March 29, 2010 |
As part of an effort to extend the military's "warrior culture" to unmanned planes, the Air Force is overhauling how it trains the crews that operate its rapidly growing fleet of Predators, Reapers and other remotely piloted aircraft. The changes in training will affect hundreds of personnel who fly the unmanned aircraft remotely over war zones from distant bases and control their powerful cameras and targeting systems. The effort is part of a move by the Air Force to put as much emphasis on drones as it does on traditional fighters and bombers, officials said.
January 15, 2010 |
Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Peshawar, Pakistan -- A U.S. drone missile attack that may have been aimed at Pakistan's most-wanted militant killed 16 people in the country's troubled tribal areas Thursday, the latest in a dramatic step-up of such strikes since a Dec. 30 bombing killed seven CIA employees and contractors. In the last two weeks, U.S. drones have carried out at least eight strikes in the country's largely ungoverned tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.
December 18, 2009 |
Iraqi insurgents have intercepted live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, tapping a key component of the Pentagon's vaunted surveillance and weapons system with a $26 program available on the Internet. Militants did not hack into any military communications systems, officials said, but instead were able to view raw satellite feeds of live video shot by cameras on the unmanned 27-foot planes. The drones, flown by pilots based in the U.S., use satellite feeds to transmit video. Officials said they have evidence that video feeds were intercepted in Iraq and do not believe any feeds were intercepted in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
November 2, 2009 |
The Pentagon plans to dramatically increase the surveillance capabilities of its most advanced unmanned aircraft next year, adding so many video feeds that a drone which now stares down at a single house or vehicle could keep constant watch on nearly everything that moves within an area of 1.5 square miles. The year after that, the capability will double to 3 square miles. Military officials predict that the impact on counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan will be impressive.
October 9, 2009 |
In the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, people are accustomed to the hum of American drones overhead -- and don't like it. The drones kill civilians as well as militants, they say, and use of the pilotless aircraft also tramples Pakistani sovereignty. This summer in the Swat Valley, Pakistanis again heard drones whirring in the sky, but there was a difference. They were Pakistani-owned and operated, a toe-in-the-water foray into a technology that is revolutionizing warfare. They weren't missile-carrying drones like the ones used by the U.S., but unmanned aerial vehicles that sent images of targets back to Pakistani command posts.
September 27, 2009 |
A U.S. military drone crashed Saturday in northern Iraq, hitting a regional office of Iraq's largest Sunni political party in an area that remains an insurgent stronghold, an American military official said. The unmanned aerial vehicle crashed into the local office of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Mosul. The U.S. military identified the crashed drone as a Shadow model, which does not carry weapons and is routinely used in areas like Mosul to track insurgents planting explosives.