Top 10 Unmanned Military Vehicles

Interesting Engineering

Air Force officials are seeking volunteers for future training classes to produce operators of the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt)[Image Source: Wikimedia]

1. MQ-9 Reaper / Predator B. 

The plane was developed by  General Atomics Aeronautical Systems to satisfy what the American Airforces and Navy need. They already participated in several missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. Every reaper can carry up to 14 Hellfire air to ground missiles, or 4 Hellfire missiles and 2 x 230 kg laser-guided bombs.

2. Predator C "Avenger".

It is more advanced version of Predator B. It has improved electronics, some stealth solutions such as internal weapon storage and S-shaped exhaust for reducing thermal signature. It can carry the same types of armament as Predator B, but more of it. It is still in development phase and hasn't participated in military missions.

3. Boeing X-45.

This Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) is a development of  Phantom Works (subdivision of Boeing) and manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, built in 13 years ago (2000). It is armed with 2 weapon bays (with 4 weapons in each) and is able to wear small bombs.

4. Northrop Grumman X-47B Pegasus.

Following the Boeing's X-45, Pegasus flew in 2011 for the first time. The vehicle has two weapon bays allowing bomb armament with 2 000 kg weight.

5. Black Knight.

"Surprisingly", this isn't an American project. The tank was developed by BAE Systems, and carries no soldiers or inside, but it houses many system that allowing him to make an obstacle-avoiding route autonomously and giving some autonomous functions to the turret. Armed with 30mm cannon and a machine gun, this is probably the light tank of the future.

6. MQ-8 Fire Scout.

In general, this is a remotely controlled helicopter created with the purpose to be a scout (obviously...).   However, it has a payload of 272 kg and is able to perform small supplying missions or even carry weapons. A development of Northrop Grumman.

7. Protector.

This name undoubtedly belongs to a defence system. In fact, this is a 9-meter-long stealthy and fast boat, armed with a Mini-Typhoon system that can be modified by attaching a .50 caliber machine gun, a 40 mm grenade launcher or a 7.62 machine gun.


This is a mobile hand-weapons platform that can travel through different terrains: mud, sand, snow, water, and even climb stairs. It can be armed with several different weapons, including M16 rifle, 5.56 mm SAW M249, 7.62 mm M240 machine gun, .50 cal M82 Barrett rifle, a six barreled 40 mm grenade launcher or quad 66 mm M202A1 FLASH incendiary weapon.

9. Carnegie Melon's Crusher.

The robot has a hybrid propulsion system, as the batteries allow it to run over a distance of several miles. Then a diesel engine is activated to recharge the batteries and to power the vehicle. The Crusher can carry up to 3600kg of cargo and has many cameras and detector devices.

10. MDARS - Mobile Detection Assessment and Response System.

As it's name shows, it was designed to be autonomous, unmanned patrol where needed. For that purpose it is equipped with real-time obstacle-avoidance systems, 360-degree sensors and many detector devices.