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Slideshow: Military Robots Extend Humans' Reach
1/7/2013

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The Nighthawk Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) is a rugged, fully automated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made of carbon fiber composite. It uses GPS and autopilot technologies for navigating unfriendly territories to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. Its range is over 10 km (6 miles) and flight time is more than 60 minutes. The Nighthawk weighs 1.6 lb (725 gm), has a wingspan of 26 inches (66 cm), and a cruise speed of 18 to 30-plus knots. The MAV is equipped with 8-channel command and control, 4-channel video, and operates on batteries. It has forward and side-looking electro-optical cameras and a side or forward-looking thermal imager. A PC-based user interface provides real-time visual feedback and point-and-click waypoint navigation. The system can also be operated in semi-manual and manual flight modes. MAVs are stored fully assembled and ready to launch in a tube measuring 6 inches (15.2 cm) in diameter and attached to an assault pack. The assault pack's outer pockets hold a rugged laptop computer, the ground control station, and an antenna assembly. The pack's total weight is about 15 lb (6 kg).   (Source: Applied Research Associates)
The Nighthawk Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) is a rugged, fully automated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made of carbon fiber composite. It uses GPS and autopilot technologies for navigating unfriendly territories to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. Its range is over 10 km (6 miles) and flight time is more than 60 minutes. The Nighthawk weighs 1.6 lb (725 gm), has a wingspan of 26 inches (66 cm), and a cruise speed of 18 to 30-plus knots. The MAV is equipped with 8-channel command and control, 4-channel video, and operates on batteries. It has forward and side-looking electro-optical cameras and a side or forward-looking thermal imager. A PC-based user interface provides real-time visual feedback and point-and-click waypoint navigation. The system can also be operated in semi-manual and manual flight modes. MAVs are stored fully assembled and ready to launch in a tube measuring 6 inches (15.2 cm) in diameter and attached to an assault pack. The assault pack's outer pockets hold a rugged laptop computer, the ground control station, and an antenna assembly. The pack's total weight is about 15 lb (6 kg).
(Source: Applied Research Associates)

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Cabe Atwell
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Re: Military robots.
Cabe Atwell   5/20/2014 3:24:52 AM
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The military now has a two-piece 3D printed drone that can be deployed from a backpack. If it gets shot down they can always print another one up in a matter of 24-hours. Talk about progress.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Military robots.
Ann R. Thryft   11/26/2013 12:10:05 PM
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Thanks, Think Deep, we've already done two slideshows on nautical robots, some of which are military, and many of which are AUVs, UUVs and/or ROVs:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=246206
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=262528
SeaBotix is a new one to me, though--thanks for the link.



Think Deep
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Re: Military robots.
Think Deep   11/26/2013 9:23:32 AM
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Ann, you might want to include underwater robots in you future blogs, they are used extensively for mine countermeasures, waterborn IED defeat, search and rescue, ship hull maintenance and many other critical tasks. Some good examples might be the SeaBotix LBV: http://www.seabotix.com/products/vlbv950.htm or the LBC, which can both swim and attach to and crawl on subsea structures: http://seabotix.com/products/lbc.htm Both have numerous commercial uses in addition to maritime security.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Military robots.
Ann R. Thryft   2/28/2013 12:43:01 PM
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I agree, the platforms can be very similar across military, search-and-rescue, and scientific exploration/monitoring apps.

William K.
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Military robots.
William K.   2/27/2013 10:06:32 PM
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One more interesting thing about this collection of robotic packages is that they would all find use in the non-military realm as well. Some would work in law enforcement and others in industry and firefighting. Plus, some of them would make really neat toys.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Military Robots Extend REach
Ann R. Thryft   1/18/2013 11:41:09 AM
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Thanks for the info, William. In the distant past I covered communications technology, including military comms and the intricacies of how data transmission protocols work, and even wrote articles for at least one of those journals. I do find them to be dry, but that's the nature of the beast.

William K.
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Re: Military Robots Extend Reach, and avoid spoofing
William K.   1/17/2013 7:29:02 PM
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Ann, spoofing is indeed a very big challenge, there was quite q write up about how the spoofing of the drone was accomplished, and what can be done to avoid a repeat of the attack. Fortunately the method of attack is fairly well understood, and there were a few statements about methods available to detect it in the future. Unfortunately the implementation of the detection process is not so very simple, and it seems that it may take quite a bit more than just adding a few lines of code. The articles were either in "Microwaves and RF" or in the "Microwave journal", I don't recall which. And it was several months ago. You may find those publications a bit dry, though. Or possibly not.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Military Robots Extend REach
Ann R. Thryft   1/17/2013 12:56:56 PM
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Thanks, William, I already know what you mentioned about those secure protocols. In fact, I learned a little bit about how they transmit both commands and data, and the ECC--but not as much as I'd like. And not nearly as much as I want to know about just how hackable they are. I hadn't thought of spoofing, though--that does sound scary.

William K.
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Re: Military Robots Extend REach
William K.   1/15/2013 9:50:49 PM
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Ann, They are secure, and much of the information is classified. That means that they would not tell me much more than I told you. 

But they are able to pass both commands and data, and they have a method of error detection and correction.

What I hope is that it is not able to be "spoofed", like the one drone was a few months back. That was a case of where the enemy lislead the GPS system. Worse yet, that drone did not have a "destruct on capture" system installed. That was very unfortunate.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Military Robots Extend REach
Ann R. Thryft   1/15/2013 3:45:29 PM
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William, thanks for backing me up on this. I'm always surprised at some people's lack of understanding about WiFi's non-security. And I'd really like to know a lot more about the "secure" protocols the military uses for WiFi and other wireless comms.

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