Archive for Monday, July 16, 2007

U.S. readies robot air attack squadron

July 16, 2007


In this photo released by the Department of Defense, an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle taxis into Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The Reaper can carry 14 air-to-ground weapons - or four Hellfire missiles and two 500-pound bombs.

In this photo released by the Department of Defense, an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle taxis into Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The Reaper can carry 14 air-to-ground weapons - or four Hellfire missiles and two 500-pound bombs.

— The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It's outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

The Reaper is loaded, but there's no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.

The arrival of these outsized U.S. "hunter-killer" drones, in aviation history's first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill.

That moment, one the Air Force will likely keep low-key, is expected "soon," according to the regional U.S. air commander. How soon? "We're still working that," Lt. Gen. Gary North said.

The Reaper's first combat deployment is expected in Afghanistan, and senior Air Force officers estimate it will land in Iraq between this fall and next spring. They look forward to it.

"With more Reapers, I could send manned airplanes home," North said.

The Air Force is building a 400,000-square-foot expansion of the concrete ramp area now used for Predator drones at Balad, the biggest U.S. air base in Iraq, 50 miles north of Baghdad. That new staging area could be turned over to Reapers.

It's another sign that the Air Force is planning for an extended stay in Iraq, supporting Iraqi government forces in any continuing conflict, even if U.S. ground troops are drawn down in the coming years.

The estimated two dozen or more unmanned MQ-1 Predators now doing surveillance over Iraq have become mainstays of the U.S. war effort, offering round-the-clock airborne "eyes."

At 5 tons gross weight, the Reaper is four times heavier than the Predator. Its size - 36 feet long, with a 66-foot wingspan - is comparable to the profile of the Air Force's workhorse A-10 attack plane. It can fly twice as fast and twice as high as the Predator.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

Indiscriminate mass murder just got a little more indiscriminate.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 10 months ago

vision of the "terminator" robot arnies, not armys, next??:)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

That's either a really sick joke, Agnostick, or just really sick.

jonas 10 years, 10 months ago

What I really want to know is: do they merge to form Superion?

Prevent an Al-Qaeda-Decepticon Alliance. Such would clearly be hazardous to America.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 10 months ago

Agnostick says: "I think two or three big, nasty, exceptionally-bloody operations-conventional or nuclear weapons, doesn't matter-could potentially sway things in our favor." -- Bozo is right. These are the words of a psychopath. In the name of what ideology or god do people crave the deaths of millions of human beings - including babies, toddlers, children and the elderly?

Whatever the purported cause, the underlying reasons are ignorance, hate and blood lust...essentially Satanism disguised as Americanism.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 10 months ago

"...even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill." Is this an editorial or a straight news piece?

JoRight 10 years, 10 months ago

America, f*!ck yeah! To the tune off of Team America: World Police.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

"no one's advocating bombing civilians or places where there is a large civilian population."

I guess you didn't read Agnostick's posts, did you?

" I think that going into pakistan to hunt and kill these extremists is the way to go."

Not even the Pakistani military thinks that this would be a successful strategy, and they have way more man- and firepower there than we could ever put on the ground.

If you don't want them to hate us, then we need to quit propping up dictators like Musharaf who make their lives miserable. This simplistic crap that they hate us because of our "freedoms" is just that-- crap. They hate us because we stick our noses in where they don't belong. If US corporations want to do business over there, they'll have to do in on their terms, and not terms dictated by gunboat diplomacy.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 10 months ago

Actually, I'd advocate using Special Ops to go into the tribal areas of Pakistan to kill/capture al Qaeda. I think it's weird that we let them flourish there with impunity after 9/11. I think it would be great to off Usama, and put his head on a pike atop the new WTC.

That said, the Iraq fiasco is making an al Queda resurgence possible. The way to beat terrorism is not to invade third parties, bomb indiscriminately and build robot armies. In fact, that's a formula for skyrocketing al Qaeda recruitment.

We need to win hearts and minds and involve what allies Bush hasn't totally alienated. Essentially the Global War on Terror, to be won, must be a law-enforcement operation backed by surgical strikes by our Special Ops ninjas. When we bomb, shell and humiliate civilian populations, we lose.

Bubbles 10 years, 10 months ago

It would be cool if the robots were like Transformers! That would be really neato! The terrorists would be running around in circles screaming like banshees as a battalion of Transformers attacked them with giant pinchers pulling arms and legs off!


Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 10 months ago

Imagine if we had not humiliated and bombed Arab populations, and invaded a nonthreatening Arab country in a misbegotten war of choice.

