Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


K - Z

McVety, Pete [LTCDR/USN]. "An Unmanned Revolution." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 126, no. 3 (Mar. 2000): 88-92.

"The integration of unmanned aircraft into the existing platforms of the battle group could enhance the combat power of manned platforms and bring more capability and flexibility to the warfare commander."

Miller, Kevin P. [CDR/USN] "UAVs Hold Promise for No-Fly Zone Enforcement." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 127.9 (Sep. 2001), 38-41.

"Transferring no-fly zone patrols from manned fighters to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) would increase coverage time and intelligence collection, as well as reduce political and monetary costs and military risk."

Newman, Richard J. "The Little Predator that Could." Air Force Magazine, Mar. 2002, 48-53.

Use of the Predator UAV in Afghanistan.

Pincus, Walter. "Predator to See More Combat: Drone Will Get More Weapons for 'Hunter-Killer' Missions." Washington Post, 22 Mar. 2005, A3. []

According to Pentagon documents, the Air Force's Predator B UAV "will perform primarily 'hunter-killer' missions.... The current Predator's primary mission has been to supply real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for other forces. The new Predator B will perform that as a secondary role."

Pustam, Anil R. "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Trends and Prospects." Military Technology 26, no.11 (2002), 44-55.

Ripley, Tim. "Upgraded Predator UAVs Support Balkans Mission." Jane's Defence Weekly, 25 Apr. 2001, 30.

Risen, James, and Mark Mazzetti. "C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones." New York Times, 21 Aug. 2009. []

According to government officials and current and former employees, Xe Services (the former Blackwater) contractors, "at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan,... assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by [CIA] employees.... The role of the company in the Predator program highlights the degree to which the C.I.A. now depends on outside contractors to perform some of the agency's most important assignments." The contractors are "not involved in selecting targets or actual strikes. The targets are selected by the C.I.A., and employees at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va., pull the trigger remotely."

Robertson, Nic. "How Robot Drones Revolutionized the Face of Warfare." CNN, 23 Jul. 2009. []

Creech Air Force Base in Nevada is the site of the control station for the remote-controlled Predator UAV, attacking targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "There are now more than 7,000 UAVs ranging from the workhorse, the Predator, and its beefier, deadlier kin the Reaper, to army drones like the tiny hand-launched Raven and the larger Shadow."

Rolfsen, Bruce.

1. "Delays Push Global Hawk Cost Up 50 Percent." Air Force Times, 22 May 2000, 18.

2. "First Global Hawk Squadron to Be in Place by 2003: Beale First Choice to House New Reconnaissance Jet." Air Force Times, 19 Mar. 2001, 30.

Sadler, Brent. "In the Sights of a Joystick Killing Machine: CNN Gets Rare Up-close Look at Predator Drones." CNN, 9 Jun. 2006. []

The MQ-1L Predator has a 48.7-foot wingspan, cruises at 80 miles an hour, and can fly for 20 hours with a range of 450 miles on 100 gallons of fuel. It carries an array of cameras and sensors in a nose pod, and its video camera has both electric optic and infrared capability. Predators fly over Afghanistan, "but they are hands-on controlled by pilots and sensor operators at Nellis Air Force Base through a satellite KU band link. Kandahar's ground controllers launch and recover the Predators."

Schmitt, Eric. "U.S. Drones Crowding the Skies to Fight Insurgents in Iraq." New York Times, 5 Apr. 2005. []

Military officials say that "the number of remotely piloted aircraft -- increasingly crucial tools in tracking insurgents, foiling roadside bombings, protecting convoys and launching missile attacks" -- has increased in the skies over Iraq "to more than 700 now from just a handful four years ago." "Pentagon Developing New Unmanned Spy Planes." 17 Sep. 2007. []

The Defense Department wants to develop two "new sophisticated unmanned spy planes." With the Rapid Eye project, the goal "is to create an aircraft that can be stored on board a ballistic missile able to deliver it anywhere in the world within an hour. The Rapid Eye would travel inside the missile ... and be released over a designated spot.... The Vulture project ... seeks to deliver and maintain an aircraft that can remain above a surveillance target for at least five years." DARPA wants "to have demos of the technology for both aircraft within three years and working models ready to go within five years. [It] plans to spend $12 million developing the Rapid Eye and $7.9 million on the Vulture through the end of fiscal year 2009."

Scully, Megan. "Pentagon Rejects Air Force Bid to Control UAV Programs." Government Executive, 14 Sep. 2007. []

In a 13 September 2007 memorandum, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England "rejected Air Force efforts to become the executive agent for all medium- and high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles," that is, those that fly above 3,500 feet. The other services had "objected, stating that they feared giving up their buying power over their UAV programs would result in systems that do not meet their specific needs."

Spiegel, Peter. "Pentagon Battle Breaks Out Over a Spy Plane." Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2008. []

"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the Air Force to put nearly all of its unmanned Predator aircraft into the skies over the Middle East, forcing the service to take steps that officers worry could hobble already-stressed drone squadrons."

Sudbeck, Kevin J. [CDR/USN] "End Manned Aerial Reconnaissance." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jan. 2004, 88.

UAVs "are cost-effective, value-added, and their use does not have the same consequences as manned aircraft. It is time to take the air breathers out of reconnaissance aircraft."

Sweetman, Bill. "Global Hawk Leads Surveillance UAV Charge." Interavia, Oct. 2000, 55-60.

Vanden Brook, Tom. "Drones' Supply Short of Demand." USA Today, 28 Mar. 2007. []

"The Air Force has lost about 40% of its Predator unmanned aircraft and lacks enough trained crews to meet the demand for battlefield surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military officials and analysts." Records show that 53 of the 139 Predators delivered to the Air Force have been lost. According to budget records, the Air Force has asked for "22 more of the $4.5 million aircraft in the emergency war funding bill being debated in Congress."

Vanden Brook, Tom. "U.S. Shifts Spy Planes to Afghan War." USA Today, 23 Aug. 2009. []

"The U.S. military has sent more spy planes to Afghanistan and moved others there from Iraq.... In July 2008, 75% of spy planes, including drones such as Predators and Reapers, were devoted to Iraq and 25% to Afghanistan, according to Pentagon figures. As of this month, 66% are in Afghanistan compared with 33% in Iraq."

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