Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Military UAVs, India/China, + News

* Best Wishes For 2008! May our nightmare soon be over? Activism against stupidity and false leadership is the call for the year. Democracy has died, is our humanity next (and humans)?

Military Use of Unmanned Aircraft Soars
In this photo released by the Department of Defense, U.S. Army Pvt. Jeremy W. Reid, with 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, assembles an RQ-11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicle in the early morning hours in Taji, Iraq, in this May 23, 2006 file photo. The use of unmanned aircraft in Iraq has surged by nearly a third since the recent build-up of U.S. forces began early this year, racking up more than 14,000 hours per month in the battlefield skies. The increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has put greater pressure on the military to better coordinate the purchase and use of the high-tech aircraft, particularly between the Army and Air Force. (AP Photo/Department of Defense, Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael Larson, U.S. Navy, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The military's reliance on unmanned aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents has soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, largely in Iraq, The Associated Press has learned.
And new Defense Department figures obtained by The AP show that the Air Force more than doubled its monthly use of drones between January and October, forcing it to take pilots out of the air and shift them to remote flying duty to meet part of the demand.
The dramatic increase in the development and use of drones across the armed services reflects what will be an even more aggressive effort over the next 25 years, according to the new report.
The jump in Iraq coincided with the build up of U.S. forces this summer as the military swelled its ranks to quell the violence in Baghdad. But Pentagon officials said that even as troops begin to slowly come home this year, the use of Predators, Global Hawks, Shadows and Ravens will not likely slow.
"I think right now the demand for the capability that the unmanned system provides is only increasing," said Army Col. Bob Quackenbush, deputy director for Army Aviation. "Even as the surge ends, I suspect the deployment of the unmanned systems will not go down, particularly for larger systems."
For some Air Force pilots, that means climbing out of the cockpit and heading to places such as Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, where they can remotely fly the Predators, one of the larger and more sophisticated unmanned aircraft.
About 120 Air Force pilots were recently transferred to staff the drones to keep pace with demands, the Air Force said. (cont...)

India, China bonhomie

In the final week of 2007, when rest of the world was busy celebrating Christmas and New Year's eve, infantry troops from India and China were engaged in a small but hugely significant training exercise in the Yunnan province of southwestern China. For two the two Asian neighbours, this was a rare opportunity to understand each other. So when the Indian Air Force's mighty IL-76 airplane touched down at Kunming military airport, it signified more than the beginning of a joint training exercise.For 45 years, the world's two most populous nations have harboured suspicion about one another ever since they fought a short but brutal winter war across the Himalayas in 1962. (cont...)
Ionatron's CEO cites firm's significance to Tucson
Tucson-based Ionatron Inc., a defense contractor that develops directed-energy weapons, is one of the Old Pueblo's few publicly traded companies (cont..)
Army contractors compete for simulator-training deal
Fresh from the largest award in its history, Central Florida's simulation industry is mobilizing to compete for another mammoth deal in 2008.Potentially worth $11 billion, the project will update the Army's fleet of training simulators. Scores of companies -- including many local ones -- are expected to land a share of the lucrative program, which could involve hundreds of jobs in Central Florida and across the country during the next 10 years, industry and military officials say. (cont...)
America's Bio-Terrorism Nightmare
While the CIA and FBI may have prevented terrorist attacks on the Sears Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, the New York Stock Exchange, the Citigroup Building, the World Bank and IMF offices, the Prudential Building (Newark), Los Angeles’ Library Tower, the PATH train tunnels under the Hudson River, and the Panama Canal over the past seven years (according to Ron Kessler’s new book The Terrorist Watch – Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack), the revelation from an American bio-defense analyst living in Europe that Syria is ready to respond with biological weapons of mass destruction if the U.S., Israel or Europe attack Iranian nuclear installations has again brought forth the reality that such weapons in the hands of our enemies represent an intolerable threat to our national security.
Spying Incorporated (NAO)
A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time.
FEMA Head Retires
Legal security expert joins Raytheon