UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are getting a lot of press these days, but that doesn’t mean they’re a recent invention. For instance, this little bird on display at Wichita’s Kansas Aviation Museum goes back to the mid 1980s:
The BRAVE (Boeing Robotic Air Vehicle) 200 was a small tactical UAV, originally intended to be used against radar sites. This was a tidy little craft for its time — with a wing span of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet), powered by a two-cylinder two-stroke (much like a large lawn mower) engine, and launched with a rocket assist. The BRAVE 200 weighed 120 kg (265 lbs) at launch and had a cruise speed of 225 kph (140 mph).
14 prototypes of the BRAVE 200 flew between 1983 and 1984, but to no avail — the USAF program that developed it was cancelled late in 1984, and Boeing was unable to find any other customers that were interested in it.