Mar 18

China’s Drone Swarms Rise to Challenge US Power (Yahoo News/TechNewsDaily, March 13, 2013):

China is building one of the world’s largest drone fleets aimed at expanding its military reach in the Pacific and swarming U.S. Navy carriers in the unlikely event of a war, according to a new report.

The Chinese military — known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) — envisions its drone swarms scouting out battlefields, guiding missile strikes and overwhelming opponents through sheer numbers. China’s military-industrial complex has created a wide array of homegrown drones to accomplish those goals over the past decade, according to the report released by the Project 2049 Institute on March 11.

“The PLA now fields one of the world’s most expansive UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] fleets,” said Ian Easton and L.C. Russell Hsiao, researchers at the Project 2049 Institute and authors of the new report.

U.S. military forces still operate the largest drone fleet, with at least 679 drones in 2012, according to data from the International Institute for Strategic Studies reported by the Guardian. But the new Project 2049 Institute report estimates that China had 280 military drones as of mid-2011 — a number that has likely grown since then.

Continue reading »

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Mar 14

ROBOBEES (Harvard):

Overview of the Micro Air Vehicles Project

INSPIRED by the biology of a bee and the insect’s hive behavior …

we aim to push advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources; spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic “smart” sensors; and refine coordination algorithms to manage multiple, independent machines.

Practical Applications

Coordinated agile robotic insects can be used for a variety of purposes including:

  • autonomously pollinating a field of crops;
  • search and rescue (e.g., in the aftermath of a natural disaster);
  • hazardous environment exploration;
  • military surveillance;
  • high resolution weather and climate mapping; and
  • traffic monitoring.

These are the ubiquitous applications typically invoked in the development of autonomous robots. However, in mimicking the physical and behavioral robustness of insect groups by coordinating large numbers of small, agile robots, we will be able to accomplish such tasks faster, more reliably, and more efficiently. Continue reading »

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Oct 10

Uncle Sam Prepares To Unleash Up To 30,000 Drones Over America For “Public Safety” (ZeroHedge, Oct 9, 2012):

The Federal Aviation Administration is working towards putting the finishing touches on rules and regulations for widespread domestic drone use, and the agency expects as many as 30,000 UAVs will be in America’s airspace by the decade’s end. As Russia Today notes, given that the department has already addressed the issue of acquiring drones to give the DHS a better eye of domestic doings, though, those law enforcement operations in question could very well transcend away from legitimate uses and quickly cause civil liberty concerns from coast-to-coast. All drones will be equipped with Electro-Optical/Infra-Red sensors, as well as the technology to sniff out certain chemicals from thousands of feet above our heads. Have no fear though, since the “Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety” program is for your own protection, we are sure Janet Napolitano would suggest.


Don’t be surprised if you catch a federal fleet of sneaky spy drones soaring over your head in the near future, but don’t be too terrified — it’s all in the name of public safety.

Continue reading »

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Sep 08


Pentagon plans drone sales to 66 countries (RT, Sep 7, 2012):

The use of drones might be raising questions within the United States, but overseas the demand is mounting. The US Defense Departments says they are preparing to make unmanned aerial vehicles commercially available to 66 outside nations.

If approved by Congress and the US State Department, the Pentagon could soon be peddling the remote-controlled war machines that have become a hallmark of America’s overseas wars to dozens of its allies. It’s a not deal that’s likely to be cut without a sound, however, as the use of UAVs has become one of the most debated issues regarding the US military at home.

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Sep 03

Photo: A Global Hawk spy drone inside a hangar at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, safe from the prying eyes of Russian and Chinese satellites. (Supplied: US Air Force)

Revealed: US flew spy drone missions from Australia (ABC News, Sep 3, 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.

Continue reading »

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Aug 31

The skies open up for large civilian drones (BBC News, Aug 30, 2012):

Unmanned aircraft, known as drones, are the eyes and ears of the US military, providing troops with an “eye in the sky” in situations where manned flight is considered too dangerous or difficult.

A decade ago less than five per cent of US military aircraft were unmanned, now 40 per cent have no pilot on board – from small surveillance craft light enough to be launched by hand, to medium-sized armed drones and large spy planes.

But the role of the drone is now changing. Millions of pounds are being sunk into civilian projects – everything from border security to police surveillance and even transporting goods.

