Deadly Delivery: 12-pound guided bomb

Dec 13, 2011 43 Comments by

Sure, it may be close to the ugliest RC airplane you’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t built for looks … or to last! Designed by Raytheon, the Small Tactical Munition Phase II seen here is on one of its first flights carrying a payload. The 22-inch-long aircraft is designed to be dropped from manned and unmanned aircraft systems and precision guided to its target. The Phase II version has foldable fins and wings, so it can be launched from a tube. It looks so much like a conventional RC sport plane that I wouldn’t be surprised if its designers are RC pilots!

Debra Cleghorn, Editors Blogs, Featured News

About the author

Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

43 Responses to “Deadly Delivery: 12-pound guided bomb”

  1. David Longworth says:

    Personally, I believe that a possible military weapon should not be featured in a hobby magazine.
    This is playing right into the hands of terrorists. We in the RC hobby are there for enjoyment, NOT FOR DROPPING MUNITIONS ON UNSUSPECTING CIVILIANS.
    I deplore the use of this type of weaponry.

    • Gene King says:

      You have obviously never served in the military. Anything we can provide them to do the job and minimize the casualties to both our military AND civilians we must do! You lack understanding, compassion, and knowledge of the US military during times of war. The US has bent over backwards to minimize civilian casualties, often at the risk of incurring additional casualties to our own forces. In any war/conflict there are civilian casualties but but the US has done more to mitigate them than any other country!!! I would suggest you try to educate yourself before you post on a subject you know nothing about. Infantry Vietnam Vet.

    • Jim M says:

      David I agree.

  2. Don says:

    Wow! It look like the aircraft at my club field. Watch out, BAD GUYS!

  3. Robert Goldwin says:

    This website is MODEL AIRPLANE NEWS. This is NEWS, and not a political statement. Besides, I highly doubt that it targets “unsuspecting civilians” … more accurate to have bombs of this type targeting a weapons cache or other serious threat.

  4. Test Pilot says:

    We can’t cover the sun with our thumb and pretend it is not there. Drones (like full scale airplanes) are a reality, and being informed about them is interesting.

    MAN has been reporting about the development of full scale military aircraft for a long time. This has caused the editors some trouble in the past as well. The idea was never to encourage us to build a military aircraft to bomb your neighborhood, or to disclose classified info. This same info is in the news, on the internet, available to everybody. The idea is to inform about what’s new and inspire us (besides, building a scale version of that military aircraft is OK, as long as it is used for recreational purposes).

    Personally and specially given the latest news on attempts to use model airplanes as weapons, we should draw a line that separates drones from model airplanes, and stay on this side of the fence to avoid trouble for our hobby now and in the future. That’s why we have the AMA guidelines to go by, which are very specific. Let’s all be legal eagles!

    http://www.modelaircraft.org/documents.aspx

    What we should do as responsible modelers is to avoid encouraging the use of toys as weapons in our day to day activities at the field. We should stay alert. If we see any suspicious activity involving anything R/C anywhere, we should report it immediately to the proper authorities.

    It’s all about having fun! Let’s keep it that way.

    Happy Holidays!

  5. Gerry Yarrish says:

    Seriously, I don’t think that terrorists or wannabees are looking at our website for ideas. I think these kind of posts are interesting and shows how far the hobby has come. Remember if we change or ways “the terrorists win!”

  6. Graeme says:

    It upsets me every time I see aviation being used as a weapon of war. For centuries, people dreamed of flying, and now the only time people are interested or when a project gets funding, the focus is war.

    Even worse is the comparison between our models and UAV’s and drones. I abhore the notion that something I built for my personal enjoyment, something that I’ve put time and effort into, and something that I hope to inspire others with, has now become something designed to kill other human beings.

  7. Richard D. says:

    Graeme – I hate to say this but you live in a dream world. Wars have happened through the ages and will never go away. Technology has changed the the way we fight and drones are now the future. They have proven very effective in pin-pointing targets.

  8. chrisdev01 says:

    Let’s hope our government deploys this overseas and never here in violation of Possee Comitatus.

  9. Dave says:

    I think there is a miss-identification here. The bomb in question is not the aircraft in that picture. The aircraft is the Raytheon Cobra Unmaned Aircraft System, it’s payload is the bomb. The bomb is a gravity 22 inch bomb, and the aircraft in that picture is clearly powered, not gravity, and in other pictures the aircraft can be seen to be much longer than 22 inches. Such as here: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/mini-missile-drone-war/raytheon-company-small-tactical-munition-phase-ii/

    And I have no problem with MAN covering the obvious and increasing military and terrorist applications and implications of our hobby. Better to be informed than live in ignorance.

  10. David Longworth says:

    Let’s leave news articles such as this with the news media. Negative (WAR) articles do not belong in an enjoyable magazine such as M.A.N.

  11. Dan Arnold says:

    Does the entire aircraft weigh twelve pounds or just the bomb slung below the center line? Is the aircraft really only 22 inches long? It looks like the starboard wing tip just got included in the photo so I’m guessing that the wing span is in the 36 to 48 inch range, sort of high wing loading for twelve pounds of over all weight. Why does it need a landing gear is it is to be air launched? If they intend to recover it they could belly land it like a model plane. I’m beginning to think that the drone pictured is different from the drone described.

