US Army to fly ‘kamikaze’ drones

The robotic aircraft dubbed the “Switchblade,” represents the latest attempt by the United States to refine how it takes out suspected militants. Weighing less than two kilos, the drone is small enough to fit into a soldier’s backpack and is launched from a tube, with wings quickly folding out as it soars into the air, according to manufacturer AeroVironment. Powered by a small electric motor, the Switchblade transmits video in real time from overhead, allowing a soldier to identify the enemy. Upon confirming the target using the live video feed, the operator then sends a command to the air vehicle to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target”. The drone then flies into the “target,” detonating a small explosive.
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AFTER REAPERS & PREDATORS, NOW THE MINIATURE SIZED SUICIDE DRONES

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A “kamikaze” drone designed to quietly hover in the sky before dive-bombing and slamming into a human target will soon be part of the US Army’s arsenal.

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by AFP

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Dubbed the “Switchblade,” the robotic aircraft represents the latest attempt by the United States to refine how it takes out suspected militants.

Weighing less than two kilos, the drone is small enough to fit into a soldier’s backpack and is launched from a tube, with wings quickly folding out as it soars into the air, according to manufacturer AeroVironment.

Powered by a small electric motor, the Switchblade transmits video in real time from overhead, allowing a soldier to identify an enemy, the company said in a press release last month.

“Upon confirming the target using the live video feed, the operator then sends a command to the air vehicle to arm it and lock its trajectory onto the target,” it said.

The drone then flies into the “target,” detonating a small explosive.

The United States currently uses larger Predator and Reaper drones to hunt down suspected militants in Pakistan and elsewhere. The robotic planes fire powerful Hellfire missiles and drop heavy bombs that can cause civilian casualties and extensive damage, which has fueled popular anger with the United States in Pakistan. In the war in Afghanistan, US and coalition troops fighting the Taliban can call in artillery fire or air strikes from fighter jets and attack helicopters. But the heavy firepower has been blamed by Afghan leaders for claiming the lives of innocent civilians and strained US relations with Kabul. The Switchblade, however, is touted as a way to avoid killing bystanders. Image above: A Switchblade™Drone – AeroVironment 

The California-based firm also said the drone can be called off at the last moment, even after a kill mission has been ordered. That feature provides troops with “a level of control not available in other weapon systems,” it said.

The United States currently uses larger Predator and Reaper drones to hunt down suspected militants in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The robotic planes fire powerful Hellfire missiles and drop heavy bombs that can cause civilian casualties and extensive damage, which has fueled popular anger with the United States in Pakistan.

In the war in Afghanistan, US and coalition troops fighting the Taliban can call in artillery fire or air strikes from fighter jets and attack helicopters.

But the heavy firepower has been blamed by Afghan leaders for claiming the lives of innocent civilians and strained US relations with Kabul.

The Switchblade, however, is touted as a way to avoid killing bystanders.

“Flying quietly at high speed the Switchblade delivers its onboard explosive payload with precision while minimizing collateral damage,” the company said.

The US Army in June approved a $4.9 million contract for AeroVironment to supply the new drones as soon as possible. Officials have not said how many Switchblade drones were ordered or when the robotic weapons would make into the hands of US forces.

Human rights groups have raised concerns that the use of drones by the CIA has allowed the conduct of a secret assassination campaign abroad without public scrutiny and little oversight by lawmakers in Congress.

Source, Image in the middle

Related Posts:

1. As the Drone flies, 2. Is that a robin, or a robot bird on the wire outside your bedroom? 3. CIA Drones: Claims of Maj. Gen. Ghayur Mehmood and their authenticity 4. Decade Of The Drone: America’s Aerial Assassins 5. Attack of the Drones: WTF? 6. Higher Power of Drones: the Automatized Killing Technology 7. A WAR OF DRONES: Why Military Dreams Fail — and Why It Doesn’t Matter 8. EXCLUSIVE: Drone Strike Was Not Meant For Mehsud 9. Are We at (Robot) War in Pakistan? 10. Wall Street Journal Cheers on Obama’s Drone War on Pakistan: “Unmanned Bombs Away” 11. Paramilitary Pretense, Who Controls the Predators? 12. Questions to Ask in the Dead of Night 13. Britain: Big Brother spy drones may soon hover over your home 14. Filling the Skies with Assassins 14. Killer Drones: definition, images 15. US Drones don’t sting, they just kill

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s hard to discern what goes on in the minds of those sitting in front of a game[?] console; their detachment from visualizing, indiscriminately, the face of death. There is little compassion expressed when one cannot see – by their own eyes, the death of an innocent child; obliterated in an instant, hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Devoid of human emotion or warmth, death by drones is much too impersonal and must be restrained.

