Unmanned aerial vehicles the size of a cigarette

Researchers at OSU developing plasma thrusters to power nano unmanned air vehicles.

Oklahoma State University

Researchers at Oklahoma State University are working with DARPA to deliver a sophisticated, unmanned aircraft small enough to fit into a soldier's pocket, reports the Daily O'Collegian.

A state-of-the-art propulsion system, one that uses plasma thrusters with no moving parts, could provide power for micro and nano unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV.)This class of airplane can measure anywhere from a foot to less than 6 inches long.

"What we want the infantrymen to be able to do is pull a pack of six or so out of their pocket and have them ready for use," Jamey Jacob, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering told the Daily.

The new line of aircraft would take over some of the duties performed by today's UAV fleet, mainly surveillance of hostile areas, and would be a significant improvement over the UAV equipment available to soldiers today, according to Jacob. OSU students are working on another DARPA project, an aircraft that can stay aloft for five years at a stretch.

Oklahoma State University

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    The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at markr@milapp.com. Disclosure.

     

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