Entries Tagged as 'Aerial Drones'

U.S. drone crashes increase overseas

December 1, 2012
from The Washington Post

The U.S. Air Force drone, on a classified spy mission over the Indian Ocean, was destined for disaster from the start.

An inexperienced military contractor, operating by remote control in shorts and a T-shirt from a trailer at Seychelles International Airport, committed blunder after blunder during a six-minute span April 4.

The pilot of the unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drone took off without permission from the control tower. One minute later, he yanked the wrong lever at his console, killing the engine without realizing why.

As he tried to make an emergency landing, he forgot to put down the wheels. The $8.9 million aircraft belly-flopped on the runway, bounced and then plunged into the tropical waters at the airport’s edge, according to a previously undisclosed Air Force accident investigation report.

The drone crashed at a civilian airport that serves a half-million passengers a year, most of them sun-seeking tourists. No one was hurt, but it was the second Reaper accident there in five months — under eerily similar circumstances. …

Read on: www.heraldnet.com/article/20121201/NEWS02/712019936

Iran says it recovered data from captured US drone

Associated Press
By Ali Akbar Dareini
April 22, 2012

Iran claimed Sunday that it had recovered data from an American spy drone that went down in Iran last year, including information that the aircraft was used to spy on Osama bin Laden weeks before he was killed. Iran also said it was building a copy of the drone.

Similar unmanned surveillance planes have been used in Afghanistan for years and kept watch on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. But U.S. officials have said little about the history of the particular aircraft now in Iran’s possession.

Tehran, which has also been known to exaggerate its military and technological prowess, says it brought down the RQ-170 Sentinel, a top-secret drone equipped with stealth technology, and has flaunted the capture as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the United States.

The U.S. says the drone malfunctioned and downplayed any suggestion that Iran could mine the aircraft for sensitive information because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory.

The drone went down in December in eastern Iran and was recovered by Iran almost completely intact. After initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran’s military and nuclear facilities.

Washington has asked for it back, a request Iran rejected. …

Read on: www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i2PaL8ibPt7lHkzlpohGiN4hQ6DQ?docId=715e9cb213244e4eb3b0f889980d9d72

Iran military says copying U.S. drone

By Marcus George
April 22, 2012

Iran’s military has started to build a copy of a U.S. surveillance drone captured last year after breaking the software encryption, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, said engineers were in the final stages of decoding data from the Sentinel aircraft, which came down in December near the Afghan border, Mehr news agency reported.

Iran said the unmanned aircraft was shot down, but Washington disputes that and says the security systems mean Iran is unlikely to get valuable information from the Lockheed Martin Corp drone.

“The Americans should be aware to what extent we have infiltrated the plane,” Fars news agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying. “Our experts have full understanding of its components and program.”

Iran’s military regular announces defense and engineering developments, but some analysts are skeptical as to how reliable those reports are.

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a member of the Armed Services Committee, voiced his own doubts.

“There’s a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly now when they’re on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them,” Lieberman said in a television interview. …

Read on: www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/22/us-iran-military-drone-idUSBRE83L02I20120422

US Expanding Drone Bases To Assassinate “Suspects”

UK Progressive Magazine
By sherwood Ross
December 3, 2011

Forecasting a future of robotic warfare in which perverted science is put at the service of its Empire, the U.S. has built 60 bases around the world for its unmanned, remotely controlled killer drone warplanes. And more bases are under construction.

“Run by the military, the Central Intelligence Agency, and their proxies, these bases…are the backbone of a new robotic way of war,” writes Nick Turse, an investigative journalist for AlterNet and TomDispatch.

The bases “are also the latest development in a long-evolving saga of American power projection abroad—in this case, remote-controlled strikes anywhere on the planet with a minimal foreign ‘footprint’ and little accountability,” Turse points out.

He notes that there may be even more than 60 bases since the Pentagon has dropped a “cloak of secrecy” over its operations. With the recent murder of American citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen, the drones are now assassinating suspects in no fewer than six countries, Turse says.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post also reports the Obama Pentagon is building a constellation of secret drone bases in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen.

A number of the drone bases are located in the U.S., centered at Creech Air Force base outside Las Vegas, Nev., where “pilots” seated in front of computer screens can direct the unmanned drones and command them to launch a Hellfire missile on a suspect in Afghanistan, 7,500 miles away. …

Read on: www.ukprogressive.co.uk/us-expanding-drone-bases-to-assassinate-%E2%80%9Csuspects%E2%80%9D/article16087.html

Pakistan: US Must Vacate Suspected Drone Base

The Huffington Post
By Sebastian Abbot, (AP)

The Pakistani government has demanded the U.S. vacate an air base within 15 days that the CIA is suspected of using for unmanned drones.

