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Sea Shepherd's Aerial Drone Revealed

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The current article you are reading does not reflect the views of the current editors and contributors of the new Ecorazzi

Some additional information about the drones used by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has come to light. The sUAS (Small Unmanned Aviation Systems) were deployed last week and successfully discovered the Japanese whaling fleet more than 1,000 miles north of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The technology, not unlike the larger military drones used by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, is considered a major advantage for the conservation org; which in the past has relied upon a mix of guesswork, experience, and outside assistance to locate the whalers.

According to sources (h/t Planet Ocean Alliance), at least one Sea Shepherd drone (commercially called “The Osprey”) was created by the Wichita, Kansas-based UAV company “Hangar 18“.

“The Osprey was designed as an endurance UAS that’s capable flying for over an hour carrying custom payloads,” reports the site SUASNews. “It’s stable design makes it easy to fly and is actually capable of climbing in thermal lift with the motor turned off. The Osprey also flies well in higher wind conditions and has a very wide speed range.”

While the website lists the Osprey as having a flight time just over one hour, the Sea Shepherd press release says they acquired a “long-range drone” from Moran Shipping Agencies that likely is customized to go even further.

Either way, this “eye-in-the-sky” offers a new, high-tech advantage for an anti-whaling campaign that relies heavily on tracking and impediment. Japan may be insistent on continuing to waste millions of dollars on bloodying the seas for a dying industry, but time has a way of creating fools of those stuck in the past. 21st century technology is not an ally of the Japanese whaling fleet.

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  • JimEitz

    Won’t be long till they have a private satellite.

  • romika3

    Folks, it is a radio controlled airplane and nothing else. Available at your local RC shop. All the rubbish about a 1000 mile range is just rubbish….

  • romika3

    Just to post the truth here. Watson has a Jackaroo UAS with a ran of 25 km range in any direction. Basically toy and not a drone. Again as Watson outlines in his book “Earthforce” it is acceptable to lie and distort the truth. This unit is meant to attack more youth to their TV show. A show that runs off the backs of fishermen ….

  • Jprouty

    Stock configuration for the Osprey gives it ~1 hour of flying time but flight times can be significantly lengthened by using different battery packs and motors.

  • Turnip

    “Folks, it is a radio controlled airplane and nothing else. Available at your local RC shop. All the rubbish about a 1000 mile range is just rubbish..”
    No one said it had a 1000 mile range, the 1000 mile figure is referring to how far away the Whalers were found from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Read.

  • Given a 1 hour flying time and a cruise speed of around 100 mph (best case scenario, that would match the Predator drone), so its range is about 100 miles. If it takes advantage of thermal lift, then the range can probably be extended to 200 miles. However, I doubt they can use it effectively beyond 20-30 miles, since its goal is probably to fly in a search pattern (which greatly reduces range). P.S. I’m not commenting on the 1000 mile thing, that has nothing to do with the UAV… it’s simply where they found the Japanese whaling fleet.

  • J

    Just read all your comments. Does it really matter if itsv drone or a toy plane. There making Difference they spend about 16-20 weeks stopping the whales from killing over 1000 whales. Let them se eat ever they like as long as it helps

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