The United States Army has a new tool in their arsenal. A UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) named the A-160 Hummingbird. The Hummingbird has no pilot and therefore no risk while using it. It was under development from Boeing since 2004 The A-160 joined Boeing’s line of UAVs in May 2004 with the acquisition of Frontier Systems Inc., at Irvine, Calif. So as you can see, the Army had their eyes on this project for a long time. This continues the US Armed Forces push for more technology.
The Hummingbird is designed to fly 2,500 nautical miles with endurance in excess of 24 hours and a payload of more than 300 pounds. The autonomously-flown A160 is 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter. It will fly at an estimated top speed of 140 knots at ceilings up to 30,000 feet, which is about 10,000 feet higher than conventional helicopters can fly today. Future missions for the A160 include reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, communications relay and precision re-supply. The UAV uses the ARGUS-IS system which recently passed tests after being used on the UH-60 Blackhawk.
The ARGUS-IS (Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) sensor is the most potent in the Army’s arsenal. Also originally from DARPA and now built by BAE systems, the ARGUS-IS collects six petabytes of video every day. That’s 79.8 years of HD video every 24 hours. The three principal components of the ARGUS-IS are a 1.8 Gigapixels video sensor plus two processing subsystems, one in the air and the other located on the ground to keep up with the massive amount of video coming in.
Check out the short video from Boeing below: