We’re finally seeing progress in using drones to fight wars for us. Well kinda.
I read about the U.S. Army’s historic first kill in Iraq using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), first on Gizmodo (guess why they pulled it?), then BoingBoing.et and finally again on CNN’s Anderson 360 news segment as I’ve shared above.
The US Army’s MQ-5B/C Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle made its first kill in Iraq this month, reports Defense Tech. Do note that the CIA and Air Force’s drones have been killing for years, by attaching Hellfire missiles to their drones. Still, this is a first for the army, and one of the most complete videos I’ve seen of a UAV drone used in combat on national tv. I can’t find the specs for the MQ-5 Hunter, but here’s the specs for the MQ-9 Reaper UAV.
Interestingly, Valleywag (in all its dark humor) reports that “a drone debate leaves Wired’s editor unmanned“. I’ve been following Chris Anderson’s DIY Drones blog for a while now when recently, Amir Aalipour, a resident of Tehran, proudly posted photos of his UAV sporting the Iranian flag that he built by following sources like DIYDrones.com. This obviously alarmed and frightened the Wired editor.
As Valleywag clarifies, “To be fair, Anderson has reason to worry about perceptions of his hobby. On the one hand, hobbyists’ UAVs are slightly more sophisticated versions of radio-controlled airplanes. On the other hand, spy agencies and the military use even more sophisticated versions as surveillance and weapon-delivery systems. While there are perfectly legitimate hobbyist and commercial uses (GPS mapping, aerial photography, etc.), when you see a “drone,” instinctively, the average American thinks of a weapon.”
You can read the rest of the debate over on his Long Tail blog…
Aside 1: Other than UAVs, we’ve seen land-based drones used for bomb disposal and armed with machines guns and/or grenade launchers. Here’s a neat sentry drone boat as seen on Gizmodo.
Aside 2: LancerLord tells me that the Singapore Armed Forces also has drones of their own. From two types of UAVs (look under UAV) to the “Protector“, an unmanned integrated naval combat system. It has a complete sensor, navigation and weapon suite and can be remotely controlled from shore or from ships at sea. The remote controlled boat is also weaponized with a small-calibre stabilised gunnery system.