August 7, 2004 |
With its plank-like wings and a leisurely cruising speed of 84 mph, the propeller-driven Predator spy plane looked pokey compared with the fighter jets zooming across the desert sky. But when the Predator made a picture-perfect landing, 600 people encircled it. The crowd appeared eager to hoist the pilot to their shoulders -- except the plane doesn't have a pilot or a cockpit or any windows. The Predator was "piloted" by a computer operator working a joystick in a nearby trailer.
September 9, 2011 |
It wasn't long after the World Trade Center twin towers fell that U.S. Army special forces units were dispatched to the desolate outcroppings of Afghanistan to stalk and eradicate the Taliban. The commandos were outfitted with radios, night vision goggles and automatic rifles. But a select few carried a new high-tech tool to hunt down the enemy. It was a tiny robotic spy plane, so small it would fit in a backpack. Soldiers would throw the drone into the sky, where it would fly up to 400 feet, shoot video of what's ahead and transmit those images back to the soldiers.
December 2, 1995 |
With 20,000 U.S. troops poised to enter Bosnia on a potentially bloody peacekeeping mission, the CIA and the Pentagon had hoped to rely to an unprecedented degree on unmanned spy aircraft to provide GIs with vital intelligence as they slog across the steep hills and cloud-covered valleys of the Balkans.
January 2, 2003 |
San Diego got pounded during the early-1990s recession. But the hammering lately is the sound of new construction. While the state and national economies stagnate, California's second-largest city is experiencing a residential renaissance. Developers have completed more than 2,000 condos, lofts and apartments downtown over the last three years and are planning 9,000 more in the next five years.
February 3, 2002 |
In Afghanistan, unmanned aircraft have come as close to being war heroes as machines can get. They are providing invaluable reconnaissance, damage assessment and other intelligence information. Some have even hit enemy targets. All at zero risk to American pilots. Despite their increasing acceptance by a once-skeptical military, however, unmanned aircraft will be hard to find when the Pentagon unveils its new budget Monday.
January 3, 2002 |
President Bush has been able to tune in video images of Taliban targets in Afghanistan from the safety and comfort of the White House, giving the commander in chief a powerful capability. The top-secret television feed from the war zone is forwarded via military satellites from the Predator, a remotely controlled spy plane built by a relatively obscure San Diego aerospace firm.
September 12, 2008 |
As part of an escalating offensive against extremist targets in Pakistan, the United States is deploying Predator aircraft equipped with sophisticated new surveillance systems that were instrumental in crippling the insurgency in Iraq, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials. The use of the specially equipped drones comes amid a fundamental shift in U.S. strategy in the area. After years of deferring to Pakistani authorities, the Bush administration is turning toward unilateral American military operations -- a gambit that could increase pressure on Islamic militants but risks alienating a country that has been a key counter-terrorism ally.
October 3, 2001 |
Even before terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, the Pentagon and the defense industry were gearing up for a new kind of warfare taking shape in Afghanistan and elsewhere, designing spy equipment and weapons that could pinpoint moving targets and knock them out in minutes.
January 29, 2006 |
Despite protests from other countries, the United States is expanding a top-secret effort to kill suspected terrorists with drone-fired missiles as it pursues an increasingly decentralized Al Qaeda, U.S. officials say. The CIA's failed Jan. 13 attempt to assassinate Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri in Pakistan was the latest strike in the "targeted killing" program, a highly classified initiative that officials say has broadened as the network splintered and fled Afghanistan.