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Sat Dec 31, 2011, 08:58 AM

Who's Zooming Who



The new radar-evading aircraft, which cost the Air Force $15 million, has a maximum takeoff weight of 15,800 pounds and can fly at 460 mph. The drone, built near San Diego, is for testing purposes.


http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-stealth-drone-20111231,0,2148856.story

Air Force buys an Avenger, its biggest and fastest armed drone
By W.J. Hennigan
December 31, 2011


The Air Force has bought a new hunter-killer aircraft that is the fastest and largest armed drone in its fleet.

The Avenger, which cost the military $15 million, is the latest version of the Predator drones made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., a San Diego-area company that also builds the robotic MQ-9 Reapers for the Air Force and CIA.

The new radar-evading aircraft, also known as the Predator C, is General Atomics' third version of these drones. The Air Force picked up only one of them, strictly for testing purposes.

~snip~

The Avenger represents a major technological advance over the other Predator and Reaper drones that the Obama administration has increasingly relied on to hunt and destroy targets in Central Asia and the Middle East, defense industry analysts said. It may be several months — even years — away from active duty, but the Avenger represents the wave of the future, said Phil Finnegan, an aerospace expert with the Teal Group, a research firm.



*cough* *cough*







On December 21, 2011, the Washington Post had an article about more Predator drones on the US / Mexico border:





http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/more-predator-drones-fly-us-mexico-border/2011/12/01/gIQANSZz8O_story.html

More Predator drones fly U.S.-Mexico border
By William Booth, Published: December 21

CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. — In the dead of night, from a trailer humming with surveillance monitors, a pilot for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency was remotely flying a Predator drone more than 1,000 miles away.

From an altitude of 15,000 feet, over the desert ranchlands of Arizona, the drone’s all-seeing eyeball swiveled and powerful night-vision infrared cameras zeroed in on a pickup truck rattling along a washboard road.

“Hey, where’s that guy going?” the mission controller asked the drone’s camera operator, who toggled his joystick, glued to the monitors like a teenager with a Christmas morning Xbox.

~snip~

Fans of the Predators say the $20 million aircraft are a perfect platform to keep a watchful eye on America’s rugged borders, but critics say the drones are expensive, invasive and finicky toys that have done little — compared with what Border Patrol agents do on the ground — to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, drug smugglers or terrorists.



unhappycamper comment: wikipedia is also in on the disinformation; they claim the MQ-9 Predator cost:

Unit cost US$154.4 million (est 2011) system includes 4 aircraft (US$30.35 million/aircraft (2011)[1]), ground control stations, and Predator Primary Satellite Link


FWIW, I have found wikipedia costs for military hardware to be 50% ~ 70% lower than what they actually cost.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:01 AM

1. Oh good, I feel so much safer....

 

.. although healthcare would make me feel even safer.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:09 AM

2. I hope this one has a self-destruct feature to foil (and destroy) reverse engineers.

 

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Response to Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:22 AM

6. Interesting hope. My hope is that it malfunctions and never takes off.

 

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:40 AM

8. I prefer this to the more costly, human-on-board version.

 

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Response to Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:11 AM

11. The question given the history of US government aggression is why you would want either.

 

This country is rich and safe, and in a world that generally wants to be at peace with it. Its military defense requires a tenth or less of the enormous resources that are funneled through the Pentagon. The rest, all the fancy technology, this is for profit and for empire. No new generation of weaponry has ever brought peace, and the world doesn't need it. Rational leaders would want to see an end to arms development and the arms trade, and the investment of the American people's ample surplus wealth in ends that benefit them, and their fellow humans on a small planet that has no room for the insanity of war.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #11)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 03:19 PM

13. I agree that we spend too much on defense. But I see this type of technology as a means

 

of reducing costs and more importantly, reducing the level of danger for our service members.

Eventually, some of our weaponry will be space-based and it is extremely important that we continue to maintain our technological edge, lest we find ourselves on the wrong end of a laser. China's military has made no secret of its interest in developing space weapons. In 2006, China fired lasers at U.S. satellites and although it does not appear any damage occurred, communications were interrupted for a bit. Furthermore, the head of China's air force has pledged to militiarize space "in order to protect peace."

It is not a question of what "I want," the question is who will get there first.

http://www.military.com/news/article/china-to-militarize-space-for-peace.html

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Response to Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:25 AM

12. It depends on what you mean by cost and who bears the burden of that cost....

In terms of innocent lives lost in other parts of the world, drones are far more costly because targeting decisions made by someone thousands of miles away are wrong much of the time.

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Response to truth2power (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 03:23 PM

14. Targeting decisions are often wrong when made under the stress of battle as well.

 

Likewise, they can be wrong without incoming fire.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:13 AM

3. I'll say it again: closed borders and fences don't just keep the strangers out

They keep prisoners in.

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Response to HillWilliam (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:19 AM

5. What, you don't think the Berlin Wall

was built to keep all the starving West Germans from overwhelming the Workers' Paradise with their defections?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:16 AM

4. NWO

 

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:23 AM

7. And here I thought we were having money trouble. Nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 09:59 AM

9. Why yes! There's always money for the Merchants of Death, aka the US Military, isn't there?...

Meanwhile, the values and choices of the CIC of the US military are never to be questioned because he has a D after his name, donchaknow.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 10:06 AM

10. I just heard in the last couple of days that drones are so cheap

municipal police departments don't have to wait on federal grants to buy them.

Where are these municipalities that have this kind of money to spend?

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2011, 03:25 PM

15. The Empire loves war

the middle class, lower class and poor, not so much.

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