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ABCNEWS VideoSource
US Attack Drone - New unmanned X45 fighter aircraft is unveiled
TAPE: EF02/0590 IN_TIME: 03:38:29 DURATION: 2:14 SOURCES: APTN/US Air Force RESTRICTIONS: DATELINE: Edwards Air Force Base - July 11, 2002 SHOTLIST: APTN 11 July 2002, Edwards Air Force Base, California 1. Mid shot of X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle test aircraft. 2. Close head-on shot of X-45. 3. Close side shot of X-45 4. Mid overhead shot of X-45. 5. Mid interior shot of operators monitoring X-45 flight simulation. 6. Close shot of man manipulating computer mouse. 7. Close shot of computer monitor with display of simulated X-45 flight path. US Air Force video 22 May 2002, Edwards Air Force Base, California. 8. Wide shot of X-45 first flight test. APTN 11 July 2002, Edwards Air Force Base, California 9. Close shot of X-45 controller. US Air Force video 22 May 2002, Edwards Air Force Base, California 10. Wide shot of X-45 in flight with chase plane nearby. 11. Mid shot of X-45 in flight. APTN 11 July 2002, Edwards Air Force Base, California 12. Close shot of X-45 display during press briefing. 13. Mid shot of Colonel Michael Leahy giving press briefing. 14. Close shot of display showing X-45 in flight. 15. SOUNDBITE: (English) Colonel Michael Leahy, X-45 programme director, U.S. Air Force. "And one of the key features from that is that we have the warfighters involved from the beginning. Some of the folks you saw back over here are from Global Hawks. Some of our operators in that trailer over there actually deployed the Global Hawk to Afghanistan. So we've been trying to embed those lessons and get those people, we've got Predator operators and others coming in and trying to make sure that we don't miss something that they learned out there." 16. Close shot of X-45 operator looking at display of simulated flight." 17. Close shot of monitor. US Air Force video 22 May 2002, Edwards Air Force Base, California 18. Mid shot of X-45 in flight. 11 July 2002, Edwards Air Force Base, California, APTN. 19. SOUNDBITE: (English) Colonel Michael Leahy, X-45 program director, U.S. Air Force. "We always new that an unmanned system, by definition, doesn't put a pilot at risk. But that's not what we're about: taking people in and out of risk, it's accomplishing an effect on the battlefield. It's a nice ancillary benefit that the pilot is not at risk for that, and there may be missions to use it for. But these have to buy their way in by performing as well in those missions as a manned asset would." 20. Close shot of X-45. STORYLINE: The US Air Force is unveiling its latest robot plane, designed to survive the rigours of combat, unlike other pilot-less drones plagued by crashes on the front lines of the war on terrorism. At Edwards Air Force Base in California on Thursday, officials rolled out the new X-45. Developed by US defence researchers, the Air Force and Boeing, the sleek, tail-less jet is the first unpiloted plane to be developed specifically to carry weapons into combat. Boeing has built two X-45s so far, one trimmed in blue, the other in red. Only the blue plane has flown, on May 22 and June 13 above the Mojave Desert at the Edwards Flight Test Centre. The second aircraft will begin flight tests later this year. The two Y-shaped planes both sport a gaping air intake instead of a canopy where the pilot of a manned craft would sit. The planes have a 34-foot (10.3 metres) wingspan and are just 4 (1.2 metres) feet thick, giving them a slim, stealthy profile. Those working on the X-45 call it the "Stingray." US military officials said the slightly larger production model of the plane will be able to carry more than 3,000 pounds (1350 kilogramme) of bombs to drop on enemy radar and missile batteries, perhaps by 2010. Colonel Michael Leahy, who heads the X-45 programme, says the Air Force envisions later production models of the aircraft that could fly missions themselves, making decisions about which targets to attack. Leahy says X-45 programme engineers are learning from data gathered in America's latest war, from the use of pilotless aircraft like the Predator and Global Hawk flying over Afghanistan. Since September the 11th, at least eight robot planes used by the US military have crashed in and around Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines. The latest crash, of a Global Hawk reconnaissance plane, was on Wednesday in Pakistan. Despite the crashes, US military officials remain bullish on unmanned air vehicles, or UAVs. US defence researchers at the Pentagon have at least a half-dozen other UAVs and UCAVs - the "C" stands for combat - under development. Among them are jet- and rotor-driven craft, some no larger than a cake tin.