UK to build robot stealth raygun jet/copter
Bids for droid tail-sitter with pop-out chopper
Aerospace firms are competing for a "classified" UK MoD contract to build a robotic military stealth aircraft which would be able to hover like a helicopter or fold its rotors and fly as an aeroplane. The "novel air concept" would be able to operate "within urban canyons" and deploy radical new weapons such as microwave or laser rayguns.
There's also a thing for getting stones out of horses' hooves underneath.
News of the commercial bids comes from Aviation Week & Space Technology, which names UK-headquartered arms globocorp BAE Systems, Euro missile alliance MBDA (partly owned by BAE) and British uni spinout Cranfield Aerospace as competitors to build the Novel Air Concept prototype.
The MoD's Defence Science organisation had already released some details on the Concept. Specifically, the military boffins would like to see:
A more cost-effective means of achieving the effects currently provided by manned aircraft and cruise missiles by using new concepts in unmanned air vehicles (UAVs)/unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs). The specific effects under consideration are the delivery of novel payloads over remote hostile territory and, specifically, within the urban environment.
Pop-up chopper indeed!
This would have been taken as being obvious when "I were a lad." And were'nt the girls happy with that arrangement???
A Predator (roboplane, not invisi-alien) can hang around for a while, can carry worthwhile weapons payloads, travels at not-bad speeds, and doesn't need to risk a pilot around those urban canyons where catching a wing on a building is terminally bad news. And it's small enough that a Predator which does snag a wing is only going to wipe out a couple of cars, whereas a full-sized manned plane is going to flatten the whole street. It should also be fairly straightforward to rig a Predator for building avoidance, so that it can fly itself safely in the event it loses comms temporarily.
For that matter, why do we need the jet capability either? The Eurocopter helo that Brit cops use has a rated max speed of 165knots. Even in a straight drag race, that's faster than most cars (including heavily-modified sports cars), and in any environment involving obstacles (junctions, corners, other road users) it's guaranteed to have the edge.
Looks like a paper plane to me!
Definitely Origami. Not that I am familiar with that you understand.