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UK MOD To Spend 20 Million On Toy Size Spy Drones

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the small-packages dept.

The Military 44

garymortimer writes "The Ministry of Defense (MOD) is making 20 million pounds available for Nano UAS. This is the second story this week in which military organizations seem to be looking for small multicopters. A market to date that has been ignored by the big defense contractors and a space owned by small start ups. No doubt some of those small start ups will soon become big defense contractors!"

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Military surplus... (0)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35365968)

How long they'll get used into ominous use by police force? Not that the CCTV stories in UK reveal much usefulness for them, but... new toys, extra budgets, too tempting to refuse.

Re:Military surplus... (4, Informative)

e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366054)

Well, they can't very well let Ogden, Utah [standard.net] and Miami, Florida [reuters.com] get too far ahead of them, can they?

Re:Military surplus... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366154)

Just what immediate pressing military need does the UK have?

It's not like they are involved in multiple concurrent wars and need these spy drones for military purposes.

I think they are explicitly going to be used for surveillance at home and not abroad.

Re:Military surplus... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366164)

It's not like they are involved in multiple concurrent wars and need these spy drones for military purposes.

Sure about that one tiger?

Re:Military surplus... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35368174)

It's not like they are involved in multiple concurrent wars and need these spy drones for military purposes.

Sure about that one tiger?

Don't forget that Iraq was, and Afghanistan is, a peace-keeping/police missions. We're not at war, oh no

Re:Military surplus... (1, Troll)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366196)

I think they are explicitly going to be used for surveillance at home and not abroad.

In dire need indeed [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:Military surplus... (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366794)

Well considering the current UK terror alert was recently raised to severe and they have already recently foiled terrorist plots such as (http://www.comparecarrentals.co.uk/news/261127639.html). I understand the balance between privacy and not being murdered by superstitious maniacs is unfair on everyone.
I agree that the UK government mollycoddles its population too much and people are right to treat any moves especially against privacy dubiously but equally would you like to be the one to explain to grieving families that they should be grateful for more personal privacy?

The real villains are those incorporating foreign policy and creating these terror threat situations by lining their own pockets with energy funds. Look at Libya for example, are we really supposed to believe that suspiciously well equipped Libyan rebels who have managed to fight off their own countries armed forces should be primarily interested in securing oil wells? When other countries governments are being overthrown its democratic revolution but if we need to get involved to aid 'ahem secure oil wells' it needs to be reported as an international crisis.

Re:Military surplus... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366792)

They already have drones [bbc.co.uk] so I'm going to guess "not long".

UK MOD to spend 20 M Pounds on toy sized drones (2, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35365996)

UK MOD to spend 20 million Pounds on toy sized drones which will then be added to every McHappy meal sold in the UK so that they can watch the not quite toy sized British youth.

Wait, I've got another one (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366012)

Toy sized drones swallowed by British Air Marshall's at testing grounds, thought to be hors d'oeuvres.

Re:Wait, I've got another one (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366070)

OMG I laughed at the mental picture of a member of the Brass choking having inhaled one of their spy drones...

Re:Wait, I've got another one (2)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366114)

OMG I laughed at the mental picture of a member of the Brass choking having inhaled one of their spy drones...

Imagine the recovery effort.

"Captain, drone 6 is emerging"
"Very good Leftenant, alert the recovery teams and let me know when we have splashdown."

Re:UK MOD to spend 20 M Pounds on toy sized drones (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366784)

UK MOD to spend 20 million Pounds on toy sized drones which will then be added to every McHappy meal sold in the UK so that they can watch the not quite toy sized British youth.
--
s/toy/Queen Mary/ FIFY
Not that the little fat bastards on this side of the pond are immune to the siren song of the fast food .
Since we seemed to have invented it. Sorry earth..

Or be bought by big defense contractors... (3, Insightful)

MikeTheGreat (34142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366046)

No doubt some of those small start ups will soon become big defense contractors!"

Or they'll be bought by big defense contractors, and the existing big defense contractors will continue to be the big defense contractors....

