×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Laser Powers Lockheed Martin's Stalker Drone For 48 Hours

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the power-up dept.

Robotics 129

garymortimer writes "Lockheed Martin (LMT) and LaserMotive, Inc., recently demonstrated the capabilities of an innovative laser power system to extend the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) flight time to more than 48 hours. This increase in flight duration represents an improvement of 2,400 percent. Stalker is a small, silent UAS used by Special Operations Forces since 2006 to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

129 comments

Finally (0, Redundant)

starworks5 (139327) | about 2 years ago | (#40624633)

a reason to have sharks with friggin laser beams on their head.

Re:Finally (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625005)

a reason to have sharks with friggin laser beams on their head.

repeating this tired old meme for brown-noser points is why you're a sheep-like fucktard.

oooh nooo that sounded negative (and the FUCKIN TRUTH) let's mod him down because we only want fluffy bunny posts here. ball-less soul-less sons of bitches.

after the first few hundred times or so it stopped being funny. you really think it's sooo hard to move on to greener pastures instead of repeating the same old jokes over and over again to feel like a member of the culture? why not invent new culture? why keep reiterating the old shit? aren't most of you geeks? don't you see the stagnation here?

Re:Finally (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625223)

how about fuzzy bunnies with tazers on their testicles?

Re:Finally (0)

dontclapthrowmoney (1534613) | about 2 years ago | (#40625281)

Yo dawg, I heard you liked memes...vagina.

Sigh.

(I agree with you, especially about the sharks/lasers one, but this is the internet - you're looking for logic in the wrong place.)

Re:Finally (1)

Hork_Monkey (580728) | about 2 years ago | (#40626583)

While redundant, overused, and quite old now, you fail to acknowledge one thing: Sharks with frickin' laser beams on their head WOULD BE FUCKING COOL.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625159)

a reason to have sharks with friggin laser beams on their head.

You do realize that the sharks would use the drones to force us into the water, right?

Barack Obamaness (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624635)

Should I start?

No Explanation (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | about 2 years ago | (#40624671)

No on felt the need to mention what the "laser power system" is, but what I gather it's just concentrating the power into a beam to wirelessly charge the UAV without landing. I don't know what the strength/distance of the beam is though.

Re:No Explanation (4, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#40625333)

I've played enough SimCity 2000 to know that this is a terrible idea.

Re:No Explanation (1)

damien_kane (519267) | about 2 years ago | (#40627769)

I've played enough SimCity 2000 to know that this is a terrible idea.

SC2k used masers (microwave-based wireless power stations)
Lasers are perfectly harmless (as long as you don't look at them with your remaining eye)

It was a test indoors, so what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624703)

From the article, "At the conclusion of the flight test, held in a wind tunnel,"

So they've pointed a laser at a photocell indoors, this is so far from doing it over hostile territory as to be laughable.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624827)

You nailed it man. Another bad headline from Samzenpus !
It was indoors at god knows how close a range.
No tracking to deal with
No range
No atmospheric attenuation

Another exciting step forward maybe in a surveillance related
technology that will mostly likely give whoever the target is
a really bad day :/

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625007)

Those are only issues if/when flying in hostile/enemy territory.

Not such a big problem in friendly areas where it won't have to dodge fire, can fly in a straight line for easy tracking, and support infrastructure is easily placed and guarded.

Hmmmmmmm, I wonder what they really plan to use this thing for...

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40624833)

From the article, "At the conclusion of the flight test, held in a wind tunnel,"

So they've pointed a laser at a photocell indoors, this is so far from doing it over hostile territory as to be laughable.

This is what research looks like. You don't start out testing a ready-to-deploy espionage platform. You take an idea, enhance it a bit, test it to see if your change works, enhance it more, see if your changes improved it, etc. Nobody's laughing at this stage, but I bet they were cheering.

Leaking the test results is also what 'marketing to investors' looks like. "Hey, Vulture Capitalists Inc., we've got a shiny laser powered spy drone for you to invest in, and we have proof of some ongoing tests ... the military is interested ... you'll get rich ... give us $20 million ... please?"

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624909)

do you really think Lockheed Martin is looking for some lame handout from venture capitalists?

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#40624937)

Sorta, but aren't they called senators?

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (2)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 2 years ago | (#40625063)

Fully agreed, but let's not forget who makes up the bottom tier of the investor pool. That would be us.

On a side note, if I had mod points right now, I'd be torn between modding your post insightful or funny. Unfortunately, there's no "sad but true" option. Maybe there should be.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#40628271)

Sorta, but aren't they called senators?

