Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1.8 GigaPixel Camera

(EnGadget) Starting in July of 2012, the United States Army will deploy three Boeing A160 Hummingbird drones to Afghanistan as part of a one-year trial program. Unlike the Predator drones already in combat, the A160 is a rotor-based aircraft capable of vertical take-offs and landings.

What's more, the craft will be affixed with the DARPA-developed ARGUS-IS imaging system -- which boasts a 1.8 gigapixel camera the Army says can "track people and vehicles from altitudes above 20,000 feet."

The A160 Hummingbird platform will provide the Army with the ability and flexibility to: take off and land without a runway; fly for twelve hours or more without refueling; and monitor up to 65 enemies of the State simultaneously. Test flights of the unmanned chopper are scheduled for early 2012 in Arizona, but residents hoping to get a glimpse of the A160 in action best have great eyesight -- the ARGUS-IS system can see targets from almost 25 miles down range.