Proliferation and protests

Apologies for the recent silence but I was, as they say, unavoidably detained.

Proliferation of drones continues apace with Israel’s recent delivery 12 drones to Russia in a $400m deal and Brazil ordering further Hermes 450 drones.   Meanwhile the USAF continues to increase its UAV capability by ordering a further 24 Reaper drones from General Atomics as Israel and India have inaugurated new drone squadrons.

On the technological development side, Gorgon Stare, the new drone surveillance capability, has been dammed in an internal draft USAF report as “not operationally effective” and “not operationally suitable.”  Danger Room however reports an ‘updated’ report suggesting that ‘fixes are in place”.  

The new X-47B US Navy stealth bomber drone had its first flight this week.  The X-47B is one of the new autonomous drones that is not remotely piloted, but rather follows a pre-programmed mission.

There have been large protests against US drone strikes in Pakistan with some reports of thousands attending protest marches.   In the US, 14 protestors who trespassed at Creech AFB to protest drone strikes were found guilty and sentenced to time served.  John Dear, one of the 14, reports here on testimony from the court.

Finally should mention Drone Wars UK  letter published in Guardian on call for inquiry into use of British drones.

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