  12. john Harding says:

    Not to be pedantic but the Small Tactical Munition is the orange 61cm device slung below the indifferent airframe. Since Predator/Reapers have been delivering Hellfire missiles for several years it is hardly the time to become upset with UCAV/UAS deployment. The “news” would be that Raytheon has been able to minituarise further the control systems on the guided munition itself, and the improved effectiveness of the warhead.

  13. pdawg says:

    I don’t have a problem with the reporting of novel UAV aircraft. In this case however there is nothing unique about this model except for the fact that it drops a payload that as the title points out…could be deadly. I am not impressed with the model or the decision to report on it!

  14. Scott says:

    While there’s definitely a niche for weapons such as this in our Military arsenal, I do believe that topics like this need to be portrayed carefully within our modeling community including magazines. Characterizing a story like this as an “RC airplane” while technically correct lends a connotation to the “RC” hobby that is viewed negatively these days – I believe it would be best to CLEARLY separate UAV’s and weapons of the like from our RC hobbies with the use of more carefully selected wording!

  15. Steve Camp says:

    This should NOT be in one of our Radio Control magazines…..EVER!!!!!

  16. MIKE says:

    Hey steve If they didnt put it in I would never have seen it I for 1 want to know what they are doing with the hobby I love. Just like gun laws when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Do you want to live your life blind to what they are doing. THANK YOU TO THE EDITOR..It is out there either way at leaste we can live informed. and also know what to watch out for at the feilds….

  17. member25918 says:

    Gee of all the whiners!!! I wonder how many warbird models they have and flown there all replicas of wars!!! Give me a break!! It R/C and it’s true thats all the article is saying.

  18. Al says:

    I don’t like articles like this. They disturb me! I am an ostrich. I want to believe that our hobby can be kept absolutely use-free. I still use my Kraft Bang-bang tube set (27 MHz). Who needs that capitalist 2.4 GHz (That is actually much safer) when…
    If you have read this far, open the window that the lies may fly out.

    • Debra Cleghorn says:

      Thank you, thank you, Al for the much-needed Friday afternoon laugh attack! I can’t get past “ostrich” without cracking up. You made my day!

  19. PropsnWings says:

    I personally see nothing wrong with this article. If we ignore the fact that our hobby has led to these kinds of uses, then we are no better than the terrorists themselves. I think we should be proud to be in a hobby that has lent itself to coming up with more advanced ways of not using actual human beings when that awful time of war does present itself. Regardless if its posted here or on the internet, the terrorists will find it. I would rather know than not know about these things.

  20. chris martin says:

    Nice article…as a proud American, I need to be informed…I also agree with all the other opinions I have just read…I thought of this idea years ago when I got onto the hobby…think of all the Rambo, Lethal Weapon, James Bond, and all the other ‘bad guy’ movies, that give us ideas as how to kill the enemy…it is comming , it is here, be a man, be a woman…raise your children right as God has directed you to do…and keep authorities informed when you see wrong things happening…

  21. Pete P. says:

    I am retired military and am very interested in these developments. I helped with the old Aquila artillery spotter drone, if any of you remember that.

    It appears the “Munition” is the orange cylindrical device suspended below the aircraft. Looks kind of like a 40mm grenade ( as per M203 or MK19) for the warhead.

    The real interesting stuff would be the guidance system and flight controls. Neat.

    • Debra Cleghorn says:

      Yes, but if we published THAT information then we’d really be in trouble! :-) I was amazed by how much this UAS looked like an everyday flying field aircraft.

  22. Joseph A. Santa Cruz says:

    I read the article and saw the pic, not the most entertaining topic. We just had a terrorist make an attempt with R/C model jets. I loke my hobby for the pleasure it give, not by the negative ideas some idiot may have trying to kill others.

  23. Airdale says:

    Although it is interesting to see what is new for UAVs, we should stick to model airplanes. I think the AMA would appreciate that as well.

  24. Dave says:

    I find the UAV content very interesting and hope that MAN covers more of it.

  25. Bill rendall says:

    Interesting article but i agree with some that perhaps a model mag is not the right venue although its far more preferrable than say a newspaper running the article.

    My reason is not war or terrorism related directly. its aboutperceptions.

    I once experienced the effects of an article about a wild duck with an arrow thru its neck and the ensueing furor almost nocked out Bow hunting and archery.

    This article can fuel the lets ban all fun hibbuies lobby.

    wow me being a fraidy cat, thats odd, guess Im just tired of people trying to spoil others fun :}

  26. Lenny says:

    M. A. N. is not the place for this. i love my hobby and do not like it being compared to war mongering hardware. I have a corsair and it is a model. Fraction of the size of the real one. If this continues I will cancel my subscription.

  27. Kelly McEwan says:

    I think we should all enjoy our hobby now, while we can.

