Entries Tagged as 'Aerial Drones'

US aims to boost combat manhunt precision

May 22, 2013

US to boost military manhunt capabilities with RFID satellites

The US military is planning to launch a new, efficient method of sending small satellites into space which will dramatically boost soldiers’ ability to locate, track and eventually annihilate potential enemies.

The military has spent years quietly developing and implementing radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to track Taliban leaders, suspected terrorists, and other perceived enemies. Tribesmen in the Middle East are paid to “plant the electronic devices” on the intended targets or the targets’ home, according to a 2009 report in The Guardian.

The device can be tracked to within three feet of its location, providing targeting co-ordinates that have become integral in launching drone strikes.

“Transmitters make a lot of sense to me,” former CIA case officer Robert Baer told Wired in 2009. “It is simply not possible to train a Pashtun from Waziristan to go to a targeted site, case it, and come back to Peshawar or Islamabad with anything like an accurate report. The best you can hope for it they’re putting the transmitter right on the house.”

The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) will advance that strategy with the September rocket launch from Wallops, Virginia. Attached to the sides of the rocket will be eight devices that will be dispersed 300 miles above Earth then act as beacons for US intelligence. …

Read on: http://rt.com/usa/advances-mideast-tracking-satellite-601/

US robots, Israeli drones to help make 2014 World Cup in Brazil ‘one of safest sporting events ever’

May 19, 2013

Brazil has added 30 US military robots to the Israeli drones and ‘Robocop-style’ glasses with face recognition cameras to its arsenal after the country allocated $900 million to make 2014 World Cup “one of the most protected sports events in history.”

The 30 PackBot 510 units, which usually cost between $100,000 and $200,000 apiece, will arrive in Brazil as part of the $7.2 million deal the country signed with American iRobot advanced technology company. The contracts include services, spare parts and associated equipment.

“IRobot continues its international expansion, and Brazil represents an important market for the company’s unmanned ground vehicles,” Frank Wilson, iRobot’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “IRobot is excited to be providing the company’s state-of-the-art robotic technologies to Brazil as the country prepares for several high profile international events, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

The first real test for the PackBots will be the visit of Pope Franics to Brazil this July, with the country also looking to use the robots during the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The PackBots are equipped with cameras and are operated remotely in order to detect and examine suspicious objects or explore dangerous environments, while keeping their operators safe from harm. …

Read on: http://rt.com/news/brazil2014-us-military-robots-501/

Revealed: US flew spy drone missions from Australia

ABC News
By Mark Corcoran
September 4, 2012

The United States flew highly classified Global Hawk spy drone missions from the Royal Australian Air Force base at Edinburgh in South Australia from late 2001 until at least 2006.

The operations were detected by a group of Adelaide aviation historians who had a member monitoring aircraft radio frequencies 20 hours a day.

With a wingspan greater than a 737 airliner and a $200 million price tag, the RQ-4 Global Hawk is the biggest, most expensive unmanned aerial vehicle to ever take to the skies.

The spy drone is the jewel in the crown of America’s global electronic intelligence-gathering network. Global Hawk operations are cloaked in secrecy, and the US Air Force likes to keep it that way.

But perhaps the Pentagon severely underestimated the vigilance of Adelaide aviation historians the West Beach Aviation Group (WBAG).

WBAG members have told ABC’s Foreign Correspondent that they monitored the flights until Australian defence security officials paid them a visit and demanded they not publish material revealing the presence of the Global Hawks.

“[The Global Hawks] usually approached and departed at night, although there were a few exceptions – and then they were photographed by the group,” WBAG spokesman Paul Daw said.

“But there were sensitivities. A photographer (from the group) was visited unannounced by Australian military security and questioned for putting movements onto an international web site.

“They claimed he showed vulnerabilities of the base.” …

Read on: www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-03/revealed-us-flew-drone-missions-from-australia/4236306

Watch related newscast: www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3582753.htm

Overseas U.S. military drones to be tracked from Philadelphia Air National Guard base

GIMBY (Blog)
By Julia Bergman
April 1, 2013

By the end of this year a new high-tech mission involving drones will be playing out just beyond Philadelphia’s borders.

The National Guard Bureau has authorized the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing to establish a ground control-station for the MQ-9 Reaper at Horsham Air Guard Base effective Oct. 1, 2013.

The new mission will fill a void left behind by the phasing out of A-10 Thunderbolt planes in 2005.

“This is great news for Pennsylvania, especially when you consider the government cutbacks nationwide,” Major General Wesley Craig, National Guard adjutant general for Pennsylvania, said in a press release.

The MQ-9 Reaper is a remotely piloted aircraft used primarily to destroy military targets, and secondarily as an information collector. The aircraft is 36 feet in length, has a wingspan of 66 feet and weighs 4,900 pounds when empty. The aircraft will be physically located overseas and will be operated and monitored from the Horsham base, according to Theresa Katalinas in Hatsboro-Horsham Patch. Remote piloting uses a video hookup that allows the on-the-ground pilot to direct the craft’s movements, launch missiles, and track individuals and vehicles for long periods of time. This practice is presently in use at other military facilities around the U.S. …

The overseas use of drones by the U.S. military is controversial both inside and outside of official Washington, D.C. The Obama administration has increasingly used drones to find and kill military targets overseas. Critics point to the high risk of civilian casualties when using drone aircraft, and the unease expressed by many throughout the country is also being felt locally. …

Read in full: http://gimby.org/blogs/gimby-philadelphia/20130401/overseas-us-military-drones-be-tracked-philadelphia-air-national

North Korea threatens to attack US military bases in Pacific if provoked

The Guardian
March 21, 2013

Kim Jong-un oversees mock drone strike as North Korea threatens military bases in Japan and on Guam

Link to video: North Korea threatens US airbases in Japan

North Korea has said it will attack US military bases on Japan and the Pacific island of Guam if provoked, a day after its leader, Kim Jong-un, oversaw a mock drone strike on South Korea.

