Whether we like it or not, the fact is military drones have become a mainstay in modern times. The technology surrounding these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is growing by leaps and bounds. It appears that the pinnacle of this technology is the RQ-4 Global Hawk, which was designed and built by Northrop Grumman and operated by both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. The result of this collaborative effort is a drone capable of climbing 60,000 ft (roughly 11 miles) above the earth’s surface and remain there for 28 hours. During that time, the Global is capable of surveying 40,000 squares miles.
Browsing military drones
After years of ramping up covert drone strikes overseas, this May President Obama announced that he would be cutting back on the use of unmanned drones in the fight against terror. The announcement this spring heralds an entirely new direction for an administration that has been viewed by most countries in the Middle East as heavy handed in its approach with using drones to assassinate suspected terrorists. An interesting aspect of the shift is that control over the drones and target selection would not be managed by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), but instead the DOD (Department of Defense). The most surprising admission from the Obama administration was that four Americans have been killed in drone attacks outside the regular battlefield areas of Afghanistan and Iraq. (1) Ironically, as the Administration promises to ease off on drone attacks overseas, the use of drones for surveillance against U.S. civilians is dramatically on the rise inside of the United States.
What is flying over Quincy, Massachusetts and why? During the past several weeks aircraft have been flying low and slow circling over Quincy, Massachusetts. However, no one knows why. No one except the federal government, that is, and they are not divulging any details about the recent aerial activity. However, the recent activity has local residents concerned if their safety is at risk. Has the government heightened its domestic aerial surveillance and if so, why over Quincy, MA specifically? Unfortunately, the few facts derived from eyewitness accounts leave more questions than answers. The aircraft have been flying nearly every night for the past few weeks except on nights when it has been extremely cloudy or rainy. It has been reported by witnesses that the aircraft begin their flights around dusk and continue throughout the night until dawn. All the while the aircraft steadily loop from one end of the area to the other. However, no one is saying why. Local officials, such as the City Councilman and the Mayor, are in the dark as to what is going. Both men state when they posed their questions to the FAA the only answers they received in return was, “I can’t tell you that.” (1) So it seems the FAA is well aware, but is being tight-lipped.
Life is imitating art with the advent of drones. Until recently, drones were only seen as science fiction depicted in the popular syfy show SG-1, where drones are used by advanced alien cultures, the evil Goa’ulds. The general public first learned about drones when the computer operated unmanned planes were used as spy weapons and later to target terrorists in Afghanistan in missile strikes. Drone strikes are now a common occurrence that many people accept as the cost of war. It’s not unusual that military weapons and techniques trickle down to the public and it was only a matter of time before the lure of drones snagged police forces. Financially strapped law enforcement leaders are always looking for more effective ways to fight crime. The drone may be a solution for many police and sheriff departments as the economy continues to tank, budgets are cut deeper and the threat of crime continues to rise.
Greetings everyone – this is your friendly editor, just stopping in toward the end of the month to share an interesting infographic that I received just last week. Our loyal readers will know that we’ve been closely following the advances in technology for unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as the increased use of those drones for intelligence surveillance operations around the world and domestically. Last week, I received a very interesting infographic from Charles Sipe, the Executive Editor at Criminal Justice Degree Schools. The infographic covers facts about the military use of those drones. I thought it was pretty neat – please give it a look and let us know what you think in the comments section below. Here’s what Charles had to say about the infographic: The controversy over the use of military drones by the CIA and U.S. military to attack suspected terrorists in foreign countries continues to receive widespread criticism from all around the world. One common criticism is that it is unethical for a country to attack people in another country with remote control flying robots, especially when they drop 100 pound Hellfire missiles that could potentially cause civilian casualties. Is it justified for the United States to attack terrorist targets with military drones? Take a look at this infographic below and let us know what you think in the comments. Infographic by Criminal Justice Degree Schools
Much confusion, ambiguity and speculation is circulating the Internet about a mysterious spy plane that is allegedly now in the clutches of Iranian officials. On December 8, 2011, Iranian state-run TV revealed images of what appears to be a RQ-170 Sentinel drone, nicknamed the “Beast of Kandahar”. The photo released by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which rapidly circulated the worldwide media, shows the drone to be almost completely intact in an undisclosed location in Iran. It is a craft that Tehran says its forces downed earlier this week. The fact that the drone appears to be unscathed and completely intact provokes two interesting yet worrying observations.