This year the US Congress passed legislation giving US airspace regulator the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until September 2015 to open up its airspace to drones, and Britain is expected to follow suit.

The UK’s airspace regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has told BBC Newsnight that large unmanned drones could be flying in British skies by the end of the decade.

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Jun 20
Predator drone firing hellfire missile

Thousands of military drones to be deployed over US mainland (WSWS, June 18, 2012):

A recent Department of Defense report to Congress as well as a number of media investigations have exposed government plans to deploy tens of thousands of drones over the US mainland in the coming years.

An investigative report published over the weekend by the Christian Science Monitor cited the government’s own estimates that “as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years.”

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as “drones,” are extremely sophisticated remotely-operated aircraft, developed and manufactured by the military-industrial complex in recent years at a cost of billions of dollars.

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May 28

See also:

Gerald Celente: America Is A Full Blown Police State! (Video)

No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: The Entire Financial System Is Collapsing! – This Is FASCISM! (Video, March 26, 2012 )

YouTube Added: 28.04.2012


Bill, HR 658 30,000 Drones To Police America

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May 25

Groups Concerned Over Arming Of Domestic Drones (CBS, May 23, 2012):

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the use of domestic drones increasing, concern has not just come up over privacy issues, but also over the potential use of lethal force by the unmanned aircraft.

Drones have been used overseas to target and kill high-level terror leaders and are also being used along the U.S.-Mexico border in the battle against illegal immigration. But now, these drones are starting to be used domestically at an increasing rate.

The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments to use drones across the U.S. They are controlled from a remote location and use infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras.

Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone.

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May 09

YouTube Added: 07.05.2012

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May 02

All Hail the Robotic Farmers and Pilots of the Future (Wired, May 1, 2012):

NEW YORK — Fighter pilot Mary “Missy” Cummings saw it coming while landing her F/A-18 supersonic jet on a Navy aircraft carrier — the world-changing disruption barreling toward the present.

Instead of landing the multi-million-dollar machine on the small deck of the ship herself in the 1990s, a computer accomplished the tricky feat for her.

“Here the computer was taking off better than I could, landing itself better than I could and doing the mission better than I ever could,” Cummings said Tuesday during the Wired Disruptive by Design business conference. “It was really humiliating. That was what used to make me better than everyone else.”

Eventually Cummings took a step back, told herself the heyday of fighter pilots was over and joined the robots. She’s now an aeronautics professor at MIT working to tackle the monotonous work of flying, farming and other industries with autonomous drones. Continue reading »

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Feb 09

Congress OKs 30,000 flying drones spying on Americans across U.S. cities (Natural News, Feb. 9, 2012):

It’s the most benign thing in the world. In fact, it’s a concept whose time has come and it will only help protect us and keep us safe. Naturally, there’s nothing to worry about because there won’t be any abuse of the technology. After all, spy drones are already being used around the U.S.; what’s the problem with adding tens of thousands more?

In case you didn’t know it – and you probably didn’t – Congress, with little fanfare, passed an FAA reauthorization bill last week President Obama is expected to sign into law that will make it much easier for the government to put scores of unmanned spy drones into American skies.

Not only that the legislation authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015. If the law takes full effect, it is believed as many as 30,000 drones could be hovering over the U.S. by 2020.

Continue reading »

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Feb 07

– Congress Passes Bill That Opens US Skies To Unmanned Drones (Business Insider/AP, Feb. 6, 2012)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to speed the nation’s switch from radar to an air traffic control system based on GPS technology, and to open U.S. skies to unmanned drone flights within four years, received final congressional approval Monday.

The bill passed the Senate 75-20, despite labor opposition to a deal cut between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House on rules governing union organizing elections at airlines and railroads. The House had passed the bill last week, and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

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Jan 12

Who Is Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the U.S.? (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Jan. 10, 2012):

Government Withholds Information on Drone Flight Authorizations

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit today against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), demanding data on certifications and authorizations the agency has issued for the operation of unmanned aircraft, also known as drones.

