Next generation military drones researched

August 24, 2005

The military's next generation of airborne drones will be able to silently dive between buildings, zoom under overpasses and land on apartment balconies.

At least, those are the goals University of Florida engineers say they are working toward.

Funded by the U.S. Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, aerospace engineers have built prototypes of 6-inch- to 2-foot-long drones capable of squeezing in and out of tight spots in cities, in a manner similar to tiny stunt planes.

Their secret: seagull-inspired wings can morph during flight, transforming the planes' stability and agility at the touch of a button on the operator's remote control.

The Air Force's Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and other military drones have been key to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But those drones, which take surveillance images and sometimes also fire missiles, are designed to soar high above the ground.

The UF planes are intended to have added capabilities, such as landing in tight spots and, equipped with sensors, to fly close to buildings searing for biological and chemical weapons.

University researchers reportedly have authored nine academic papers on the research.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Armed police drones—we need to keep careful watch of these eyes in the sky

Related Stories

Curbs shut US drone makers out of export markets (Update)

February 13, 2014

Military brass shopping at Asia's biggest defense expo this week have drones high on their to-buy list. But for U.S. manufacturers including General Atomics, which makes the Predator hunter-killer, there's one problem: they ...

Commercial use of drones has already taken flight

December 11, 2013

The camera swoops over the green expanse of the Everglades hundreds of feet below, like many helicopter shots you've seen on television. But suddenly it dips and flies through a narrow, shaded canal where kayakers are paddling, ...

Navy tests ocean drones off US coast

August 8, 2012

Just beneath the placid, sailboat-dotted surface of Narragansett Bay, torpedo-shaped vehicles spin and pivot to their own rhythm, carrying out missions programmed by their U.S. Navy masters.

Drone sightings up dramatically (Update)

November 12, 2014

The U.S. government is getting near-daily reports—and sometimes two or three a day—of drones flying near airplanes and helicopters or close to airports without permission, federal and industry officials tell The Associated ...

Recommended for you

Turbulence in bacterial cultures

November 30, 2015

Turbulent flows surround us, from complex cloud formations to rapidly flowing rivers. Populations of motile bacteria in liquid media can also exhibit patterns of collective motion that resemble turbulent flows, provided the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.