Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

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A Terrorist Trifecta

Mr. Predator and Mr. Hellfire team up to force the two vehicle al Qaeda drive to go three and out.

Most Successful Drone Strike Ever: Were Three Al Qaeda Leaders Killed?

The CIA drone strike that killed Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and chief propagandist Samir Khan may also have taken out the terror organization’s top bombmaker.

Reports say that Ibrahim al-Asiri, who is believed to have constructed both the “underwear” bomb used in the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 and the bombs in last year’s parcel bomb plot, may have been with Awlaki and Khan when missiles from a U.S. drone struck their vehicle in Yemen Friday.

See also:
U.S. –born ‘Terrorist No. 1’ Anwar al Awlaki killed in Yemen in major blow to Al Qaeda
Anwar al-Awlaki, al-Qaida cleric and top US target, killed in Yemen
Al-Qaeda terror chief Anwar al-Awlaki killed in Yemen
Al Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in CIA Drone Strike
American Jihadi Samir Khan Killed With Awlaki
A ‘proud traitor’: Samir Khan reported dead alongside Aulaqi
25-year-old American is killed with mentor Anwar al-Aulaqi in drone strike
Samir Khan named as second US citizen to die in drone strike
Top al Qaeda bombmaker dead in drone strike
Al-Awlaki drone ‘killed bomb-maker’
AQAP bomb maker Asiri thought killed in Yemen Predator strike
U.S. Drone Strike on al-Awlaki Likely Kills al-Qaeda Bomb-maker in Yemen
Anwar al-Awlaki
Samir Khan
Ibrahim al-Asiri

Unfortunately, al-Awlaki and Khan nave already published and recorded more than enough internet material to posthumously radicalize Muslims from here to eternity. Killing them was a good thing, but the damage is already done and their deaths won’t make the recruitment problem go away.

/on the other hand, al-Asiri, the bombmaker, is going to be hard for al Qaeda to replace, he was good, especially at designing nonmetallic explosive devices

With Friends Like Pakistan

Who needs enemies?

Pakistan wants to cut CIA drone strikes, personnel

The Pakistani government would like the CIA’s aggressive drone campaign “suspended” and only resumed under “new rules” and “formalized terms,” according to a Pakistani military official familiar with discussions between the two nations.

Only then, in the instances where there was “compelling evidence” that a militant “high value target” had been located and that the operation was jointly coordinated between Pakistan and the United States, would the Pakistani government sanction a drone strike in the future, the official said.

See also:
Pakistan threatens to impose new restrictions on CIA activities
Pakistan Tells U.S. to Halt Drones
Cut CIA ops, halt drone raids: Pak to US
In growing rift, Pakistan demands end to U.S. drone attacks
Can Pakistan force US to back off special ops and drone attacks?
U.S. Missiles Strike in Northern Pakistan as Relations Sour Over CIA Role
Pakistan, US tussle over drone attacks strategy
US-Pak ties facing biggest crisis since 9/11
US kills 6 suspected militants despite Pakistan’s demand for end to drone attacks
US concern over Pakistan-based militants’ ‘expansion’
Pakistani premier slams US strikes
Despite US-Pakistan Tensions Aired at CIA HQ, CIA Drone Strike Will Continue, Officials Say
CIA vows to tell more about its agents in Pakistan
Pakistan and Afghanistan: A New Strategy?
Is Pakistan Our Ally?
Should U.S. Cut All Aid to Pakistan?

The vast majority of our Taliban problem emanates from sanctuaries in Northern Pakistan. Not only does the Pakistani government do nothing worthwhile to stop or control the Taliban menace based on their soil, it’s a certainty that significant elements of the Pakistani government and intelligence services are infiltrated by and give support and succor to the Taliban.

Not allowed to operate overt ground forces inside Pakistan, U.S. drone strikes and covert CIA activity are the only tactics that are even somewhat effective at eliminating Taliban leaders and operatives. Forcing the CIA to curtail the drone strikes or give advance notice of the strikes to Pakistan, thus almost surely tipping off the Taliban, would be another crippling blow to our already faltering efforts in Afghanistan, nonsensical as they might be.

/if Obama has any balls, he’ll tell the Pakistanis to [expletive deleted] off, keep the covert CIA drone program operating as is and, if Pakistan keeps bitching about it, threaten them with the sledgehammer of cutting off U.S. aid

It’s A Bird, It’s Not A Plane, It’s A Spy Drone!

This would make an awesome cat toy!

Hummingbird spy drone developed for DARPA

Under a contract from DARPA, AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems has created a hummingbird spy drone, the first two-wing, flapping-wing aircraft that carries its own energy source and can hover as well as move forwards.

The Nano Hummingbird can climb and descend vertically and fly sideways, forwards and backwards, as well as rotating clockwise and counter-clockwise, under remote control and carrying a video camera payload.

During a demonstration, the Nano Hummingbird flew in and out of a building through a normal-size doorway.

The hand-made prototype has a wingspan of 6.5 inches tip-to-tip and weighs less than an AA battery. It can be fitted with a removable body fairing, shaped like a real hummingbird and about the same size.

See also:
It’s a bird! It’s a spy! It’s both
Robot Hummingbird Spy Drone Flies for Eight Minutes, Spies on Bad Guys
US robot ornithopter spy-hummingbird in flight test triumph
Spy tech: DARPA demonstrates Nano Hummingbird spy drone
DARPA Backs Hummingbird Like Spy Robot
Small hummingbird aircraft flaps like a bird, weighs less than a Duracell
Next post Video: Hummingbird Drone Does Loop-de-Loop
Tiny ‘Hummingbird’ May Someday Fly Spy Missions For The Military
Robotic hummingbird is right out of a James Bond film
Technology: James Bond’s hummingbird
Bird Bond: ‘Nano Hummingbird’ Drone Takes Spying to the Sky
Tiny robotic bird is latest in gov’t spy gear
AV’s ‘hummingbird’ aircraft displays maneuverability
Watch a hummingbird-shaped spy drone flutter around, steal your secrets
AeroVironment, Inc.: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Although this is a prodigious display of technological achievement, there’s a major drawback to developing a hummingbird spy drone, hummingbirds are only found in North, South, and Central America. So, besides Venezuela, it’s pretty much worthless for covert spying against almost all the global enemies of the United States.

