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Ideas, some good and some peculiar, to provide aerial help in the world of intelligence operations; from advanced devices such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), to rocket packs, inflatable aircraft and other interesting ways for "infiltration and exfiltration" of personnel. They appear here if they claimed controlled flight, and had the ability to perform some intelligence role en route.


SPY DROP:

HAFNER ROTACHUTE - A 1940 design to test the concept of using an autogyro rotor to airdrop personnel into enemy territory with more accuracy than was provided by a parachute.


JUNKERS Ju.87D PERSONNEL POD - The idea of delivering agents clandestinely by aircraft was not original. The Ju.87 with parachutable passenger wing pods was possibly the ultimate expression of the concept during WW2.


ONR-CIA PNEUMATIC AIRCRAFT - A 1950s American concept to provide air transport for 'special personnel', packable to roughly armchair size and able to be inflated when required. And please do bring it back unpunctured, 007...


PERSONAL ROCKET PACKS:

BELL ROCKET BELTS - The concept of personal rocket packs became workable with Bell's "Rocket Belt" - in fact more of a backpack - as well as in another design for a jet backpack.


SOLOTREK XFV - A personal flight pack of longer endurance than the 1960s rocket packs uses small, shrouded rotors.


WW2 GERMAN ROCKET PACKS - Although hinted at, the WW2 German military's supposed development of personal rocket packs for troops seems to have been overlooked by history.


UN-MANNED RECON DRONES:

WESTLAND RECON DRONE - Produced by British helicopter manufacturer Westland, this very small remotely controlled drone was able to carry a variety of surveillance loads.


TIER II PREDATOR UAV - The Predator fits into a heirarchy of UAVs being developed by DARPA in the United States, as a medium-altitude endurance reconnaissance UAV which had already seen deployment.


L.M.B. DARK STAR UAV - Officially known as 'Tier-III-minus Low Observable UAV', the Dark Star was developed in the 1990s and is of a type which will replace manned spyplanes. It is a suitable team partner to the high-endurance Global Hawk UAV.


GLOBAL HAWK UAV - The Teledyne Ryan Global Hawk is a high-altitude endurance reconnaissance drone, developed by the United States to supplement the lower altitude Predator and high-altitude stealthy Dark Star recon UAVs.


SIKORSKY CYPHER - The Cypher was developed to meet a close-range UAV requirement by the USA. Sikorsky believe the type is also capable of non-defence roles.


CANADAIR CL-227 SENTINEL - Development by Bombardier's Canadair Defence Systems Division of an early version of the Sentinel UAV began in 1978. It has developed through the CL-227 and CL-289 in the 1990s as a camera and sensor-carrying field reconnaissance drone.

 


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