Russians to get broadband by spy plane
Russian high-altitude spy planes may be given a new lease of life as platforms for telecoms services, if an audacious (and rather improbable) scheme ever gets off the ground.
Myasishchev M-55 were initially designed to intercept spy balloons after the US U-2 program was shut down. After the end of the Cold War, a modified version of the aircraft (the M-55 Geophysica) found service in scientific research roles. For example, one was used to study the arctic stratosphere in the late 1990s.
M-55 planes are still based on the original design, which included the facility to carry weapons to high altitude. This facility is now being repurposed to carry telecoms kit.
The idea is the planes could act as a platform for telecoms coverage in areas where satellite coverage is dodgy or for emergency relief in regions where the existing telecoms infrastructure has either been damaged or destroyed. By flying at high altitude the planes can potentially provide an uplink to a large area on the ground.
In principle, the scheme recalls the broadband by blimp idea that gets periodically floated every now and again but never seems to come to much. Nonetheless, Myasishchev reckons the idea is a goer. It plans to prove the concept with demonstration plane due to take the skies over Malaysia in February and March next year, Cellular News (which carries a pictures of the Cold War warhorse turned potential telecom platform) reports.
In other applications of the aircraft, a modified version of the M-55 is being considered as the launch aircraft for the C-21 suborbital rocketplane by Space Adventures, a space tourism firm. ®
lofty 'gateway' platform
Dude -- Alliance all the way -- but I'm a canuck and we're used to kicking the 'murricans butts in wargames ... *grin*
What was the name of the robot network in the Terminator series again???????
Oh -- by the way -- wheres the PH angle here?
British MOD's Skynet system has been around since the late 1960s. It can hardly be termed "the new UK PPP/military system for broadband for military forces overseas"
Isn't this similar to the crazy DARPA thing?
You know, their plan to turn F-22s into flying wifi hotspots? Seems to me the US and Russians need to get together so their respective armies' WoW sessions remain trouble free. Now which side wants to play horde?