Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stealthy UAVs and Drone Wars

USAF Stealth UAV Has Ties To Previous Designs.

Aerospace Daily and Defense Report (12/10, Fulghum) reported the recently-revealed USAF stealth RQ-170 has "linkages to earlier designs from Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs, including the stealthy DarkStar and Polecat UAVs." The RQ-170 has a "tailless flying wing" featuring communication sensors and is currently serving in Afghanistan.

Drones Being Used Successfully In Pakistan.

On its "Danger Room" blog, Wired (12/10, Schactman) reported on the US military's use of drones in the Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to some estimates, drones have killed "as many as a thousand people" around Pakistan. While America is currently not invading Pakistan, the drones are allowed to pursue militants as long as "the government in Islamabad [is] notified first." These drone strikes are "widely credited for taking out senior leaders of both the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda," but have been criticized as an "extension of the war in Central Asia fought under uncertain authority and with questionable morality."

That "questionable morality" comment is just a smear, but it is interesting stuff anyway.