Defense Tech: Drones Archives

Defense Tech: Drones Archives: “PENTAGON’S FLYING SAUCER

Before the Pentagon decided that it wanted to stock soldiers’ backpacks with miniature unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, Defense Department researchers had a slightly different idea: give G.I.s their own flying saucers instead.

mssmp3.jpgThe Multipurpose Security and Surveillance Mission Platform (MSSMP), flown from 1992 to 1998, used a ducted fan and a 50 hp engine to ‘cruise at speeds of up to 80 knots, for up to three hours, with a ceiling of 8,000 feet,’ according to Weighing at 250 pounds with a diameter of six feet, the MSSMP was meant to ‘provide a rapidly deployable, extended-range surveillance capability for a variety of operations and missions, including: fire control, force protection, tactical security, support to counterdrug and border patrol operations, signal/communications relays, detection and assessment of barriers (i.e., mine fields, tank traps), remote assessment of suspected contaminated areas (i.e., chemical, biological, and nuclear), and even resupply of small quantities of critical items,’ its makers at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center say. (These are the same wizards of robotics that put together the ultra-intimidating Robart III guard drone.)

In the mid-90’s, the MSSMP apparently had a couple of successful demontrations at Army posts. For example, in January 1997, the MSSMP”


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