Drones are designed to carry surveillance equipment – including video cameras, infrared cameras and heat sensors, and radar – that can allow for sophisticated and almost constant surveillance. They can also carry weapons. Traditionally, drones have been used almost exclusively by military and security organizations. However, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses drones inside the United States to patrol the U.S. borders, and state and local law enforcement are increasingly using unmanned aircraft for investigations into things like cattle rustling, drug dealing, and the search for missing persons.

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Dec 11

Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 10, 2011):

Unmanned aircraft from an Air Force base in North Dakota help local police with surveillance, raising questions that trouble privacy advocates.

Reporting from Washington — Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.

Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.

He also called in a Predator B drone.

As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.

But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said.

“We don’t use [drones] on every call out,” said Bill Macki, head of the police SWAT team in Grand Forks. “If we have something in town like an apartment complex, we don’t call them.”

The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators on the country’s northern and southwestern borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The previously unreported use of its drones to assist local, state and federal law enforcement has occurred without any public acknowledgment or debate.

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Nov 01

Watch the video here.

New Police Drone Near Houston Could Carry Weapons (Houston News, Oct. 28, 2011):

CONROE, Texas — A Houston area law enforcement agency is prepared to launch an unmanned drone that could someday carry weapons, Local 2 Investigates reported Friday.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Conroe paid $300,000 in federal homeland security grant money and Friday it received the ShadowHawk unmanned helicopter made by Vanguard Defense Industries of Spring.

A laptop computer is used to control the 50-pound unmanned chopper, and a game-like console is used to aim and zoom a powerful camera and infrared heat-seeking device mounted on the front.

“To be in on the ground floor of this is pretty exciting for us here in Montgomery County,” Sheriff Tommy Gage said.

He said the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) could be used in hunting criminals who are running from police or assessing a scene where SWAT team officers are facing an active shooter.

Gage said it will also be deployed for criminal investigations such as drug shipments.

“We’re not going to use it to be invading somebody’s privacy. It’ll be used for situations we have with criminals,” Gage said.

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Oct 01

Nowhere to run: drones, facial recognition, soft biometrics and threat assessments (Activist Post, Sep. 30, 2011):

It is the stuff of science fiction: a drone flies hundreds of feet overhead, rapidly snapping images and collating them into a 3D model of your face, verifying your identity, recording your social interactions and even creating threat assessments of yourself and those you associate with.

Unfortunately, this is not science fiction. This is real technology being developed as you read this under several military contracts, all paid for by the American taxpayer adding on to the black hole of debt which continues to grow unabated thanks to unnecessary spending like this.

What is worse is that like most military technology, we can expect this new paradigm of war to bleed into domestic police activities and so-called homeland security operations.

Continue reading »

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Aug 22

Tased From Above! New Robot Copter To Begin Patrolling Our Skies (Video)

The new, heavily-armed ShadowHawk can track perpetrators using normal or infrared light.

Forget the idea that weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are only for military operations in wars fought in far off lands. Soon they’ll begin setting their sights on criminals within our borders. And they’ll be packing heat, not the long-range missiles of the X-47B, but with up close and personal stun guns, 12-gauge shotguns and, believe it or not, grenade launchers.

The ShadowHawk is the seven-foot, 50-lb copter that is the toy-sized dealer of destruction from Texas-based Vanguard Defense Industries. The copter is the result of three years of development. If being tased from above sounds frightening to you, I suggest you cease all criminal activities now (simply staying indoors is an option). There’s a good chance ShadowHawk’s spine tingling buzz could be heard approaching a city near you. As a sign of new law enforcement tactics to come, the Sheriff’s Office of Montgomery County, Texas was recently awarded a grant by the Department of Homeland Security for a squadron of ShadowHawks. Montgomery County’s Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel is psyched. “We are very excited about the funding and looking forward to placing the equipment into the field. Both my narcotics and SWAT units have been looking at numerous ways to deploy it and I absolutely believe it will become a critical component on all SWAT callouts and narcotics raids and emergency management operations.”

The Department of Homeland Security grant is just the latest indication that the US is taking the military’s lead – with over 7,000 drones in the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan – and using drones as a key tactical tool. In 2009 a surveillance drone called the Wasp was used during a SWAT raid in Austin, Texas. The Wasp climbed to 400 feet and beamed realtime video of a house in which an armed drug dealer was hiding. After the team had confirmed that there were no unforeseen dangers lurking in the backyard, they stormed the house and arrested the suspect. Drones are also helping the US to secure its borders against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Just a few months ago the Obama administration began sending drones to Mexico to gather intelligence and help in the country’s war on drugs. Continue reading »

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Mar 04

Five years and $4 million later, AeroVironment has developed what it calls the world’s first hummingbird spy drone.