  2. Very right Steve, Tom Engelhart put up a highly thought provoking piece on this subject, Filling the Skies with Assassins (https://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/filling-the-skies-with-assassins/), an old one but still very much relevant to what’s happening today right before our eyes.
    Yes, devoid of human emotion or warmth, death by drones is much too impersonal and must be restrained.

  3. Hello Nayyar, there is one line in Tom Engelhart’s article; “…They’re even wondering about just how to program human ethics, maybe even American ethics, into them.” I have to admit that this line elicits a somewhat cynical smirk as I realise that it is more a military -industrial ethic rather than an American ethic. Somewhere along the line, the ethics of the United States that the founding fathers had promoted has been lost.

    Yes, we are witness to a general decline in ethics and morality in America, as throughout the rest of the world also. This is mainly due to the irresponsibility of the corporate media. Through design, the world has been changed by an evil hidden hand, a hand that murders indiscriminately.

    In an article by our friend, Felicity Arbuthnot: “Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Slaughter: Ten Bloody Years”, she wrote about the drones, statistics, the devastation and the murder of innocents. These weapons of pin-point accuracy; drones place blood on the hands of misplaced ethics. As the expression, “Guns don’t kill, people kill.”

    • Very sad but true, guns don’t kill, its people that kill people and its so true in case of this brutal drone war carried out by Washington against so many countries including Pakistan.
      In our language there is a verse that goes like this ‘Wuhi zibah bhi kare wuhi le swab ulta’. [Its he who is slaughtering us and again its he who is being rewarded for this slaughter]. The drone war that is being carried out by the United States of America is killing the Pakistanis in the name of terrorism but these terrorists or Islamic Jihadis are the same guys who were created by America in collusion with the ex Pakistani dictator Zia ul Haque. Later another Pakistani dictator P. Musharraf co-opted these terrorists first to support them and later on US pressure hunted them. The eye wash of hunting down these terrorists has gradually been exposed and we now know that these terrorists are none else but the tools who have been programmed to fight a war in the name of Islam at America’s bidding.
      Some of them of course are hitting at U.S. interests too, but they are too small, yet the huge and ultra modern war machine owned by the U.S. and her allies under no count can justify their war on these ragtag people who are fighting for liberation of their country in the same manner as they did against the Soviet Union. Yesterday their war was the war of resistance and liberation [coz then it suited Pentagon’s interest] but today their war is terrorism because they don’t want U.S. to occupy their land and hence branded terrorists by the U.S.

  4. I voice my support for any and all who resist occupation forces. By the way, I like that quote: “Wuhi zibah bhi kare wuhi le swab ulta.” …Can’t pronounce it, but I like what it intones; its meaning.

    Anyways, humanitary excuses has little place in U.S. global affairs these days when government acts as the enforcement arm of capitalism-run-amok.

    Since WWII, Washington has habitually aligned itself with the goals of U.S. corporations to dominate. Besides using the military, CIA, et al., it has even funded armies of goons that harass, bribe, batter, jail, and murder Presidents, national spokepersons, activists, labor leaders, and the innocent.

    In Iraq, writes Noam Chomsky in “Interventions”, the occupying forces broke into union offices, arrested leaders, and enforced Saddam Hussein’s antilabor laws. Union leaders were killed under mysterious circumstances. Concessions went to bitterly anti-union U.S. firms. New oil contracts went to firms whose executives were personal friends of President George W. Bush. Just try to tell me that Bush was NOT complicit in the crime of the century… 9/11. He, along with Rumsfeld and Cheney should be facing a firing squad for the capital offense of: “Crimes against humanity.”

    What is an evil axis of power? Ever notice how the US, UK and especially Zionist Israel; the ‘shot caller’ in mid-east policies and conflict, resemble the World War II evil axis of power – represented as Germany, Italy and Japan? Well, it looks like history repeats again. Throughout the middle-east and even the rest of the world, people and communities are being decimated in an indescriminate war of attrition, solely for corporate control of all resources; all peoples’… World domination.

    Occupy Wall Street: As, in the free[?] west, people are becoming financially devistated by these corrupt global elite in their quest. And I have great hope for this “Occupy” movement that is spreading across the globe. A grass-roots movement that is educating the masses, gathering world attention and inspiring the people to resist the ‘status quo. And Nayyar… I even started an “Occupy” in my community. It ‘kicks’ off in two days. Should have over a hundred people attending and it-will-grow.

    The bottom line is; war and human suffering – for profit must be stopped at all cost. Patrick Henery’s call to the colonists preceding the American War for Independence from England was: “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Personally? I prefer liberty. But if I can’t have liberty, then I prefer death… And the way it’s looking, I may have no choice.

