Friday, August 21, 2009

UAV News

EADS Conducts Barracuda UAV Flight Tests In Canada. Aviation International News (8/20, Pocock) reported, "A second copy of the Barracuda combat UAV demonstrator made four successful flights from Goose Bay, Labrador, according to EADS. ... The demonstrator flew autonomously with monitoring from the ground station for safety purposes only, EADS said." EADS said the tests, which come as part of the German Defense Ministry's Agile UAV in Network Centric Environment study, will help the company "gather fundamental insights for operationally mature next-generation UAV products–either alone or in cooperation with European partners."

C.I.A. Said To Use Outsiders To Put Bombs On Drones New York Times (8/21, Risen and Mazzetti) reported, that private security contractors are used by the CIA to assemble and load Hellfire missiles onto Predator UAVs.

The contractors are not involved in selecting targets, and CIA employees “pull the trigger remotely” from Langley.
From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees.

US Predators Target The Haqqanis In North Waziristan The Long War Journal (8/21, Roggio) reported, "An unmanned US Predator aircraft fired missiles at the Haqqani Network in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal area of North Waziristan. Two Hellfire missiles struck in the town of Darpa Khel near Miramshah, a known stronghold of the Haqqani Network. Three people were reported killed, but no high value Taliban or al Qaeda targets have been reported killed at this time."

Aerostat Used To Measure Algae In Lake Erie. The Cleveland Plain Dealer (8/20, Scott) reported, "Some hope that the aerostat – that's 'aero' as in air and 'stat' as in stationary – might be another valuable weapon in an annual battle to measure, understand and someday contain the growth of algae in the warm and shallow waters of western Lake Erie. The $125,000 high-tech balloon, which at 25,000 cubic feet is about the size of a two-story house, was initially designed by a South Dakota company for military surveillance and communications." Jeffrey Faunce, deputy for experiments at the Army's Space & Missile Defense Battle Lab, said "For the military its primary application is to test payloads – primarily communications and surveillance – for flying in the stratosphere, above 60,000 feet." However, the SkySentry Aerostat "also has a dual-use technology that we think is very exciting – being able to work on environmental studies to hopefully help mitigate the algal problem in western Lake Erie," he added.

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