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Robotics The Military United States Hardware

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

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."
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Laser Powers Lockheed Martin's Stalker Drone For 48 Hours

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  • Power it from above (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:08AM (#40624835)

    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. Park a satellite over the Middle East and you have LOS everywhere.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:13AM (#40624851) Homepage Journal

    earth is curved, lasers are straight, how many seconds can you actually do this in the field before you loose the tiny target ... not counting in wind, drift, clouds, rain, or some dipshit playing with his watch?

    Stabilized aiming platforms better not be a challenge for the military. Hell, there are kids making segway-clones and auto-aim-paintgun-bots out of web cams, Arduinos, and old inkjet printer stepper motors. You think a funded organization with a military product can't simply place an order with www.mobileweaponsplatforms-R-us.com and have one delivered tomorrow?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @02:08AM (#40625087)

    I'm no pro (though I've been shooting a long time), and I can reliably put 25 x .22lr rounds on a quarter at 100 yards, prone, sling (no rest), using only the aperture sights on my anschutz. With a .308, good glass, a couple sighting rounds and good conditions, a pro could almost certainly land a good percentage of rounds fired on a dime. I wouldn't bet what I have in my wallet that I could do it, though.

    But I think the original point was, with a computer controlling a recoilless device that isn't affected by crosswind like a bullet... I'm sure you could easily keep a laser on a car-sized target at a mile if you needed to. We've achieved far more complicated feats than that.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:00AM (#40626651) Homepage Journal

    Did you RTFA? It said nothing about the test conditions inside the wind tunnel, only that “This test is one of the final steps...The next step in proving the reality of this technology is to demonstrate it outdoors in an extended flight of the Stalker.”

    They could have used a low powered laser to simulate range. They could have introduced dust, smoke and fog into the tunnel to simulate weather. And they don't need to prove the tracking platform works if they already have a tracking platform that works, and such tracking platforms were demonstrated last year on test aircraft at distances of 20km or more. And none of that info made the blurb, which as I said looked designed to stimulate investment.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll