Feeds

Cocaine-hunting robot chopper in 60kg bust seizure

Fleeing narco-scallywags pursued by tin sky-cop

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.