you spy on other stuff.

Awesome! (4, Funny)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613882)

I think everybody should have this, and then everybody can watch to make sure that nobody is up to no good.

Re:Awesome! (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614040)

Agreed!

Someone just saw Inception... (1)

getSalled (1331585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613896)

Our enemies will create drones to enter the drones in our drones. It'll be a hit movie for our drone overlords.

CICADA? (3, Funny)

towelie-ban (1234530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613902)

I thought cicadas weren't due back until 2021?

Re:CICADA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38618358)

True, under normal circumstances but this is the 2012 apocalypse.

We've not moved on much in 50 years. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38613924)

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it.
To do this properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.

Or you can take a length of steel,
shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
But for this you need white horses,
English trees, men with bows and arrows,
at least two flags, a prince, and a
castle to hold your banquet in.

Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind
allows, blow gas at him. But then you need
a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters,
more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats made of steel.

In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly
miles above your victim and dispose of him by
pressing one small switch. All you then
require is an ocean to separate you, two
systems of government, a nation's scientists,
several factories, a psychopath and
land that no-one needs for several years.

These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man.
Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see
that he is living somewhere at the start
of the twenty-first century, and leave him there.

Mistakes in summary (2)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613950)

There are a surprising number of mistakes in this summary. TFA says the balloon goes to 57K feet, then the Tempest goes 35 miles or so (30 nautical miles), and then the Cicadas go the last 11 miles.

Unleashed at 57,000 feet, the Tempest drones traveled as far as 30 nautical miles before unleashing their Cicada cargo. Once deployed, the Cicada drones glided an extra 11 miles, and landed an average of 15 feet away from their target locations.

Re:Mistakes in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614074)

They did say over 55K, though why anyone'd round it that way is beyond me. The 11 mile thing is a genuine mix-up, of course.

Re:Mistakes in summary (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617750)

You are right, of course. The Tempest drones fly *30* miles, and the Cicadas add an extra 11 miles beyond that.

Reminds me of (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613964)

Japanese Fire Ballons [wikipedia.org]

Is that technique patented and/or copyrighted? Or is the US pirating ideas? Or is there a drone coming my way for raising the question?

Re:Reminds me of (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614830)

The US did get the research and offer immunity to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731 [wikipedia.org] for its biological and chemical warfare efforts on humans - they had balloon ideas too but with different payloads.

Re:Reminds me of (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614872)

Jules Verne is an example of prior art.

I was wondering what had happened to (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613982)

Wile E. Coyote. It appears he has found a job as an engineer at a defense contractor.

Re:I was wondering what had happened to (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614122)

He's a bit frustrated. He had to switch from launching these with slingshots because huge rubber bands got to be too expensive.

Re:I was wondering what had happened to (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615836)

The Angry Birds cornered the market on slingshots as well.

That's not a balloon... (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38613996)

... it's a hive mothership!

RoHS? (2)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614000)

As an added bonus, they can not adhere to RoHS when building their disposable gliders and pollute their enemies with PCBs, lead, cadmium, mercury and lots of other lovely chemicals...

Re:RoHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614228)

You are a Moron.

Ummm, why... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614004)

"which can travel another 11 miles or so"

Why bother? The ballon is likely travelling at about that speed, or greater, so why not just wait? I find it hard to believe that those 11 miles offer any flexibility in positioning that another couple of thousand feet of altitude wouldn't get you, and adding the intermediary seems likely to reduce the maximum altitude by an amount that would offset any gliding advantage.

Re:Ummm, why... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614422)

Weather balloons can be tracked by radar, which as TFA mentions the little drones cannot. Also, weather balloons are decidedly hard (read: impossible) to steer, whereas the little drones have surprisingly effective guidance. So yes, the 11 miles (or whatever the actual capability is) offers some very unique possible applications, especially since it is likely that your targets are not all within earshot of each other.

Re:Ummm, why... (2)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614856)

That is an 11 mile radius (380 sq miles) you can saturate with the sensor filled drones. Or 11 miles on either side of the balloons path. 22 mile wide coverage is pretty decent with minimal risk of personnel that would normally be used to place sensors (within 15 feet of target!).

Re:Ummm, why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38615306)

11mi is just for the Tempest drone; the CICADAs travel an additional 11mi. So you can put sensors down 22mi away from the balloon with 15 foot accuracy.