No. Venture capitalists spend their own money. Senators spend yours.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625217)

No, but Lasermotive might be. if the project is a bust, lasermotive takes the hit and shields lockheed from the fallout. if it works, LM acquires lasermotive and everyone wins.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625163)

Leaking the test results is also what 'marketing to investors' looks like. "Hey, Vulture Capitalists Inc., we've got a shiny laser powered spy drone for you to invest in, and we have proof of some ongoing tests ... the military is interested ... you'll get rich ... give us $20 million ... please?"

And when they accidentally blind a seagul is when this thing gets shutdown for years on end by environmentalists.

Money grabbing pitch. (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40625429)

Here are some issues that are greatly simplified by testing indoors in a wind tunnel;
1. Tracking; The aircraft does not move therefore tracking is trivial.
2. Range; Sure it may work at a few feet but does it work at a few kilometers?
3. Atmospheric conditions; Atmospheric conditions can be completely controlled indoors. Does it work in heat haze, rain, snow, dust, etc. at range?

At least do a test that remotely approximates a real world situation. Everyone knows that power can be transmitted by laser which is all that this test proves .. again. It still has not overcome the many known issues with using lasers to transmit power to aircraft. I effect it proves what has already been proven many times ind is not an advance at all.

Re:Money grabbing pitch. (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40626651)

Did you RTFA? It said nothing about the test conditions inside the wind tunnel, only that “This test is one of the final steps...The next step in proving the reality of this technology is to demonstrate it outdoors in an extended flight of the Stalker.”

They could have used a low powered laser to simulate range. They could have introduced dust, smoke and fog into the tunnel to simulate weather. And they don't need to prove the tracking platform works if they already have a tracking platform that works, and such tracking platforms were demonstrated last year on test aircraft at distances of 20km or more. And none of that info made the blurb, which as I said looked designed to stimulate investment.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (2)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#40626895)

This is what research looks like. You don't start out testing a ready-to-deploy espionage platform. You take an idea, enhance it a bit, test it to see if your change works, enhance it more, see if your changes improved it, etc. Nobody's laughing at this stage, but I bet they were cheering

Nuh-uh! I've seen James Bond. I'm sure Q will walk in any moment now with a perfect, bug-free device that will provide the perfect plot element at just the right time.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about 2 years ago | (#40627377)

Leaking the test results is also what 'marketing to investors' looks like. "Hey, Vulture Capitalists Inc., we've got a shiny laser powered spy drone for you to invest in, and we have proof of some ongoing tests ... the military is interested ... you'll get rich ... give us $20 million ... please?"

$20M is not much money at all. Instead, most likely, this data was published (I really really doubt it was "leaked" in any way, shape, or form) in preparation for a contract proposal worth hundreds of millions, if not over a billion, dollars.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#40626729)

Which is why we should use this technology for a space elevator instead.

Re:It was a test indoors, so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40627047)

Yes but this won't prevent Space Nutters from wildly extrapolating this news into space elevators and asteroid mining. Just watch.

Nice (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40624737)

I'm sure that any airborne attackers will greatly appreciate this opportunity to locate the ground station.

Re:Nice (2)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 2 years ago | (#40624763)

Ground station? Who cares, you're really pointing a bright (at some wavelength) laser beam at the aircraft. Pointing out where it is. I'm guessing this will only be used intermittently to charge batteries.

The ground station will probably be well protected, the US tends to operate with air superiority these days.

Re:Nice (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40624879)

I'm guessing this will only be used intermittently to charge batteries.

if it could be used meaningfully intermittently then it could also extend the flight time indefinitely, but they "only" got 48 hours...

Re:Nice (1)

bluemonq (812827) | about 2 years ago | (#40625385)

Perhaps it would have only gone 36 hours without the laser, but they were able to extend operational life by 33%. That's not chump change. Maybe what's limiting the use right now is cooling for the laser system?

Re:Nice (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40626675)

They "only" got 48 hours because by that time the test had proved all of their objectives and there was no point in continuing it, according to TFA.

Unfortunately with all the details lacking in TFA, there's no way to know if the laser was fired intermittently, or if it was continually charging the UAV.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625011)

It's probably not a visible laser. IR is much easier to do longer range in atmosphere.

the ground station should have an anti-missile defense system-- someone could drop an IR homing missile into their beam and ruin their whole day.

Re:Nice (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#40625801)

the ground station should have an anti-missile defense system-- someone could drop an IR homing missile into their beam and ruin their whole day.

