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Unmanned Aircraft

WORLD
June 7, 2010 | By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times
As it rapidly expands its drone program over Afghanistan, the U.S. military is turning to the technology that powers NFL broadcasts, ESPN and TV news to catalog a flood of information coming from the cameras of its fleet of unmanned aircraft. U.S. military archives hold 24 million minutes of video collected by Predators and other remotely piloted aircraft that have become an essential tool for commanders. But the library is largely useless because analysts often have no way of knowing exactly what they have, or any way to search for information that is particularly valuable.
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BUSINESS
January 30, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
The Federal Aviation Administration has pushed back the date when it will propose new rules for the use of small drones in national airspace. The FAA had said it planned on issuing its proposal, seen as the first step toward opening the nation's skyways to drone aircraft, by this month. But now the earliest that the rules will be published is sometime "this spring," the FAA said.   The agency did not provide specifics on why the date was being postponed. Meanwhile, a number of industries interested in using drones, such as utility companies and law enforcement agencies, are awaiting the FAA's proposal.
BUSINESS
November 27, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
The U.S. Navy's new bat-winged experimental drone has been delivered to an aircraft carrier deck to undergo handling tests aboard the ship. The Navy said that sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman took delivery of the drone on Monday from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, where it had been undergoing tests. Truman is the first aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. The drone, named the X-47B, is designed to perform one of aviation's most difficult maneuvers: land on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
WORLD
March 29, 2010 | By Julian E. Barnes
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.
NEWS
February 3, 2002 | WILLIAM M. ARKIN, TIMES SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
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.
BUSINESS
August 12, 2011 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
A test flight of an experimental aircraft traveling at 20 times the speed of sound ended prematurely Thursday morning when the arrowhead-shaped vehicle failed and stopped sending back real-time data to engineers and scientists who were monitoring the mission. The unmanned aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, was meant to test new technologies that could give the Pentagon the capability to deliver non-nuclear military strikes anywhere on the globe in less than an hour.
NEWS
January 19, 2002 | PETER PAE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
When the Central Intelligence Agency jury-rigged a remote-controlled spy plane with missiles and then used them to take out a Taliban target in Afghanistan, it was a first step in revolutionizing air-to-ground combat. Instead of a pilot in a cockpit, a computer operator in an air-conditioned trailer hundreds of miles away used a keyboard and a joystick to fire the missile.
BUSINESS
April 3, 2004 | From Bloomberg News
Northrop Grumman Corp., the nation's third-largest defense firm, received a $202-million Air Force contract Friday to produce four unmanned Global Hawk spy planes -- the kind tested in Iraq and Afghanistan. Northrop will supply a total of four planes with different configurations of sensors, as well as mission-control equipment, extra sensors and other spare parts, the Air Force said. Work will be completed by October 2005. Unmanned spy planes are a central part of efforts by the U.S.
WORLD
January 18, 2005 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
Improved technology and better planning before November's battle for Fallouja helped U.S. forces avoid the "friendly fire" casualties that have plagued other large-scale military operations, Marine Corps commanders say. Col. John Coleman, chief of staff for the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said new technology, rushed to Fallouja within days of the battle, allowed air and ground units to know the precise location of U.S. forces in real time.
NATIONAL
August 5, 2012 | By Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - On a chaparral-covered hillside 40 miles north of Los Angeles in June 2010, researchers from the Department of Homeland Security hid a device the size of a pack of cigarettes that emitted a safe pulse of low-grade radiation. It was a stand-in for a dirty bomb, or fallout from a nuclear meltdown. Nearby, a pilot toggled a joystick, and a gray drone with the wingspan of a California condor banked through the sky. As the plane's sensor sniffed for radioactive isotopes, law enforcement officers and firefighters watched a portable controller that looked like an oversized Game Boy. In minutes, a warning signal glowed on the screen.
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