Drones Squared

[Content Note: Drones; war.]

Hey, remember when President Obama was going to revisit the US' drone policy and supposedly curtail their use? Sure, that—or build a new secret Air Force stealth drone.
The US Air Force has secretly developed a new stealth drone for long-range reconnaissance missions that could be operational by 2015, according to a report Friday in an industry magazine.

The unmanned drone, dubbed RQ-180, is currently in the testing phase at the top secret Groom Lake air base in Nevada -- the infamous "Area 51" where the Air Force tested the U2 spy planes in the late 1950s, Aviation Week said.

The Air Force refused to comment when contacted by AFP.
No comment on their super secret new drone? I'm shocked!

Anyway, no need to get all miffed about it, hippies, because this fancy new drone isn't for dropping bombs—it's only for surveillance in countries who object to our spying on them.
The requirement for an asset that is stealthy, can fly at high altitude and conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is a crucial priority for the military and the intelligence community.

In several countries, air defenses have improved significantly in recent years making it difficult if not impossible for U.S. assets to gather information.

The drone's ability to stay up for 24 hours will also give it a key advantage over satellites which often pass by a target intermittently and are subject to be being detected.

Butler said the shape of the drone means enemy radars can't easily see the drone as heat it throws off is shielded so radars can't pick it up.

"This aircraft is designed to evade both those thermal sensor, those radar sensors, and other sensors that look for aircraft. So it might not be invisible to radar, but you might not be able to target it and shoot it down."

Butler suggested the drone may even be able to carry sensors that can listen to cell phone calls and any "activities on enemy frequency, radar activities, that sort of thing."
And, hey, maybe this cool new spy drone will help us avoid wars by delivering actionable intelligence that we can send black-ops teams in to deal with instead of taking public military action that might risk oversight and accountability. As long as it's not an attack drone, ha ha, right?

Whoooooops: According to Aviation Week, the drone "could also be capable of electronic attack missions."

Well, no one will get hurt, I'm sure. This was definitely $2 billion well spent. It's the new warfare for a brave new world! Huzzah.


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