Monday, December 3, 2012

Drone Crashes Mount, Raise Concerns for Civilians

Majia here: I reported recently on escalating use of drones (see below). Here is a new report on a danger posed by these drones:

Drone crashes mount at civilian airports Craig Whitlock The Washington Post Nov 30 http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/drone-crashes-mount-at-civilian-airports-overseas/2012/11/30/e75a13e4-3a39-11e2-83f9-fb7ac9b29fad_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

[Excerpted] The April wreck was the latest in a rash of U.S. military drone crashes at overseas civilian airports in the past two years. The accidents reinforce concerns about the risks of flying the robot aircraft outside war zones, including in the United States.

...Among the problems repeatedly cited [in unclassified Air Force reports] are pilot error, mechanical failure, software bugs in the “brains” of the aircraft and poor coordination with civilian air-traffic controllers.

On Jan. 14, 2011, a Predator drone crashed off the Horn of Africa while trying to return to an international airport next to a U.S. military base in Djibouti. It was the first known accident involving a Predator or Reaper drone near a civilian airport. Predators and Reapers can carry satellite-guided missiles and have become the Obama administration’s primary weapon against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

In a Nov. 20 speech in Washington, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said the Pentagon would expand its use of the unmanned attack planes “outside declared combat zones” as it pursues al-Qaeda supporters in Africa and the Middle East.

Starting in September 2011, records show, the U.S. Air Force took the unusual step of outsourcing the entire operation to a Florida-based private contractor, Merlin RAMCo. By then, the Seychelles operation had dwindled to two Reapers after the other aircraft were redeployed.... [end excerpt]



Majia here: Articles on expansion of drone operations:

DHS to Double US Drone Fleet By Trevor Timm, Electronic Frontier Foundation 22 November 12 http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/335-156/14672-dhs-to-double-us-drone-fleet

 

Military drones zero in on $400 billion civilian market Science Daily reports By Chris WickhamPosted 2012/11/14 at 2:21 pm EST
http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre8ad1hr-us-drones-civilian/

[EXCERPTED] LONDON, Nov. 14, 2012 (Reuters) — Military drone technology, which has revolutionized warfare over the last decade, will be ready for civilian use within four years and could create a market worth more than $400 billion. That's the prediction from a UK research project backed by the government and top aerospace companies hoping for a windfall as many of the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs done by manned aircraft are replaced by drones....

....Chris Elliott, an engineer and barrister who is a consultant to the ASTRAEA project, acknowledged there will be a lot of work needed to win public acceptance but added: "The Pandora's Box is open".

The use of drones in war zones has thrown up difficult ethical issues, particularly on accountability for mistakes, and the shift into civilian use is likely to be just as controversial.


Expansion of covert military operations, involving drones http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/garrison-state-update-us-expanding-its.html



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