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Showing posts from September 8, 2013

Unmanned Naval Helicopters Take-off in 2013

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The carrier take-off and arrested landings of the U.S. Navy's X-47B demonstrator have garnered significant press attention this year.  Less noticed however, is the rapid development of rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles in the world's navies.  Recent operational successes of Northrop Grumman's MQ-8B Fire Scout aboard U.S. Navy frigates have led to many countries recognizing the value of vertical take-off and landing UAVs for maritime use. 

International navies see the versatility and cost savings that unmanned rotary wing platforms can bring to maritime operations.  Like their manned counter-parts, these UAVs conduct a variety of missions including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; cargo resupply/vertical replenishment; and in some future conflict will perform armed interdiction at sea.  However, unlike the two or three hour endurance of manned helicopter missions, some of these UAVs can fly 12 or more hour sorties.  Other benefits include the ability for…