Photo: Valkyrie Virtual Mast System model Kelsey D. Atherton
ThinkDefence reports L3 is resurrecting an old idea to extend the horizon distance for surface vessels. Their “virtual mast” puts sensors at high altitude without the need for a helicopter or UAV. Popular Science has a bit more detail, reporting that the proposed system could fly as high 5,000 feet. Sensors at that altitude would have a radar and visual horizon of 76 nautical miles.
Not sure how they would warn off air traffic that might otherwise hit the cable or the autogyro.
Historical Note: During WWII German U-boats used a similar unpowered tethered autogyro to take a lookout aloft, but their altitude was much more limited.
A CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 8th Special Operations Squadron flies over the Emerald Coast outside Hurlburt Field, Fla., on Jan. 31, 2009. While over the water, the crew practiced using a hoist, which is used to rescue stranded personnel. DOD photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter, U.S. Air Force. (Released)
DefenseNews reports members of Congress are questioning an Air Force proposal to use the V-22 Osprey tiltrotar in addition to the HH-60 for Combat Search and Rescue.
Opponents site the very strong downwash from the aircraft and higher cost.
Proponents site the V-22s higher speed and range.
It appears politics may also be at work here, surprise, surprise.