December 31, 2011 |
The Air Force has bought a new hunter-killer aircraft that is the fastest and largest armed drone in its fleet. The Avenger, which cost the military $15 million, is the latest version of the Predator drones made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., a San Diego-area company that also builds the robotic MQ-9 Reapers for the Air Force and CIA. The new radar-evading aircraft, also known as the Predator C, is General Atomics' third version...
October 14, 2011 |
Concerns last week that combat drone aircraft were compromised by a computer virus were dismissed by the U.S. Air Force. In a rare disclosure, the Air Force revealed that computer systems involved in its drone program were infected with a virus, but it did not hinder flight operations in any way. "It's standard policy not to discuss the operational status of our forces," Col. Kathleen Cook, spokeswoman for Air Force Space Command, said in...
July 6, 2010 |
The U.S. military often portrays its drone aircraft as high-tech marvels that can be operated seamlessly from thousands of miles away. But Pentagon accident reports reveal that the pilotless aircraft suffer from frequent system failures, computer glitches and human error. Design and system problems were never fully addressed in the haste to push the fragile plane into combat over Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks more than eight years ago. Air Force investigators continue to cite pilot mistakes, coordination snafus, software failures, outdated technology and inadequate flight manuals.
October 27, 2011 |
The Homeland Security Department is adding three surveillance drone aircraft to a domestic fleet chiefly used to patrol the border with Mexico even though officials acknowledge they don't have enough pilots to operate the seven Predators they already possess. The new drones are being purchased after lobbying by members of the so-called drone caucus in Congress, many from districts in Southern California, a major hub of the unmanned aircraft industry. "We didn't ask for them," said a Homeland Security official who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak frankly.
February 22, 2013 |
The United Arab Emirates is close to purchasing Predator drones from a San Diego County defense contractor, sparking concern among arms control advocates. Under the proposed sale, revealed this week at a defense conference in Abu Dhabi and confirmed Friday, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of Poway will sell an undisclosed number of the robotic aircraft to the UAE armed forces for $197 million. The agreement would mark the first time a non-NATO country has obtained the American-made technology, which has reshaped modern warfare.
May 9, 2011 |
Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. has quietly developed a new spy plane that can listen in on phone conversations, use high-powered radar and shoot live video footage as it flies at 30,000 feet above the Earth. And the spy plane, expected to be unveiled Monday, would operate with or without a pilot sitting in the cockpit. Until now, U.S. military aircraft have been designed to either have a pilot on board or be an unmanned drone. But Northrop's new plane, dubbed the Firebird, can switch from being a traditional aircraft to a drone with just a few modifications.