This is a pretty general question, and I have little to no prior experience with DIY drone aircraft. That said, I have a pretty ambitious interest/dream to design a functional prototype of a UCAV - that is, an autonomous drone with the capability to match human pilots in air to air combat. What I do have is time and resources (well, sort of). I am a freshman in college, so I figure I have at least 4 years to pursue this endeavor. I attend a pretty well known school with lots of academic and financial resources, which would also be helpful.
First: How much progress has already been achieved by the big aerospace firms on this project? I haven't been able to find a ton of info, but it seems that many projects along these lines were terminated (i.e. the Boeing X-45). Why were these cancelled? Are there similar projects that are still moving forward?
Second: Is it even worth trying to look into this? It would be an extraordinarily complex undertaking, integrating aerospace design, onboard computer systems, etc which would be highly expensive. How feasible is the idea of making an autonomous UCAV prototype?
You guys are the experts. Is this project too ambitious? If not, how should I start to give myself a firm foundation in DIY drones? Thanks.
This community does not discuss or permit military topics.
Read these two links immediately.
My apologies, did not read the site policies too closely before posting. You might want to get rid of the Reaper as the main site logo then, kind of misleading in my opinion.
It is not a reaper. It is a NASA research drone.
EDIT: I think this is the correct drone - http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/aircraft/Ikhana/index.html
It's good to have big goals. There are other places that discuss the military aspects of things.
This site is about open source hardware and software that will do amazing things with a relatively low barrier to entry.
If you have no RC aircraft experience at all, and are working on an undergrad degree, something more like high-accuracy aerial mapping may be a more realistic goal. Pick something the leading edge guys here are already doing, and make it better.
ie: you won't be able to get where you want to be if you can't do a mapping exercise with a UAV
Not to associate too much but the similarity seems to be similar to a PSP wanting to dial in a drone?
Maybe a Ipod could do more?
And I would bet Boeing and Lockheed have 100 man teams of engineers working on that already..