May 18, 2006:
A new UAV design, the Barracuda, recently had its first flight test. This UAV design is different in lots of ways. First, the manufacturer, Europe based EADS, built it on spec, using its own money. The Barracuda uses a jet engine, weighs three tons, is 25 feet long, with a wingspan of 22 feet and is built using lightweight carbon fiber. It has no hydraulics, using electric motors instead. Think of it as Global Hawk (a 13 ton UAV) Lite. European nations showed interest in Global Hawk, for maritime reconnaissance. But the price of a Global Hawk is now $83 million each, and it's range (able to cross the Pacific on its own) is more than European users need. Global Hawk is also having more teething problems than expected. So Barracuda appears a wise move, to position EADS to be able to grab most of the European market for a next generation Global Hawk type UAV.