The government issued the demand Saturday after NATO helicopters and jet fighters allegedly attacked two Pakistan army posts along the Afghan border, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. …

Read on: www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/26/pakistan-drone-base_n_1114177.html

Pakistan to take up U.S. drone strikes in UN

November 24, 2011

Pakistan has decided to take up the issue of strikes by the CIA-run unmanned aircraft in the country’s tribal regions, which the government, rights groups and tribesmen said killed innocent people, reported local TV channel Dawn on Thursday.

The U.S. drones routinely fire missiles into Pakistani tribal regions which the American officials have claimed to be bases for the militants who launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

Pakistan repeatedly asks the Unites States to stop drone strikes but Americans have ruled out any change in the policy. The issue of drone attacks is one of the irritants in the bilateral relationship.

After the U.S. refusal to halt the strikes, Pakistan has decided to approach the UN to seek its help to stop these attacks, which Pakistan insists is counter-productive in the war on terror.

Dawn reported Pakistani government has started collecting data about the U.S. drone attacks and casualties.

The government has directed the administrative officials in the tribal regions to provide details about the strikes to vigorously pursue the case.

Pakistan is discussing its new strategy to be adopted in the UN, the report said.


Virus strikes US drone fleet

ABC News
October 9, 2011

A computer virus has hit the US Predator and Reaper drone fleet that Washington deploys to hunt down militants, logging the keystrokes of pilots remotely flying missions, Wired magazine reported.

The virus was first detected about two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, but it had not halted missions flown remotely over Afghanistan and other warzones from Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base, Wired said on Friday (local time).

No classified information was believed to have been lost or sent outside the network, though the resilient virus resisted several attempts to remove it.

“We keep wiping it off and it keeps coming back,” a source familiar with the network infection told the US magazine.

“We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”

Military network security specialists said it remained unclear whether the virus was intentional and how far it had spread, but they were certain it had infected Creech’s classified and unclassified machines.

Secret data may have leaked out and reached someone outside military officials.

The US military does not hide its own drone flights in Libya Afghanistan, in contrast to the CIA’s covert missions to take out Al Qaeda extremists in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

The drones have become a critical weapon of choice for the United States in fighting militants abroad. …

Read on: www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-09/computer-virus-hits-us-drone-fleet/3403024

Ex-CIA chief acknowledges open secret — drones

Yahoo! News
AFP – October 7, 2011

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday acknowledged what has long been an open secret — that the CIA deploys armed Predator drones to hunt down Islamist militants.

The US government officially declines to admit to the spy agency’s drone strikes, but Panetta — who served as Central Intelligence Agency director until taking over the Pentagon in July — made two casual references to the CIA’s use of robotic aircraft during a visit to US bases in Italy.

“Having moved from the CIA to the Pentagon, obviously I have a hell of a lot more weapons available to me in this job than I did at CIA — although Predators aren’t bad,” Panetta told an audience of sailors at the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet headquarters in Naples.

Later at a joint US-Italian air base in Sigonella, Panetta thanked air crews for their role in the NATO air campaign over Libya as he stood in front of a Global Hawk drone, a larger unmanned aircraft that flies at high altitude for surveillance missions.

Panetta cited the important role of drones in the Libya operation, including the Predator drones. …

Read on: http://news.yahoo.com/ex-cia-chief-acknowledges-open-secret-drones-184628103.html

US to build drone base in Ethiopia

Sudan Tribune
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
September 24, 2011

The United States is reportedly set to build a new drone base in Ethiopia for counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of Africa, the Washington Post reports.

The establishment of the drone base in the East African country will be used to carry out strikes against targets in the region mainly to confront the activities of designated terrorist groups such as Al-Shabab an al-Qaeda affiliate who are fighting the the weak transitional government of Somalia.

Ethiopia has in recent years proved as “a valued counterterrorism partner to deal with the threats posed by al-Shabaab.” according to US officials who spoke to the Washington Post.

“The CIA and other agencies also employ Ethiopian informants who gather information from across the border,” the Washington Post reported.

The United States and Ethiopia have been discussing creating a drone base inside the Horn of Africa nation for the past four years according to one US official…

The US government had carried out unauthorised deadly drone attacks in at least six countries namely Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen where in most cases the attacks have sparked public anger.

Read in full: www.sudantribune.com/US-to-build-drone-base-in-Ethiopia,40239

U.S. increases Yemen drone strikes

Washington Post
By Karen DeYoung
September 17, 2011

The Obama administration has significantly increased the frequency of drone strikes and other air attacks against the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen in recent months amid rising concern about political collapse there.

Some of the the strikes, carried out by the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have been focused in the southern part of the country, where insurgent forces have for the first time conquered and held territory as the Yemeni government continues to struggle against escalating opposition to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule.

Unlike in Pakistan, where the CIA has presidential authorization to launch drone strikes at will, each U.S. attack in Yemen — and those being conducted in nearby Somalia, most recently on Thursday near the southern port city of Kismayo — requires White House approval …

Read on: www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-increases-yemen-drone-strikes/2011/09/16/gIQAB2SXYK_story.html