Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Droning On from the So-called Experts

But when it comes to more sophisticated foes such as Iran, which has Russian-made anti-aircraft missile systems, the drone is vulnerable to attack. Last year the Iranians shot down a sophisticated U.S. stealth drone, the bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel, and now the Revolutionary Guards say they have captured a ScanEagle version, which is launched from sea. Clearly the golden age of the drones, when they ruled supreme in the skies, is drawing to a close.
 Con Coughlin of the London Telegraph thinks the golden age of Drone warfare is already behind us.  Con Coughlin is mistaken.  The RQ-170 was not shot down.  It was, likely, a system failure.  So, the stealth aspect was intact.  Also, while the Revolutionary Gurards can say what they like, the Navy hasn't lost a ScanEagle. 

The next generation of drones is already beyond the pipeline.  The new Boeing Phantom Ray has a cruising speed of well over 600 MPH at an altitude of over 65,000 feet.   That puts everyone else's toys to shame, and the shape suggests stealth as well.  Add a liquid hydrogen mixture fuel source, and you have a drone that can stay on station for days at a time without refueling.

As I said, Con Coughlin is mistaken.  The golden age of Drones can't even be seen from this distance.  But, it's coming.

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