Thursday, February 7, 2013

Drones very small to large

I was looking at the Time magazine article on drones from hummingbird size to really large ones. The first four I will share have only cameras on board and so are non-lethal and only used to gather visual and sometimes sound information wherever they go. The second 4 (3 for air and 1 for sea use) are military grade and potentially lethal. Actually, I find the humminbird in some ways the most disturbing because you actually might mistake it for a real hummingbird while having an important conversation regarding business or private information that you really don't want the whole world to know because it is your personal private information after all and you do have the right of privacy. However, as far as I know this is a U.S. Government intelligence tool and not for private use at present.

begin quote from wikipedia under the heading "nano air vehicle" 

AeroVironment Nano Hummingbird

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nano Hummingbird
Artificial hummingbird weighs less than an AA battery
Role Experimental UAV
Manufacturer AeroVironment
Primary user DARPA
The AeroVironment Nano Hummingbird or Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) is a tiny, remote controlled aircraft built to resemble and fly like a hummingbird, developed in the United States by AeroVironment, Inc. to specifications provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Hummingbird is equipped with a small video camera for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes and, for now, operates in the air for up to 11 minutes. It can fly outdoors, or enter a doorway to investigate indoor environments. It was announced to the public on 17 February 2011.[1][2][3]



DARPA contributed $4 million to AeroVironment since 2006[4] to create a prototype "hummingbird-like" aircraft for the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program.[5] The result was called the Nano Hummingbird which can fly at 11 miles per hour (18 km/h) and move in three axes of motion. The aircraft can climb and descend vertically; fly sideways left and right; forward and backward; rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise; and hover in mid-air. The artificial hummingbird maneuver using its flapping wings for propulsion and attitude control. It has a body shaped like a real hummingbird, a wingspan of 6.3 inches (160 mm), and a total flying weight of 0.67 ounces (19 g)—less than an AA battery. This includes the systems required for flight: batteries, motors, and communications systems; as well as the video camera payload.

Technical goals

DARPA established flight test milestones for the Hummingbird to achieve and the finished prototype met all of them, and even exceeded some of these objectives:[3]
  • Demonstrate precision hover flight within a virtual two-meter diameter sphere for one minute.
  • Demonstrate hover stability in a wind gust flight which required the aircraft to hover and tolerate a two-meter per second (five miles per hour) wind gust from the side, without drifting downwind more than one meter.
  • Demonstrate a continuous hover endurance of eight minutes with no external power source.
  • Fly and demonstrate controlled, transition flight from hover to 11 miles per hour fast forward flight and back to hover flight.
  • Demonstrate flying from outdoors to indoors, and back outdoors through a normal-size doorway.
  • Demonstrate flying indoors "heads-down" where the pilot operates the aircraft only looking at the live video image stream from the aircraft, without looking at or hearing the aircraft directly.
  • Fly the aircraft in hover and fast forward flight with bird-shaped body and bird-shaped wings.
The device is bigger and heavier than a typical real hummingbird, but is smaller and lighter than the largest hummingbird varieties. It could be deployed to perform reconnaissance and surveillance in urban environments or on battlefields, and might perch on windowsills or power lines, or enter buildings to observe its surroundings, relaying camera views back to its operator.[4] According to DARPA, the Nano Air Vehicle's configuration will "provide the warfighter with unprecedented capability for urban mission operations."[5]


  1. ^ Artificial hummingbird developed Irish Independent. 2011-02-18.
  2. ^ Nano Hummingbird. AeroVironment, Inc. 2011-02-16.
  3. ^ a b AeroVironment Develops World’s First Fully Operational Life-Size Hummingbird-Like Unmanned Aircraft for DARPA. AeroVironment, Inc. 2011-02-16.
  4. ^ a b It's a bird! It's a spy! It's both Los Angeles Times, 2011-02-17.
  5. ^ a b Nano Air Vehicle Defense Sciences Office, DARPA. Retrieved: 2011-02-20.

External links

  • Press release
  • Videos of the Nano Hummingbird in action
  • DARPA Nano Air Vehicle web page[dead link]
  • DARPA Nano Air Vehicle Program: Fact Sheet[dead li
  • End quote from:
  • wikipedia under the heading "Nano Air Vehicle"
  • Note: Still working on getting info on the other 7 types of drones.   
  • Here next is the Wikipedia site on Quadrotors. At first I wanted just the A.R. Drone which is the most bought one by hobbyists likely at present around the world that can be operated by a smart phone or Ipad or other device like that. I believe it streams real time video footage looking straight down below it as it flies which likely can be captured on your smartphone or other device or sent to your laptop to put online or to store for private use.
  • Quadrotor

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    De Bothezat Quadrotor.jpg
    De Bothezat Quadrotor, 1923.
    A quadrotor, also called a quadrotor helicopter or quadcopter, is a multicopter that is lifted and propelled by four rotors. Quadrotors are classified as rotorcraft, as opposed to fixed-wing aircraft, because their lift is generated by a set of revolving narrow-chord airfoils. Unlike most helicopters, quadrotors generally use symmetrically pitched blades; these can be adjusted as a group, a property known as 'collective', but not individually based upon the blade's position in the rotor disc, which is called 'cyclic' (see helicopter). Control of vehicle motion is achieved by altering the pitch and/or rotation rate of one or more rotor discs, thereby changing its torque load and thrust/lift characteristics.
    Early in the history of flight, quadrotor configurations were seen as a possible solution to some of the persistent problems in vertical flight; torque-induced control issues (as well as efficiency issues originating from the tail rotor, which generates no useful lift) can be eliminated by counter-rotation and the relatively short blades are much easier to construct. A number of manned designs appeared in the 1920s and 1930s. These vehicles were among the first successful heavier-than-air vertical take off and landing (VTOL) vehicles.[1] However, early prototypes suffered from poor performance,[1] and latter prototypes required too much pilot work load, due to poor stability augmentation[2] and limited control authority.
    More recently quadrotor designs have become popular in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) research. These vehicles use an electronic control system and electronic sensors to stabilize the aircraft. With their small size and agile maneuverability, these quadrotors can be flown indoors as well as outdoors.[3][4]
    There are several advantages to quadrocopters over comparably-scaled helicopters. First, quadrotors do not require mechanical linkages to vary the rotor blade pitch angle as they spin. This simplifies the design and maintenance of the vehicle.[5] Second, the use of four rotors allows each individual rotor to have a smaller diameter than the equivalent helicopter rotor, allowing them to possess less kinetic energy during flight. This reduces the damage caused should the rotors hit anything. For small-scale UAVs, this makes the vehicles safer for close interaction. Some small-scale quadrotors have frames that enclose the rotors, permitting flights through more challenging environments, with lower risk of damaging the vehicle or its surroundings.[6]
    Due to their ease of both construction and control, quadrotor aircraft are frequently used as amateur model aircraft projects.[7][8]


    Flight control

    Schematic of reaction torques on each motor of a quadrotor aircraft, due to spinning rotors. Rotors 1 and 3 spin in one direction, while rotors 2 and 4 spin in the opposite direction, yielding opposing torques for control.
    Each rotor produces both a thrust and torque about its center of rotation, as well as a drag force opposite to the vehicle's direction of flight. If all rotors are spinning at the same angular velocity, with rotors one and three rotating clockwise and rotors two and four counterclockwise, the net aerodynamic torque, and hence the angular acceleration about the yaw axis is exactly zero, which implies that the yaw stabilizing rotor of conventional helicopters is not needed. Yaw is induced by mismatching the balance in aerodynamic torques (i.e., by offsetting the cumulative thrust commands between the counter-rotating blade pairs).
    Angular accelerations about the pitch and roll axes can be caused separately without affecting the yaw axis. Each pair of blades rotating in the same direction controls one axis, either roll or pitch, and increasing thrust for one rotor while decreasing thrust for the other will maintain the torque balance needed for yaw stability and induce a net torque about the roll or pitch axes. This way, fixed rotor blades can be made to maneuver the quad rotor vehicle in all dimensions. Translational acceleration is achieved by maintaining a non-zero pitch or roll angle.


