In the 1st decade of the new millennium, Great Satan"s spending on dozens of Drones Gone Wild projects has increased exponentially, from like $350 million in 2001 to $4.1 billion in 2011! According to a thing filled with paper with writing all in it by the Teal Group Corporation, worldwide spending on drone technology will prob be sump like $11.4 billion by 2020!
CIC gives up the money shots on Drone chiz au courant:
General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator
drone (pictured) debuted during the mid-1990s, when it was deployed for
surveillance and reconnaissance missions over the Balkans. Today, the
Predator and its bigger, more powerful variant, the MQ-9 Reaper,
are the weapons of choice in the War on Terror. Their powerful
sensors and loiter endurance of up to 40 hours enable the military
and CIA to discretely take high-quality pictures and live-streaming
videos, intercept cellphone conversations, and drop laser-guided
missiles on enemy targets from five (Predator) to 10 (Reaper) miles
above the ground.
According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Great Satan’s growing fleet of hunter-killers has carried out an estimated
272 drone strikes in Pakistan alone under 44
(compared to 52 under 43). An unknown number have also been
authorized in Yemen and Somalia. While the legality and long-term
effectiveness of drone strikes remain controversial, drone strikes have proven successful in eliminating many of al-Qaeda’s senior commanders – including its second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who was killed by a drone strike in northern Pakistan – and weakening its operational core.
Great Satan"s Customs and
Border Protection have also started using unarmed Predators and Reapers
to patrol the northern and southern borders for drug
smugglers and illegal immigrants.
Tactical Military Drones
A congressional report
released in January 2012 reveals that more than one-third – or 7,494 –
of American military aircraft are now unmanned. The most prolific drone is AeroVironment’s RQ-11 Raven (pictured) – there are approximately 5,346 of these aircraft.
hand-launched, battery-powered drone weighs 4.2 lbs. and can fly at
line-of-sight ranges of up to 10 kilometres for 60 to 90 minutes at a
time. Equipped with colour video and infrared cameras, soldiers on the
ground use Ravens to
patrol bases and convoys, explore unfamiliar territory, spot snipers
and roadside bombs, and conduct other low-altitude surveillance and
reconnaissance missions before they enter potentially dangerous
The next generation of Ravens,
currently being developed by AeroVironment and the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will have both autonomous flight and
precision strike capabilities.
Stealth Fighter Drones
December 2011, citizens of Cowley County, Kan., spotted what appeared to be a 30-foot wide flying saucer
travelling down Highway 77 on the back of a flatbed lorry. It was
soon revealed that the alien cargo was the wingless fuselage of Northrop
Grumman’s most advanced stealth combat drone – the X-47B
The X-47B program,
which has cost an estimated US$813 million and consists of two nearly
identical unmanned aircraft, is part of the Navy’s Unmanned Combat
Air System Carrier Demonstration program. The computer-controlled X-47B
will be capable of taking off from, and landing on, the deck of an
aircraft carrier, refuelling itself in flight, and conducting
pre-programmed missions using GPS navigation, all without a pilot either
in cockpit or on the ground. The X-47B will be equipped with numerous
sensors for high surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and will have
two weapons bays that together carry up to 4,500 lbs.
In early 2012, robotics researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP lab made headlines when they released footage of their new “nano quadrotors” (pictured). The video
shows one nano quadrotor doing flips and another stabilizing itself
after being tossed into the air. It also shows a network of 20 nano
quadrotors arranging themselves and flying in synchronized formations,
including a figure-eight pattern. Each nano quadrotor is self-sensing and therefore capable of autonomously detecting and avoiding obstacles in its flight path. The goal
is to combine bio-inspired drones with swarm technology to create a
system of vehicles capable of operating in potentially hostile
environments – like disaster areas and warzones – with little or no
direct human supervision.
Larger drones can also be incorporated into swarm networks. In July 2011, for example, Boeing used two of its ScanEagle drones in a mock surveillance and reconnaissance swarm over eastern Oregon. The portable, catapult-launched drones
– which have a wingspan of 10.2 ft., weigh nearly 40 lbs., and can fly
as high as 16,000 ft. at 80 mph for 20 hours – simultaneously searched a
test area and mapped terrain while communicating with each other, and
with operators on the ground. This will improve efficiency by preventing
drones from performing overlapping missions.
Likewise, drone swarms
will allow multiple drones to track a target as he or she moves in and
out of a drone’s scan area, thus providing operators with better
In 2009, Air Force drones over Iraq and Afghanistan collected 24 years’ worth
of continuous video footage. Starting this spring, the Army’s
newest unmanned spycraft will collect more than three times that amount –
nearly 80 years’ worth of high-definition video – in one day.
The Boeing A-160 Hummingbird
(pictured) is a 6,500-lb. helicopter-style drone that, unlike other
drones, is capable of autonomous flight, hovering for extended periods
of time, and vertical take-off and landing.
It can fly as high as 30,000 ft. – approximately three-times higher
than conventional helicopters – at speeds of up to 160 mph for 24 hours
at a time.
The A-160 Hummingbird’s most coveted feature,
however, is its Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous
Surveillance-Imaging System, or ARGUS-IS. Named after the mythological
Greek hundred-eyed giant Argus Panoptes, meaning “all-seeing,” the
ARGUS-IS is a 1.8 gigapixel camera system with 65 independent and
steerable “windows” that allow operators to survey 36 square miles at
once. This means that the A-160 Hummingbird can automatically and
simultaneously track a group of individuals even when they split up and
travel in many different directions.
Over the next
year, the Army will deploy and test three A-160 Hummingbirds in
Afghanistan. The stated uses are surveillance, reconnaissance and
communications missions, target acquisition, and re-supply operations.
DARPA launched its second test flight of a rocket-launched hypersonic drone in August 2011. The Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle
(HTV-2) (pictured), manufactured by Lockheed Martin, successfully
detached from its Minotaur IV rocket and travelled over the Pacific
Ocean at 20 times the speed of sound, or approximately 3.6 miles per
second, for nine minutes before losing contact with ground control. The
HTV-2, which has thus far cost an estimated US$320 million, is part of
the U.S. government’s effort to develop technology capable of striking
targets anywhere on the globe within one hour.
Pic - "30 years in the future military"