A small array of IR photodiodes and a comparator sending yaw & pitch feedback to a mini RC-aircraft-type controller/servo system to control tail-vanes on a home-built rocket or even to help guide a programmable autonomous Raspberry-PI-controlled quadrotor might be places to start for an improvised system.

I'm not aware of any currently-operational or even testing-stage military anti-quadrotor weapons systems. Especially one that could successfully engage multiple simultaneous flying targets capable of helo-type flight characteristics, and track & engage targets from multiple-hundreds of feet altitude down to near-ground altitude, or even inside a structure.

Strat

Re:Nice (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 years ago | (#40628767)

It doesn't necessarily have to come from the ground; or from a static source, or be continuous. Other options are:
1) space based laser
2) larger plane nearby
3) multiple dynamic ground stations
4) shorter bursts that "charge" batteries so no continuous beam required.

so you can get a line of sight? (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#40624751)

earth is curved, lasers are straight, how many seconds can you actually do this in the field before you loose the tiny target ... not counting in wind, drift, clouds, rain, or some dipshit playing with his watch?

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#40624779)

Ask a man who can hit a dime with a rifle at 300 yards

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (0)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | about 2 years ago | (#40624793)

That only happens in Hollywood...

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625087)

I'm no pro (though I've been shooting a long time), and I can reliably put 25 x .22lr rounds on a quarter at 100 yards, prone, sling (no rest), using only the aperture sights on my anschutz. With a .308, good glass, a couple sighting rounds and good conditions, a pro could almost certainly land a good percentage of rounds fired on a dime. I wouldn't bet what I have in my wallet that I could do it, though.

But I think the original point was, with a computer controlling a recoilless device that isn't affected by crosswind like a bullet... I'm sure you could easily keep a laser on a car-sized target at a mile if you needed to. We've achieved far more complicated feats than that.

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#40624801)

and how many fractions of a second is that? How much current can that generate?

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40624851)

earth is curved, lasers are straight, how many seconds can you actually do this in the field before you loose the tiny target ... not counting in wind, drift, clouds, rain, or some dipshit playing with his watch?

Stabilized aiming platforms better not be a challenge for the military. Hell, there are kids making segway-clones and auto-aim-paintgun-bots out of web cams, Arduinos, and old inkjet printer stepper motors. You think a funded organization with a military product can't simply place an order with www.mobileweaponsplatforms-R-us.com and have one delivered tomorrow?

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624935)

I was so hoping for that link to be real.

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624943)

I went to their website and it was down.

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40625465)

It does not matter how stable the aiming platform is it it can not track the target that is unstable as it reacts to winds. The other issue is that lasers are dispersed by airborne particles (dust), rain, head haze, range, etc. Will enough energy be transmitted over kilometers to keep the UAV in the air? What about trees, buildings and hills? Will they obstruct the beam. How heavy is the sending laser? The Stalker is designed to be deployable by a single Special Forced soldier. Can one deploy the laser recharger too?

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626401)

Since it's a laser to deliver power, why can't it be mounted on a satellite?

Re:so you can get a line of sight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624903)

before you loose the tiny target

I doubt they're using a material that will shrink due to the laser heat. I'm pretty sure it'll be fixed pretty tightly...

caveat (1)

ImSoConfused (1489285) | about 2 years ago | (#40624761)

now we have to devise a way to get a laser-sourcing UAV to fly (for 48 hrs) within range of this one to relay the juice

Re:caveat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624823)

Easy. Just power it by a third laser sourcing UAV.

relative terms (4, Funny)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 2 years ago | (#40624791)

<LMT> "Stalker is a small... it's only half the size of a predator drone!"
<guy> "Oh?... How large is a predator drone?"
<LMT> "The size of a bus."

Better hope the laser is infra-red (3, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | about 2 years ago | (#40624831)

Otherwise it'll be pretty obvious (in any atmospheric conditions where there are particles or aerosols) as to just where the drone (and base!) is.

Of course with a pair of night vision goggles the same might be true of an infra-red laser. How about x-ray? ;)

Re:Better hope the laser is infra-red (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624915)

Mod it up. That's like free target painting...

Re:Better hope the laser is infra-red (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40627921)

Exactly, get the frequency of the laser and calibrate a laser guided missile to the pre-painted drone.

Power it from above (5, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#40624835)

You can power them from satellites rather than ground based - you'll escape all the dust and much of the atmospheric crap, and your power will be free from the sun. Park a satellite over the Middle East and you have LOS everywhere.

Re:Power it from above (1)

William Robinson (875390) | about 2 years ago | (#40624893)

Yep, I was thinking same. The laser from ground will limit its usefulness to line-of-sight distance only.