  • Oehmichen No.2, 1920
    Etienne Oehmichen experimented with rotorcraft designs in the 1920s. Among the six designs he tried, his helicopter No.2 had four rotors and eight propellers, all driven by a single engine. The Oehmichen No.2 used a steel-tube frame, with two-bladed rotors at the ends of the four arms. The angle of these blades could be varied by warping. Five of the propellers, spinning in the horizontal plane, stabilized the machine laterally. Another propeller was mounted at the nose for steering. The remaining pair of propellers were for forward propulsion. The aircraft exhibited a considerable degree of stability and controllability for its time, and made more than a thousand test flights during the middle 1920s. By 1923 it was able to remain airborne for several minutes at a time, and on April 14, 1924 it established the first-ever FAI distance record for helicopters of 360 m (390 yd). Later, it completed the first 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) closed-circuit flight by a rotorcraft.[9]
  • de Bothezat quadrator, 1922
    Dr. George de Bothezat and Ivan Jerome developed this aircraft, with six bladed rotors at the end of an X-shaped structure. Two small propellers with variable pitch were used for thrust and yaw control. The vehicle used collective pitch control. It made its first flight in October 1922. About 100 flights were made by the end of 1923. The highest it ever reached was about 5 m (16 ft 5 in). Although demonstrating feasibility, it was, underpowered, unresponsive, mechanically complex and susceptible to reliability problems. Pilot workload was too high during hover to attempt lateral motion.[10]
This unique helicopter was intended to be the prototype for a line of much larger civil and military quadrotor helicopters. The design featured two engines driving four rotors with wings added for additional lift in forward flight. No tailrotor was needed and control was obtained by varying the thrust between rotors. Flown successfully many times in the mid 1950s, this helicopter proved the quadrotor design and it was also the first four-rotor helicopter to demonstrate successful forward flight. Due to a lack of orders for commercial or military versions however, the project was terminated.
  • Convertawings proposed a Model E that would have a maximum weight of 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) with a payload of 10,900 lb (4,900 kg).
The Curtiss-Wright VZ-7 was a VTOL aircraft designed by the Curtiss-Wright company for the US Army. The VZ-7 was controlled by changing the thrust of each of the four propellers.

Current programs

Bell Boeing Quad TiltRotor

The Bell Boeing Quad TiltRotor concept takes the fixed quadrotor concept further by combining it with the tilt rotor concept for a proposed C-130 sized military transport.


Small quadrotor aircraft are also produced commercially[12] and for military roles such as observation.[13]

RC Aircraft

Flying prototype of the Parrot AR.Drone

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 take-off, Nevada, 2012
  • Aermatica Spa's Anteos is the first rotary wing RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) to have obtained official permission to fly (Permit To Fly) issued in the civil airspace, by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), and will be the first able to work in non segregated airspace.[14]
  • AeroQuad is an open-source hardware and software project which utilises Arduino boards and freely provides hardware designs and software for the DIY construction of Quadrocopters.[15]
  • ArduCopter is an open-source multicopter UAV. Based on Arduino, it supports from four to eight motors, as well as traditional helicopters, and allows fully autonomous missions as well as RC control. [16]
  • OpenPilot is a model aircraft open-source software project.[17]
  • Parrot AR.Drone is a small radio controlled quadrocopter with cameras attached to it built by Parrot SA, designed to be controllable with iOS or Android devices. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 carries a HD 720P camera and more sensors, such as altimeter and magnetometer.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b Leishman, J.G. (2000). Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Anderson, S.B. (March). "Historical Overview of V/STOL Aircraft Technology". NASA Technical Memorandum 81280
  3. ^ Hoffmann, G.M.; Rajnarayan, D.G., Waslander, S.L., Dostal, D., Jang, J.S., and Tomlin, C.J. (November 2004). "The Stanford Testbed of Autonomous Rotorcraft for Multi Agent Control (STARMAC)". In the Proceedings of the 23rd Digital Avionics System Conference. Salt Lake City, UT. pp. 12.E.4/1-10.
  4. ^ Büchi, Roland (2011). Fascination Quadrocopter. ISBN 978-3-8423-6731-9.
  5. ^ Pounds, P.; Mahony, R., Corke, P. (December 2006). "Modelling and Control of a Quad-Rotor Robot". In the Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation. Auckland, New Zealand.
  6. ^ Hoffman, G.; Huang, H., Waslander, S.L., Tomlin, C.J. (20–23 August 2007). "Quadrotor Helicopter Flight Dynamics and Control: Theory and Experiment". In the Conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Hilton Head, South Carolina.
  7. ^ Arduino-based quadcopter
  8. ^ UAVP-NG based quadcopter
  9. ^ "Oemichen helicopter - development history, photos, technical data".
  10. ^ "De Bothezat - development history, photos, technical data".
  11. ^ "Helicopters of the World" Flight 2 November 1956 p722]
  12. ^ Microdrones: commercial quadrotors[dead link]
  13. ^ Datron Scout military quadrotor model aircraft
  14. ^ "Products". Aermatica. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
  15. ^ Davies, Chris (13 January 2010). "DIY Quadrocopters: Quaduino NG and AeroQuad [Videos"]. SlashGear. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  16. ^ "ArduCopter 3D Robotics Quadcopter". Retrieved May 24, 2012.
  17. ^ "Open Pilot CopterControl Board". Retrieved March 22, 2012.

 end quote from Wikipedia under the Heading "Quadrotor".

I couldn't find a page yet at Wikipedia regarding the Draganflyer X6 so I have to quote directly from it's actual page.

Innovative UAV Aircraft & Aerial Video Systems

Draganflyer X6 Six Rotor UAV Helicopter Photography & Aerial Video Platform

Draganflyer X6 Overview

What is the Draganflyer X6?

The Draganflyer X6 is a remotely operated, unmanned, miniature helicopter designed to carry wireless video cameras and still cameras. Operate the Draganflyer X6 helicopter with the easy to use handheld controller while viewing what the helicopter sees through video glasses. The Draganflyer X6 helicopter uses a unique 6-rotor design refined from an original concept that has been under development since early 2006. Draganflyer X6 Tech Specs


Draganflyer X6 Camera Specifications The Draganflyer X6 helicopter accepts multiple interchangeable video camera and still camera modules.
Choose the camera that is best for you:
  • 14.1 MP digital still camera with 1080p video recording
  • Thermal imaging video camera

What can it do for you?

Play Video Use the high definition motion video provided by the Draganflyer X6 helicopter for security, reconnaissance, inspection, damage assessment, research, real estate promotion, or advertising. It can be used for virtually anything. Draganflyer X6 Applications

Easy to Fly

The Draganflyer X6 helicopter uses 11 sensors and thousands of lines of code to self-stabilize during flight. This means the Draganflyer X6 is easier to fly than any other helicopter in its class. The Draganflyer X6 on-board software is the result of extensive testing and development since early 2006. Draganflyer X6 Flight Stability


With no unnecessary moving parts, the Draganflyer X6 helicopter will operate without maintenance many times longer than conventional helicopters. The motors directly drive the rotors; there are no gears to wear out. Draganflyer X6 Advanced Power System

Grant Assistance

The Department of Homeland Security makes grants available to states, local and tribal jurisdictions, and other regional authorities to assist in planning, equipment purchase, training, and exercise needs. Draganfly Innovations will provide grant writing support, consultation, and assistance to qualified agencies.
  • Contact Kevin, our grant assistance specialist,
    Call 1-800-979-9794 or 306-955-9907 (ext. 6111)


The Draganflyer X6 provides many of the same benefits of larger surveillance aircraft at a fraction of the cost. Obtain aerial photography without the cost of having to rent a plane each time! Request a Quote

UAV Tactical Use

The Draganflyer X6 helicopter is a revolutionary reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV); it can be transported in a lightweight softshell pack with a military grade backpack while always being ready for flight in minutes. Fly it over hills to get a safe view of what is on the other side. Draganflyer X6 Military Applications

end quote from:

Here is the Raven Drone a Military Grade Intelligence gathering smaller Drone: Begin quote from Wikipedia under the heading "Raven Drone"

AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
RQ-11 Raven UAV
Army Cpl. Jerry Rogers assembles an RQ-11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicle (in Taji, Iraq)
Role Remote controlled UAV[1]
Manufacturer AeroVironment
First flight October 2001
Introduction May 2003
Status In use on combat field
Primary users United States Army
United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, United States Special Forces, international land forces
Produced 2004-present
Number built 19,000+ airframes
Developed from FQM-151 Pointer
The AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven is a small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (or SUAV) developed for the U.S. military, but now adopted by the military forces of many other countries.
The RQ-11 Raven was originally introduced as the FQM-151 in 1999, but in 2002 developed into its current form,[2] resembling an enlarged FAI class F1C free flight model aircraft in general appearance. The craft is launched by hand and powered by a pusher configuration electric motor. The plane can fly up to 6.2 miles (10.0 km) at altitudes of appx 500 feet (150 m) above ground level (AGL), and over 15,000 feet (4,600 m) above mean sea level (MSL), at flying speeds of 28-60 mph (45–97 km/h).[3]


