Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Grim Reaper at War

Click to enlarge image

According to the Daily Mail the RAF has used an unmanned drone to kil a Taliban leader for the first time.

Two 'pilots', controlling the robot via satellite from an airbase outside Las Vegas, spotted a target thousands of miles away in southern Afghanistan. They ordered the £10million Reaper drone to carry out an airstrike. Sources at the Ministry of Defence said the strike, which took place in the last ten days, killed a 'high value' Taliban target, but officials would not confirm the insurgent's identity.

The RAF recently signed an urgent deal to buy three U.S-built Reapers and send them to the frontline in Afghanistan, where spy-drones have proved vital in giving allied forces an edge over the Taliban. Flying from Kandahar Airbase in the south of the country, Britain's Reapers can cover the entire area where UK forces are locked in battle with the Taliban.

The drones are about the size of a small executive jet, and they take off from conventional runways. They can fly above a battlefield for up to 14 hours, beaming high-definition images to commanders on the ground. They are used to act within seconds against targets such as key terrorist leaders - instead of waiting up to an hour for a conventional strike jet to arrive. They are guided via satellite link by RAF 'pilots' sitting 7,000 miles away in a control centre at Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas.

The RAF is due to buy its own control system for the Reapers, and in future the drones will be 'flown' by aircrew based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Defence chiefs also hope to buy another nine drones in the coming months, with the overall project costing around £500million.

Anyway we can fight this war safely is a great investment and the current use of the "Reaper" may just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of war by remote control. This article in The Register
shows the "Transformer" Battle droid that has just been shipped.

RAF first as Taliban leader is killed by plane ... piloted remotely in Las Vegas | Mail Online

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