Tag Archive: Unmanned aerial vehicle


Drones And Robotic Warfare You Just Can’t Imagine

 

 

 

 

” Drones can essentially conduct perch and stare missions nearly endlessly. The technology is developing even more rapidly than the military can grasp, says the director of MIT’s Humans and Automation Laboratory.

  In just the past two years, it seems as if drones are everywhere in the news. This technology has been around for more than 60 years, but has only recently captured both national and international attention. This is primarily because of the increasing use in the military, but also because of concerns that such technology will be turned on a country’s own citizens.

  The average person thinks of a drone as a flying spy camera, loitering overhead waiting to spot a target and then possibly launching a weapon when that target is labeled as a threat. To be sure, this is indeed one mission of drones, typically of organizations like the CIA.

  However, this is by far the least common mission. The vast majority of military drone missions today are data and image collection. Their ability to provide “situational awareness” to decision makers on the ground is unparalleled in military operations since drones can essentially conduct perch and stare missions nearly endlessly.

  This is why their use and demand from the trenches has been so high – they provide an ability to watch as events unfold, providing some clarity to the fog of war, which is the Achilles Heel for military leaders.

  However, in the very near future, these intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions will be dwarfed by other uses of drones in operations inconceivable to most military personnel today.

  They will be used to enhance communications, patrol the skies, intercept incoming ballistic and short range missiles, dog fight with other aircraft in the sky, and deliver supplies. Indeed, currently the US Marine Corps has two robotic helicopters that have moved millions of pounds of goods and have been critical in current drawdown efforts.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Onboard Footage Of An RAF Drone Unleashing Hell On Taliban

 

 

Drone's Eye View

 

 

 

” RAF Pilot Unleashes Hell on Taliban From The Comfort in Lincolnshire First Glimpse Inside Drone HQ

  Sitting before a bank of flickering computer screens and controls, the RAF pilot flies a drone in the skies above Afghanistan.

  But the airman is not operating the £10million Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the warzone — or even the US.

  Instead, he is 8,000 miles away in a hi-tech control hub in a remote part of East Anglia — poised to order the controversial robot to carry out airstrikes using its fearsome array of Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Screwed Up Drone Strike Leaves 13 Dead In Yemen

 

 

 

” Today in Yemen, 13 people were killed in what was reportedly an erroneous drone strike by the American government. According to Yemeni officials, a caravan was traveling in central Yemen on its way to a wedding when it was hit by missiles fired from a drone, leaving bodies burned and vehicles ablaze in the middle of the road.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying Hacker Contraption Hunts Other Drones, Turns Them Into Zombies

 

 

 

 

” Serial hacker Samy Kamkar has released all the hardware and software specifications that hobbyists need to build an aerial drone that seeks out other drones in the air, hacks them, and turns them into a conscripted army of unmanned vehicles under the attacker’s control.

  Dubbed SkyJack, the contraption uses a radio-controlled Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter carrying a Raspberry Pi circuit board, a small battery, and two wireless transmitters. The devices run a combination of custom software and off-the-shelf applications that seek out wireless signals of nearby Parrot drones, hijack the wireless connections used to control them, and commandeer the victims’ flight-control and camera systems. SkyJack will also run on land-based Linux devices and hack drones within radio range. At least 500,000 Parrot drones have been sold since the model was introduced in 2010.”

 

 

    This is a stroke of genius . Technology is a double-edged sword that is now creating a high tech arms race between freedom lovers and the State . Skyjack is a great step towards citizen self-defense . Kudos to Mr Kamkar . We anxiously await the government response .

 

CIA Warily Watches For Threats To U.S. Now That 87 Nations Possess Drones

 

 

 

The age of the drone is here, and U.S. intelligence agencies are warily monitoring their proliferation around the globe.

China uses them to spy on Japan near disputed islands in AsiaTurkey uses them to eyeball Kurdish activity in northern IraqBolivia uses them to spot coca fields in the Andes. Iran reportedly has given them to Syria to monitor opposition rebels.

The U.S., Britain and Israel are the only nations to have fired missiles from remote-controlled drones, but the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles has become so prevalent that U.S. intelligence sources and private analysts say it is merely a matter of time before other countries use the technology.

People in Washington like to talk about this as if the supposed American monopoly on drones might end one day. Well, the monopoly ended years ago,” said Peter W. Singer, who heads the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution.

What’s worse, clandestine strikes carried out by Washington in far-flung corners of the world have set a precedent that could be ugly.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hacking The Drone War’s Secret History

 

 

 

” In 2008 U.S. troops in Iraq discovered that Shi’ite insurgents had figured out how to tap and record video feeds from overhead American drones. Now you too can hack Washington’s globe-spanning fleet of silent, deadly armed robots — although legally, and only in an historical sense.