Re:Or be bought by big defense contractors... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35367278)

No doubt some of those small start ups will soon become big defense contractors!"

Or they'll be bought by big defense contractors, and the existing big defense contractors will continue to be the big defense contractors....

More likely they'll be papered around with overbroad patents, force out of business by frivolous litigation, and the big boys will pick up the "intellectual property" for pennies on the dollar.

I want one (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366120)

How long till they're available to public, so I can put a frickin laser beam on it.

Re:I want one (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366148)

How long till they're available to public, so I can put a frickin laser beam on it.

they're available to the public now! ;-)
http://www.asctec.de/?locale=en_US

Re:I want one (1)

Slacker (3964) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366162)

How long till they're available to public, so I can put a frickin laser beam on it.

You think it won't come with a laser pre-installed?

If you want a pretty neat one right now, check out the Parrot Drone.

http://ardrone.parrot.com/parrot-ar-drone/usa/ [parrot.com]

Re:I want one (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366276)

The A.R. Drone is a toy.

Copters like the ones being sought in this defense contract are already developed...

Check out UPENN's GRASP lab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvRTALJp8DM

Re:I want one (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35367088)

The AR drone with a bigger battery pack and longer range(no wifi) is exactly what they want out of the devices. nimble enough to go inside, stable enough for winds.

the AR drone might be a toy but it is a better package than most of them so far. especially for urban environments.

Re:I want one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366250)

The cheapest option: wait 'til you see one on the streets and capture it.

You don't want to be a defense contractor (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366260)

You'll either end up in prison or buried in a land fill.

*Bought by* (1)

Blink Tag (944716) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366262)

No doubt some of those small start ups will soon become^W be bought by big defense contractors!"

Fixed that for you.

You give em +o and that's what happens (1)

gotan (60103) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366328)

... oh, this isn't about some IRC mod.

Nevertheless, same rules apply.

not up to their specs, but (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366330)

That's nice and all, but this [huffingtonpost.com] looks much less like a drone. Cute, when you don't consider the implications of a virtually invisible spy drone.

UT MOD? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366402)

OK - I know I might sound a bit ignorant declaring this, but this story really excited me because I read the title as; "UT MOD spends $ on 20 million mini helicopters."

I know what you might be thinking - 20 mill mini copters wouldn't be nearly enough for a one night frag fest - but seriously; tiny cameras and laser lights to simulate in the real world ---- it would just be so Epic!

but then I realized the last time Epic and Unreal crossed paths and then I realized this was just a wasteful military scheme to find another way to cram more tiny cameras into England.

MOD covers all of the UK (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35367556)

The MOD covers all of the UK, not just England.

No idea why. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366418)

There's absolutely nothing to see over here except worn down people, rubbish all over the streets and people happily flouting traffic regulations.

Re:No idea why. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35368296)

There's absolutely nothing to see over here except worn down people, rubbish all over the streets and people happily flouting traffic regulations.

Don't forget that we've reintroduced both corporal and capital for even minor motoring offences.

Copyright Jeremy Clarkson probably.

Defence, not Defense (2)

HonestButCurious (1306021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366428)

Defense is the American spelling.

Re:Defence, not Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35368258)

It's the same as "licence" and "practice". We use the soft "c" at the end to indicate a noun, and the "s" to indicate a verb.

"practice", "to practise"
"licence", "to license"
"defence", "to... Well, you get the picture.

Re:Defence, not Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35368736)

Which WE do you mean AC?

Won't someone think of the pilots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366544)

Is 20million less than it cost to run the 2 Tornado squadrons the MOD have just disbanded?

Re:Won't someone think of the pilots? (2)

Cederic (9623) | more than 3 years ago | (#35367084)

Hmm, lets ponder that for a moment. £20m will buy you one, maybe two Tornado aircraft.

Two aircraft, no pilots, no training, no ground crew, no parts, no maintained runway, or 300 drones that are more useful in asymmetrical warfare?

The pilots can retrain as drone pilots if they want, or they can take their RAF training and go work for EasyJet. Their choice.