Design and development

The Raven RQ-11B UAV system is manufactured by AeroVironment. It was the winner of the US Army's SUAV program in 2005, and went into Full-Rate Production (FRP) in 2006. Shortly afterwards, it was also adopted by USSOCOM, the US Marines, and the US Air Force for their ongoing FPASS Program. It has also been adopted by the military forces of many other countries (see below). More than 19,000 Raven airframes have been delivered to customers worldwide to date. A new Digital Data Link-enabled version of Raven now in production for US Forces and allies has improved endurance, among many other improvements.
The Raven can be either remotely controlled from the ground station or fly completely autonomous missions using GPS waypoint navigation. The UAV can be ordered to immediately return to its launch point simply by pressing a single command button.[1] Standard mission payloads include CCD color video cameras and an infrared night vision camera.
The RQ-11B Raven UAV weighs about 1.9 kg (4.2 lb), has a flight endurance of 60–90 minutes and an effective operational radius of approximately 10 km (6.2 miles).[4]
The RQ-11B Raven UAV is launched by hand, thrown into the air like a free flight model airplane. The Raven lands itself by auto-piloting to a pre-defined landing point and then performing a 45° slope (1 foot down for every 1 foot forward) controlled "Autoland" descent. The UAV can provide day or night aerial intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance.


  • RQ-11A Raven A (no longer in production)
  • RQ-11B Raven B
  • RQ-11B eight channel
  • RQ-11B DDL (Digital Data Link)
  • Solar Raven - In November 2012, the Air Force Research Laboratory integrated lightweight, flexible, high-efficiency solar panels into the Raven platform. The additional power from the solar panels increased the Raven's endurance by 60%. The solar cells were successfully integrated onto the removable wing sections of the UAV. They are 20 square centimeters in size and adhere to the wings of the vehicle using a clear, protective plastic film and an adhesive. The cells were integrated into the existing power system to augment the lithium ion battery. Future improvements include improving the durability of the solar panels and reducing their weight. Integration work is also being conducted on the AeroVironment Wasp and the RQ-20 Puma.[5]


A soldier prepares to launch the Raven in Iraq

The Raven is launched.
The Raven is used by the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command. Additionally, foreign customers include Australia, Estonia, Italy, Denmark, Spain and Czech Republic. As of early 2012, over 19,000 airframes have already been shipped, making it the most widely adopted UAV system in the world today.[6]
The British forces in Iraq are using U.S. Raven equipment and personnel on loan.[7] The Royal Danish Army acquired 12 Raven systems in September 2007 - three systems will be delivered to the Huntsmen Corps, while the remainder will be deployed with soldiers from the Artillery Training Center.[8] A 2010 documentary film, Armadillo, shows Danish forces deploying a Raven in operations around FOB Armadillo in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
The Netherlands MoD has acquired 72 operational RQ-11B systems with a total value of $23.74 million for use within Army reconnaissance units, its Marine Corps and its Special Forces (KCT).[9] At the turn of the year 2009 to 2010 the systems were deployed above the village Veen, as part of the Intensification of Civil-Military Cooperation.[10] In 2012 and 2013 the Raven was loaned by the Defense department to the police department of Almere to combat burglary. [11]
In April 2011, the U.S. announced that it would be supplying 85 Raven B systems to the Pakistan Army.[12]
In June 2011, the U.S. announced $145.4 million in proposed aid for anti-terror efforts in north and east Africa,[13] including four Raven systems to be used by forces from Uganda and Burundi as part of the ongoing African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.[14]

Current operators

 Czech Republic[15]
 Iraq [16]
 Lebanon 12 systems[17][18][19][20]
 Saudi Arabia
 United Kingdom
 United States

Capture by Iran

Flight control module.
In 2013/June/5, RQ-11 captured by Iran's Armed forces after going inside Iran's border. link in


  • Wing Span 55in (130 cm)
  • Length 36in (109 cm)
  • Weight 4.2 lb (1.9 kg)
  • Engine Aveox 27/26/7-AV electric motor
  • Cruising speed approx. 30 kn (56 km/h)
  • Range 6.2 miles (10 km)
  • Endurance approx. 60-90 min

See also

Related lists


  1. ^ a b "RQ-11 Raven". Archived from the original on 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  2. ^ Tomlinson, Cpl Ryan L (2008-05-14). "Gunfighter debuts Raven". IIMEF, Official Site US Marine Core, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  3. ^ "RQ-11 Raven". Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  4. ^ "RQ-11 Raven datasheet". AeroVironment. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  5. ^ Solar Raven -, November 17, 2012
  6. ^ "Gallery: The Complete UAV Field Guide; Current: RQ-11B Raven (AeroVironment)". Popular Science. February 23, 2010. Archived from the original on 30 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
  7. ^ "US Raven "loan" to MoD". UAV News. October 3, 2006. Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-30.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Netherlands Ministry of Defence: Raven Small UAS ready for use". September 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  10. ^ "Vliegende nachtkijkers ingezet tijdens jaarwisseling". January 1, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
  11. ^ "AlmereSpionagevliegtuigje ingezet tegen inbraken". January 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  12. ^ "US to Provide 85 Hand-Launched RQ-11 Raven UAVs to Pakistan". Pakistan Military Review. April 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  13. ^ "US allocates US$145 million to fight terrorism in north, east Africa". defenceWeb. June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
  14. ^ "New Bird of Prey Hunts Somali Terrorists: Raven Drones". June 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
  15. ^ "Czech military to buy two MUAVs for Afghanistan". ČTK (Czech Press Agency, October 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  16. ^ "Iraqi Army's UAVs give troops the big picture". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  17. ^ "Lebanon to receive US-built UAV's". defence.professionals (defpro). April 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  18. ^ "Heavy U.S. Military Aid to Lebanon Arrives ahead of Elections". Naharnet Newsdesk. April 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  19. ^ "Lebanon gets Raven mini UAV from U.S.". United Press International. March 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-24.[dead link]
  20. ^ US delivers military vehicles to Lebanese Army. Daily Star, March 24, 2009.

External links

end quote from Search of "Raven Drone at Wikipedia".

The next one is the beginning of the "Potentially Lethal Drones" listed in the Time magazine article on Page 30 and 31 in the Feb. 11th 2013 issue with the Predator Drone on the cover.
It is 2  feet long. It's primary function is to "home in on Snipers" and to go to them and blow them up along with itself.
 end quote from Los Angeles Times.
begin quote from Wikipedia under the heading "Switchblade"

AeroVironment Switchblade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The operator looks through a viewer that displays video from the drone. Switchblade can also be directed to co-ordinates using Global Positioning System (GPS) ...

AeroVironment Switchblade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Role Attack UAV
Manufacturer AeroVironment
Introduction 2011
Status In service
Primary users United States Army
United States Marine Corps
The Switchblade is an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by AeroVironment. It is designed as a "kamikaze," being able to crash into its target with an explosive warhead to destroy it. The Switchblade is small enough to be carried in a backpack and can be launched from a variety of ground and air platforms.[1]


The Switchblade has a small warhead and is launched from a 60 cm long container/launcher tube. As it launches its small wings unfold and can be guided to its target via a nose-mounted camera. The operator looks through a viewer that displays video from the drone. Switchblade can also be directed to co-ordinates using Global Positioning System (GPS). Powered by an electric motor it can reach speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) and loiter for up to 40 minutes.[2] The Switchblade weights 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) and can be fired from a man-portable launch tube or a 70 mm rocket pod. It is operated by the same equipment used to control other AeroVironment UAVs. The explosive effect of the warhead is about equivalent to a hand grenade.[3]


The Switchblade was first tested in 2010 by the United States Army. 10 were purchased for evaluation and were deployed successfully.[3] In September 2011, the Army ordered over a hundred for troop use.[4] The Army then issued a $5.1 million contract modification effective March 20, 2012 to their previous order to produce and deliver more systems.[5]
In May 2012, the United States Marine Corps ordered the Switchblade UAV.[6]


end quote from:

AeroVironment Switchblade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The next one is the only sea drone mentioned in this grouping at Time magazine the drone issue at the top of the page on page 31. It is called the Sea Fox. It is a small, maneuverable underwater drone that searches for anddestroys floating mines. Last year the Navy deployed it in the Straight of Hormuz.

