Army to Send Three Unmanned Spy Helos to Afghanistan

The drone war in Pakistan may be on a temporary hiatus, that hasn’t stopped the Army from moving to send three of its newest drones to neighboring Afghanistan this Spring. The service is sending three of Boeing’s A160 Hummingbird drone choppers downrange for up to one year to feed the military’s insatiable hunger for more airborne ISR.

The helos will be equipped with the ARGUS wide area surveillance cameras, allowing the birds to hover and watch over massive swaths of land. Think of the typical UAV camera as looking at a region through a soda straw; operators and intel analysts only see the immediate area where the camera is focused. WAS systems like ARGUS are being developed to provide up to 65 video streams via one sensor package. This obviously gives a much broader picture of a region.

This deployment is meant to field test the concept of unmanned ISR choppers capable of performing serious recon missions from bases with no runways. If all goes well, the Army will launch a competition for this type of bird to enter large-scale production. We first reported on this effort last May. The service eventually wants a drone helo that can carry a variety of sensors at 6,000 feet in 95-degree temperatures and a flying duration of 12 to 24-hours.

Read more on the deployment here.

14 Comments on "Army to Send Three Unmanned Spy Helos to Afghanistan"

  1. I guess they done sent 'em already.

  2. Park 'em along the border and use them to knock out people straying into A-stan. Once we funnel them into the checkpoints, crank out the biometrics stuff and profile repeat crossers. Pass off names of Taliban symphatisers to the Baluchis or their ethic rivals, and let the locals sort this out (without handing names to the ISI who will tip off their clients).

    It's the D in Dirty War, but sending in kill-teams is out of the question.

  3. Wonder if the sensor package could be reversed engineered ?

  4. That has to be the cutest little UAV around.

  5. I'm more of an airship guy myself (chin up)

  6. These might be interesting if used offensively by the army. UAVs that can be operated by division or brigade (with ground control stations) to supplement aviation reconaissance units.

    Then of course, comes obligatory weaponization.

  7. As long as they don’t end up on Iranian TV surrounded by Iranian Republican Guard.

  8. Please don't take this the wrong way, but for a blog that is read quite frequently by lots of people, the grammar and spelling is atrocious. Maybe the articles should be written in Microsoft Word, spell checked, and then pasted into the blog.

  9. Word wouldn't have caught the headline gram-tastrophy, but I would have. I will edit the entries before they post, spelling, grammar, wit. Make your readers happy, you have my email.

  10. It's interesting, isn't it, that a country with porous borders with the accompanying political and economic fallout and is expending more resources to contain insurgents on Afghan borders than on our own? I agree with RCDC relative to a review of goals and objectives. We've let this genie out of the bottle – stuffing him back in may be problematic.

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