    • I voice my support for any and all who resist occupation forces. By the way, I like that quote: “Wuhi zibah bhi kare wuhi le swab ulta.” …Can’t pronounce it, but I like what it intones; its meaning.
      [Steve, I do appreciate your gesture and your intent of solidarity with all those people who are struggling or want to struggle against oppression and occupation of other countries in the name of oft repeated lip service to the values that humanity throughout the course of history has valued in high esteem and which are the very basic signs of respectable human life].
      Anyway, humanitarian excuses have little place in U.S. global affairs these days when government acts as the enforcement arm of capitalism-run-amok.
      [Ya, its right, humanitarian excuses have little place in US global strategies because mostly the different governmental set ups that emerge in the United States act as enforcement wing of capitalism run amok].

      Since WWII, Washington has habitually aligned itself with the goals of U.S. corporations to dominate. Besides using the military, CIA, et al., it has even funded armies of goons that harass, bribe, batter, jail, and murder Presidents, national spokepersons, activists, labor leaders, and the innocent.

      [Fully agree with you, CIA is still funding the armies of goons that harass, bribe, jail and murder people from all walks of life].
      In Iraq, writes Noam Chomsky in “Interventions”, the occupying forces broke into union offices, arrested leaders, and enforced Saddam Hussein’s antilabor laws. Union leaders were killed under mysterious circumstances. Concessions went to bitterly anti-union U.S. firms. New oil contracts went to firms whose executives were personal friends of President George W. Bush. Just try to tell me that Bush was NOT complicit in the crime of the century… 9/11. He, along with Rumsfeld and Cheney should be facing a firing squad for the capital offense of: “Crimes against humanity.”
      [Again I agree 100 percent with you. The Bush Cheney cabal that ruled the United States from 2000 – 2008 terms has committed such heinous crimes against humanity that both need to be tried at an International Crimes Tribunal as the Allies tried the Nazis at the War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany after WWII].
      What is an evil axis of power? Ever notice how the US, UK and especially Zionist Israel; the ‘shot caller’ in mid-east policies and conflict, resemble the World War II evil axis of power – represented as Germany, Italy and Japan? Well, it looks like history repeats again. Throughout the middle-east and even the rest of the world, people and communities are being decimated in an indiscriminate war of attrition, solely for corporate control of all resources; all peoples’… World domination.
      [The US corporates are as much part of the evil as the evil itself. But their modus operandi is so refined that the masses do not comprehend at all, instead they think these national and multinational corporates are the guys who bring them jobs, secured social benefits and such other things that lure the common man to their fold, but in reality they are the financial octopus that smothers its prey so mercilessly that it almost dies and the corporates take the whole benefit.]
      Occupy Wall Street: As, in the free [?] west, people are becoming financially devastated by these corrupt global elite in their quest. And I have great hope for this “Occupy” movement that is spreading across the globe. A grass-roots-movement that is educating the masses, gathering world attention and inspiring the people to resist the ‘status quo. And Nayyar… I even started an “Occupy” in my community. It ‘kicks’ off in two days. Should have over a hundred people attending and it-will-grow.
      [Steve, I do believe the ‘Occupy’ movement in your community comes to a big success. I do wish that we in Pakistan too have this Occupy movement coz the conditions here in this land of the pure are thousand times much worse than they are in the United States or in Europe.

      The bottom line is; war and human suffering – for profit must be stopped at all cost. Patrick Henery’s call to the colonists preceding the American War for Independence from England was: “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Personally? I prefer liberty. But if I can’t have liberty, then I prefer death… And the way it’s looking, I may have no choice.
      [Well said, it appears so not only in your country but almost everywhere in the world. But in spite of all odds, all obstructions, I believe struggle must go on, and this struggle has to be fought on all fronts, including print and the electronic media].

  5. For America its either Win or Perish situation. And this war is not a war for land as being stated by some. To avoid the collateral loss, huge investment has been done. What it suggests is that despite the criticism by the supporters of terrorists, the war against such elements will continue.

    • You are right, for America its either win or perish situation But Dr. AKT, most probably its not the win situation as you would wish it to be. The scenario is more on the ‘perish’ side for whoever entered that graveyard of empires, perished in Afghanistan. Why has the world’s deadliest power which can annihilate the whole planet seven times over, has not been able to beat the rag tags of Afghanistan? Because US and NATO are fighting it not only for land but also for minerals and energy rich Stans which also include the two stans within our homeland, Balochistan and Pakistan.
      Whereas all imperialism minded individuals, groups, communities and states would wish it as you too wish it so, on ground, however, war is proceeding in a direction which is just opposite to what US had planned in 2001.

  6. Dr. Hashmey, the war is not yet culminated, its still going on and will keep on going. Better would be …, wait and watch,
    What is hidden in the womb of future for the world in general and
    our region in particular.