Re:Won't someone think of the pilots? (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35367126)

This is the MOD we're talking about, by the time this deal is finished it'll have cost $100 million and the lives of every pilot's pet dog.

that's 20 million (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366738)

stolen from the people by the elite so they can kill weak foreigners to further increase wealth and power.

No arguments. If you're not at least trying to avoid paying tax, you're part of the problem. (If you believe in welfare, donate directly to charities, foundations or trusts involved in welfare efforts.)

Model Aircraft Hobbyists Worried (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35366854)

The US and indeed, nations around the world, are implementing or preparing to implement aircraft regulations for UAV's (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), which includes the model aircraft of us radio controlled airplane hobbyists. While there isn't much in common with the typical model aircraft and a Predator drone with a Hellfire Missile, there is a LOT in common between these new nUAS's and a model aircraft. Just look at the thing. I have seen hobbyists at my local hobby field fly similar hobby planes they purchased for a few hundred dollars that already fly 20 minutes and longer. In case you weren't aware, the aircraft model hobby is moving in huge numbers from gas powered planes to the new LiPo battery powered planes. There are now battery-electric motor combinations that match the power of every gas powered model airplane engine in the world. And my own batteries easily keep my planes in the air for 20 minutes each, same as these military specifications. There is a good overview of upcoming regulatory actions worldwide, on the "sUAS News" website: http://www.suasnews.com/uas-regulations/.

On a tangental note... (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35366958)

On a tangental note, I enjoy flying radio control helicopters, I have three of them (a "micro sized" heli, T-Rex 250, with a rotor disc of about 25 cm diameter, weighing about 350g), a 500-size and a 600-size (which weighs about 2.5kg, IIRC with a rotor diameter of 1.6 metres), all of them are collective pitch and extremely agile (they are all aerobatic models). All of them are electric too.

What worries me a little is that the wider political world will see the small drones, which don't look an awful lot different to a model RC heli, then start invoking the "terrorism!" bogeyman and trying to ban/restrict the RC flying we do or making us go through a painful registration process to be able to buy parts or helis. It won't take a huge leap of imagination for some politician to think that my T-Rex 600 could be some sort of threat to a public figure if fitted with an FPV (first person view) system, and then we have yet another avenue of pleasure closed off due to the war-on-terror :-(

Re:On a tangental note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35368196)

that was what i was thinking as well, soon toy helicopter will be classed as munition and you will need license to own and operate as well as tons of restriction that will essentially kill the sports and recreation of it.

heck, they might as well ban the telescope because it can eavesdrops remotely.

might as well go one step further.

knifes, torch, lighter, gas can, oh dont forget the rocks should count as a missile and therefore anyone possess such a weapon shall be sent away to the furthest and darkest place on the planet and labeled as a murder/rapist/pervert/pedofile/communist/crook/gangster/drug dealer/terrorist/etc.

oh, if you dont support the bill, you are unpatriotic and must be a terrorist supporter.

Re:On a tangental note... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35387860)

Well unless batteries get 100x better in the next few years it is hard to see how these little things could be used for military or terrorist use. Considering how slowly battery technology has evolved so far despite the immense demand from mobile devices I can't see that happening.

I too have a few model helis. The typically take 30-40 minutes to charge and fly for around 10 minutes.That is radio controlled, no on-board computer or video cameras etc. Very low weight too, no cargo or gadgets. The problem with small machines is the crappy weight/energy ratio of batteries and limited power of the motors providing lift/propulsion, meaning you can't use a battery that lasts much longer because even if the heli could lift it the weight would counteract the extra juice anyway.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35367150)

I read somewhere that in the late 80s the UK was procuring RC helicopters to patrol the North/South Ireland border.

http://www.ppshopping.us (1)

lili30 (2007600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35367170)

www.ppshopping.us

"UK MOD... (3, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35367324)

"UK MOD To Spend 20 Million On Toy Size Spy Drones"

What will the rockers [wikipedia.org] counter with?
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