Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Robotics The Military United States Hardware

Laser Powers Lockheed Martin's Stalker Drone For 48 Hours 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
garymortimer writes "Lockheed Martin (LMT) and LaserMotive, Inc., recently demonstrated the capabilities of an innovative laser power system to extend the Stalker Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) flight time to more than 48 hours. This increase in flight duration represents an improvement of 2,400 percent. Stalker is a small, silent UAS used by Special Operations Forces since 2006 to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Laser Powers Lockheed Martin's Stalker Drone For 48 Hours

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:41AM (#40624703)

    From the article, "At the conclusion of the flight test, held in a wind tunnel,"

    So they've pointed a laser at a photocell indoors, this is so far from doing it over hostile territory as to be laughable.

  • Nice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:45AM (#40624737) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure that any airborne attackers will greatly appreciate this opportunity to locate the ground station.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:07AM (#40624831) Journal

    Otherwise it'll be pretty obvious (in any atmospheric conditions where there are particles or aerosols) as to just where the drone (and base!) is.

    Of course with a pair of night vision goggles the same might be true of an infra-red laser. How about x-ray? ;)

  • by plover (150551) * on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:07AM (#40624833) Homepage Journal

    From the article, "At the conclusion of the flight test, held in a wind tunnel,"

    So they've pointed a laser at a photocell indoors, this is so far from doing it over hostile territory as to be laughable.

    This is what research looks like. You don't start out testing a ready-to-deploy espionage platform. You take an idea, enhance it a bit, test it to see if your change works, enhance it more, see if your changes improved it, etc. Nobody's laughing at this stage, but I bet they were cheering.

    Leaking the test results is also what 'marketing to investors' looks like. "Hey, Vulture Capitalists Inc., we've got a shiny laser powered spy drone for you to invest in, and we have proof of some ongoing tests ... the military is interested ... you'll get rich ... give us $20 million ... please?"

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:31AM (#40624937) Homepage Journal
    Sorta, but aren't they called senators?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @02:44AM (#40625217)

    No, but Lasermotive might be. if the project is a bust, lasermotive takes the hit and shields lockheed from the fallout. if it works, LM acquires lasermotive and everyone wins.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:18AM (#40625615) Journal

    You can power them from satellites rather than ground based - you'll escape all the dust and much of the atmospheric crap, and your power will be free from the sun.

    Satellite power isn't free... In fact it's EXTREMELY expensive. Satellite EoL is most commonly when solar panels have deteriorated enough that they can't provide the trickle of power most sats need.

    Yes, you escape dust problems, but then you pick up the problem of hugely-increased distances from laser to drone.

    And the biggest problem is targeting... Drones are small, subject to atmosphere turbulence and ground control, both of which can cause sudden location changes, and the satellite is going to need to handle this, in real-time, or else a massive laser beam suddenly shines down at the feet of the people who aren't supposed to know they're being spied on.

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.

Working...