Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:31 PM
MadHound (34,179 posts)
Drones across the world,
The United States military command in Africa is preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American 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.
If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of that country. The American military’s Africa Command is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.
The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. “This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.,” one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance."
Any bets on how long it will take for those unarmed drones become armed? My guess, a year or less. Meanwhile, we will continue with a wrong headed, misguide drone policy that is guaranteed to alienate people, and swell the ranks of "terrorists" who will eventually do us harm.
One would hope that an intelligent man like Obama would see the folly of this drone policy he is pursuing, but apparently not. Perhaps it will finally dawn on him when another 911 style attack takes place on US soil, but of course by then it will be too late.
But hey, it keeps the MIC fat and happy, which is, as we all know, Job 1 for any administration.
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Drones across the world, (Original post)
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Response to MadHound (Original post)
Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:39 PM
Electric Monk (11,414 posts)
1. NOVA had a really interesting program on drones just a few days ago
You can watch it online here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/rise-of-the-drones.html
Those unfamiliar with UAVs will find a concise summary of the current, publicly known state of play as well as a brief history of their development. What appears to be new are the details of a panoramic camera called Argus developed by Britain-based BAE Systems, the third-largest defense contractor in the world.
“Today we’ve developed sensors that can watch, with an all-seeing eye, and see an area about the size of a small city. All at one time,” said David Deptula, a lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force.
At 1.8 billion pixels, Argus is the world’s highest-resolution camera. For comparison, a quick Google search suggests that the next highest-resolution camera, available to professionals, is a Swedish-made Hasselblad, which clocks in at 200 million pixels.
From an altitude of 17,500 feet, Argus can see an object 6 inches off the ground, and automatically identifies everything that moves. Its recordings can be stored at a capacity equivalent to 5,000 hours of high-definition footage and are instantly retrievable at every level of magnification.
“NOVA” indicates these cameras could one day be mounted on a fleet of solar-powered craft capable of staying aloft for five years at a time. “We would like Argus to be over the same area 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” BAE designer Yannis Antoniadis said.