Feeds

Cocaine-hunting robot chopper in 60kg bust seizure

Fleeing narco-scallywags pursued by tin sky-cop

Top three mobile application threats

Vid An unmanned kill-chopper operating from a US Navy warship has notched up its first drug bust while still in testing, according to reports.

The "Fire Scout" robocopter was engaged in sea trials aboard the US frigate McInerney earlier this month when its mothership detected a possible "go-fast" drug-smuggling speedboat on radar, according to Aviation Week.

The Fire Scout was airborne for a test flight at the time, and having completed planned trials the shipboard operators decided to pursue the radar contact. The robocopter pursued the speeding narco-freighter for some three hours before a boat-borne US Coastguard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET)* intercepted it, seizing some 60kg of cocaine.

The Fire Scout is a robotised version of an existing small commercial chopper. It can carry various kinds of sensor payload, including the infrared cameras which produced the vid above. Other versions have been offered able to carry an impressive arsenal of weaponry, including laser-guided Hellfire antitank missiles or "Viper Strike" pocket miniglider smartbombs.

Makers Northrop intend the droid chopper both for US Naval and Coastguard service. Two can be carried in the same space as a light maritime manned helicopter, which offers the attraction of continuous airborne presence from ships which are normally single-aircraft only such as frigates like the McInerney and US Coastguard cutters.

The machine was originally planned to debut aboard the new and innovative Littoral Combat Ship, but the LCS itself has hit problems and the Fire Scout is now proceeding in trials aboard more normal warships. The McInerney has been operating with the droid chopper since last October.

Fire Scout was also slated for service with the US Army under the name "Class IV UAV", but this has now been axed along with other major parts of the "Future Combat Systems" network robo-legion scheme. The Fire Scout was also unsuccessful in its bid for the US Marines' new scheme to deliver supplies in Afghanistan using robocopters. ®

*Both US and British warships operating against the drugs trade in the Caribbean frequently carry US Coastguard LEDETs to do the actual arrests, as this is much simpler for court and legal purposes than having naval personnel snap on bracelets and assist with subsequent prosecutions.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.