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DARPA seeks ‘perch and stare’ spy-fly robot

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Lewis Page
THE REGISTER
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pentagon war-boffins have shelled out $4.6m to a noted aerial crazytech firm to develop a spy drone which can “perch” near a target, “stare” at it, then take off again and fly home.

Aerovironment Inc, already famous for such projects as the Helios solar-powered crewless wingship, the three-inch bugbot-thopter and the hydrogen strato-cruiser skyeye, was chuffed to announce the contract win yesterday. One need hardly add that the cash comes from DARPA*, the US military boffin apparat whose early-afternoon dining policy is strictly extramural.

Aerovironment and DARPA refer to the desired perch’n'lurk mode as Stealthy Persistent Perch and Stare (SP2S), and intend to implement it starting with the existing winged Wasp machine. (We would like to offer an alternative term for winged spydroids attaching themselves to buildings etc: “Gargoyle mode”.)

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UAS that performs hover/perch and stare missions is viewed as an important capability for our armed forces,” said Aerovironment dronebot chief John Grabowsky.

“Our production Wasp incorporates the latest technologies to provide a day and night capable, hand-launched UAS that fits into a standard backpack while still providing room for other important supplies. We believe that the Wasp-based SP2S… is on track to develop into a portable, practical and affordable perch-and-stare micro air vehicle.”

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This article was posted: Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 9:28 am





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