Happy Monday, everyone. Let’s start this short week right with this video of an unmanned version of Boeing’s Little Bird chopper landing on the back of a moving flatbed truck. As you know, the Little Bird is one of the military’s smallest helos. Images of special operators being dropped off by Little Birds in the middle of narrow city streets have become ubiquitous.
Boeing has been working on fielding the unmanned version of the chopper that can be used to do almost all the missions a manned little bird can, ISR, light strike even cargo hauling for years now. Heck we’ve seen Lockheed and Kaman team up to deliver an unmanned version of the K-MAX light helo to the Marines for resupply duty in Afghanistan.
The drone-chopper in the video below is using a THALES-built automatic landing system that allows it to sense how far away it is from the truck’s moving deck .
Drone Choppers for France:
Now why does the unmanned chopper need to land on moving targets? Because Boeing is developing the chopper for use by the French Navy, where it will be operated from ships in a similar way the U.S. Navy flies soon-to-be-armed MQ-8 Fire Scout drone helos from its ships. (I heard Boeing execs mention this project during a briefing at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington in September and it piqued my interest then.) The Little Bird is set to conduct sea trials aboard a French frigate in 2012.
Click through the jump for the video: