Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fear the Zippy Zapping Robo-Chopper

Fear the Zippy Zapping Robo-Chopper: "

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s a fast-flying stun-gunning robocopter?

You better believe it. The Shadowhawk is the latest development in automated grenade flinging – a remote controlled toy-sized helicopter that can record footage as easily as it can shoot a stun baton. You might spot the mini-drone zipping over the coast of East Africa looking out for pirates, or back at home helping the police hunt down criminals.

Vanguard Defense, who spent three years developing this buzzing robot, sure packed a lot into the copter’s seven-foot, 50-lb frame. The Shadowhawk comes in five different varieties and can be outfitted with a turbine or piston engine, CCD TV optics, infrared and thermal cameras, laser pointers, illuminators and range finders. Law enforcement has the option of adding 37 mm or 40mm grenade launchers, or if they feel adventurous, a 12 gauge shotgun. And who knows what other features come with the specialty military version of the chopper.

The Shadowhawk would be able to patrol the land or the sea for up to 2.5 hours at a time at speeds of up to 70 mph. You might think a gust of wind would knock the mini-copter out of the air, but it’s capable of withstanding gusts of up to 50mph. Through out it all, the camera keeps rolling.

Vanguard has already been awarded a multi-million dollar deal to use the robo-copters for anti-piracy missions in Africa, but its hopes for the little tasering robot soar much higher. It envisions the Shadowhawk helping out in everything from tactical night ops to arms trafficking surveillance, from oil rig inspections to perimeter security. Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of Montgomery County Texas says he can’t wait to use it for SWAT callouts and narcotics raids.

So pirates and crooks, beware. This little bot may not look like much – but when you’ve been knocked to the ground and lost all motor skills, you’ll remember the Shadowhawk.


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