How many more US-sympathetic Middle Easterners would be willing to work as our spies, giving us actionable intelligence to capture/kill AQ and UBL? To win the GWOT we'll need all the friends we can get. That's why civilian deaths need to be avoided scrupulously.

You can't really beat an insurgency or terrorism by killing individual insurgents and terrorists. The REAL battlefield is the hearts and minds of the populations where these people operate. And we are losing in that battlefield due to arrogance, incompetence and overkill.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

If special ops could root out al Qaida, it would have been done by now. Rambo-ism makes for entertaining movies, but it is, and will remain, the stuff of fantasies.

"On the one hand, I'm not advocating we nuke entire cities (well, with the possible exception of Fallujah);"

That would be redundant-- it's already been leveled.

"on the other hand, I think if we get a bit too obsessed with civilian casualties:"

You obviously share the same mindset as the 9-11 hijackers. You just lack the guts to kill yourself while carrying out mass murder against people who've done absolutely nothing against you to deserve it, just to make some sick, juvenile point.

Bubbles 10 years, 10 months ago

Unleashed on humans, the Atomic Bomb has worked everytime.

But, we are not actually looking for solutions.

feeble 10 years, 10 months ago

I read Agnostik's posts:

"After that, fly a few of them over Mecca and let 'em drop a few non-explovise duds or "dummies," to show these Muslim extremist crackpots that we mean business!"

A ton and half of anything dropped from 50,000 feet will produce damage, albeit somewhat localized damage. The only dummy is the fool that thinks such damage and resulting loss of life is acceptable.

Should we drop fake bombs on the Vatican to voice our disagreement with the Pope? Perhaps we should "Dummy Bomb" the Ganges to let India know whose boss?

Newsflash: Jingoism is not a substitute for foreign policy.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 10 months ago

Bubbles, whom would you nuke?

Remember, we're talking about killing babies, children ... millions of noncombatant civilians.

Let's have your target list.

Bubbles 10 years, 10 months ago

That's a tough one Oral. One could say that the women are terrorist factories since a majority of their babies are taught to hate Jews and Americans.

But, I would call for a Jihad meeting in the mddle of the desert and lure all the terrorists there and nuke em.

Is that sanitary enough for you?

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 10 months ago

Bubbles, why do you spend so much time obsessing over homosexual sex acts? Calling me "oral" is about as childish as the "luring all the terrorists to the jihad meeting" strategy you advocate. Sometimes I forget I'm dealing with mental-midget trolls on this board, honestly I do. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Mkh 10 years, 10 months ago

This seems to be yet another way for the military to kill people without the killers having to face their victim. Technology of the 20th and now 21st Century has obviously drastically changed the way inwhich troops kill on the batterfield. Increasingly we have seen the number of miles between the two opposing sides grow farther and farther apart. This results in an enemy that no longer is viewed as an important human life. This technology puts a barrier between the troops and the people that are killed. In this case it is no longer even required to have a troop in the same hemisphere as the people they are killing. Satelites, long range missles, and now robots.

ISRAELPARASITE 10 years, 10 months ago

Is there a robot Preznit and VP in the warehouse anywhere? If so, can we kick these incompetent - corrupt - liars - thieves and murderers out of the whitehouse? Oh well, just send a robot plane to their next AIPAC meeting and take them out in 1 shot! (yeeeehaw!)

Bubbles 10 years, 10 months ago

Man, sorry Oracle, I read your name in a hurry and thought it was Oral. Again my appologies.

Remove the post if you like.

geniusmannumber1 10 years, 10 months ago

You are all missing the point. Bow to your future masters. The time of the robot is at hand!

Tom McCune 10 years, 10 months ago

"The Deal of the Century" (1983). Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, Wallace Shawn.

Can't remember Chevy Chase's exact line but it something like, "At last general, we have the perfect weapon that doesn't get lonely, doesn't have family problems, doesn't get addicted to drugs, and doesn't kill its officers!"

Tom McCune 10 years, 10 months ago

Somewhere today a dozen Wallace Shawns are sitting around hotel rooms waiting for phones to ring.....

General Huddleston: [watching the Peacemaker malfunction] This is a great day for the Air Force, Senator. Sen. Bryce: Why is that, General? General Huddleston: Because the Navy ordered twenty of those disasters! Navy Officers: Son of a bitch!

Go rent it. Its time has come again.

Tychoman 10 years, 10 months ago

Reaper? That's not a chilling moniker gulp

Terminator movies, anyone?

And on the lighter side, just from reading the headline, I thought "Transformers 2"?

davisnin 10 years, 10 months ago

Can they precision bomb a 9 story hotel in Oread?

lounger 10 years, 10 months ago

Drones are in the white house as well....

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