Video: Unmanned Little Bird Lands on a Moving Truck

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:

Via Gizmodo and sUAS News

13 Comments on "Video: Unmanned Little Bird Lands on a Moving Truck"

  1. I'm wondering, is this just an initial test, or are landings going to be taking place at such a low speed?

  2. Ship don't go much faster than 25 MPH and usualy cruse as 15 MPH, and that truck was not going much over 20MPH.

  3. Yea ok……

    Keep the drivers …….

    driving from the front seat…..

  4. Nice! Now, do it again in a brownout…

  5. tribulationtime | November 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Reply

    Have it any advantage over maned?. (I mean that kind of UAV converted from maned)

  6. 1) If you drop the pilots from this bird you can drop in 6 operators instead of 4 per bird.
    2) If you cropped off the cockpit you could be looking at a weight savings of as much as 1500lbs (Including the loss of pilots). That's lots of extra fuel, munitions, or both.

    Don't re-invent the wheel each time, take the birds you have, make a few airframe shape design changes (Remove the people box), put in some extra sensors and a extra cool flight computer and there is your drone.

  7. I'm sure we have thousands of these from the Viet Nam era. Wonder why we can't just retrofit a bunch like this instead of spending billions on R&D for the newer heli drones they developing… Without pilots, seems like you could displace that weight with extra gear or fuel.

  8. I have a hard time imagining a navalized little bird doing the kind of spec ops things that we're used to seeing little birds doing.

    But it would be useful for doing Cargo on demand, and running around with a dipping sonar and a torpedo or two.

  9. Very cool, but what happens if hackers get a hold of these unmanned systems?

  10. Having once ridden on the outside of an H-6 many moons ago I can say it took all the faith I had in airpower to ride on a manned MH-6. Shipboard anti pirate ops sure, but not as a means to infil operators.

    Cool tech though.

  11. This is too cheap. Can't we add a few 100-billions to make this really DoD-interesting?

  12. tribulationtime | November 22, 2011 at 5:58 am | Reply

    Overall it is not fair play unmaned vs maned. Man+his brain it is a multi task system. Example: A seal wrote in a book about vietnam what his platoon dog spooky VC, was agressive and good tracking, better than seals but in whole "doings" for their patrols dog was useless. So as Curtis say thus missions can be fullfiled by UAV.

  13. tribulationtime | November 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply

    Hello I don´t speak english. I know that. But by example if you can correct me by spelling seal instead of SEAL. Please forgive me and If you are not agree with me argue with reassons. Or not. Choose it

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