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U.S. Navy to Use Helicopter UAVs to Combat Pirates

According to the Office of Naval Research, helicopter UAVs already in use in the maritime war on drugs are to receive upgrades this summer, enabling them to be used in the fight against modern-day pirates. The U.S. Navy will upgrade its robotic Fire Scouts with Multi-Mode sensors that can automatically recognize small pirate boats spotted through 3D laser imaging. Advanced software will allow small boats to be compared to existing schematics in the Navy’s database.

“Sailors who control robotic systems can become overloaded with data, often sifting through hours of streaming video searching for a single ship,” Ken Heeke, program officer in the Office of Naval Research’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department told Military News. “The automatic target recognition software gives Fire Scout the ability to distinguish target boats in congested coastal waters using LADAR, and it sends that information to human operators, who can then analyze those vessels in a 3-D picture.”
source: Rotornews April 6, 2012