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Builder of warcraft, hoster of Blue Angels and all-around badass in aerospace engineering, Boeing is showing off its Unmanned Little Bird, among other unmanned systems, in Las Vegas this week at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, or AUVSI, Unmanned Systems North America 2012 conference and exhibition.

Whew. Insert Boeing gives the Bird joke here.

Boeing reports that the Little Bird H-6U completed 14 autonomous takeoffs and landings from a ship during test flights in July, representing a “significant milestone for a medium-size vertical-takeoff-and-landing unmanned airborne system.”

The tests were held off the Florida coast, and Little Bird is said to have performed “flawlessly,” the craft executing its takeoff and landing tests with two safety pilots on board to ensure control, though it didn’t need the extra help. The testing logged 20 hours of flight time for the aircraft.

Little Bird is part of Boeing’s MD-500 series helicopter family, those crafts accumulating 14 million flight hours over five decades. Its mission and uses will include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cargo resupply, weapons delivery, and manned/unmanned teaming.

Of course, in other unmanned news, we wrote about the Stalker (well done on the naming job), a small aircraft powered by ground-based laser beam, that also just completed its test flights.

All this talk begs the question: If the aircraft are unmanned in Las Vegas this week, does that mean the strip clubs will be extra packed?

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