Josh Begley, a 28-year-old NYU grad student, has just created an application programming interface — basically, a collection of building blocks for software development — that allows anyone with basic coding skills to organize, analyze and visualize drone-strike data from Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia dating back to 2002.

Based on information collected by the U.K. Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the API can be used to create interactive Websites (similar to this) that add depth, context and even a little humanity to the sterile news reports of the latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle strike in some far-away conflict zone.

The drone API, which is actually Begley’s master’s thesis, is not his first foray into capturing robot-attack data. His @dronestream Twitter feed, which documents all reported UAV attacks. Last year Begley created an iPhone app that tracks drone strikes, but Apple rejected it. Other developers have jumped on the bandwagon, too. London-based artist James Bridle runs a Tumblr blog that matches overhead satellite imagery to reports of drone attacks.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lijian Stealth Drone Prepares For Test Flight

 

The Lijian is described as the world's third stealth combat drone by the Chinese tabloid Global Times. (Internet photo)

 

 

” A newly designed Chinese stealth drone is ready for its first flight test after completing its taxi test last December at an unknown airfield in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, reports Duowei News, an outlet operated by overseas Chinese.

The prototype means China is ahead of several nations in the development of stealth drones, including Britain. Russia, India, Sweden, Italy, Iran and Israel, which also have their own stealth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran

 

 

 

” The Navy is going to sea for the first time with a laser attack weapon that has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.

A prototype shipboard laser will be deployed on a converted amphibious transport and docking ship in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.

The laser is designed to carry out a graduated scale of missions, from burning through a fast-attack boat or a drone to producing a nonlethal burst to “dazzle” an adversary’s sensors and render them useless without causing any other physical damage.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oregon Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public

 

 

 

 

” Do you want to keep drones out of your backyard?

An Oregon company says that it has developed and will soonstart selling technology that disables unmanned aircraft.

The company, called Domestic Drone Countermeasures, was founded in late February because some of its engineers see unmanned aerial vehicles—which are already being flown by law enforcement in some areas and could see wider commercial integration into American airspace by 2015—as unwanted eyes in the sky.

“We envision it could be cheap enough for residential use very soon,” he says. “It’s quite possible to deploy it if you were shooting a movie and wanted to protect your set, or if you had a house in Malibu and wanted to protect that, we could deploy it there. If a huge company like Google wanted to protect its server farms, it can be scaled up for a larger, fixed installation.”

As drones become more commonplace, Faucett says more people will begin searching for a way to protect their privacy.

“The thing that brought it home for me was Senator [Rand] Paul doing the filibuster, there’s a lot of unanswered questions,” he says. “We think there might be as much business for this counter drone stuff as there is for the drones themselves.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentagon: Iranian Plane Pursued US Spy Drone

 

 

” An Iranian fighter jet approached a U.S. surveillance drone over the Gulf but broke off its pursuit after the pilot of a U.S. escort plane radioed a verbal warning, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said the incident occurred Tuesday and that the unarmed MQ-1 Predator surveillance drone as well as two U.S. military escort planes remained over international waters at all times.

Little said the drone was conducting a “routine classified” surveillance mission.”

He said the Iranian F-4 plane came as close as 16 miles (25 kilometers)to the drone before it departed.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Panopticon State

Where the government can see, it can send a drone.

 

 

 

” I’m a long, long way from Rand Paul’s view of the world (I’m basically a 19th-century imperialist a hundred years past sell-by date), but I’m far from sanguine about America’s drone fever. For all its advantages to this administration — no awkward prisoners to be housed at Gitmo, no military casualties for the evening news — the unheard, unseen, unmanned drone raining down death from the skies confirms for those on the receiving end al-Qaeda’s critique of its enemies: As they see it, we have the best technology and the worst will; we choose aerial assassination and its attendant collateral damage because we are risk-averse, and so remote, antiseptic, long-distance, computer-programmed warfare is all that we can bear. Our technological strength betrays our psychological weakness.

And in a certain sense they’re right: Afghanistan is winding down, at best, to join the long list of America’s unwon wars, in which, 48 hours after departure, there will be no trace that we were ever there. The guys with drones are losing to the guys with fertilizer — because they mean it, and we don’t. The drone thus has come to symbolize the central defect of America’s “war on terror,” which is that it’s all means and no end: We’re fighting the symptoms rather than the cause.

For a war without strategic purpose, a drone’ll do.”

 

 

A Drone Flew Within 200 Feet Of A Commercial Jet. How Legal Was It? [Updated]

 

 

 

 

” Yesterday morning, an Alitalia pilot reported seeing a remote-controlled aircraft near New York’s JFK airport, where he was landing. The drone was flying about 4 to 5 miles west of the airport at an altitude of about 1,750 feet, and it came within just 200 feet of the Alitalia plane, the pilot said. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, and the FBI announced that it is looking for information leading to the drone operator. But was it legal?

