Have you been hearing a lot about drones? Attacks around the world. A target drone washing up on a beach in Alabama. UAVs (Unmanned Aeriel Vehicles) staying aloft for hours, days, weeks surveilling whatever there is to surveill. An eye in the sky supporting troops, taking video that is eventually posted to YouTube as Drone Porn, showing grainy black and white imagery of destruction with bombs and Hellfire missiles. Machines flown from inside a no-window armored box that would look at home on the back of a semi-tractor trailer rig. Two people: pilot and sensor operator. And they usually have neat video-game names like Predator.
This was once science fiction, now it barely makes the news.
You’re likely aware that the U.S. has flown hundreds of drone strikes and killed thousands of people with these flying robots. Some refer to them as the future of warfare. (Someday it would be nice if warfare had no future. But I digress).
Think about what could be done with thousands of these. Or tens of thousands.
There is also much talk about how, when, and what for, it will be legal to fly drones over the U.S. A three-pound drone anyone can purchase on the Internet crashed on a sidewalk in Manhattan recently, while flying illegally, when the operator lost control after a three minute flight. Others have flown (with permission) through the New York public library.
Drones could be a big boon as a tool for law enforcement. There are even states bidding to be awarded federal funds to build special airports for them. For a nice twenty-minute video summary click here.
In theory a UAV can do whatever a manned aircraft does: fly freight, take pictures, move people. We have Google cars driving hundreds of thousands miles on our streets only an arm’s length from our coffee cup holder, why not Google planes?
But back to your garage. Yes, what would you do with a left over F-16, the mighty Fighting Falcon? Let’s say you wanted a badass drone that could go nose to nose with a fighter pilot for training. For years the military has been outfitting fighters as drones so they can be flown unmanned for air-to-air combat. And now they’re doing it with the mighty F-16.
Holy Halo Batman! Imagine what it could do…