    • I don’ think so Dr. AKT, the way the war in Afghanistan is costing the US and NATO allies billions of dollars in tangible terms and causing collateral damage [although quantum is not that heavy as in case of the drone attacks causing similar [collateral] deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan] but damage is still being done to the US and NATO. The forces that decided this war have nothing to loose but the people, the common US citizenry that is losing their dear and near ones in this unasked for war are definitely feeling the painful, deadly pinch.
      So you may wish this war to go on for ever coz you Dr. Sahib! have nothing at stake. But ask the Pakistani mothers who are losing their sons and ask the mothers in America too who likewise are loosing their loved ones, then perhaps you might need to think over your callous opinion on this brutal war which is bringing no good either to the west or to the people who are opposing the west in the region.

      As far what is in the womb of future, the womb of time is definitely not infertile but for the neocons and their cohorts, whoever they are, wherever they are, tend to turn this whole beautiful world into a barren piece. Yet turning their own purses fatter than ever before.

  7. “Kamkazi” in Arabic means suicidal bomber so this way they are propagating jihad phenomena on Muslims who were top class fighters of Islamic jihad long time ago. US has made Pakistani people the experimental guinea pigs and Pakistani soil a perfect laboratory of arms marketing through practical demonstration. The important thing is who are their marketing agents in this region? Ans my answer would be your military brass who act as facilitator of arms technology of US since the time of Ayub Khan. Pakistani student are taught fake history lessons at all levels of education in which O or A level books are also filled by praises of Pak army successes and the way it secured Pakistan in all defeated battle fields.
    So neither we read history of success of developed country nor we view what was our real past or output of last wars but away keep agitated for more wars in the name of peace without knowing that both are antonyms of each other. In case of one ‘Survival other has to diminish and in our case war culture is made indispensable for us by cleansing all peace balance in the region.

  8. @ Nazia, yes u are right. People like Dr Hashmey are the product of such education system who find conspiracy in each and every downfall of Pakistan. They are encouraging terrorism in Kashmir by distorting the history on one hand and trying to develop good relations with India. Now Pakistan has to mutate and have to propagate a new thinking which is required for its existence. At present it is no more a sovereign state.

    • Dr. AKT, am sorry to say that what you have written is utter B.S. As I see u have been a regular follower of the contents that are frequently put up on this site. In spite of this, you term me as a product of Pakistani education system which finds a conspiracy behind every faulty thing happening in Pakistan.
      Yes I do believe that 9/11 was an inside job. I do believe that Pakistan is in the clutches of US hegemonism and that too has been because of the nasty collusion of our civil and military leadership have with the Americans.
      But to say that am the product of Pakistani education system, then I do understand where and why your pinch. Dr. AKT, I cannot for a single moment close my eyes from the facts. And one bitter fact is that India has had a very weak stand on Kashmir. I believe both India and Pakistan must see eye to eye over this issue and settle this once and for all. You many a times threaten me that I should not talk of Kashmir otherwise you will……
      Then you start dictating terms for the Pakistani authorities and as you say if your dictating terms are accepted then and only then peace between India and Pakistan can prevail.
      Well Dr. AKT, in spite of my strong views on Kashmir, I also believe that both of us should solve all our issues through bilateral negotiations. I have always opposed war whether its fought by Americans, Pakistanis or the Indians, because wars have never solved the issues between nations.
      But unfortunate though it is, you and certain of your friends try to spoon feed me that I too should become a war monger like you but I have a strong conviction in peace and therefore, I never do subscribe to what and your Indian friends say. So Dr. AKT, please come up with constructive thoughts instead of being parochial. We in India and Pakistan have a long history of embitterment, better contribute toward doing away with this embitterment and not by putting more fuel to the fire which has been raging ever since independence between India and Pakistan.

  9. Dr. Hashmey, you may call me as you wish, but whatever I feel right – through my own observation based on different means and the ground realities, I insist on my comments on different issues. Thanks to the modern information and communication technology that the interactions do not remain confined between the two individuals and as a result one can judge the validity of his own stand, therefore, I will keep on reiterating what I feel is correct and right.

  10. I have to run off in a few minutes. Will return later. Meanwhile, I leave you with a quote from one who personifies evil; a proponent of the “New World Order” promoting global genocide.

    The only comfort I take in death is that it is simply transitory…

    “For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well publicized incidents…to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the globe to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty and I am proud of it.” ~ David Rockefeller

  11. […] 1. Obama weasels out of his promise to leave Afghanistan by 2015 2. US military surveillance future: Drones now come in swarms? 3. A Brief History of Drones [in three parts] 4. From Dreams to Drones: Who is the Real Barack Obama? 5. A Game of Drones 6. US Army to fly ‘kamikaze’ drones […]


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