Matt Keennon, program director at AeroVironment, demonstrates a tiny, drone aircraft known as the ‘nano-hummingbird,’ during a briefing at the company’s facility in Simi Valley, Calif., Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. With a 6.5-inch wing span, the remote-controlled hummingbird plane weighs less than an AA battery and can fly at speeds of up to 11 mph, propelled only by the flapping of its two wings. It can climb and descend vertically, fly sideways, forward and backward, as well as rotate clockwise and counterclockwise, and hover.… Read more »
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

SAN DIEGO – You’ll never look at hummingbirds the same again.

The Pentagon has poured millions of dollars into the development of tiny drones inspired by biology, each equipped with video and audio equipment that can record sights and sounds.

They could be used to spy, but also to locate people inside earthquake-crumpled buildings and detect hazardous chemical leaks.

The smaller, the better.

Besides the hummingbird, engineers in the growing unmanned aircraft industry are working on drones that look like insects and the helicopter-like maple leaf seed.

Researchers are even exploring ways to implant surveillance and other equipment into an insect as it is undergoing metamorphosis. They want to be able to control the creature.

Continue reading »

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Jan 30

Jan. 28 2011 — In 2007, it was revealed by reporters in Texas that unmanned drones were being used in supposed border control operations.  We detailed that report with supporting evidence that drones clearly were being used inland away from border control functions.

Recently, an article from Miami-Dade announced the arrival of a 16-pound micro drone T-Hawk surveillance model designed by Honeywell. The video below shows a more detailed view of the capabilities of this surveillance drone.  Keep in mind, this is only what is being announced at the moment, which has nothing to do with the massive amount of R&D that has being going on to reduce the size of flying surveillance.  There have even been reports about “wasp” drones to sniff out Wi-FI networks as well.

Pending FAA approval, these specific unmanned aerial vehicles are set to be used domestically throughout the United States. Besides the obvious uses for these drones such as during a legitimate raid, these drones may be used in order to further the police state and restrict free speech in America.

“U.K. police have used micro UAVs to monitor ‘anti-social behavior,’ writes Joseph Nevins of the Boston Review.

At this point, domestic UAV operations are extremely limited. But with the astonishing growth of the industry and the efforts of AUVSI, the UAV Caucus, and others to loosen FAA restrictions, we can expect an explosion of use by local and federal policing agencies in the near future. such as political protests. This is simply another push towards a complete police state.

What will be considered anti-social behavior remains to be seen, but if the ever evolving police state is any indication these drones will be used to spy on citizens who are against the private Federal Reserve, Obamacare, and the New World Order.

This information is right out there in the open yet it seems that the American people are once again asleep at the wheel. Where are the widespread protests against the aerial surveillance of any American that the corrupt federal government chooses to set their sights on?

We’re clearly entering some sort of science fiction reality where anything seems to be possible.  We have flying vaccines on the backs of GM mosquitoes, as well as the imminent arrival of nanotechnology and nanobots in our daily lives, which only portends more nightmarish developments from the Department of Defense.  But here is the latest from Honeywell, a huge military contractor working with DARPA:

Added: 28. January 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011
Michael Edwards and Alex Thomas

Source: Activist Post and The Intel Hub

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Jan 09

In ancient times, Gorgon was a mythical Greek creature whose unblinking eyes turned to stone those who beheld them. In modern times, Gorgon may be one of the military’s most valuable new tools.

This winter, the Air Force is set to deploy to Afghanistan what it says is a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town.

The system, made up of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, can transmit live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements. It can send up to 65 different images to different users; by contrast, Air Force drones today shoot video from a single camera over a “soda straw” area the size of a building or two.

With the new tool, analysts will no longer have to guess where to point the camera, said Maj. Gen. James O. Poss, the Air Force’s assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. “Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we’re looking at, and we can see everything.”

Continue reading »

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Dec 28

A solar-powered pilotless plane which was built in the UK has been recognised as having smashed the world record for the longest time spent in the air by an unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV), after staying aloft for two weeks.