Seafox drone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Seafox is anti-mine marine drone. It is an expendably-priced, hunter-killer remotely operated vehicle (ROV) manufactured by Atlas Elektronik to destroy ground and moored mines.

  1. ATLAS ELEKTRONIK - Minehunting and Autonomous Underwater ...
    The SeaFox I, a small, reusable and unmanned underwater drone, is used for inspection, identification and training purposes, while the identical combat vehicle ...
  2. US deploys underwater drones to hunt for Iranian drones - Telegraph › NewsWorld NewsMiddle EastIran
    Jul 12, 2012 – The SeaFox drones will significantly bolster the US military's countermine capability, which was also boosted this month with an announcement ...
  3. The SeaFox Mine Sweeper Will Destroy Iran's Explosives in the ...
    Jul 16, 2012 – The SeaFox Mine Sweeper Will Destroy Iran's Explosives in the Strait of ... up Iran's mines with smaller, American drone mines like the SeaFox.
  4. Warship destroys lethal underwater bombs 04.10.11 - YouTube
    Oct 5, 2011 - Uploaded by BritishForcesNews
    After exploding a 1,000-kilogramme mine on the sea bed near the key port of Tobruk using a Sea Fox drone ...

    ATLAS ELEKTRONIK - Minehunting and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

    As a leading naval electronic house ATLAS ELEKTRONIK stands for maritime and naval solutions both above and below the surfaces of the world's oceans. With the help of technically innovative products, the electronics specialist encounters the conventional and asymmetric challenges of the maritime sector and increases safety of harbours, coastlines and trade. The company, with its headquarter in Bremen, was founded in 1902 and is now a joined company of ThyssenKrupp and EADS, with more than 1,700 employees.
    ATLAS ELEKTRONIK holds an undisputed ‘pole position’ in all fields of naval technology. With an extensive worldwide customer base, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK supplies the complete product range based on the ‘sensor-to-shooter’ concept. The range is divided into the sections of surface vessel systems, including mine counter measures, submarine systems and services.
    Products include:
    • All variants of sonar systems for submarines, anti-submarine warfare and mine-hunting
    • Integrated command and control systems for submarines, surface vessels and mine countermeasure boats
    • Heavyweight torpedoes and small size anti-torpedo weapons
    • Mine disposal vehicles and AUVs

    Integrated mine countermeasures system

    The ATLAS integrated mine countermeasures system (IMCMS) is a multi-role MCM weapon system that covers the complete process of mine warfare including minesweeping, mine-hunting and mine-laying on up to task unit level, as well as supporting functions such as hydrography, environmental assessment and surface and air surveillance. The system is based on open architecture, state-of-the-art technologies and is operated from multi-function consoles allowing the control of each sub-system, such as the hull-mounted sonar, the self-propelled variable depth sonar, the autonomous underwater vehicle and the remotely controlled surface drones, from any of the consoles.

    Mine disposal system

    The SeaFox system is a mine disposal system which is based on the ‘expendable mine disposal vehicle’ principle (EMDV). The SeaFox I, a small, reusable and unmanned underwater drone, is used for inspection, identification and training purposes, while the identical combat vehicle SeaFox C directly disposes long and short tethered mines, proud ground mines and floating mines. The four independent, reversible motors plus one hover thruster ensure high manoeuvrability and exact positioning for firing the shaped charge.

    Autonomous vehicles for underwater survey and inspection

    The SeaOtter is an autonomous vehicle for underwater survey, mapping, imaging, inspections and measurements with high reliability and safety. The exceptional hydrodynamic form and twin hull with sectional modularity allows the integration and operation of various sensor systems, propulsions, energy packages and navigations. The length and width can be changed by using special interface connectors.
    Integrated vehicle guidance, internal system analysis and optimised AUV core assures effective and riskless missions, even under extreme conditions. It provides positioning and navigations of outstanding accuracy, even for extended operations and relocalisation. The SeaOtter system is versatile and can be operated from ships, piers or platforms.

    Multi-purpose AUV for naval applications

    The vehicle was jointly developed with ATLAS MARIDAN and has been designed for a variety of applications, including:
    • Offshore oil and gas field surveys
    • Mineral field surveys
    • Telecommunication cable route surveys
    • Offshore pipeline pre-lay route surveys and post-lay inspections
    • Military surveys like mine detection and countermeasures
    • Wind park construction surveys
    • Search and recovery
    • Oceanographic surveys
    • Data collection (data taxi)

     end quote from:

    ATLAS ELEKTRONIK - Minehunting and Autonomous Underwater ...

    I'm not completely sure whether the Predator or the LEMV is larger. However, I do know that the LEMV can stay up for about 3 weeks at a time in good weather because it is a helium based technology for lift and primarily an observational tool that can relay photos, videos and any other relevent information back to it's base. So, I'm thinking that the LEMV is larger simply because of needing to be helium based for maximum sustained lift. So, here is the Predator first:

    General Atomics MQ-1 Predator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency ...

    General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (formerly called Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight ...

    General Atomics MQ-1 Predator

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    RQ-1 / MQ-1 Predator
    Role Remote piloted aircraft, UAV/UAS
    Manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
    First flight July 1994
    Introduction July 1995
    Status In service
    Primary user United States Air Force
    Produced 1995–present
    Number built 360 (285 RQ-1, 75 MQ-1)[1]
    Program cost US$2.38 billion (2011)[2]
    Unit cost US$4.03 million (2010)[3]
    Developed from General Atomics GNAT
    Variants General Atomics MQ-1C Grey Eagle
    Developed into General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper
    The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Initially conceived in the early 1990s for reconnaissance and forward observation roles, the Predator carries cameras and other sensors but has been modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.
    The USAF describes the Predator as a "Tier II" MALE UAS (medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system). The UAS consists of four aircraft or "air vehicles" with sensors, a ground control station (GCS), and a primary satellite link communication suite.[4] Powered by a Rotax engine and driven by a propeller, the air vehicle can fly up to 400 nautical miles (740 km) to a target, loiter overhead for 14 hours, then return to its base.
    Following 2001, the RQ-1 Predator became the primary unmanned aircraft used for offensive operations by the USAF and the CIA in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas; it has also been deployed elsewhere. Because offensive uses of the Predator are classified, U.S. military officials have reported an appreciation for the intelligence and reconnaissance-gathering abilities of UAVs but declined to publicly discuss their offensive use.[5]
    Civilian applications have included border enforcement and scientific studies.



    A Predator flies on a simulated Navy aerial reconnaissance flight off the coast of southern California on December 5, 1995.
    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon began experimenting with reconnaissance drones in the early 1980s. The CIA preferred small, lightweight, unobtrusive drones, in contrast to the United States Air Force (USAF). In the early 1990s, the CIA became interested in the "Amber", a drone developed by Leading Systems, Inc.[6] The company's owner, Abraham Karem, was the former chief designer for the Israeli Air Force, and had immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970s. Karem's company had since gone bankrupt and been bought up by a U.S. defense contractor, from whom the CIA secretly bought five drones (now called the "GNAT"). Karem agreed to produce a quiet engine for the vehicle, which had until then sounded like "a lawnmower in the sky". The new development became known as the "Predator".[7][8]
    General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA) was awarded a contract to develop the Predator in January 1994, and the initial Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) phase lasted from January 1994 to June 1996. The aircraft itself was a derivative of the GA Gnat 750. During the ACTD phase, three systems were purchased from GA, comprising twelve aircraft and three ground control stations.[9]
    From April through May 1995, the Predator ACTD aircraft were flown as a part of the Roving Sands 1995 exercises in the U.S. The exercise operations were successful, and this led to the decision to deploy the system to the Balkans later in the summer of 1995.[9]
    During the ACTD, Predators were operated by a combined Army/Navy team managed by the Navy's Joint Program Office for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (JPO-UAV) and first deployed to Gjader, Albania, for operations in the Former Yugoslavia in spring 1995.[9]
    By the start of the United States Afghan campaign in 2001, the USAF had acquired 60 Predators, and said it had lost 20 of them in action.[citation needed] Few if any of the losses were from enemy action, the worst problem apparently being foul weather, particularly icy conditions. Some critics within the Pentagon saw the high loss rate as a sign of poor operational procedures. In response to the losses caused by cold weather flight conditions, a few of the later Predators obtained by the USAF were fitted with de-icing systems, along with an uprated turbocharged engine and improved avionics. This improved "Block 1" version was referred to as the "RQ-1B", or the "MQ-1B" if it carried munitions; the corresponding air vehicle designation was "RQ-1L" or "MQ-1L".
    The Predator system was initially designated the RQ-1 Predator. The "R" is the United States Department of Defense designation for reconnaissance and the "Q" refers to an unmanned aircraft system.[10] The "1" describes it as being the first of a series of aircraft systems built for unmanned reconnaissance. Pre-production systems were designated as RQ-1A, while the RQ-1B (not to be confused with the RQ-1 Predator B, which became the MQ-9 Reaper) denotes the baseline production configuration. These are designations of the system as a unit. The actual aircraft themselves were designated RQ-1K for pre-production models, and RQ-1L for production models.[11] In 2002, the USAF officially changed the designation to MQ-1 ("M" for multi-role) to reflect its growing use as an armed aircraft.[12]

