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New generation of unmanned spy planes is being tested

Three drones being flown in the coming weeks are speedier, stealthier and higher-flying.

By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

January 11, 2011

An experimental spy plane with a wingspan almost the size of a Boeing 747's took to the skies over the Mojave Desert last week in a secret test flight that may herald a new era in modern warfare with robotic planes flying higher, faster and with more firepower.

The massive Global Observer built by AeroVironment Inc. of Monrovia is capable of flying for days at a stratosphere-skimming 65,000 feet, out of range of most antiaircraft missiles. The plane is built to survey 280,000 square miles — an area larger than Afghanistan — at a single glance. That would give the Pentagon an "unblinking eye" over the war zone and offer a cheaper and more effective alternative to spy satellites watching from outer space.

The estimated $30-million


Added: Jan-11-2011 Occurred On: Jan-11-2011
By: hughmac7
Afghanistan, Other
Tags: Global Observer, AeroVironment Inc, X-47B, Phantom Ray
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  • The next generation of spy planes will be ultra high altitude stealth blimps.

    Posted Jan-11-2011 By 

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  • Drones will never fully replace piloted birds, since counter-technologies advance at an equally rapid pace. All an enemy has to do is interfere with the comm link to disrupt the mission. You can be sure this is what China, Russia and other countries are now developing.

    Posted Nov-3-2011 By 

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