/now, if they could reduce it down to insect size . . .

The Navy Gets A Drone . . .

. . . the Navy gets a drone, Fly-Fer the carrier, the Navy gets a drone.

Navy unveils new bat-winged stealth bomber; unmanned X-47B is military’s deadliest new drone

An unmanned, bat-winged stealth bomber made its first demo flight in California, marking the first step in the Navy’s development of a new generation of killer drones.

The experimental warplane, named the X-47B, took off from Edwards Air Force base, shot to 5,000 feet and flew a racetrack pattern over a dry lakebed during the 29-minute demo flight on Friday, the Navy said in a statement.

“Today we got a glimpse towards the future as the Navy’s first-ever tailless, jet-powered unmanned aircraft took to the skies,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the program manager for the plane, said in a statement.

Military leaders see the plane as a major shift from the current fleet of robotic aircraft.

Combat drones are usually controlled remotely by human pilots, but the X-47B can carry out extended missions controlled by a computer and is designed to fly faster and farther than existing jets, like the Predators and Reapers used in Afghanistan.

It’s also the first drone capable of taking off and landing aboard an aircraft carrier in the ocean.

See also:
X-47B Sorties Ramping Up
Northrop’s X-47B robotic jet makes first flight from Edwards Air Force Base
U.S. Navy X-47B unmanned aircraft successfully conducts first flight
X-47B stealth drone takes its first test flight
X-47B Unmanned Stealth Bomber’s Maiden Flight
Lockheed Martin Supports U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman in X-47B UCAS-D Successful First Flight
Unmanned X-47B bomber successfully completes first test-flight
X-47B unmanned Stealth Bomber performs successful maiden flight
GKN Aerospace partners with U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman for X-47B first flight
New, stealthy Navy drone makes its maiden flight
Robot X-47B stealth bomber test flight
Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Unmanned X-47B Plane
X-47B UCAS
Northrop Grumman X-47B

Well, the X-47B is certainly going to take up a lot of space on board a carrier, without the ability to contribute anything towards carrier defense.

/they’re probably looking forward to using it in conjunction with the CVX Next Generation Aircraft Carrier

Burning Down The Drone

Smoke ’em if ya got ’em. Can you smell what the laser is cookin’?

Anti-aircraft laser unveiled at Farnborough Airshow

US firm Raytheon has unveiled its anti-aircraft laser at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire.

The Laser Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) can either be used on its own or alongside a gunnery system.

In May, the laser was used to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a series of tests.

Raytheon said the solid state fibre laser produces a 50 kilowatt beam and can be used against UAV, mortar, rockets and small surface ships.

See also:
U.S. Navy Laser Weapon Shoots Down Drones in Test [Video]
Anti-aircraft laser ‘more real than Star Wars’
Raytheon Unveils Anti-Aircraft Laser
Raytheon airs video at Farnborough Airshow of CIWS laser shooting down drone
New Laser Weapon Blasts Spy Drones Out of the Sky
Laser Gun! New Demo Turns Sci-Fi Into Reality
Death Ray-theon: Anti-Aircraft Laser Unveiled
Raytheon anti-aircraft laser showcased
Raytheon Company: Directed Energy

Oh look, it’s an effective new weapons system with near term practical military application.

/how long before Obama cancels it?

Back From The Dead

Obama turned him into a newt, but he got better.

Analysis: ‘Slain’ Taliban leader garners attention in Pakistan

For three months, Hakimullah Mehsud was supposedly dead, killed in a U.S. drone attack in the mountains of Pakistan, according to Pakistani officials.

Then word came last week from intelligence sources in Pakistan that he had not after all been killed, that he had been injured but not seriously.

And within days of that news, not one but two messages followed from Mehsud himself, both purportedly recorded in April. They warned of imminent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, on unspecified targets in the United States.

U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials remain very skeptical about any TTP involvement in the weekend’s attempted car bombing in New York. One senior official said it would be “an enormous surprise” if they were involved.

The TTP has shown little appetite or capability for operating beyond Pakistan and Afghanistan, though it was linked to a suicide bombing plot that unfolded in Spain and was broken up in 2008.

But Mehsud is back in action, courting publicity again.

Whether he is still the leader of the TTP is an open question.

Last week, while U.S. officials said they still weren’t sure whether he was dead or alive, Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell said, “I certainly have seen no evidence that [Mehsud] is operational today or is executing or exerting authority over the Pakistan Taliban as he once did. So I don’t know if that reflects him being alive or dead, but he clearly is not running the Pakistani Taliban anymore.”

But in light of the video that surfaced over the weekend, that assessment may have to be revisited.

See also:
Video shows Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud ‘alive’
New videos show Pakistani Taliban chief thought to have been killed in January
Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud is alive, says spy agency
Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud is alive: spy agency
Video shows Pakistan Taliban boss alive
Hakeemullah appears in video, vows painful blow to US
Mehsud claims responsibility for New York bomb plot
Officials doubt Pakistani Taliban behind New York bomb attempt
Hakimullah Mehsud

Hey Obama administration, next time, before you publicly claim credit and pat yourselves on the back for killing one of these lowlife terrorist scumbags, make damn sure they’re really dead.

/now fire up the drones, get out there, and kill Mehsud again!