    Command and sensor systems

    During the campaign in the former Yugoslavia, a Predator's pilot would sit with several payload specialists in a van near the runway of the drone's operating base. Direct radio signals controlled the drone's takeoff and initial ascent. Then communications shifted to military satellite networks linked to the pilot's van. Pilots experienced a delay of several seconds between moving their joysticks and the drone's response. But by 2000 improvements in communications systems (perhaps by use of the USAF's JSTARS system) made it possible, at least in theory, to fly the drone remotely from great distances. It was no longer necessary to use close-up radio signals during the Predator's takeoff and ascent. The entire flight could be controlled by satellite from any command center with the right equipment. The CIA proposed to attempt over Afghanistan the first fully remote Predator flight operations, piloted from the agency's headquarters at Langley.[13]
    The Predator air vehicle and sensors are controlled from the ground station via a C-band line-of-sight data link or a Ku-band satellite data link for beyond-line-of-sight operations. During flight operations the crew in the ground control station is a pilot and two sensor operators. The aircraft is equipped with the AN/AAS-52 Multi-spectral Targeting System,[14] a color nose camera (generally used by the pilot for flight control), a variable aperture day-TV camera, and a variable aperture infrared camera (for low light/night). Previously, Predators were equipped with a synthetic aperture radar for looking through smoke, clouds or haze, but lack of use validated its removal to reduce weight and conserve fuel. The cameras produce full motion video and the synthetic aperture radar produced still frame radar images. There is sufficient bandwidth on the datalink for two video sources to be used at one time, but only one video source from the sensor ball can be used at any time due to design limitations. Either the daylight variable aperture or the infrared electro-optical sensor may be operated simultaneously with the synthetic aperture radar, if equipped.[citation needed]
    All later Predators are equipped with a laser designator that allows the pilot to identify targets for other aircraft and even provide the laser-guidance for manned aircraft. This laser is also the designator for the AGM-114 Hellfire that are carried on the MQ-1.[citation needed]

    Deployment methodology

    Predator operators at Balad Camp Anaconda, Iraq, August 2007
    Each Predator air vehicle can be disassembled into six main components and loaded into a container nicknamed "the coffin." This enables all system components and support equipment to be rapidly deployed worldwide. The largest component is the ground control station and it is designed to roll into a C-130 Hercules. The Predator primary satellite link consists of a 6.1 meter (20 ft) satellite dish and associated support equipment. The satellite link provides communications between the ground station and the aircraft when it is beyond line-of-sight and is a link to networks that disseminate secondary intelligence. The RQ-1A system needs 1,500 by 40 meters (5,000 by 125 ft) of hard surface runway with clear line-of-sight to each end from the ground control station to the air vehicles. Initially, all components needed to be located on the same airfield.[citation needed]
    Currently, the U.S. Air Force uses a concept called "Remote-Split Operations" where the satellite datalink is located in a different location and is connected to the GCS through fiber optic cabling. This allows Predators to be launched and recovered by a small "Launch and Recovery Element" and then handed off to a "Mission Control Element" for the rest of the flight. This allows a smaller number of troops to be deployed to a forward location, and consolidates control of the different flights in one location.[citation needed]
    The improvements in the MQ-1B production version include an ARC-210 radio, an APX-100 IFF/SIF with mode 4, a glycol-weeping "wet wings" ice mitigation system, upgraded turbo-charged engine, fuel injection, longer wings, dual alternators as well as other improvements.[citation needed]
    On May 18, 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a certificate of authorization which will allow the M/RQ-1 and M/RQ-9 aircraft to be used within U.S. civilian airspace to search for survivors of disasters. Requests had been made in 2005 for the aircraft to be used in search and rescue operations following Hurricane Katrina, but because there was no FAA authorization in place at the time, the assets were not used. The Predator's infrared camera with digitally-enhanced zoom has the capability of identifying the heat signature of a human body from an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft), making the aircraft an ideal search and rescue tool.[15]
    The longest declassified Predator flight to date lasted for 40 hours, 5 minutes.[citation needed] The total flight time has reached 1 million hours as of April 2010.[16]

    Armed version development

    Close up of the Hellfire missile pylon, 2004.
    The USAF handed the Predator over to the service's Big Safari office after the Kosovo campaign in order to accelerate its testing in a strike role, fitted with reinforced wings and stores pylons to carry munitions, as well as a laser designator. This effort led to a series of tests, on February 21, 2001, in which the Predator fired three Hellfire anti-armor missiles, scoring hits on a stationary tank with all three missiles. The scheme was put into service, with the armed Predators given the new designation of MQ-1A. The Predator gives little warning of attack; it is relatively quiet and the Hellfire is supersonic, so it strikes before it is heard by the target.[11][17]
    In the winter of 2000–2001, after seeing the results of Predator reconnaissance in Afghanistan (see below), Cofer Black, head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC), became a "vocal advocate" of arming the Predator with missiles to target Osama bin Laden in the country. He also believed that CIA pressure and practical interest was causing the USAF's armed Predator program to be significantly accelerated. Black, and "Richard", who was in charge of the CTC's Bin Laden Issue Station, continued to press during 2001 for a Predator armed with Hellfire missiles.[citation needed]
    Further weapons tests occurred between May 22 and June 7, 2001, with mixed results. While missile accuracy was excellent, there were some problems with missile fuzing..." In the first week of June, in the Nevada Desert, a Hellfire missile was successfully launched on a replica of bin Laden's Afghanistan Tarnak residence. A missile launched from a Predator exploded inside one of the replica's rooms; it was concluded that any people in the room would have been killed. However, the armed Predator did not go into action before the September 11 attacks.[18][19][20][21]
    The USAF has also investigated using the Predator to drop battlefield ground sensors and to carry and deploy the "Finder" mini-UAV.[11]

    NASA and NPGS unarmed research versions

    Two unarmed versions, known as the General Atomics ALTUS were built, ALTUS I for the Naval Postgraduate School and ALTUS II for the NASA ERAST Project in 1997 and 1996, respectively.[22]

    MQ-1C Warrior/Grey Eagle

    The U.S. Army selected the MQ-1C Warrior as the winner of the Extended-Range Multi-Purpose UAV competition August 2005, and the type became operational in 2009.

    Operational history

    RQ-1A Predator
    As of March 2009, the U.S. Air Force had 195 MQ-1 Predators and 28 MQ-9 Reapers in operation.[23] Predators and Reapers fired missiles 244 times in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. A report in March 2009 indicated that U.S. Air Force had lost 70 Predators in air crashes during its operational history. Fifty-five were lost to equipment failure, operator error, or weather. Four have been shot down in Bosnia, Kosovo, or Iraq. Eleven more were lost to operational accidents on combat missions.[24] In 2012, the Predator, Reaper and Global Hawk were described as "... the most accident-prone aircraft in the Air Force fleet."[25]
    On March 3, 2011, the U.S. Air Force took delivery of its last MQ-1 Predator in a ceremony at General Atomics' flight operations facility. Since its first flight in July 1994, the MQ-1 series has accumulated over 1,000,000 flight hours[12] and maintained a fleet fully mission capable rate over 90 percent.[26]