Re:Ummm, why... (1)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617786)

Actually, my bad. The summary should have read 30 miles for the Tempest drones, and 11 mi for the Cicadas. But your (impressive) 380 mi/sq radius is of course correct.

Re:Ummm, why... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614922)

As one system watches, another gets clearance to kill.
Its a lovely public private partnership with shareholders getting a nice segment of all that new defence spending.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-drones-civilians-20111230,0,6127185.story [latimes.com]
If you see something, kill something.

Protoss Carrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614028)

A blimp launching swarms of drones... now where have I seen that before?

Uh oh, sounds like a great assassination weapon (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614068)

So what's to keep someone from doing the exact same thing but attaching grenades to the secondary drones?

As the summary claims, it would be undetectable by radar and, if put into a dive on the final approach, would be traveling too fast for guards armed only with assault rifles to reliably SEE them and shoot them down (gliders also have no heat signature). Seems like a weapon that could be used even against heavily guarded outdoor events like the swearing in(?) ceremony of the U.S. president, the Kremlin military parade or the Pope delivering Mass. Or how about a Justin Bieber concert.

A while ago I thought that maybe a (very) high altitude balloon dropping guided tungsten darts (darts not rods fom God) would be a poor man's ballistic weapon but this might be even better because of a greater cross-range capability.

Re:Uh oh, sounds like a great assassination weapon (3, Funny)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614286)

I'd like you to have a seat over here...
How long have you been a terrorist agent?
Who else is in your cell?
Did my wife send you?

Re:Uh oh, sounds like a great assassination weapon (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614686)

After looking at the photos, it is likely that the secondary drone is probably about 1/30th the weight of a typical handheld explosive. I am sure you could probably come up with a somewhat effective explosive that was weight-compatible with the micro-drone but it is not likely within the capabilities of foes of the USA, RUS (unless the cold war restarts) or even Justin Bieber. It doesn't mention it, but knowing a little about miniature aviation in general I can say that the micro-drone is probably in the range of half an ounce, and any additional weight at all, even the weight of a paperclip, would dramatically impact it's flight capabilities.

From this page: http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/infantry/grenade/hand.html [inetres.com] it appears that even with a 16oz grenade your casualty radius is only 1 foot beyond the drones accuracy radius, so even if you could deliver it you are still not likely to actually take out one designated target because they could flee the kill zone. And again, the flight characteristics of one of those micro-drones with a grenade on it is barely different than the flight characteristics of a grenade by itself: it's going to obey gravity and not your will.

Re:Uh oh, sounds like a great assassination weapon (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#38621256)

Seems like a weapon that could be used even against heavily guarded outdoor events like the swearing in(?) ceremony of the
U.S. president, the Kremlin military parade or the Pope delivering Mass. Or how about a Justin Bieber concert.

Better watch out, someone might get mad at you suggesting harm to the Bieb.

-AI

Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614100)

You require more minerals.

Re:Err (2)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614798)

I think you mean, "You must spawn more overlords."

2012, a global plague of CICADAs? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614116)

I know that the military likes imposing names like Falcon or Comanche, but anyone else notice that one of the End Times predictors is a plague of cicadas (locusts) flying in from parts unknown?

Re:2012, a global plague of CICADAs? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614308)

Somebody, somewhere spends hours coming up with these "names"

CICADA [navy.mil] = Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft

Re:2012, a global plague of CICADAs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614534)

I wouldn't norrmallly associate the name CICADA with stealth.
Where I grew up we used to call them geezics (hard g)

Re:2012, a global plague of CICADAs? (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614566)

Somebody, somewhere spends hours coming up with these "names"

CICADA [navy.mil] = Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft

It was actually the inventor of the CICADA himself, who has a great sense of humor and loves to do this to almost all the "drones" he creates.

Re:2012, a global plague of CICADAs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38615086)

anyone else notice that one of the End Times predictors is a plague of cicadas (locusts) flying in from parts unknown?

I did! I think they are supposed to have stinging tails though...

Woah. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614140)

the CICADA's logic boards serve as its wings, while inside are gyroscopes, GPS circuits, and a batch of sensors driven by a custom algorithm.

A custom algorithm? Like, they wrote some software? These defence contractors are pretty far out, I would have expected them to just load her up with Microsoft Word and hope for the best..

Re:Woah. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614430)

They would use reuse an open source algorithm but the defence department has a bad case of "Not Invented Here."

Re:Woah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38615274)

A custom algorithm? Like, they wrote some software? These defence contractors are pretty far out, I would have expected them to just load her up with Microsoft Word and hope for the best..

Hello, I noticed you want to start spying. Would you like me to help you with that?

interesting (1)

StuffMaster (412029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614172)

Eventually, the Navy hopes to deploy hundreds of Cicada drones from an aerial vehicle, and disperse them to deluge a hostile area with secret sensors.

That actually makes some sense.

Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614250)

Hey America, it doesn't really matter how you do it - you are STILL breaking the law. To get respect, you have to give respect. Since America respects no one, well, fuck you.

Re:Idiots (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38619744)

No, fuck you.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38619944)

No no OP was correct: FUCK THEE

I see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38614284)

...plans within plans!

Cicada? (1)

jdev (227251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38614296)

The Cicada drones are tiny gliders, each about the size of a small bird and undetectable to radar. Plus, because the drones don’t have a motor or propulsion system, they’re essentially noiseless.

Someone creates an undetectable, noiseless drone and the best name they can come up with is Cicada? Who is naming these projects? Captain Irony?

Re:Cicada? (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615820)

To echo my previous response to the same question above: It was actually the inventor of the CICADA himself, who has a great sense of humor and loves to do this to almost all the "drones" he creates.

Re:Cicada? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38619568)

Because the closest thing they could come up with to describe how they'd cover the sky with a network of drones was Skynet, and TriStar already holds a copyright on that name.

Is someone working on a civil version of CICADA's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38615022)

Is someone building on a civil version of CICADA's? I know about these guys GPS Boomerang [gpsboomerang.com] , but they are pretty expensive for a hobby HA Balloon.

now thats what i call (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615286)

a drones drone.

AKA... (1)

zzzz7777 (902300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615526)

It's the Turducken drone!

Real recursion... (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615612)

True maximization of recursion would require all the drones involved to spray smart dust [wikipedia.org] on the target area on the way down.

BRB, gotta be at USPTO in 26 minutes.

Damn! What I wouldn't of done for one of those... (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38615762)

many years ago.

Before finding BBS's I built 2 meter gliders (Balsa wood), my favorite was the
Gentle lady" http://www.towerhobbies.com/products/greatplanes/gpma0960.html [towerhobbies.com]

That TEMPEST would of been a dream come true for me at the time.

Oversized R/C Hobby Planes. (1)

AverageWindowsUser (2537474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38617532)

"These unpowered gliders slip past radar undetected..."

There is no radar ever created that can detect these as they are gliding. I'm sure there is. Also a big baloon floating around with all this stuff dangling from it is probably going to show up on a radar system.

"...slip past radar undetected and start sending back information"

I'm pretty sure that can be detected.

Long, long ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38617762)

I had this idea, but not as a weapon or for spionage. That was some 35~40 years ago (but someone might have thought of that before, as it's rather obvious).

It would carry a payload which would be composed of a little capsule which would be spinned quickly (with a counterweight for stability) when the ballon reached maximum height. Letting the capsule go at the right point in its turn would project it towards space. I was thinking like a kid, because I was one.

This could of course be done from ground level, but I always thought about taking profit of a balloon's buyoyancy.

Unexpected Consequences... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38618064)

Expect in increase in swamp gas sightings around the world.

Let this story be A LESSON TO Math / Sci TEACHERS! (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38618506)

Eg:

If some of your kids start making paper airplanes, LET THEM...
in fact. ENCOURAGE such students to make paper and/or
model DRONES... and - the best - to be Aeronautical Engr's :-)

lets see... (1)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38618622)

I would say this is a great idea! military intelligence is not an oxymoron, there is no way the countries that these will be used to spy on will get angry at the U.S. for something like this...

.... Is what I would like to post. I am constantly surprised at the immense amount of stupidity apparent in the U.S. military.

Yo Joe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38618694)

How much longer until they have a floating mobile base like Cobra had above the clouds?

just because they're gliders, radar still sees the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38619272)

Any decent modern radar can see things with radar cross sections substantially smaller than 1 square centimeter. the 70s ere Cobra Dane detects mosquitos at 100s of miles range. Looking "up" where there's little clutter, this is a no brainer.

...wrapped in bacon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38619578)

...wrapped in bacon

Disposable drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38620106)

Disposable dronelets make corporate war industry accountants smile

Don't call me til... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#38621214)

Don't call me til we have subs that can drop
frickin sharks that can deploy frickin remora [wordsmith.org]
that have lasers attached to their frickin heads.

Then I'll be impressed.

-AI

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