The record-breaking flight took place in July over the US and has now been ratified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), which governs air sports records. The 50kg craft remained airborne for 14 days, 22 minutes and 8 seconds – 11 times longer than the previous record.

Potential uses for the aircraft, which is built by defence technology company Qinetiq, include the long-distance tracking of hijacked ships and aerial monitoring of forest fires. Chris Kelleher, chief designer, said: “This aircraft can help track pirates off the Horn of Africa and also ensure that soldiers’ communications remain unaffected when fighting in mountainous or hilly terrain.”

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Sep 01

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s first MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle to be stationed along the northern border of the United States lands at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Dec. 6, 2008. (Reuters/Department of Defense/Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp/Handout)

PHOENIX (Reuters) – The U.S. government will have unmanned surveillance aircraft monitoring the whole southwest border with Mexico from September 1, as it ramps up border security in this election year, a top official said on Monday.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said U.S. Customs and Border Protection would begin flying a Predator B drone out of Corpus Christi, Texas, on Wednesday, extending the reach of the agency’s unmanned surveillance aircraft across the length of the nearly 2,000 mile border with Mexico.

“With the deployment of the Predator in Texas, we will now be able to cover the southwest border from the El Centro sector in California all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, providing critical aerial surveillance assistance to personnel on the ground,” Napolitano said during a conference call.

“This is yet another critical step we have taken in ensuring the safety of the border and is an important tool in our security toolbox,” she added. Continue reading »

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Aug 25

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says craft has ‘main message of peace and friendship’ but is intended to deter aggression

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a ceremony inaugurating Iran’s new long-range unmanned bomber aircraft. The drone has been dubbed the Karrar, meaning ‘striker’ in Persian. (AP)

Iran has unveiled an unmanned, long-distance bomber drone described by the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as “an ambassador of death” to Tehran’s enemies.

At a ceremony today, Ahmadinejad said the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – named Karrar, meaning “striker” in Persian – had “a main message of peace and friendship” but was intended to deter aggression “and keep the enemy paralysed in his bases”.

The presentation came as technicians began fuelling the Islamic republic’s first nuclear power station, at Bushehr, in a development Israel has described as “totally unacceptable”.

The US and Britain say the Bushehr plant, which is monitored by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, poses no proliferation threat because Russia is supplying the nuclear fuel and will remove the spent fuel rods, minimising any risk that they could be used to make nuclear weapons.

Iran is under UN sanctions to force a halt to uranium enrichment because of fears that it secretly plans to build nuclear weapons. It flatly denies having any such intention.

(Iran has not the capability to enrich uranium over 90%, which is neccessary to built a nuclear weapon.)

Ahmed Vahidi, the Iranian defence minister, said the Karrar had a range of up to 620 miles, which is not far enough to reach Israel.

Iranian state TV reported that the UAV could carry four cruise missiles, two 250lb bombs or one 500lb bomb.

The drone was the latest item of military hardware to be inaugurated by Iran against a background of continuing tension over the nuclear issue.

On Friday, Tehran test-fired a new surface-to-surface missile called the Qiam (meaning “rising”). It has already developed long-range missiles capable of hitting Israel and eastern Europe and of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Earlier this month, the Debka file website, which appears to have links to Israeli intelligence (LOL! Debka file is a Mossad asset!), reported that the father of Iran’s UAV programme, Reza Baruni, had been assassinated in a bomb attack in his home town of Ahwaz, in Khuzestan.

Continue reading »

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Jun 24

See also: Big Brother DHS And DOD Want To Open US Skies To Spy Drones

A Predator drone takes off on a U.S. Customs Border Patrol mission from Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department will use unmanned surveillance aircraft and other technological upgrades in its ongoing effort to protect the southern border of the United States.

The department said Wednesday it has obtained Federal Aviation Administration permission to operate unmanned planes along the Texas border and throughout the Gulf Coast region. Customs and Border Protection will base a surveillance drone at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas. Continue reading »

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Jun 15

Just in case Americans want to resist the New World Order.