    Squadrons and operational units

    During the initial ACTD phase, the United States Army led the evaluation program, but in April 1996, the Secretary of Defense selected the U.S. Air Force as the operating service for the RQ-1A Predator system. The 3rd Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, 11th, 15th, and 17th Reconnaissance Squadrons, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, and the Air National Guard's 163d Reconnaissance Wing at March Air Reserve Base, California, currently operate the MQ-1.[citation needed]
    In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense recommended retiring Ellington Field's 147th Fighter Wing's F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets (a total of 15 aircraft), which was approved by the Base Realignment and Closure committee. They will be replaced with 12 MQ-1 Predator UAVs, and the new unit should be fully equipped and outfitted by 2009.[27] The wing's combat support arm will remain intact. The 272nd Engineering Installation Squadron, an Air National Guard unit currently located off-base, will move into Ellington Field in its place.
    The 3rd Special Operations Squadron is currently the largest Predator squadron in the United States Air Force.[28]
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection is operating an unknown number of Predators.[29]
    On June 21, 2009, the United States Air Force announced that it was creating a new MQ-1 squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base that would become operational by February 2011.[30] In September 2011, the U.S. Air National Guard announced that despite current plans for budget cuts, they will continue to operate the Air Force’s combat UAVs, including MQ-1B.[31]

    In the Balkans

    A shot down RQ-1 Predator in the Museum of Aviation in Belgrade, Serbia
    The first overseas deployment took place in the Balkans, from July to November 1995, under the name Nomad Vigil. Operations were based in Gjader, Albania. At least two Predators were lost during Nomad Vigil, one of them to hostile fire.[32][33]
    Several others were destroyed in the course of Operation Noble Anvil, the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia:
    • One aircraft (serial 95-3017) was lost on April 18, 1999, following fuel system problems and icing.[34]
    • A second aircraft (serial 95-3019) was lost on May 13, when it was shot down by a Serbian Strela-1M surface-to-air missile over the village of Biba. A Serbian TV crew videotaped this incident.[35]
    • A third aircraft (serial number 95-3021) crashed on May 20 near the town of Talinovci, and Serbian news reported that this, too, was the result of anti-aircraft fire.[35][36]


    In 2000 a joint CIA-Pentagon effort was agreed to locate Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Dubbed "Afghan Eyes", it involved a projected 60-day trial run of Predators over the country. The first experimental flight was held on September 7, 2000. White House security chief Richard A. Clarke was impressed by the resulting video footage; he hoped that the drones might eventually be used to target Bin Laden with cruise missiles or armed aircraft. Clarke's enthusiasm was matched by that of Cofer Black, head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC), and Charles Allen, in charge of the CIA's intelligence-collection operations. The three men backed an immediate trial run of reconnaissance flights. Ten out of the ensuing 15 Predator missions over Afghanistan were rated successful. On at least two flights, a Predator spotted a tall man in white robes at bin Laden's Tarnak Farm compound outside Kandahar; the figure was subsequently deemed to be "probably bin Laden".[37] By October 2000, deteriorating weather conditions made it difficult for the Predator to fly from its base in Uzbekistan, and the flights were suspended.[38]

    Predator launching a Hellfire missile
    On February 16, 2001 at Nellis Air Force base, a Predator successfully fired three Hellfire AGM-114C missiles into a target. The newly armed Predators were given the designation of MQ-1A. In the first week of June, 2001, a Hellfire missile was successfully launched on a replica of bin Laden's Afghanistan Tarnak residence built at a Nevada testing site. A missile launched from a Predator exploded inside one of the replica's rooms; it was concluded that any people in the room would have been killed. On September 4, 2001 (after the Bush cabinet approved a Qaeda/Taliban plan) CIA chief Tenet order the agency to resume reconnaissance flights. The Predators were now weapons-capable, but didn't carry missiles because the host country (presumably Uzbekistan) hadn't granted permission.
    Subsequent to 9/11, approval was quickly granted to ship the missiles, and the Predator aircraft and missiles reached their overseas location on September 16, 2001. The first mission was flown over Kabul and Kandahar on September 18 without carrying weapons. Subsequent host nation approval was granted on October 7 and the first armed mission was flown on the same day.[39]


    Since at least 2004, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has allegedly been operating the drones out of Shamsi airfield in Pakistan to attack militants in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.[44][45]
    Since May 2003 the MQ-1 Predator fitted with Hellfire missiles has been successfully used to kill a number of prominent al Qaeda operatives.[46] The use of the Predator has also resulted in a number of civilian deaths, particularly on January 13, 2006 when 18 civilians were killed. According to Pakistani authorities, the U.S. strike was based on faulty intelligence.[47][48][49]


    An MQ-1B Predator from the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron takes off July 9, 2008 from Ali Base, Iraq.
    An Iraqi MiG-25 shot down a Predator performing reconnaissance over the no fly zone in Iraq on December 23, 2002. This was the first time in history a conventional aircraft and a drone had engaged each other in combat. Predators had been armed with AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, and were being used to "bait" Iraqi fighters, then run. In this incident, the Predator did not run, but instead fired one of its Stingers. The Stinger's heat-seeker became "distracted" by the MiG's missile and missed the MiG. The Predator was hit by the MiG's missile and destroyed.[50][51] Another two Predators had been shot down earlier by Iraqi SAMs, one of them on September 11, 2001.[52]
    During the initial phases of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, a number of older Predators were stripped down and used as decoys to entice Iraqi air defenses to expose themselves by firing.[11][50] From July 2005 to June 2006, the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron participated in more than 242 separate raids, engaged 132 troops in contact-force protection actions, fired 59 Hellfire missiles; surveyed 18,490 targets, escorted four convoys, and flew 2,073 sorties for more than 33,833 flying hours.[53]
    Iraqi insurgents intercepted video feeds, which were not encrypted, using a $26 piece of Russian software named SkyGrabber.[54][55] The encryption for the ROVER feeds were removed for performance reasons.[56][57]


    On November 3, 2002, a Hellfire missile was fired at a car in Yemen, killing Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, an al-Qaeda leader thought to be responsible for the USS Cole bombing. It was the first direct U.S. strike in the War on Terrorism outside Afghanistan.[46][58]
    In 2004, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC-TV) international affairs program Foreign Correspondent investigated this targeted killing and the involvement of then U.S. Ambassador as part of a special report titled "The Yemen Option". The report also examined the evolving tactics and countermeasures in dealing with Al Qaeda inspired attacks.[59][60]
    On 30 September 2011, a Hellfire fired from an American UAV killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-citizen cleric and Al Qaeda leader, in Yemen.[61] Also killed was Samir Khan, an American born in Saudi Arabia, who was editor of al-Qaeda's English-language webzine, Inspire (magazine).


    U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predators have been involved in reconnaissance and strike sorties in Operation Unified Protector. An MQ-1B fired its first Hellfire missile in the conflict on April 23, 2011, striking a BM-21 Grad.[62][63] There are also some suggestions that a Predator was involved in the final attack against Gaddafi.[64]
    Predators returned to Libya in 2012, after the attack that killed the US Ambassador in Benghazi. MQ-9 Reapers were also deployed.[65]


    On 25 June 2011, US Predator drones attacked an al Shabaab training camp south of Kismayo. Ibrahim al-Afghani, a senior al Shabaab leader was rumored to be killed in the strike.[66]
    Four Al-Shabaab fighters, including a Kenyan, were killed in a drone strike late February 2012.[67]


    On November 1, 2012, two Iranian Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft engaged an unarmed Predator conducting routine surveillance over the Persian Gulf just before 5 am eastern U.S. time. The Su-25s made two passes at the drone firing their 30 mm cannons; the Predator was not hit and returned to base.[68] The incident was not revealed publicly until November 8. The U.S. says the Predator was over international waters, 16 miles away from Iran and never entered its airspace.[69][70] Iran states it entered Iran's airspace[70] and that its aircraft fired warning shots to drive it away.[71]

    United States/Mexico Border

    Since 2005, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has flown Predator drones at an altitude of 15,000 feet for policing immigration, drug smugglers and terrorists along the U.S.-Mexico border.[72] The Predator B (MQ-9 Reaper), which can remain in flight for 30 hours, contains a globe on the bottom of the UAV that is responsible for monitoring illegal activity on the 2,000 mile border.[73][74] By 2016, the CBP is planning on having as many as 24 Predators that can be deployed anywhere in the continental U.S. within three hours.[72]

    Other users

    It has also been used by the Italian Air Force since the end of 2004.[citation needed] Two civil-registered unarmed MQ-1s have been operated by the Office of the National Security Advisor in the Philippines since 2006.[75]
    The Predator has been licensed to sell to Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.[76]


