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Unmanned aircraft can now hunt in packs

No pilot required
Tue Nov 28 2006, 21:14
QINETIQ HAS ANNOUNCED the development of the world's first ever system able to control and organise multiple unmanned aircraft, the company said today.

The project was sponsored as part of a recent programme for the Ministry of Defence.

A twin-jet aircraft, a BAC1-11 for those plane spotters browsing the INQ from a Greek prison, has been central to the demonstration, QinetiQ said. The jet was converted into a fully-functional unmanned air vehicle, also known as a UAV. The plane was controlled remotely for the demonstration, but also demonstrated was a package of simulated UAVs on a strategic level at the same time.

Supposedly the test was a complete success, with the BAC1-11 flying and working on its lonesome - of course, a crew was on board for safety reasons, making sure the demonstration didn't take a turn for the disastrous.

Andrew Sleigh of QinetiQ said in a release, "this demonstration is a wonderful achievment for the team. The success is an important step in proving that complex autonomous decision-making technologies are ready to move from a simulated world to realistic flight conditions."

Andy reckons that the new technology could well lead to just the one human operator controlling UAVs from a control tower without the risk that manned aircraft carries. µ

 

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