Supersonic Combat Drones Are a Thing Now Thanks to Kelley Aerospace

This is the Arrow, the world's first supersonic combat drone 4 photos
Photo: Kelley Aerospace
The Arrow supersonic droneThe Arrow supersonic droneThe Arrow supersonic drone
Human beings are slowly but surely becoming redundant when it comes to controlling large machinery, and autonomous cars aren’t the only ones getting traction these days.
The world of unmanned aerial vehicles is also evolving fast. This week, the folks over at Kelley Aerospace have officially announced the Arrow, a UCAV concept they previously teased in December and that is now ready to be produced in Singapore.

Kelley says 100 pre-orders have already been received for what it describes as a combat aircraft, explaining that customers were interested in the Arrow’s capabilities to perform air-to-air and air-to-surface missions.

Indeed, the Arrow has been specifically developed to fit various scenarios and be ready for multiple types of operations. For example, it can either be controlled by someone from the ground or just take off autonomously. Furthermore, it can be part of a fleet of aircraft controlled by one manned airplane or just fly solo to conduct an operation from one end to another.

The Arrow is designed to complement manned aircraft and be a force multiplier in the aerial battlefield,” the company explains as per a recent report.

The aircraft uses a monocoque built from carbon fiber, so it’s rather lightweight, being able to fly more than 2,600nm with a maximum weight of 37,038 lbs (16,800 kg). It won’t cost more than $16 million, but the base version can eventually drop to $9 million.

Back in December, Kelley said it was looking to create no less than 250 new jobs specifically for the production of this new aircraft, explaining that its five-year goal is to get some 500 pilots ready to control its combat drones as part of a general aviation pilot academy.

No specifics have been provided on the customers who preordered the supersonic drones. According to the cited source, the company is already testing two more prototypes as we speak in the United States and Sweden.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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