Another improvement could be to use solar heat on the fly and run Stirling Engine for additional power. That way the plane would be used for way longer period.

Re:Power it from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624895)

Right. Point a blindingly bright beam of light (infrared or otherwise) exactly towards your hundred million dollar secret spy plane on a secret spy mission.
What could possibly go wrong?

I predict a wonderful future for you in government contracting.

Re:Power it from above (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 2 years ago | (#40624991)

Even laser beams spread out. To hit a small target from geostationary orbit would require a really large satellite. It gets better with bigger targets, but only if you also allow for a big satellite.

Re:Power it from above (2)

bitingduck (810730) | about 2 years ago | (#40625017)

But think of the amount of popcorn they could produce in remote locations...

Re:Power it from above (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40625077)

But think of the amount of popcorn they could produce in remote locations...

Give your ground troops a tan.

Re:Power it from above (1)

David Gould (4938) | about 2 years ago | (#40626343)

But think of the amount of popcorn they could produce in remote locations...

The Crossbow Project
There's no defense like a good offense.

Re:Power it from above (4, Funny)

Kugala (1083127) | about 2 years ago | (#40626689)

Thankfully this is a problem solved by MORE POWER. The most revered of all engineering solutions.

Re:Power it from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626763)

Even laser beams spread out. To hit a small target from geostationary orbit would require a really large satellite. It gets better with bigger targets, but only if you also allow for a big satellite.

They do, but that is why you have some sort of optical/beam director that focuses the beam onto the solar panels. Slightly easier b/c the drone is a cooperative target (ie. willing to tell you where it is and adjust for calibration purposes).

Re:Power it from above (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625179)

Power attenuation (due to atmospheric interference and beam divergence) would probably be the limiting factor. These drones are probably flying between 1-4 miles from the ground. Compare to 22k miles for a geosynch satellite "parked over the Middle East" or ~200 miles for a LEO satellite in a constellation of satellites. Attenuation increases as the function of the square of the distance, so even an increase in a factor of 50 for a LEO sat would probably be a deal breaker.

I'm assuming the system they would implement is to have "charging zones" either stationary or vehicle based close to the action where the drones can loiter briefly, recharge and then return to their mission.

 

Re:Power it from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625181)

One small problem: the Outer Space Treaty. No weapons of any kind are allowed in space. I'm pretty sure that a lazer, even if being used as a power source, counts. Especially when the recipient of the power beam IS a military weapon platform.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Preservation_Treaty

Re:Power it from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625661)

If you'd read the article that you linked then you'd know that it's not "weapons of any kind" that are banned but instead only weapons of mass destruction. Conventional weapons are fine. I imagine that a laser to be used as a power-source would be fine.

Re:Power it from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626621)

You're right. I mounted my Glock on one of my smaller satellites the other day. None of the neighbors complained.

Re:Power it from above (4, Funny)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about 2 years ago | (#40625353)

I tried to design a system like that once, but during the development I had a dream where I was dressed in a Sun God robe surrounded by naked women chanting and throwing pickles at me. That brought and end to it all.

Re:Power it from above (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#40626913)

I tried to design a system like that once, but during the development I had a dream where I was dressed in a Sun God robe surrounded by naked women chanting and throwing pickles at me. That brought and end to it all.

Are you kidding? That kind of dream would only motivate me to finish sooner.

Re:Power it from above (3, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#40625615)

You can power them from satellites rather than ground based - you'll escape all the dust and much of the atmospheric crap, and your power will be free from the sun.

Satellite power isn't free... In fact it's EXTREMELY expensive. Satellite EoL is most commonly when solar panels have deteriorated enough that they can't provide the trickle of power most sats need.

Yes, you escape dust problems, but then you pick up the problem of hugely-increased distances from laser to drone.

And the biggest problem is targeting... Drones are small, subject to atmosphere turbulence and ground control, both of which can cause sudden location changes, and the satellite is going to need to handle this, in real-time, or else a massive laser beam suddenly shines down at the feet of the people who aren't supposed to know they're being spied on.

Re:Power it from above (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#40628321)


Satellite power isn't free... In fact it's EXTREMELY expensive. Satellite EoL is most commonly when solar panels have deteriorated enough that they can't provide the trickle of power most sats need.

Incorrect. EoL is when they are out of fuel for position control.

Re:Power it from above (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 years ago | (#40625655)

You can power them from satellites rather than ground based - you'll escape all the dust and much of the atmospheric crap, and your power will be free from the sun. Park a satellite over the Middle East and you have LOS everywhere.