    As technoligy advances, ie. FPV flying, GPS tracking, etc., there are always going to be those who figure out how to use it for illegal or deadly purposes. Eventually, all though I’m hoping for later rather than sooner, the FAA will be banning RC aircraft from the general public for ‘National Security reasons’.

    Using an RC magazine to feature these weapons is just going to give the impression that this is what RC pilots are interested in doing, and will provide ammunition to the arguement that only the military can be trusted with ‘remotely piloted aircraft’.

  28. allen weast says:

    who knows who spies on us

  29. allen weast says:

    dont show anyone any thing they can hold againest us

  30. Bob Friday says:

    Bob F

    Old Air Trails from the past had news of this type. I enjoyed it then and enjoy it now.

    The bad guys already know about it.

  31. dszlez says:

    dszlez

    We are already walking the fenceline with Washington on the future of our hobby. Information like this does not need to be associated with the fun and pleasure we experience from personal flight times. It’s development is crutial to saving lives of our military but since we have the restrictive eyes of GOVERNMENT upon us, subjects as this should remain in the shadows. Just my two flight cents.

  32. Mijsenrab says:

    Whether we like it or not the cat is out of the bag for better or worse, We first heard of a terrorist planning to use RC aircraft as an offensive weapon several months ago. Better to be aware and alert to the possibility than to be surprised when someone actually uses one. As a newbie to the hobby I can say that it takes time and practice to learn to fly with enough skill to make this a viable weapon. That means that there is some interval of time to observe and report a potential misuse of the hobby.

  33. Smokey says:

    An ordinary larger size R/C of many kinds can deliever a varity of weapons.

  34. Ken Knittel says:

    terrorists are not going to use the information in this article to further their cause! They have been using cars, shoes, backpacks, etc., do you people think they watched the news to get those ideas? Get real! They don’t need the information in this article to get ideas. I enjoy any article related to aircraft of any type. Let it go and just enjoy the hobby!

  35. Steve Leary says:

    I am amazed at how much emotion this ugly little airplane has generated. Do you think it’s just because of how it looks?? If yes, do you live in OZ? The fact is that both the Germans and Allies built radio-controlled aircraft/bombs in WWII. In fact, it is probably a fair guess that military use of radio-controlled aircraft predates hobby use. Which points up the difference between making WEAPONS and making TOYS. Weapons are made for war. Toys are made for fun. Hobbies are things people do for fun. No one who has ever been in combat talks about how much fun they had. I am clear on the differences. This weapon may look like a toy, but it is not, it’s a weapon. That’s interesting but it’s not a moral issue any more than is a model airplane that looks like a warbird. It is an aircraft and therefore I am interested in it.

  36. Ronald O'Brien says:

    I come from the O’Brien family whose grand fathers had no other occupation but to fight.
    My Dad was a hurricane pilot based out of Dover His call sign was “Wild Willy” 64 bomber escort missions and countless dogfights including being shot down on the other side and being captured.

    His real passion was flying remote control airplanes during the war and these ones were real four engine Halifax bombers.

    We live our life, work hard at work but when we fly our R/C models its a different love affair. Only love and 2.4 frequency between these beauties we fly.
    We should never confuse our hobby with work.
    I left the army as a Major in ’91 (Para commando) anti terrorist unit and had a R/C support team equipped with small electric airplanes with T.I. cameras that gave us a heads up that saved many life’s in the bargain.

    Bottom Line I support any drone tech that saves a life of my Mate and I lost 22 God Bless those brave souls

  37. Greg McCullough says:

    War Planes and Modeling. The Yin and Yan of each other. Models brought forth full scale airplanes that fought wars, and were then modeled. As modelers, we love anything that flies, you can admit it. I thought it was a very interesting article. We must remember that models do not kill people, just as guns don’t kill people. It is people that kill people, whether they use a gun, airplane, icepick or axe. Now the trick is to identify those people with that tendency and isolate them that they can’t hurt anyone. But leave our model airplanes alone!

  38. d.o. darnell says:

    Perhaps we could get the model rocket guys to build some mini Patriot missiles to take these out!

    Seriously…

    Drones used for attacking targets are not model aircraft but rather weapons, and as such do not belong in modeling magazines, freedom of speech and all, notwithstanding. (i.e. It’s not the point) Try Popular Science or Popular Mechanics.

    Drones used for recon are not model aircraft and as such do not belong in modeling magazines.

    Any tool that can save a life of course is a wonderful thing IF you are on the launching end. Not, however is your on the other.

    People who condone the development and use of otherwise recreational devices for “bad” purposes SUCK, period.

    I an NOT anti-military, nor anti-tech. I emphasize with those who have lost buddies, friends, and relatives, but those sentiments are hardly material for hobby magazines… which is the point.

    Just my opinion…

  39. Anonymous says:

    There should be a limit on model plane size. Say 80″ wing span maximum. If you cant have fun with that size then you’re in the wrong hobby. This will stop all but the most inventive from using it as a weapon. I see models in the US have now reached 60% of the full size. Some are more than capable of carrying a decent size load. Only when the inevitable happens will the authorities take action.

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