In November last year, I saw an advert in which the British Army appeared to use an Xbox controller to fly a miniature UAV. A few people commented on my blog on whether they thought this was real or not, so I decided to find out for certain by sending a Freedom of Information Act request to the Army.
Today I received a reply from the Army Recruiting and Training Division. You can see my original post for the full response, but in summary it confirmed the following points:
- The UAV shown in the advert is a Desert Hawk 3, which is currently deployed in Iraq
- The plane uses an XBOX-like controller, but it is not exactly the same. Specifically, it does not have any Microsoft branding nor a wired headset port.
- The advert was specifically designed to show people that (gaming?) skills developed prior to joining the Army can come in useful during current operations.
I’m actually pretty satisfied with their response. To be honest, after receiving a somewhat negative answer from the press office when I first enquired I was expecting more of a fight before they gave anything away.
Desert Hawk 3 Facts
Length: 36 in./91 cm. Wingspan: 54 in./137 cm. Wing area: 504 sq. in./1283 cm. Empty weight: 6.5 lbs./3 kg. Payload growth: Up to 2.0 lbs./ 1 kg. or 288 cu. in./ 732 cu. m. Endurance: 90+ min. Portability: Backpack or small suitcase Operational range: Up to 15 km./9.3 mi. depending onfrequency and configuration