Domestic drones are not regulated.
Law is slow to catch up to new technology, so drones are not currently regulated in U.S. air space. The FAA is in the process of picking drone-testing sites, which will be used to help develop domestic drone rules. Until then, unmanned aircraft are governed by model airplane rules, and model airplane rules are pretty lax.

Older laws for model aircraft forbade flying anything above 400 feet. This is still a recognized guideline by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the lobbyist group that represents model aircraft hobbyists, but the height ceiling hasn’t been on the books since at least 2012. Instead, unmanned, remotely piloted aircraft have to be visible to the naked eye, which might mean just a couple hundred feet in cloudy weather or much further than the recommended 400 feet in good weather. (Visual range notwithstanding, 1,750 feet of altitude is well beyond the reach of most commercially available model aircraft.)

 

While the 2012 act re-authorizing the FAA removed the height ceiling for model aircraft, it was very clear about boundaries around an airport. Flying a drone within 5 miles of an airport requires notifying that airport; otherwise, you risk prosecution. Initial reports place the drone at 4 to 5 miles away from the airport, which means it isn’t clear whether this drone broke that rule or not. If the drone flew closer than that, and did so without notifying air traffic control, it would’ve been illegal.

The construction of the drone, however, is very likely to have been totally legal. Described as a 3-foot-wide black quadrotor it probably falls under existing construction guidelines. Model aircraft regulations let you fly anything under 55 pounds, and following AMA guidelines, everything, from absolute altitude to size to any sensors a drone might have on board, is legal.

Finally, there’s H. R. 658, SEC. 336, (a)4. This part of the 2012 FAA reauthorization states explicitly flying a model aircraft is legal only if “the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.” Flying within 200 feet of an airliner definitely, absolutely, in no uncertain terms violates that law, so let’s just say this is very illegal.

 

 

 

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AIR FORCE ERASES DRONE STRIKE DATA

 

 

” (Foreign Policy) – Quietly and without much notice, the Air Force has reversed its policy of publishing statistics on drone strikes in Afghanistan as the debate about drone warfare hits a fever pitch in Washington. In addition, it has erased previously published drone strike statistics from its website.”

 

 

 

 

Poll: Americans Believe They Have Right To Shoot Down Government Spy Drones

 

 

” Now, in a Reason-Rupe national survey, sixty percent of respondents believe that, to some degree, the use of drones by local law enforcement to conduct surveillance without a warrant is an invasion of personal privacy.

That is some turnaround.

In addition, 47 percent of respondents to the latest poll said they believe they have a right to destroy a UAV if it flies over their house without their permission.”

 

A Drone? A Really Big Bird? A UFO? What Did Alitalia Pilot See Near JFK?

 

 

 

” The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a report from the pilot who claimed he saw an unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on his final approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport .

The pilot, who was at the controls of Alitalia Flight AZA 60, a Boeing 777, spotted what may have been a drone about four to five miles southeast of the airport at an altitude of 1,500 feet while on final approach to Runway 31 Right at about 1:15 p.m.”

 

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Drones To Be Used To Enforce Gun Control

 

 

Gun Control Drones

 

 

” Drones and Gun Control, two topics that go against every tenet this country was founded on, are now being fused together in an attempt to roll back the rights of every American citizen.

In a promotional video from the makers of the Shadowhawk drone, a 50lb mini helicopter used by law enforcement agencies, the company promotes its drone technology for use in gun control. In the video, the company shows a mock scenario where law enforcement officers use the drone to follow two men who are engaged in the private sale of a handgun and a rifle.”

 

Your Tax Dollars at Work : Check Out the New Tiny “Bug Bot” Drones from the Air Force

 

 

 

” Most people understand that we have a massive military industrial complex (MIC.) Defense contractors and government partner to develop weapon systems and improve our “war fighting” capabilities. Massive amounts of money got to the Pentagon and contractors.

An offshoot of the MIC, it is a fast growing area for contractors and there are mega (tax) dollars to be made in surveillance.

Take a look at this amazing video recently produced by the Air Force introducing drones which act  and look like birds and insects. There are powered by the sun, wind, power lines,  even “vibrating machinery.” It is truly mind blowing technology. How would you like a swarm of these things floating around your town? “

 

 

Video at the link

Bug Bot Drones

 

 

Everything You Wanted to Know About Drones

 

 

 

 

 

” This is the week the world seemingly woke up to the U.S. government’s drone wars. Drones have fired missiles on thousands of targets and flown countless flight hours over battlefields in the Middle East and northern Africa. But last week, the Obama administration’s rationale for the legality of targeting U.S. citizens who are plotting with al-Qaida by means of airstrikes became public, and the administration used the argument to support the killing of U.S. citizen and al-Qaida member Anwar al-Awlaki with a drone strike in Yemen. Here’s a primer on the current and future use of unmanned aerial vehicles in combat.

