Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that carry weapons are not just meant for the baddies in the war zone – they will soon see action in local airspace, although the form of the UAV would be very different from the models that you see in the theater of war. We’re talking about the ShadowHawk helicopters that pack personal stun guns, 12-gauge shotguns and even grenade launchers. Measuring a good 7′ in length, this 50 lbs helicopter hails from Texas-based Vanguard Defense Industries.
It is said to have undergone three years of development in order to be the effective weapon that it is today. I suppose news of this might just scare baddies to remain indoors, or find more creative ways to conduct their nefarious operations under the watchful eye of the people who preserve the security and well-being of our nation.
Texas was recently awarded a grant by the Department of Homeland Security for a squadron of ShadowHawks, and we don’t know which of the four ShadowHawk flavors will Texas receive. It depends on the situation, where one can opt for turbine or piston engines, while guidance systems comprise of laser pointers, range finders, illuminators, CCD TV optics and a FLIR infrared camera. You can fully automate the take off, flying and landing processes, or choose to have a pilot assist it in a semi-autonomous manner.
Weapons of choice include an XREP taser, 37mm or 40mm grenade launchers or the options between a single shot or multiple shot 12 gauge shotgun. The ShadowHawk has a working range of 35 miles while spending a maximum of 3.5 hours in the air, hitting a top speed of 70mph in its hunt for perpetrators. The XREP taser will remain on the ShadowHawk’s nose, featuring a quartet of barbed electrodes that can be shot to a distance of 100 feet. I wonder whether the ShadowHawk is bulletproof or not, as some trigger happy baddy might just let loose a hail of bullets before being taken down by it.