And if you miss the little flying drone and happen to fry some people on the ground...oh well, shit happens...

Re:Power it from above (1)

Turksarama (2666917) | about 2 years ago | (#40625849)

The difference in the distance is kinda staggering though, it's much harder to hit a small moving target from space on an also moving satellite, not to mention that even a laser beam diverges.

Re:Power it from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626039)

If i had a dedicated satelite over the target area that is so precise that ot could hit a small moving target from orbit ... Well i wouldnt need a survailance drone now would i ... Kinda a bad idea here

Re:Power it from above (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#40626099)

Lasees really suck up the electric. You'ld need ground staions hooked into a power grid spread out near the intended fly route. This idea has potential for powering passenger planes, jet fuel isn't getting any cheaper.

Re:Power it from above (1)

thed8 (1739450) | about 2 years ago | (#40626417)

And now make the huge leap to putting a manned vehicle on it, build a bunch more lasers, find a President who will spend money on space exploration, and head for Jupiter and points beyond. (Apologies for the optimism.)

Re:Power it from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40627903)

Pardon my ignorance, because I'm not sure how this type of drone works. But doesn't this drone actually fly below cloud cover, mostly feeding conventional video imaging to its operators?

It must be near impossible (today) to track a small drone under the clouds from a satellite, and to accurately point a focused laser beam on it.

Laser locator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40624985)

The laser will make a nice locator for anti-aircraft fire, too. /FAIL

Bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625039)

We don't want laser powered drones, we want friggin' laser powered sharks!

And where the fuck's my flying car?

2006? Spot the lie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40625261)

Really drones are safe! We've been using them for YEARS!

Stalker. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#40625395)

Stalker... that's a nice name for a drone.

The complete series will go something like Stalker, Creep, Pedo.

Re:Stalker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626161)

Stalker... that's a nice name for a drone.

Never been in a zone [wikipedia.org], have you?

Re:Stalker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626949)

And will Chuck Norris star in Stalker: Texas Border Patrol?

Espionage? With Lasers? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 years ago | (#40626197)

While I can see applications for something like this, I don't see how espionage and special forces ops are among them.

The whole point of these kinds of operations is to not let anybody know they are happening. They even talk about this drone as being extra quiet and stealthy. So, if that is the case, does it really make sense to shine a big laser at it? Maybe you could start it out quiet and then only turn the laser on after the bullets start flying, which makes more sense for special forces than espionage.

Where I could see something like this as being more useful is general surveillance of established territory. If I had a base that I had to protect it would be nice to have cameras orbiting up high showing me everything going on around me. The base isn't a secret, and in fact is a target. The bad guys already know I probably have drones. This just makes it possible for me to actually have drones all the time. If the bad guys try to shoot one down, well, I know something is up, which is their whole point.

Re:Espionage? With Lasers? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#40628535)

Well,
for recharging the drone can leave the operation area. E.g. if it is a carrier based drone it moves 10km out of the surveilance area closer to the carrier and get recharged in flight. Saves the full round trip and the landing / launching.

Laser targeting ? (1)

giorgist (1208992) | about 2 years ago | (#40626269)

Laser painting with the hard job done by the owners :-)

Re:Laser targeting ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40627135)

Absoultly!!! that was my first thought!

Cool tech, worth investing in but i just dont see it used in the field.

Chris

Also uses laser propulsion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626405)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAdj6vpYppA

America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626935)

"America! Fuck Yeah!"
"What you gona do when we come for you?"
"America! Fuck Yeah!"

Wind Tunnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40626963)

(Thankfully) 48 Hours in a wind tunnel under controlled circumstances is a long way from 48 hours flying in varying wind, through tree cover, around obstacles and dealing with weather conditions (humidity, rain, clouds, sunshine, heat, etc).

How good?? (1)

nasheeka (2682853) | about 2 years ago | (#40627065)

Why dose technology increase to reduce the man kind all the time. Can these UAS used to calculate the exact number of elephants in the world.

I don't get it (1)

cephus440 (828210) | about 2 years ago | (#40627145)

It recharges by a bunch of military personal with laser pointers? Won't that give the location away?

Re:I don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40627841)

Yes, the swarms of cats would be a first indicator.

great idea (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40627303)

Oh good, so now they can not only shine a big, bright, detectable light on the drone but it can also be traced back to the charging station on the other end of the beam. What a brilliant military invention! Since this has no practical use whatsoever on foreign battlefields, I think they just wanted to build a giant, high powered laser with a good tracking system. Now that they could turn into something useful.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...