Lockheed Martin's New UAV Is a Manhack on Steroids

Lockheed Martin's New UAV Is a Manhack on Steroids

Lockheed Martin's new unmanned aerial vehicle looks like a cross between a UFO and the worst helicopter ever, yet somehow it flies like a bird. An extremely deadly bird.

The vehicle, dubbed "SAMARAI" (an allusion to its resemblance to these seed pods), is what aviation engineers call a "monocopter."

Instead of taking up valuable space with useless bits like a cockpit, the entire vehicle consists of a single spinning airfoil. Obviously this wouldn't be a great design for a vehicle designed to carry people, but it works wonders for unmanned reconnaissance drones.

Despite the inherent terror of having these things chase you down a long corridor, it looks like the military is having second thoughts on producing manhacks en masse. Says botjunkie:

... the SAMARAI project was canceled last year after completing phase 1 of a DARPA nano air vehicle contract. Phase 2 of that contract, incidentally, went to AeroVironment for this. The information included with the above video, however, suggests that this flight test is "recent," and while no sources are cited, the YouTube channel it's from is run by an editor over at Aviation Week (or so it says), so there's some amount of credibility there. Maybe we'll get some answers in the near future now that this video is live.

Honestly, that's probably for the best.

Even if these things aren't designed to remotely decapitate people, you'd have to imagine that the temptation to simply hover at neck height would be too great for even the most seasoned UAV operators. Our war effort can't afford to have men reenacting the French revolution when they could instead be remotely launching missiles and laying down suppression fire with automated chainguns. It just wouldn't be efficient.

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If you check out the description in the video it states that they wanted to go mini with the samurai design to allow soldiers to carry one in a backpack and possibly use it for recon indoors. Gyro stabilize some kind of infered camera or even a flashbang that hovers above obstacles. Even better if you can remote the thing down corridors.

No hellfire missiles, no dice.

Pure awesome. I have trouble imagining how the physics on that thing work, with only one wing/blade, how does it generate the torque to spin? It doesn't look big enough (or sound loud enough) to have a gas engine in it, so I assume it's battery powered?
All the Samarai need now is speakers to play the Ride of the Valkyries.

This could get fun.
But... remotely slicing up people? hmph.
meh, still does the job... so I can accept it.

That is the scariest fuckin thing I've ever seen (aside maybe from the sewers worms - FUCK ITS GROSS) Seriously, that sound it makes? I'd piss myself and run as soon as I heard that shit. Even scarier when it's unstable and starts wobbling back and forth like it's batshit crazy or something. Please Lockheade, PLEASE don't unleash these on the public. I won't be able to sleep at night.

I dunno, a flying decapitator would be a pr disaster.

How long would it be before some terrified young man's last moments as seen through UAV'o'death vision appeared on Youtube? At least with big machine guns the enemy's horrible death is something of an abstract, they're just a little chunk of meat in that massive dust cloud.

Having watched that video, there's also the possiblity it got cancelled because the pilots kept dieing of embaressment, it's hardly a manhack on steroids.

Only question, where would the cameras go if it was remotly operated, I assume that the middle stays still, but there must be some interferance from the rotor. Other than that, this hasto be the best thing ever!

Very interesting, I'm waiting though till they break out the Combine gunships.

Add some LEDs on that, use in a small isolated country town, and you have yourself a mass of terrified civilians.

Hmmm, well it also occurs to me that just because the gubberment cancels a project like this does not mean that the development will cease, they can always find other markets for something like this. The idea of the tests continueing doesn't really surprise me.

Not to mention that the technology isn't inherantly a bad idea, even if not used specifically for this, it could lead to other things down the road.

As far as the bit about "Columbine Gunships" the kind of nerd capable of actually doing something like that (ie the ones who are smart in a practical sense) are generally not the ones that become so dis-satisfied with life that they decide to go down in a blazing moment of gunfire. Basically if you can build a gyrocopter in high school, you can wait for your payback when the guys who mess with you now wind up working for you, or asking for a loan. :P

Still, the idea of an enraged nerd sending a group of manhacks through the hallways to decapitate students does seem like it could be a cool scene in a horror movie. Gunships wouldn't have the same splatter appeal. >:)

Me, I'm waiting for drone designers to render the killer spheres from Phantasm practical. Even if not ever deployed in combat, simply knowing that someone did it would be absolute awesome (in a sick way).

How is it powered? A couple of triple A's in the central point of the blade? Because that point is pretty small. It's fascinating that something that looks so simple would actually be able to fly. Kind of makes me wish I was doing physics in school...

Ummm...

Wouldn't UAV fall if it crashes into someone?

Therumancer:
Hmmm, well it also occurs to me that just because the gubberment cancels a project like this does not mean that the development will cease, they can always find other markets for something like this. The idea of the tests continueing doesn't really surprise me.

