The Call of Duty XP convention was a raucous good time. You could play paintball in a full-scale replica of the Scrapyard level, chow down on some grub at Burger Town, dress up in sumo outfits fashioned after Juggernauts, and, of course, play a hell of a lot of Modern Warfare 3.
But the part that set the geek in me aflame was the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Station. A representative from AV AeroVironment, providers of UAVs to the US Military, set up shop with multiple UAVs in tow. They're the unsung heroes in Call of Duty multiplayer. Normally they're the first reward you get for the minimum killstreak, and they give you the current locations of the opposite team.
The way one works, essentially: Toss it in the air (they're all hand-launched) and then navigate it with a Wii U-type controller. You control the camera as well, seeing the video feed on the controller itself, and it works day or night.
Just like the Wii U except your TV is real life.
There are various models, all differing in size and abilities. The biggest one isn't even that big. Called The Puma AE, it has a 9.2 ft wing span and can stay in the air for over two hours. The smallest is The Wasp III (not a UAV but an MAV – Micro Air Vehicle). Weighing in at just under a pound with a 2.375 ft wing span, birds probably try to mate with it. It can stay in the air for 45 minutes, has infrared imaging, and can fly autonomously at 1,000 ft.
Look at the little plane huddled under the wing of the bigger plane. Isn't technology that tracks your every move just adorable?
And I've been lying to you. The Wasp wasn't the smallest one there. The smallest ones were just prototypes, not in mass production. Yet. Fashioned in the shape of hummingbirds, these suckers could probably fit inside a hollowed-out softball.
Oh that's cute, you're a spy because you've got a microphone taped to your chest? Well check out my flying hummingbird camera.
And the best part? After poring over the UAVs at the UAS table for twenty minutes, the nice AV rep gave me my very own UAV! I'm gonna be finding me hidden terrorists in no time.
Does anyone know where the laser-guided missiles are installed?