Forget about full-frame sensors used on handheld cameras these days, those who require higher resolution images of large areas, such as the U.S Army have superior hardware in place. The official U.S Army site has some details on it. The U.S Army uses an unmanned craft being developed that clicks photos of the terrain below at some ridiculous resolutions. The drone, the Boeing A160 is designed to be like a helicopter and will be able to vertically takeoff. The army is going to deploy three such A160s in Afghanistan, in the month of May or June, next year. Currently, tests are being performed on the craft and those developing it are doing the final bits of wiring and ground tests on it.
Boeing's A160 in action
The 1.8 Gigapixel image shooting capability will allow the armed forces to better plan and monitor the status on the ground. With the right altitude and resolution, one should be able to get a clear view of the surroundings. A stationary vertical takeoff vehicle also means that it’s easier to cover a large area on the ground. Vertical takeoff also means there’s less complexity in the system and there’s no need for a runway. Technically, the A160 could take off from a rooftop and all captured images will be sent back to a control centre using a system called the ARGUS wide-area surveillance sensor suite.
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