Let’s just start fighting wars with flying robots aka “drones”.  We’ll hire video game heroes and RC pilots.  Forget large groups of infantryman, marines, and huge support chains.  Keep them back out of line of fire.  Sure, you’ll always need the unit on the ground dealing with locals and handling targeting, but hopefully in the next few decades, the required numbers of ‘boots on ground’ will drop drastically. Our currently used Predator drones have already kick-started the trend.

While, the prospect of swapping troops for drones is awesome, the Arcturus T-20 drone isn’t really a troop replacement;  it’s more of a troop enhancement.  The T-20 requires no runway and can be launched using an over sized slingshot with a small team.  Technically, ground combat teams could carry their own air support with them.  That means not more waiting for the slow as molasses Air force(wink).  This drone can carry two small 10 pound laser guided missiles that can turn any target into pasta sauce with the click of a mouse.

arcturus t-20 drone tiny missile back view

Hippie Comment Of the week From Wired’s article on the Arcturus drone(article below):

Waste of money and they will be used to kill US citizen activists/protestors. Drones have a 3% accuracy according to a recent study. Its not like someone follows up on the ground to make sure that they got the right guy. The real terrorists are in Washington, leaving us broke with no jobs or health care or means to pay our mortgage. Is it not terrifying to have children without decent health care? Is it not terrifying that 1 in 3 cannot earn a living wage? Quit building weapons of mass destruction and start helping the people.

-Hatrick Penry

Oh……spare me Hatrick Penry.  Why don’t we quit “building weapons”?  Because other countries WILL keep building them and there are a few countries that would ‘F’ the US up if we made ourselves a soft target.

How about I leave all my doors unlocked on my house, trash my guns and sell my dog?  No……same principle.


Wired Magazine:

Florida — Never let it be said that small isn’t powerful. A Northern California company has just built commandos perhaps the smallest drone that can kill you. Underscoring the point, it’s even painted camouflage, like Stallone in Rambo.

The Arcturus company built its eponymous drone as the unmanned aerial equivalent of a compact car. Its wingspan is just over 17 feet, making it slightly smaller than the Army and Marine Corps’ Shadow drone. Arcturus is “primarily” a spy plane, says engineer Eric Folkestad. Emphasis on “primarily.”

Because the life-size Arcturus on display at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here has a conspicuous add-on under its left wing. That’s a Saber, a 10-pound laser-guided missile (.pdf) manufactured by MBDA. In tests, Arcturus discovered that the wings of its drone can carry 22 pounds’ worth of cargo, making it a candidate to wield MBDA’s missiles. “No one else can do that in our size category,” Folkestad says.

Not for lack of trying. For years, both the Army and Marine Corps have tried to weaponize the Shadow, an attempt to make it the pint-sized Salacious Crumb to the Jabba the Hutt of drones, the Hellfire-armed Predator. If it works, a battalion commander won’t have to call headquarters for unmanned air support. He’ll have the air support himself.

So far, though, armed drones of this size haven’t made it out of the testing stage. And that includes the Arcturus.

Folkestad says his company has shipped 12 of the drones to the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force in the past 18 months. They’re still in evaluation. But if it gets the thumbs up, then ever-smaller units will command their own flying killer robots, another step in the proliferation of drone warfare.

Unlike the other “tier-2 class” drones, Arcturus is intended primarily for commandos. Like the Shadow, it’s launched from a pneumatic catapult, and doesn’t need a runway to land. Unlike a Shadow, the Arcturus is a modular design: The wings and the tail snap off of the 100-pound plane for portability by small special-operations detachments behind enemy lines.

Hence the camouflage. The camo might look a little silly when the Arcturus is up at its max height of 15,000 feet. But that missile is no laughing matter.

If that sounds a little callous, consider this: Arcturus shares its company name with a fantastically dark Norwegian black metal band. Folkestad doesn’t need reminding: “You Google us; you get them.”




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