The Black Swan Is a Drone By Charles Hugh Smith

15 September 2019 — Of Two Minds

What was “possible” yesterday is now a low-cost proven capability, and the consequences are far from predictable.

Predictably, the mainstream media is serving up heaping portions of reassurances that the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities are no big deal and full production will resume shortly. The obvious goal is to placate global markets fearful of an energy disruption that could tip a precarious global economy into recession.

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Zephyr and the development of high-altitude military surveillance drones

14 August 2019 — Drone Wars

By Joanna Frew

The Zephyr ‘High Altitude Pseudo Satellite’ drone

The Guardian reported recently that the Pentagon’s Southern Command are testing stratospheric balloons over the US, to combat drug trafficking and support homeland security. The news has caused concern among US civil liberties advocates angry that American citizens will be being monitored in these tests. However, these balloons are just one of a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle / drone called High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS).  This post takes a brief look at this type of drone, which is on the horizon for a number of armed forces, and examines the UK’s development of a HAPS drone called Zephyr.
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The Syrian war is not over: there are attacks by Israel & the US-led coalition – ‘a new trajectory’?

17 April 2019 — Drone Warfare

Middle East Monitor reports, on April 15th, that an Israeli intelligence firm, ImageSat International has released satellite images claiming to show “the complete destruction of a possible Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory” in Syria’s Masyaf District, allegedly struck by Israel on Saturday.

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Under the spotlight: European assistance to the ‘War on Terror’ drone strikes

14 March 2019 — Drone Warfare

President Donald Trump, who has stepped up the use of drones in Somalia and other areas, recently revoked a requirement for U.S. intelligence officials to give public reports listing the number of civilians killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside war zones – a practice which was part of an accountability effort to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes. The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, however, has announced that he will seek to reimpose the intelligence community’s reporting on civilian casualties through a provision in this year’s Intelligence Authorization Act.

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Latest FoI release from MoD shows extent of UK air and drone war in Syria by Chris Cole

11 February 2019 — Drone Wars

The rise in UK air and drone strikes in Syria since September 2018 has been laid bare in the MoD’s latest responses to a Drone Wars UK FoI request. The number of British strikes in Syria per month rose to its highest ever amount (75) in December 2018.

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General Atomics bring in BAE Systems to lobby for ‘Protector’ drone to fly in UK by Chris Cole

28 January 2019 — Drone Wars 

SkyGuardian MQ-9B, dubbed ‘Protector’ by UK MoD

Drone manufacturer, General Atomics, hosted an event in London on 24 January in order – as its press release put it – “to recognize UK companies that are contributing to operational systems such as MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle, and the new MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPA program” (which the UK MoD is calling ‘Protector’).

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The Gatwick drone: A taste of the technology by Chris Cole

9 January 2019 — Drone Wars

Drones dominated the headlines over the Christmas and New Year period after sightings of one or more commercially available drones closed Gatwick airport to flights for 2½ days, disrupting thousands of passengers. The inability of the authorities to track down the drone operator led to ministers calling in the military with counter-drone technology to give assurances to air operators that it was safe to re-open the airport. This week, Heathrow was also closed for an hour due to the presence of a small drone.

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Enabling RAF chaplains to provide guidance to drone pilots

20 December 2018 — Drone Warfare

See our 2014 post

The Times and the Commercial Drone Professional reported recently that the Church of England has announced a programme helping RAF chaplains to offer pastoral care and support to drone pilots. They will spend a year studying for a master’s degree in ethics at Cardiff University so they can provide guidance to drone pilots in the British Army on the moral dilemmas that come with killing an enemy on the other side of the world.

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Should we focus on autonomous weapons or the human agencies directing them?

25 November 2018 — Drone Warfare

A member of Scientists for Global Responsibility has drawn attention to a report by Peter Burt: Off the Leash: The Development of Autonomous Military Drones in the UK.

In a Guardian article, Jamie Doward points out that though the government insists it “does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them”, since 2015, the UK has declined to support proposals put forward at the UN to ban them.

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Off the Leash: How the UK is developing the technology to build armed autonomous drones By Peter Burt

10 November 2018 — Drone Wars

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A new report published today by Drone Wars UK reveals that, despite a UK government statement that it “does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is actively funding research into technology supporting the development of armed autonomous drones.

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