NPR : News

Navy Launches Its First Drone Squadron

The U.S. Navy is inaugurating its first squadron that mixes advanced unmanned drones with conventional aircraft.

The maritime strike squadron, nicknamed the "Magicians," will be officially launched at the Naval Air Station North Island on Coronado, near San Diego.

Along with eight manned helicopters, the squadron will include a number of unmanned helicopter drones, known as MQ-8B Fire Scouts, that can track targets at sea or on land. The Air Force already has several drone squadrons.

The Fire Scout, built by Northrop Grumman, "has the ability to autonomously take off and land on any aviation-capable warship and at prepared and unprepared landing zones in proximity to the soldier in contact," according to company literature.

Northrop Grumman says the unmanned aerial vehicle can operate continuously for up to eight hours while providing coverage in a 125-mile radius of the launch site.

The Associated Press quotes U.S. Navy Lt. Aaron Kakiel as saying the squadron will be deployed aboard the Navy's new littoral combat ship in about a year.

The squadron's creation comes 100 years after the formation of the first Navy air detachment, Kakiel says.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

To Play Sports Under Taliban Rule, 'Different Kind Of Daughter' Dressed As A Boy

Growing up in the tribal region of Pakistan, Maria Toorpakai pretended she was a boy in order to compete as a weightlifter. Later she became an internationally known squash player.
NPR

How A Cheese Factory Is Transforming The Landscape Of Northern Colorado

Leprino's is the largest mozzarella manufacturer in the world. Now that the company is expanding, Colorado dairy farmers are beefing up their operations. The changes don't come without costs.
NPR

Bernie Sanders Says He's Staying In, And It's 'Good For The Democratic Party'

The Vermont senator tells NPR he will stay in until June, despite the likelihood of Hillary Clinton being the Democratic nominee.
NPR

After A Long Day At The Computer Do You Have A Medical Problem?

You're not alone if you feel a sting in your eyes and have blurry vision and neck pain after sitting in front of your computer for hours. But is there a name for your ailment?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.