US Battle Kites Soar Over Afghanistan
A commercial Skyhook Helikite flown in 2005.
CREDIT: Allsop Helikite
U.S. military drones and blimps could soon face new competition in the skies over battlefields — so-called battle kites capable of keeping watch for U.S. troops at the cost of just $50,000 per kite.
Early "Helikite" tests have begun lifting heavy surveillance and communication equipment above isolated U.S. bases in Afghanistan which cannot support larger blimps, according to Stars and Stripes. Such battle kites can even set up mobile phone networks for soldiers carrying smartphones on the battlefield.Battle kites that combine a kite's aerodynamics and a blimp's lifting power could keep an eye on battlefields for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The battle kite design, resembling a kit strapped beneath a helium balloon, has also proven it can carry up to five times more heavy equipment in high winds compared to typical blimps. The U.S. military expects it to join both blimps and more common robotic drones to help create a permanent "eye in the sky" for U.S. troops. [INFOGRAPHIC: Rise of the Drones]
Source: Stars and Stripes