South Korea to Transfer UAV, Missile Technologies to UAE
Korea promised to transfer technology for its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), following its successful bid to build four nuclear reactors in the Middle East nation, a government source said Thursday. Defense Minister Kim Tae-young made the commitment during his visit to the UAE in November to discuss bilateral defense issues as well as to support the landmark $20 billion deal, the source told The Korea Times. Kim also offered to provide key arms technologies related to the homegrown Hyunmoo ballistic and cruise missiles to the UAE as part of efforts to expand defense cooperation between the two countries, he said on condition of anonymity. Technology on an electromagnetic pulse bomb (EMP) is among the key items for cooperation promised by Korea, said the source. The state-funded Agency for Defense Development (ADD) has been pushing to develop the bomb capable of neutralizing an enemy's command-and-control, communications and defense radar systems. EMPs can severely disrupt electronic equipment, which is susceptible to damage by transient power surges. An EMP attack is generated by a very short, intense energy pulse or high-altitude nuclear blast. The agency plans to complete the development by 2014. "The UAE asked Korea to provide such key arms technologies as part of the package deal for the reactor contract," the source said. "Korea's positive response to the request played an important role in sealing the deal." Speculation has been growing after the agreement that there could have been some behind-the-scene promises to satisfy the UAE needs. At that time, Seoul's defense ministry declined to elaborate, only saying the two sides exchanged views on ways to expand bilateral defense cooperation programs. As for the UAV, Korea will offer the technology on the Night Intruder-300, also known as RQ-101, built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), according to the source. KAI built the RQ-101 corps-level battlefield-reconnaissance UAV between 2001 and 2004. The Korean Army bought five sets of RQ-101s, with each set including six aircraft, a launcher and a ground-control station. KAI is also discussing the sale of the RQ-101 to Libya.
Analysis: A look at US airstrikes in Pakistan through September 2009.
In August and September of 2009, the US covert air campaign in Pakistan's lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal agencies scored four high value al Qaeda and Taliban targets. The deaths of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and three senior al Qaeda leaders have helped to fuel the push for increasing the role of strikes in Pakistan. The US is now urging Pakistan to take on the Quetta Shura, led by Mullah Omar, and other targets in Baluchistan, and has considered expanding the air campaign outside Pakistan's tribal areas. The US is also considering switching from a counterinsurgency-based strategy in Afghanistan, which focuses on securing the Afghan people and building up the government and military, to a counterterrorism-based strategy that focuses on covert raids and airstrikes against al Qaeda in Pakistan. This potential strategy shift is meeting resistance from circles within the US military and the intelligence communities, who while supportive of the present air campaign in Pakistan, warn that the tactic has limited use in dismantling al Qaeda and believe that such a strategy would destabilize Pakistan and lead to a Taliban takeover of much of Afghanistan. As the debate over the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan continues, the US air campaign in Pakistan has not abated. The number of strikes this year has already exceeded the total from last year, and here is no sign of letting up. A look at the publicly available data on the US air campaign in Pakistan shows a marked increase in the frequency in attacks since 2008. These attacks are also becoming increasingly lethal. A little more than one in three of the strikes have killed a High Value Target (HVT). An overwhelming number of strikes – nearly 90 percent – have taken place against al Qaeda and Taliban targets in North and South Waziristan. Notably, a large percentage of the high value targets killed were killed in a tribal region operated by a Taliban leader whom the Pakistani military and government consider an ally.
Military is awash in data from drones.
As the military rushes to place more spy drones over Afghanistan, the remote-controlled planes are producing so much video intelligence that analysts are finding it more and more difficult to keep up. Air Force drones collected nearly three times as much video over Afghanistan and Iraq last year as in 2007--about 24 years' worth if watched continuously. That volume is expected to multiply in the coming years as drones are added to the fleet and as some start using multiple cameras to shoot in many directions. A group of young analysts already watches every second of the footage live as it is streamed to Langley Air Force Base here and to other intelligence centers, and they quickly pass warnings about insurgents and roadside bombs to troops in the field. But military officials also see much potential in using the archives of video collected by the drones for later analysis, like searching for patterns of insurgent activity over time. To date, only a small fraction of the stored video has been retrieved for such intelligence purposes. Government agencies are still having trouble making sense of the flood of data they collect for intelligence purposes, a point underscored by the 9/11 Commission and, more recently, by President Obama after the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound passenger flight on Christmas Day. Mindful of those lapses, the Air Force and other military units are trying to prevent an overload of video collected by the drones, and they are turning to the television industry to learn how to quickly share video clips and display a mix of data in ways that make analysis faster and easier. They are even testing some of the splashier techniques used by broadcasters, like the telestrator that John Madden popularized for scrawling football plays. It could be used to warn troops about a threatening vehicle or to circle a compound that a drone should attack. "Imagine you are tuning in to a football game without all the graphics," said Lucius Stone, an executive at Harris Broadcast Communications, a provider of commercial technology that is working with the military. "You don't know what the score is. You don't know what the down is. It's just raw video. And that's how the guys in the military have been using it." The demand for the Predator and Reaper drones has surged since the terror attacks in 2001, and they have become among the most critical weapons for hunting insurgent leaders and protecting allied forces. The military relies on the video feeds to catch insurgents burying roadside bombs and to find their houses or weapons caches. Most commanders are now reluctant to send a convoy down a road without an armed drone watching over it. The Army, the Marines, and the special forces are also deploying hundreds of smaller surveillance drones. And the CIA uses drones to mount missile strikes against Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.