What are drones, anyway?
Technically, even the name drone is used in error. The military calls its flying robots unmanned aerial systems, while some holdouts use the old Pentagon name unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The term drone used to imply the lack of a pilot onboard. Most unmanned aircraft have pilots that fly them by remote control, often from bases in the United States, halfway around the world. For example, a three-man crew flies the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper, not including the maintenance and takeoff/recovery personnel.

Some of the craft’s intelligent software allows the operators to set “hold modes” that designate orbits, altitudes, and speed limits. Still, drones can do some things on their own. A Reaper can autonomously auto-balance its draw of fuel from the wings to preserve its center of gravity, report mechanical failures during flights, follow waypoints, and automatically wheel over to a designated rally point if the satellite link to the ground station is lost.

Could UAVs Kill Without Human Permission?

In theory, yes. Here’s how it would work: A UAV would open fire only after clearing a checklist of technical details—its preset rules of engagement—from its sensors. But drone-builders and military leaders are truly wary of allowing this kind of aggression without a human in the decision-making loop. “

 

 

HT/Instapundit

Mini Drones: Army Deploys Tiny Helicopters

 

 

 

” British troops are using a nano drone just 10cm long and weighing 16 grams on the front line in Afghanistan to provide vital information on the ground.

They are the first to use the state-of-the-art handheld tiny surveillance helicopters, which relay reliable full motion video and still images back to the devices’ handlers in the battlefield.

The Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle is the size of a child’s toy, measuring just 10cm (4 ins) by 2.5cm (1 inch), and is equipped with a tiny camera.”

Photo3S-NIR™ Camera

 

photo3s near IR camera

 

” The Photo3S-NIR captures aerial video and high resolution still images in the near-infrared light spectrum. Both the Photo3S and Photo3S-NIR are 3-axis stabilized for stable imagery and precise tracking, and offer common benefits with Aeryon’s full line of integrated imaging payloads.

Military and Public Safety applications include detecting near-infrared light sources and indicators. Commercial and industrial applications include precision agriculture, assessing fire hazards, monitoring droughts, and other environmental projects. “

 

 

This little camera can be configured as this :

 

 

Aeryon Scout

 

Aeryon Scout

 

Which in turn can take photos like this :

 

 

Libyan Rebels IR

Libyan rebel artillery IR

HT/ Michael Yon

 

 

Iran Says Captures Two U.S.-Made Miniature surveillance Drones

 

 

” Iran said on December 4 that it had captured a U.S. intelligence ScanEagle drone in its air space over the Gulf in the previous few days, but the United States said there was no evidence to support the assertion.

The U.S. Navy said had not lost any unmanned aircraft in the area. The four-foot (1.25 meter) ScanEagle surveillance drones built by Boeing Co are deployed in the region by the United States military and also by other countries.”

 

 

 

DARPA Sponsored Company Unveils Drones That Can

Fly Through Doors And Windows

 

 

 

 

 ” CyPhy Works unveiled its EASE or “Extreme Access System for Entry” drone this week, explaining that it can go where other drones cannot go for longer, because it is not limited by battery power.

The drone, developed with the aid of federal government grant money, is tethered to a power source by a microfilament, consisting of two strands of copper wire, allowing it to stay powered and never lose communications inside a structure. The drone also carries a thermal imaging camera.

The creator, Helen Greiner, former head of iRobot, which supplied ground robots to the military, notes of the drones “…they won’t be stopped by a fence, won’t be stopped by a ditch. They don’t have to go in through the ground floor or the doorway.” “

 

N-UCAS Takes First Cat Shot

 

drone

 

 

 

 

 ” The X-47B successfully completed it’s first shore-based tests of whether the aircraft is structurally sound and aeromechanically capable of getting airborne using the U.S. Navy’s current steam catapult system.  The drone cat shot took place at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Southern Maryland.

“The X-47B shore-based catapult launch we witnessed here today will leave a mark in history,” said Vice Adm. David Dunaway, NAVAIR commander. “We are working toward the future integration of unmanned aircraft on the carrier deck, something we didn’t envision 60 years ago when the steam catapult was first built here.” “

   We tip our hats to instapundit for calling our attention to this very informative yet disturbing Slashdot article on domestic drones and their bases .

   Who knew there were so many already ? A cynic amongst us might be led to believe some sort of battlespace preparation was underway .

“We like to think of the drone war
as something far away, fought in the deserts of Yemen or the mountains of Afghanistan. But we now know it’s closer than we thought, writes Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai at Danger Room.

There are 64 drone bases on American soil. That includes 12 locations housing Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, which can be armed. “

The good folks at Slashdot also provide a handy link to Public Intelligence which has taken the trouble to create a map of domestic drone sites .

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