Just because the gov't publicly cancels a project like this does not mean that it's actually cancelled. Just that they don't want it being seen on their books anymore.

Earnest Cavalli:
Instead of taking up valuable space with useless bits like a cockpit, the entire vehicle consists of a single spinning airfoil. Obviously this wouldn't be a great design for a vehicle designed to carry people, but it works wonders for unmanned reconnaissance drones.

Wandrecanada:
If you check out the description in the video it states that they wanted to go mini with the samurai design to allow soldiers to carry one in a backpack and possibly use it for recon indoors. Gyro stabilize some kind of infered camera or even a flashbang that hovers above obstacles. Even better if you can remote the thing down corridors.

Did they provide a cost for this thing? Cause it sounds like it would be cheaper then the drones were making now.

Which is a step in the right direction...I mean these UAV's are expensive. Not so much as actual fighter jets, but still...the army doesn't seem to be factoring in cost when it considers improving efficiency for these things. The latest production version of the Air Force/Teledyne Ryan RQ-4/Global Hawk costs over $26 million!

But in terms of practicality...what can we use these things for aside from fighting ill equipped insurgents or using it for low level recon for foot soldiers like Wandrecanada mentioned? I mean, if these things show up on actual ariel radar...well it can't be that hard to shoot it down...

Therumancer:
As far as the bit about "Columbine Gunships" the kind of nerd capable of actually doing something like that (ie the ones who are smart in a practical sense) are generally not the ones that become so dis-satisfied with life that they decide to go down in a blazing moment of gunfire. Basically if you can build a gyrocopter in high school, you can wait for your payback when the guys who mess with you now wind up working for you, or asking for a loan. :P

OK, this is exactly why misspellings on the internet are such a problem. You assumed he meant "Columbine" (School shooting) when he actually typed "Combine" (Half-Life 2 villains). But thanks for the diatribe, the internet needed another one of those to keep its series of tubes nicely lubed.

On that note, I tried to find a clip from a Future Weapons show I watched about recoilless shotguns mounted on helicopters. This is the technically inferior, hick version of the same: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZCH1492CzA

this design branch is inteded to extend the range of a unit or a squad, not to acctually be a type of recon method. even if this type of uav is developed, you would still see deployment of the modern global hawk drones for almost all recon missions had.

in practice, this drone was ment to be crewed by a vehical crew or squad member and would provide limited 'whats over the next hill/around the corner' recon effectively extending the visual preception of a squad or unit and helping identify intermediate threats.

you can easily imagine one of these small drones being tossed out of a hatch of a tank, then hovering around some 10-20 feet away giving the tank commander/crew a type of third person perspective to make up for the tanks individual limited visability.

Reuq:
Only question, where would the cameras go if it was remotly operated, I assume that the middle stays still, but there must be some interferance from the rotor. Other than that, this hasto be the best thing ever!

since its gyro-rotation it all pretty much spins, the camera would have to be attacked t oa free-float ball joint and even then you wouldnt have much control of what it looks at.

put some razor blades on it and implement a semi-sentient AI as a hive mind network, and let it do whatever it wants. whats the worst that could happen?

Kalezian:

Reuq:
Only question, where would the cameras go if it was remotly operated, I assume that the middle stays still, but there must be some interferance from the rotor. Other than that, this hasto be the best thing ever!

since its gyro-rotation it all pretty much spins, the camera would have to be attacked t oa free-float ball joint and even then you wouldnt have much control of what it looks at.

put some razor blades on it and implement a semi-sentient AI as a hive mind network, and let it do whatever it wants. whats the worst that could happen?

I'm guessing you've played HL? well then that.

That looks like it could cut someones head off.

I like it.

This looks like a tiny helicopter with a large one-bladed rotor. So it probably can't do any more damage than your average RC helicopter. And like any helicopter, if you did try to attack someone with it, it would probably fail (because a helicopter's rotor is shaped like an airplane wing, rotating in the direction of the dull edge) and then crash (because the rotor would get jammed or break off).

But because somebody had to say it...

"HAAAAAACKS!"

Everyone else is thinking about HL2 Slicers right?

The Monocopter was invented by Charles McCutchen. An excellent book on the Monocopter and its flight dynamics was written by Francis G. Graham called "Monocopters" in 1999 and copies are still for sale at Apogee Components, 3355 Fillmore Ridge, Colorado Springs, Co 80907, at $10 each or so, I think. Also note an AIAA Technical Paper at the 2003 Century of Flight Conference in Dayton, "An Overview of the History and Dynamics of Monocopters" Proceedings of the AIAA/ICAS International Air and Space Symposium and Exhibition 2003, also by Francis G. Graham.
I'll be delighted to answer questions about monocopters off-forum at [email protected].

 

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