- A MINIATURE robot aircraft survived a 2,000 kilometre trans-Atlantic
test flight guided only by remote control to a missile range on a remote
- The US-Navy funded UAV (unmanned aerial
vehicle) landed safely at the British Army's testing range on the island
of Benbecula following a record-breaking flight.
- Three other tiny drones - just ten foot
long with a ten foot wingspan - crashed and disappeared over the choppy
north Atlantic seas during the secret operation last November,
- And the strange-looking aircraft - called
the Aerosonde - triggered a string of UFO sightings to the Scottish Coastguard
stations as it was guided in to land at the remote military base in the
- A British Army spokesman said: "It's
a very small robot aircraft and its amazing that it managed to fly that
distance and land safely." The UAV used a satellite guidance system
to navigate and was programmed to avoid the worst of the North Atlantic
- Once it came within range of Benbecula
it circled until a US pilot on the ground was able to guide it slowly in
to land at the missile testing range.
- A spokesman for Stornoway Coastguard
on the Isle of Lewis said: "All the coastguard stations in this area
were warned by the Army to keep a look out for these drones coming in from
the North Atlantic, especially in case they triggered UFO sightings.
- "There were a number of people ringing
in reporting having seen UFOs at the time, one of them even said it had
flown over Stornoway."
- Defence chiefs are now hailing the UAV
as the strategic weapon of the future after the successful test flight
of the Aerosonde, which is designed for "long range environmental
- Already the Royal Australian Air Force
has invested 30 million dollars into the development of a long-range UAV
called Global Hawk to carry out surveillance of neighbouring countries
in southeast Asia.
- The Global Hawk, developed by Teledyne
Ryan, is capable of 20 hour endurance flights of more than 5,000 km before
having to return to base.
- And British Army experience who are developing
their own sophisticated unmanned aircraft say the remotely piloted drones
could be widely used on future battlefields.
- UAVs are known to have played a large
role in the recent NATO campaign in Kosovo and Serbia. Major Roy Denton
of the British Army Hebrides said: "We are involved in the development
and testing of a number of unmanned aerial vehicles. "It's cheaper
and safer than putting a serviceman into a dangerous battlefield."