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US Army breaking up with A160 Hummingbird drone-copter, says it's too high maintenance

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It's not me, it's you. The US Army's dalliance with Boeing's A160 Hummingbird drone got one step closer to Splitsville after the military branch issued a stop-work order for the project. Initially scheduled to see action in Afghanistan starting this July, the chopper-drone turned plenty of heads thanks to a DARPA-developed Argus-IS imaging system with a 1.8-gigapixel camera capable of spying on ground targets from 20,000 feet. The honeymoon period between the Army and the A160 is apparently over, however, thanks to a host of issues. These included wiring problems as well as excessive vibration that caused an A160 to crash earlier this year due to a transmission mount failure. The problems not only increased risk and caused delays, but also led program costs to helicopter out of control -- a big no-no given Uncle Sam's recent belt-tightening. In the meantime, the Army is reportedly checking out the K-MAX, though it's important to note that this unmanned chopper specializes in cargo and doesn't have the A160's eyes.

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