Government under pressure to open US skies to unmanned drones despite safety concerns

Predator B is powered by a turboprop engine and can carry a greatly increased payload.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unmanned aircraft have proved their usefulness and reliability in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the pressure’s on to allow them in the skies over the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been asked to issue flying rights for a range of pilotless planes to carry out civilian and law-enforcement functions but has been hesitant to act. Officials are worried that they might plow into airliners, cargo planes and corporate jets that zoom around at high altitudes, or helicopters and hot air balloons that fly as low as a few hundred feet off the ground.

On top of that, these pilotless aircraft come in a variety of sizes. Some are as big as a small airliner, others the size of a backpack. The tiniest are small enough to fly through a house window.

The obvious risks have not deterred the civilian demand for pilotless planes. Tornado researchers want to send them into storms to gather data. Energy companies want to use them to monitor pipelines. State police hope to send them up to capture images of speeding cars’ license plates. Local police envision using them to track fleeing suspects.

Like many robots, the planes have advantages over humans for jobs that are dirty, dangerous or dull. And the planes often cost less than piloted aircraft and can stay aloft far longer.

“There is a tremendous pressure and need to fly unmanned aircraft in (civilian) airspace,” Hank Krakowski, FAA’s head of air traffic operations, told European aviation officials recently. “We are having constant conversations and discussions, particularly with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, to figure out how we can do this safely with all these different sizes of vehicles.” Continue reading »

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Jun 02

Why? Because ‘they’ are spending your money, not theirs!!!

Worldwide annual military budget rose 5.9% in real terms according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

F35 Joint Strike Fighters
The US’s decision to increase its F35 Joint Strike Fighters programme is in keeping with a wider global pattern that bucks the trend towards austerity. (AP)

Governments around the world might be heralding an age of austerity, and warning citizens that they will need to cut public services, but the aftershocks of the global financial crisis have had little impact on military budgets, a leading thinktank says.

Last year, $1.5 trillion (£1tn)was spent on weapons, an annual increase in real terms of 5.9%, according to the latest report by Sipri, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The US accounted for more than half of the total increase, though arms spending increased fastest in Asian countries, with China raising its military expenditure most, followed by India. Global spending has risen by nearly 50% over the past decade, said Sipri.

The US headed the list of the world’s top 10 arms buyers last year, spending $661bn on military equipment. It was followed by China (spending an estimated $100bn), France ($63.9bn), Britain ($58.3bn), Russia (an estimated $53.3bn) and Japan ($51.8bn), according to the report.
Continue reading »

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Feb 22

The UK is broke, …

Britain At Risk Of Worse Government Debt Crisis Than Greece

… but there is always more than enough taxpayer money left for corporate pals, Big Brother and the New World Order.

The Government is funding new research aimed at getting permission to fly drones anywhere in Britain, in a move which could benefit defence companies BAE Systems, EADS and Thales but inflame civil liberty concerns.

Police aerial surveillance drone
Eye in the sky: a Merseyside police officer tests a remote control helicopter Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

The use of unmanned aircraft for surveillance hit the headlines last week, after Merseyside Police had to ground their drone when it was discovered they were using it without a licence.

But a government-funded European group is pushing ahead with work aimed at showing that drones, known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), can safely be used in civil airspace. Drones cannot be flown outside regulated areas at present because they are controlled remotely and do not have the ability to “see”.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) must be satisfied the aircraft has the same ability as a piloted plane to spot unexpected obstacles and take action to avoid them, before they will be let loose above Britain. The CAA also restricts the use of drones for surveillance because of concerns about invasion of privacy.

The European Defence Agency has hired aerospace and defence group EADS to research how communication via satellites can be used “for the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into European airspace”, with the goal of starting demonstration missions next year.

The study aims to show that satellites are reliable enough to allow uninterrupted communication between the drone and the person piloting it remotely, giving the aircraft an adequate “sense and avoid” capability to make it safe to fly in built-up areas and to share the sky with other planes.

Drones are of interest to the military and the police as surveillance tools, and could be used by immigration authorities for patrolling Britain’s coastline. But concerns have been raised because the UK is already one of the most “watched” countries in Europe, with the proliferation of CCTV cameras. Continue reading »

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Feb 11


Police forces all over the UK will soon be able to draw on unmanned aircraft from a national fleet, according to Home Office plans. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers, and will be in place in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Surveillance is only the start, however. Military drones quickly moved from reconnaissance to strike, and if the British police follow suit, their drones could be armed — but with non-lethal weapons rather than Hellfire missiles.