“The US is just doing what others have done for years”
Videos of US unmanned drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan have become a hit on YouTube. Keith Thomson, a Huffington post columnist, compared these videos to well-known beheading videos made by terrorists..
US Orders 12 More RQ-7 Shadow UAVs, Terminals and Support Equipment.
AAI Corp., a Hunt Valley, MD-based unit of Textron, received a $39 million production order for additional RQ-7 Shadow tactical UAVs. The order includes 2 Shadow units for the US Army and 1 unit for the US Marine Corps. Each Shadow unit consists of 4 Shadow aircraft; 2 One System ground control stations and ground data terminals; 4 One System remote video terminals (OSRVTs); a One System portable ground control station; and associated components and support equipment. The Shadow is a small, lightweight, tactical UAV system. The system is comprised of air vehicles, modular mission payloads, ground control stations, launch and recovery equipment, and communications equipment. It carries enough supplies and spares for an initial 72 hours of operation and is transportable in 2 high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) with shelters, and two additional HMMWVs with trailers as troop carriers. The air vehicle is constructed of composite materials, with a wingspan of 12.8 feet, and length of 11.2 feet. Power is provided by a commercial 38-horsepower rotary engine that uses motor gasoline. The payload has a commercially available electro-optic and infrared camera, and communications equipment for command and control and imagery dissemination. Onboard global positioning system instrumentation provides navigation information. The air vehicle is intended to provide coverage of a brigade area of interest for up to 4 hours, at 31 miles from the launch and recovery site. The maximum range is 78 miles (limited by data link capability), and operations are generally conducted from 8,000 to 10,000 feet above ground level during the day and 6,000 to 8,000 feet above ground level at night. The air vehicle uses a pneumatic launcher and is recovered by a tactical automatic landing system without pilot intervention on the runway. The air vehicle is stopped using an arresting hook and cable system. Including this new order, a total of 116 Shadow UAVs have been ordered by the Army, Army National Guard, Army Special Forces and Marine Corps. To date, AAI has delivered 91 Shadow systems and deliveries now extend through March 2011.
13 Taliban Smashed!
A UK Harrier has been directed onto a group of six Taliban fighters after a SAF and RPG contact with British Troops in Helmand. At the start of the clip the Laser/GPS Guided Paveway 4 is already travelling towards the enemy. Almost straight away another 7 walk into the RV location. The pilot seems to slighty guide the bomb away for a second then back onto them after confiming the target.
University of North Dakota First to Offer a Four-Year Degree in UAV Piloting.
A dozen aspiring pilots at the University of North Dakota can't wait to never get off the ground. Following a shifting military strategy that calls for more and more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) supporting troops on the ground, U. of ND is offering the first four-year degree for UAV pilots hoping to take the sticks in a field expected to swell to a $20 billion industry over the next decade. Most UAVs deployed in the military are engaged in reconnaissance and intelligence gathering (punctuated by the occasional strike), but the brass has expressed a desire for faster, more networked fighting forces on the ground, and that means more UAVs acting as eyes in the sky. While Cold War-era intel gathering employed satellites and high-flying spy planes to follow broader actions like following troop column movements or monitoring large missile installations, the emerging threats of the 21st century -- multiple small, mobile targets hiding in very hard to reach places -- require a more fleet-of-foot, unit-level means of intelligence gathering and troop support. As such, military drones like the Predator and Reaper have enjoyed a growing role in counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but less visibly private sector UAV usage is ballooning as well. A decade ago, there were about 50 UAVs in service; today there are more than 2,400. Civil and commercial applications include weather monitoring, private security, border monitoring, search and rescue and perhaps someday even cargo delivery and other service-oriented tasks. A tech-savvy generation of students is stepping up to fill a pilot shortage in the field, and if things continue on their current course, in four years time the program's first graduates should find themselves quite employable. That is, at least until the drones become autonomous.