    RQ-1 series
    • RQ-1A : Pre-production designation for the Predator system – four aircraft, Ground Control Station (GCS), and Predator Primary Satellite Link (PPSL).
      • RQ-1K : Pre-production designation for individual airframe.
    • RQ-1B : Production designation for the Predator UAV system.
      • RQ-1L : Production designation for individual airframe.
    MQ-1 series
    The M designation differentiates Predator airframes capable of carrying and deploying ordnance.
    • MQ-1A Predator : Early airframes capable of carrying ordnance (AGM-114 Hellfire ATGM or AIM-92 Stinger). Nose-mounted AN/ZPQ-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar removed.
    • MQ-1B Predator : Later airframes capable of carrying ordnance. Modified antenna fit, including introduction of spine-mounted VHF fin. Enlarged dorsal and ventral air intakes for Rotax engine.
      • MQ-1B Block 10 / 15 : Current production aircraft include updated avionics, datalinks, and countermeasures, modified v-tail planes to avoid damage from ordnance deployment, upgraded AN/AAS-52 Multi-Spectral Targeting System, wing deicing equipment, secondary daylight and infrared cameras in the nose for pilot visual in case of main sensor malfunction, and a 3 ft (0.91 m) wing extension from each wingtip. Some older MQ-1A aircraft have been partially retrofitted with some Block 10 / 15 features, primarily avionics and the modified tail planes.
    Predator XP 
    Export variant of the Predator designed specifically to be unable to carry weapons to allow for wider exportation opportunities. Markets for it are expected in the Middle East and Latin America.[77]
    See General Atomics MQ-1C Grey Eagle
    Note: although some sources refer to the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper as the "Predator B", it is a separate, much larger aircraft and is not a variant of the RQ/MQ-1 Predator airframe design.


    Three contract maintainers walk an RQ-1 into a shelter at Balad Air Base, Iraq in 2006.

    RQ-1 Predator of the Italian Air Force
    • Turkish Air Force[78] The Turkish Air Force has on order 6 MQ-1 Predators via the USA's Foreign Military Sales mechanism. The Turkish Air Force also operates 3 MQ-1 Predator systems on lease from the US as a stop gap measure as of 2011. The leased MQ-1s are under Turkish command (UAV Base Group Command) but operated by a joint Turkish-US unit.[79][80]
     United States


    RQ-1B Predator 3-view drawing

    MQ-1B Predator 3-view drawing
    Data from USAF MQ-1 fact sheet[83]
    General characteristics
    • Crew: none on-board
    • Length: 27 ft (8.22 m)
    • Wingspan: 48.7 ft (14.8 m); MQ-1B Block 10/15: 55.25 ft (16.84 m))
    • Height: 6.9 ft (2.1 m)
    • Wing area: 123.3 sq ft[84] (11.5 m²)
    • Empty weight: 1,130 lb[83] (512 kg)
    • Loaded weight: 2,250 lb (1,020 kg)
    • Max. takeoff weight: 2,250 lb[83] (1,020 kg)
    • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 914F turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 115 hp[83] (86 kW)
    2 hardpoints
    • ASIP-1C
    • AN/AAS-52 Multi-Spectral Targeting System
    • AN/ZPQ-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (early airframes only)

    See also

    Related development
    Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
    Related lists


    • Parts of this article are taken from the MQ-1 PREDATOR fact sheet.[87]
    • This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.
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    2. ^
    3. ^ "Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 President's Budget Submission". 2010. pp. 4–118. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
    4. ^ "USAF Tier system scheme". July 1, 1996. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    5. ^ "Drone aircraft in a stepped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan". December 11, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    6. ^ "". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    7. ^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp. 527–8 and 658 note 5.
    8. ^ Finn, Peter, "Drones, now indispensable in war, began life in garage", Washington Post, reprinted in Japan Times, 27 December 2011, p. 6.
    9. ^ a b c "FAS Intelligence Resource Program RQ-1 information". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    10. ^ "A Short Primer on Military Aircraft Designations" (doc). Hill Aerospace Museum. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
    11. ^ a b c d "Modern Endurance UAVs". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    12. ^ a b USAF MQ-1 factsheet
    13. ^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp. 529–32.
    14. ^ Predator RQ-1 / MQ-1 / MQ-9 Reaper - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) - Air Force Technology
    15. ^ SSgt Amy Robinson, "FAA Authorizes Predators to seek survivors". U.S. Air Force, August 2, 2006.
    16. ^ "Predator-series UAVs surpass one million flight hours". April 9, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    17. ^ "Predator missile launch test totally successful". US Air Force. 27 February 2001. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
    18. ^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp. 534, 548–9.
    19. ^ The CIA and the Predator Drone (2000–1)
    20. ^ Statement of CIA chief Tenet to 9/11 Commission, March 24, 2004, p. 15.
    21. ^ Barton Gellman, "A Strategy's Cautious Evolution". Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2002, p. A01.
    22. ^ "NASA Dryden Fact Sheet - ALTUS II". NASA. 19. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
    23. ^ Drew, Christopher (March 16, 2009). "Drones Are Weapons of Choice in Fighting Qaeda". New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2009. "Considered a novelty a few years ago, the Air Force's fleet has grown to 195 Predators and 28 Reapers, a new and more heavily armed cousin of the Predator."
    24. ^ Drew, Christopher (March 17, 2009). "Drones Are Weapons Of Choice In Fighting Qaeda". New York Times: p. 1. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
    25. ^ McGarry, Brendan (18 June 2012) Drones Most Accident-Prone U.S. Air Force Craft: BGOV Barometer Bloomberg, Retrieved 4 February 2013
    26. ^ "Air Force accepts delivery of last Predator". General Atomics. March 7, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
    27. ^ "Guard unit welcomes Predator, reconnaissance mission". Air Force Link. June 12, 2008.
    28. ^ "Factsheets : 3rd Special Operations Squadron". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    29. ^ "LA Now – Southern California". December 7, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    30. ^ Officials choose bases for MQ-1, MQ-9 ground control stations
    31. ^ "MQ-1B/RQ-4 Air Guard Operations". Retrieved 5 Sept 2011.
    32. ^ "The Pilotless Air Force? A Look At Replacing Human Operators With Advanced Technology" (PDF). Retrieved May 20, 2010.
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    34. ^ "AFPN report". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    35. ^ a b Balkan UAV loss report[dead link]
    36. ^ Serbian TV screen captures showing serial number and wreckage of downed Predator[dead link]
    37. ^ 9/11 Commission Final Report, chapter 6, pp. 189–90 (HTML version)
    38. ^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, Penguin, 2005 edn., pp. 532, 534
    39. ^ 9/11 Commission Report, chapter 6, pp. 213–14; Tenet Testimony to the 9/11 Commission, March 24, 2004, p. 16.
    40. ^ Morring Jr., Frank, ed. (March 29, 2004), "Blame Game," Aviation Week & Space Technology, p. 21.
    41. ^ Hasik, James (2008). Arms and Innovation: Entrepreneurship and Alliances in the Twenty-First-Century Defense Industry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 32-33. ISBN 978-0226318868.
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    43. ^ "U.S. deaths in drone strike due to miscommunication, report says." LA Times, 14 October 2011.
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    51. ^ CBS video of shoot-down; also includes a brief clip of the May 13, 1999 Balkans shoot-down.
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    53. ^ Staff Sgt. D. Clare. "California Air National Guard embraces new mission". US Air Force, August 16, 2006.
    54. ^ Gorman, Siobhan (December 17, 2009). "Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones -". Retrieved May 20, 2010.
    55. ^ "Iraq rebels 'hack into US drones'". BBC News. December 17, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
    56. ^ "Iraqi insurgents hacked Predator drone feeds, U.S. official indicates -". CNN. December 18, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
    57. ^ "Fixes on the way for nonsecure UAV links – Air Force News, news from Iraq". Air Force Times. December 20, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
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    61. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Schmitt, Eric; Worth, Robert F. (September 30, 2011). "''New York Times'' article". Retrieved September 30, 2011.
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    63. ^ U.S. Carries Out First Drone Strike in Libya: Pentagon - Defense News
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    66. ^
    67. ^ "US Drone Strike Kills 4 in Somalia". Fox News. February 24, 2012.
    68. ^ Cite error: Invalid tag; no text was provided for refs named wired_Nov_9; see the help page.
    69. ^ Ackerman, Spencer. "Iranian Pilots Tried (and Failed) to Shoot Down a U.S. Drone"., November 8, 2012.
    70. ^ a b Iran says U.S. drone violated Iranian airspace., November 9, 2012.
    71. ^ Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division, stated that the Iranian fighter jets fired warning shots to drive out the US drone.
    72. ^ a b Booth, William (December 21, 2011). "More Predator drones fly U.S.-Mexico border". The Washington Post.
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    74. ^
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    82. ^
    83. ^ a b c d e "USAF MQ-1 fact sheet". November 19, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
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    External links

    end quote from:

    General Atomics MQ-1 Predator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And the last drone I want to discuss and share in this compilation article is the LEMV which is a helium based observational drone capable of staying aloft for 3 weeks at a time without refilling it's helium and fuels etc.

    Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      (Redirected from LEMV)
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    HAV 304 "LEMV"
    Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle
    Role Optionally-manned ISR/transport hybrid airship
    Manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles
    Northrop Grumman
    First flight 2012
    Status Undergoing flight testing
    Primary user United States Army
    Produced 2012-
    Number built 1
    Unit cost $154 million
    The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) is a hybrid military airship developed by Northrop Grumman and Hybrid Air Vehicles[1] for the United States Army which will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support for ground troops.[2][3]


    Development and design

    The agreement to develop the project was signed on June 14, 2010, between the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and Northrop Grumman.[2] The agreement also includes options for procuring two additional airships.[2]
    The airship will cost between $154 million and $517 million, dependent on all options.[2] The cost includes the design, development and testing of the airship system within an 18-month time period, and then the transportation to Afghanistan for military assessment.[2]
    The football field-sized hybrid airship's design requirements include the capability to operate at 6 km (20,000 feet) above mean sea level, a 3000 km (2,000 mile) radius of action, and a 21-day on-station availability; provide up to 16 kilowatts of electrical power for payload; be runway independent; and carry several different sensors at the same time.[2] According to the U.S. Army, the LEMV will be a recoverable and reusable multi-mission platform. It can be forward located to support extended geostationary operations from austere locations and capable of beyond-line-of-sight command and control.[2]
    The Northrop Grumman team of contractors includes:
    • Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd. in Cranfield, UK (HAV304 platform)
    • Warwick Mills in New Ipswich, NH (Fabrics engineering)
    • ILC Dover in Kent County, DE (Airship manufacturer and designer)
    • Textron subsidiary AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, MD (Makes the US Army’s OneSystem UAV/surveillance aircraft control & information distribution stations); and
    • SAIC in McLean, VA.[4]

    Technical specifications

    Combined with an array of payloads - including ground moving target indicator radar, electro-optical/infra-red sensors, communications relay, blue force tracking, signal intelligence, and electronic countermeasures - the LEMV will augment existing ISR platforms to provide additional capabilities.[3] The LEMV is intended to provide a possible solution to communications beyond the line-of-sight to the user, signals intelligence collection and almost any other type of payload configuration that meets the power, weight and size requirements.[3] By providing this all-source sensor data to existing ground stations, the data will be available to multiple users and analysts.[3] This interoperability with existing tasking, processing exploitation and dissemination has the potential to improve information-poor situations, mitigating Warfighter gaps and existing shortfalls through multi-intelligence sensor integration.[3]
    The LEMV will enable the Office for the OSD to fly the most technologically advanced payloads in the near term as they become available.[3] Northrop Grumman has designed their system to integrate into the Army’s existing common ground station command centers, and equipment used by ground troops in forward operating bases.[4] The LEMV could also be used to move heavy equipment while in Afghanistan, a massive advantage over competing UAVs.[5]
    The airship is a hybrid air vehicle (HAV) and it has a number of advantages over fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A HAV uses aerodynamic lift like a conventional plane to take off before using helium to keep it in the sky once it is airborne. Engines on board are then used to move while it monitors events on the ground.[5] The LEMV’s skin - a blend of Vectran, Kevlar and Mylar - will be able to cope with a “reasonable amount of small arms fire.”[5] Northrop estimates that the biggest threat to the craft is weather, where high winds or thunderstorms could buffet the craft.[6]


    While reconnaissance can be undertaken by fighter aircraft, the costs involved for such a flight were estimated in 2010 to be $10,000–20,000 per flight hour, plus an additional $10,000 in recapitalization costs.[4] Helicopters are more affordable than their fighter equivalent, and can intervene like fighters if weapons are needed, but they are noisy and vulnerable, have very low endurance, and are still not cheap to operate.[4] Hybrid airships can operate from any small forward base, like a helicopter. Their operating cost is likely to be better than any other surveillance option, as is their endurance, which can be measured in weeks.[4] The LEMV requires no less than 1000 feet of runway (violating the runway-independent requirement), and requires a tether point with 360 degrees of 300-foot smooth area to park, which restricts them from operating at most large bases and all small bases.
    They can serve as steady communications relays, for instance, ensuring that groups of soldiers in mountainous areas never lose contact with one another, even if they do not have direct line of sight to each other.[4] LEMVs can track important convoys, key roadways, or other key infrastructure as semi-permanent overwatch escorts, monitor an urban area of interest to prepare for major battles or enforce security, or focus on shutting down border chokepoints.[4]
    According to Alan Metzger, director for airship programmes at Northrop Grumman, the airship’s ability to stay in the air for long periods make it perfect for surveillance missions. Speaking to The Engineer magazine, Mr Metzger claimed that the LEMV was “going to be the longest endurance UAV in the world. There will be no gaps in the data that gets put down to the war-fighter.”[5] Northrop also says the LEMV could be used as a cargo aircraft, claiming that it has enough buoyancy to haul seven tons of cargo 2,400 miles at 30 miles per hour.[7]

    Operational status

    The timeline for LEMV was an 18 month schedule starting in June 2010 that includes vehicle inflation at about month 10.[2] Additional operational characterization will occur at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., in month 16.[2]
    The Army was slated to demonstrate the first LEMV in Afghanistan 18 months after June 2010, with proposed plans to build five others following mission completion.[3]
    The overall concept has been struggling with constant time delays and technological challenges. In October 2011 Flight International reported that the LEMV would be ready for its first flight in November 2011.[8] According to media reports the LEMV was then set up for its first flight in early June 2012.[9] However, unspecified problems delayed the flight even further. The first flight of the LEMV took place on August 7, 2012 over a base in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The flight lasted for 90 minutes and was performed with a crew on board. The first flight primary objective was to perform a safe launch and recovery with a secondary objective to verify the flight control system operation. Additional first flight objectives included airworthiness testing and demonstration, and system level performance verification. All objectives were met during the first flight. This puts the combat deployment of the LEMV to Afghanistan in early 2013.[10] However, two months after the test flight, the Army said it had concerns about sending the airship abroad. These included safety, transportation to the theater of operations, and the timeline of deployment.[11]

    See also


    1. ^
    2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) Agreement Signed". The Official Homepage of the United States Army. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
    3. ^ a b c d e f g "Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle". Army News Service. 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
    4. ^ a b c d e f g "Rise of the Blimps: The US Army’s LEMV". Defense Industry Daily. 15 -06-2010. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
    5. ^ a b c d "Giant unmanned airships to patrol Afghanistan skies for up to three weeks at a time". Daily Mail. 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
    6. ^ Axe, David. Army Readies Its Mammoth Spy Blimp for First Flight Wired 22 May 2012. Retrieved: 15 June 2012.
    7. ^ Axe, David (2012-08-08). "Video: Army's Giant Spy Blimp Soars Over Jersey Shore in First Flight | Danger Room". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
    8. ^ Rosenberg, Zach (14 October 2011). "LEMV readied for November flight". Washington, DC: Retrieved 13 July 2012.
    9. ^ Sakr, Sharif (23 May 2012). "Army spy blimp to launch within weeks: 300 feet long, $500 million, 'multi-intelligent'". Retrieved 12 July 2012.
    10. ^ Army's LEMV Surveillance Airship Flies - Aviation, August 7, 2012
    11. ^ Army’s Giant Spy Blimp Plan for Afghanistan Set Adrift -, October 22, 2012

     end quote from:

    Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle - Wikipedia, the free ...
    The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) is a hybrid military airship developed by Northrop Grumman and Hybrid Air Vehicles for the United ...

    I think understanding what is out there is helpful in understanding the direction of the U.S. Military, the Israeli Military and likely all militaries on earth who have the resources to buy or build similar technologies to these. For example I was surprised how many countries are using the Raven, for example. Check this out:

     Czech Republic[15]
     Iraq [16]
     Lebanon 12 systems[17][18][19][20]
     Saudi Arabia
     United Kingdom
     United States

    This really surprised me in looking at just the Raven for battlefield in intelligence around the world. I think U.S. citizens have a right to be concerned about police forces around the U.S. using these on unsuspecting citizens too. For example, someone in Florida said, "If the British had one of these during the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Tea Party could never have happened and the U.S. might now not exist as a democracy as a result." 



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