Author Topic: The latest in UAV recon drones  (Read 2634 times)

Offline Kerick

  • Reportedly finished with a stripper...
The latest in UAV recon drones
« on: September 27, 2021, 11:48:58 AM »
With Turkey building its own copy of the Reaper recon UAV it was becoming very clear that the rest of the world was catching up in drone technology. Something had to be done and quickly to regain the edge in the world of eyes in the sky. The regular defense contractors proposed grand schemes costing billions of taxpayer dollars and years of development time. Dozens of start up companies vied for government attention proposing some ordinary plans including buying drones from Best Buy to restarting the production line for the WB-57F. One company caught the attention of the good folks at NSA with a plan that called for miniaturizing the whole concept. When then idea of mimicking other types of flyers was added suddenly substantial funds appeared overnight. While the miniaturization of the cameras and SIGLINT equipment was formidable the building of the actual flight hardware was deemed by many to be impossible. "It violates the laws of physics!" was the loud complaint of some Congresspeople. Well they were wrong (as usual) and the first prototype struggled into the air. While able to fly it needed better performance so a second prototype that was larger and more powerful emerged from the first. With the black boxes situation now up and running and the flight hardware ready to go the production version was settled upon.

At the risk of black helicopters swooping down upon me I bring you the Neotibicen linnei UAV. The name being overly complex in the hopes of confusing anyone intercepting information about it. Kind of like the way tank or snorkle was used during WW1.
Crews immediately called it Buggy McBugface.

As you can see the near 342 degree field of view of the primary visual range cameras. Also note the phased array antenna for gathering electronic data and the comm antenna beneath for real time transmission of data to ground stations.

Note the complex landing gear for landing at unimproved locations. A vital consideration considering the ruggedness of the tree bark in some parts of the world.

The remains of prototype #1 and the first production example which was tested to the point of destruction.

Alas, the story here has a sad ending. After a couple million bucks the first operational Neotibicen linnei was launched on a training mission. Instead of overflying the Kremlin it took off for the nearest woods apparently in hot pursuit of other Neotibicen linnei. It seemed the mimicry part was a little too good and airframe #2 was intent on making more Neotibicen linnei. A frantic search only found hundreds of thousands of the little buggers everywhere. Even with the recon equipment working perfectly only images of tree leaves and other Buggy McBugfaces could be seen until the hungry face of an approaching raccoon was seen. The unspeakable images of Buggy McBugface being chomped to pieces were recorded for posterity. As a side benefit to veterinarians in North America a complete colonoscopy of a raccoon was made available on The remains of Buggy McBugface were never found because by this point nobody wanted to go looking for it.

Here is my model of Buggy McBugface next to a figure I've been working on for some time now. I just can't seem to get the weathering right. Should I go with more mud to cover up defects (we all do it!) or more dust to high light the details? The cobweb was a real PITA.

I just have to mention how difficult masking the clear parts of the wings was. Painting the black and green upper surface camo was very much a PITA. Sources on the web were no help as no one could agree on the proper shade of green. Others kept producing pictures showing a soft demarcation line between the black and green while others insisted on a hard mask line. Someone suggested PRU blue for the underside but I felt that couldn't be right. So light ghost grey was used as that's what was in the jar. The delicate landing gear was barely able to hold up the fuselage after the addition of enough buckshot was installed to keep it from being a tailsitter.

I was going to model other versions of the miniaturize and mimic recon concept but the models kept running off.

I hope you enjoyed this little whiff journey and like Dizzy, I just hope no one publishes this as a real aircraft.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2021, 11:50:53 AM by Kerick »

Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: The latest in UAV recon drones
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2021, 12:01:08 PM »

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
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Re: The latest in UAV recon drones
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2021, 01:08:27 PM »
 ;D ;D 8) :smiley:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Frank3k

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Re: The latest in UAV recon drones
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2021, 11:38:28 PM »
I'd never seen (or heard) a Cicada in person, until we went on a trip to Iowa to visit the in-laws. I was puzzled by the loud buzzing sound in a couple of neighborhoods and wondered if they were having electrical transformer issues... nope, just giant bugs.

I'm glad you found a modelling use for one!

Offline apophenia

  • Perversely enjoys removing backgrounds.
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Re: The latest in UAV recon drones
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2021, 04:00:43 AM »
 ;D ;D

And I think you got that diagnostic black/green camo demarcation jut right  ;)
"It happens sometimes. People just explode. Natural causes." - Agent Rogersz

Offline Kerick

  • Reportedly finished with a stripper...
Re: The latest in UAV recon drones
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2021, 04:34:15 AM »
I used up a whole roll of Tamiya tape!

Offline Kerick

  • Reportedly finished with a stripper...
Re: The latest in UAV recon drones
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2021, 04:19:31 AM »
Here is the DARPA attempt Buggy McBugface MK2.
Here we see BMB MK2 trundling out towards the runway.

Preparing for takeoff....

A nose over onto the asphalt.....

BMB MK2 was righted and a second attempt was made despite slight airframe damage. Note the new and improved antenna array.

Same result as the first attempt....

After millions of public dollars wasted and nothing but something that looked like a bug with its a$$ in the air to show for it the entire program was quietly abandoned and never mentioned again. It was suspected that the data was leaked to the Chinese government resulting in the attack of the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer. No conclusive evidence was ever presented.