The flying robot fleet will range from miniature tactical craft such as the miniature AirRobot being tested by Essex police, to BAE System’s new HERTI drone as flown in Afghanistan. The drones are cheaper than police helicopters — some of which will be retired — and are as wide as 12m in the case of HERTI.

Watching events on the ground without being able to act is frustrating. Targets often got away before an unarmed drone could summon assistance. In fact, in 2000 it was reported that an airborne drone spotted Osama bin Laden but could do nothing but watch him escape. So the RAF has been carrying out missions in Afghanistan with missile-armed Reapers since 2007. From the ground these just look like regular aircraft.

The police have already had a similar experience with CCTV. As well as observing, some of these are now equipped with speakers. Pioneered in Middleborough, the talking CCTV allows an operator to tell off anyone engaging in vandalism, graffiti or littering.

Unmanned aircraft can also be fitted with speakers, such as the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which could not only warn fly tippers that they were breaking the law but also be loud enough to drive them away.

The LRAD is a highly directional speaker made of a flat array of piezoelectric transducers, producing intense beam of sound in a 30-degree cone. It can be used as a loudhailer, or deafen the target with a jarring, discordant noise. Some ships now carry LRAD as an anti-pirate measure: It was used to drive off an attack on the Seabourn Spirit off Somalia in 2005.

LRAD makers American Technology prefer to call its product a device rather than a weapon, and use terms such as “deterrent tones” and “influencing behaviour.” Police in the US have already adopted a vehicle-mounted LRAD for crowd control, breaking up protests at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last year, although there have been warnings about the risk of hearing damage.

The LRAD has been tested on the Austrian S-100 unmanned helicopter, and the technology is ready if there is a police requirement.

But rather than just driving them away, a police drone should be able to stop fleeing criminals in their tracks. Helicopters already mount powerful searchlights, and strobe lighting capabilities can turn such systems into effective nonlethal weapons. High-intensity strobes can cause dizziness, disorientation and loss of balance making it virtually impossible to run away.

This effect was first harnessed in the “Photic Driver” made by British company Allen International in 1973. However, it has taken improvement in lighting technology (such as fast-switching Xenon lights) and an understanding of the physiology involved to make such weapons practical.

A “light based personnel immobilisation device” developed by Peak Beam Systems Inc has been successfully tested by the US military, and work to mount it on an unmanned helicopter in the States is under way.

This sort of light would be too dangerous for a manned aircraft because of the crew being affected. But an unmanned “strober” could be a literal crime stopper, and something we could see deployed within the next couple of years.

Even the smallest drones could be used for tactical police operations. As far back as 1972 the Home Office looked at model aircraft as an alternative to rubber bullets, literally flying them into rioters to knock them off their feet.

French company Tecknisolar Seni has demonstrated a portable drone armed with a double-barrelled 44mm Flash-Ball gun. Used by French special police units, the one-kilo Flash-Ball resembles a large calibre handgun and fires non-lethal rounds, including tear gas and rubber impact rounds to bring down a suspect without permanent damage — “the same effect as the punch of a champion boxer,” claim makers Verney-Carron.

However, last year there were questions over the use of Flash-Ball rounds by French police. Like other impact rounds, the Flash-Ball is meant to be aimed at the body — firing from a remote, flying platform is likely to increase the risk of head injury.

Another option is the taser. Taser stun guns are now so light (about 150 grams) that they could be mounted on the smaller drones. Antoine di Zazzo, head of SMP Technologies, which distributes tasers in France, says the company is fitting one to a small quad-rotor iDrone (another quad-rotor toy helicopter), which some have called a “flying saucer”. Continue reading »

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Jan 24

Not just in the UK: Police State: DRONES used to spy on AMERICANS!

Arms manufacturer BAE Systems developing national strategy with consortium of government agencies

Drones could be used for civilian surveillance in the UK as early as 2012. Source: BAE

Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­”routine” monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.

The arms manufacturer BAE Systems, which produces a range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for war zones, is adapting the military-style planes for a consortium of government agencies led by Kent police.

Documents from the South Coast Partnership, a Home Office-backed project in which Kent police and others are developing a national drone plan with BAE, have been obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. Continue reading »

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