The North also held an air raid drill on Thursday after accusing the United States of preparing a military strike using bombers that have overflown the Korean peninsula as part of drills between South Korean and US forces.

North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric in response to what it calls “hostile” drills between South Korea and the United States. It has also been angered by the imposition of fresh UN sanctions that followed its nuclear test on 12 February.

Separately, South Korea said a hacking attack on the servers of local broadcasters and banks on Wednesday originated from an IP address in China, raising suspicions that the intrusion came from North Korea.

“The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Anderson air force base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear powered submarines are deployed and the navy bases on Okinawa,” the North’s supreme military command spokesman was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency. …

Read on: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/21/north-korea-threatens-attack-us

Secretary to Review New Drone Medal

March 18, 2013

In light of recent discussions concerning the new Distinguished Warfare Medal and its order of precedence relative to other military decorations, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the award. A decision will be made about the medal’s fate after assessing the findings. Opponents of the medal question the hierarchy of technology-driven warfare such as unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned underwater vehicles, missile defense and cyber capabilities, as the operators may not be anywhere near a combat zone. Production of the medal has stopped, and there are currently no nominations for it.

From: www.military.com/military-report/secretary-to-review-new-drone-medal

Wikileaks: Pakistan privately approved drone strikes

The Telegraph
Rob Crilly
December 1, 2013

US special forces fought side by side with Pakistani soldiers and the government in Islamabad privately approved drone strikes while publicly condemning the CIA’s covert raids, according to the Wikileaks diplomatic cables

The revelations of America’s secret war in Pakistan will deeply embarrass President Asif Ali Zardari who has long denied such deep co-operation with Washington for fear it would embolden Islamist opposition to his feeble government.

In public, both sides have described putting American boots on the ground as a red line issue.

However, a cable sent by the then US Ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, states that Pakistan has twice requested American soldiers to embed with its Frontier Corps in North Waziristan and South Waziristan, areas dotted with Taliban and al-Qaeda bases.

On both occasions Pakistan asked for the help of US special forces to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance – including video footage from drones – to its troops. On one mission they helped the Pakistani soldiers target an enemy base with artillery.

“These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil,” she wrote. …

A second cable describes a 2008 meeting with Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistani prime minister, in which he brushes aside concerns about the use of Predator drones against targets in the tribal areas and gives an insight into how he would deny any co-operation.

“I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it” …

Read in full: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8172922/Wikileaks-Pakistan-privately-approved-drone-strikes.html

The Drone Question Obama Hasn’t Answered

The New York Times
By Ryan Goodman
March 8, 2013

THE Senate confirmed John O. Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Thursday after a nearly 13-hour filibuster by the libertarian senator Rand Paul, who before the vote received a somewhat odd letter from the attorney general.

“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ ” the attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., wrote to Mr. Paul. “The answer to that question is no.”

The senator, whose filibuster had become a social-media sensation, elating Tea Party members, human-rights groups and pacifists alike, said he was “quite happy with the answer.” But Mr. Holder’s letter raises more questions than it answers — and, indeed, more important and more serious questions than the senator posed.

What, exactly, does the Obama administration mean by “engaged in combat”? The extraordinary secrecy of this White House makes the answer difficult to know. We have some clues, and they are troubling.

If you put together the pieces of publicly available information, it seems that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has acted with an overly broad definition of what it means to be engaged in combat. Back in 2004, the Pentagon released a list of the types of people it was holding at Guantánamo Bay as “enemy combatants” — a list that included people who were “involved in terrorist financing.”

One could argue that that definition applied solely to prolonged detention, not to targeting for a drone strike. But who’s to say if the administration believes in such a distinction? …

Read on: www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/opinion/the-drone-question-obama-hasnt-answered.html

U.S. Military Preparing to Establish a New Drone Base in Africa Related to the Mali Mission

The Ledger
By Eric Schmitt
January 28, 2013

The U.S. military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on the local affiliate of al-Qaida and other Islamist extremist groups that U.S. and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.

The move is an indication of the priority Africa has become in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. The U.S. military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in the country of Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling al-Qaida-backed fighters who control the northern part of Mali.

A new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small air strips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft. …

Read on: www.theledger.com/article/20130128/NEWS/130129245/1410?Title=U-S-Military-Preparing-to-Establish-a-New-Drone-Base-in-Africa-Related-to-the-Mali-Mission

U.S. military wants to hide drones under the sea

CBS News
By Jeremy Hsu
January 21, 2012

Hollywood films often show alien ships or giant monsters rising from the ocean depths to threaten humanity’s existence. The U.S. military envisions a more realistic scenario of hiding robotic drones, sensors or decoys on the ocean floor so that they can rise to the occasion when needed.

The idea of hiding sneaky spy technologies beneath the waves comes from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency described its Upward Falling Payloads program as an effort to hide underwater capsules that could be triggered remotely to activate, float to the surface and release their payloads of sensor buoys or even flying drones.

“The concealment of the sea also provides opportunity to surprise maritime targets from below, while its vastness provides opportunity to simultaneously operate across great distances,” DARPA said in a broad agency announcement on Jan. 11.

Earth’s oceans provide plenty of hiding places for robots to engage in some “cheap stealth” — about 50 percent of the oceans reach depths deeper than 2.5 miles. …

Read on: www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57564992/u.s-military-wants-to-hide-drones-under-the-sea/