US Military Admits: Spy Drones As Small As Bugs
The US military reveals its latest publicly releasable spy drone technology – drones the size of bugs used to fire missiles and track “enemy combatants”..
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times – A microdrone during a demo flight at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. More Photos »
The NY Times reports:
War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as BugsWRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Two miles from the cow pasture where the Wright Brothers learned to fly the first airplanes, military researchers are at work on another revolution in the air: shrinking unmanned drones, the kind that fire missiles into Pakistan and spy on insurgents in Afghanistan, to the size of insects and birds.
The base’s indoor flight lab is called the “microaviary,” and for good reason. The drones in development here are designed to replicate the flight mechanics of moths, hawks and other inhabitants of the natural world. “We’re looking at how you hide in plain sight,” said Greg Parker, an aerospace engineer, as he held up a prototype of a mechanical hawk that in the future might carry out espionage or kill.
Half a world away in Afghanistan, Marines marvel at one of the new blimplike spy balloons that float from a tether 15,000 feet above one of the bloodiest outposts of the war, Sangin in Helmand Province. The balloon, called an aerostat, can transmit live video — from as far as 20 miles away — of insurgents planting homemade bombs. “It’s been a game-changer for me,” Capt. Nickoli Johnson said in Sangin this spring. “I want a bunch more put in.”
From blimps to bugs, an explosion in aerial drones is transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars. Predator drones, the Cessna-sized workhorses that have dominated unmanned flight since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are by now a brand name, known and feared around the world. But far less widely known are the sheer size, variety and audaciousness of a rapidly expanding drone universe, along with the dilemmas that come with it.
The Pentagon now has some 7,000 aerial drones, compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago. Within the next decade the Air Force anticipates a decrease in manned aircraft but expects its number of “multirole” aerial drones like the Reaper — the ones that spy as well as strike — to nearly quadruple, to 536. Already the Air Force is training more remote pilots, 350 this year alone, than fighter and bomber pilots combined.
Source:War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs
These locusts might be actual living locusts as we know them today; however with catastrophic prophetic powers. Or Gods will, may be for these locusts to be man made machines, as seen in the aforementioned video.
New York college students attending an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month were convinced they saw small flying machines that were "definitely not insects" hovering above.
Bernard Crane, a Washington Lawyer, saw them too and said he had never seen anything like them in his life.
These sightings are among a group of sightings occurring recently in Washington and New York. Some observers think the unidentified flying objects may be miniature high tech surveillance tools set loose by the Department of Homeland Security to observe the protests. Others say that the devices are just dragonflies, despite observers’ insistence that the flying entities are not insects.
None of the various government organizations, have admitted to deploying robotic spy bugs over the U.S., but many of these organizations and private companies they contract with acknowledge that they want to do so and are actively pursuing the technologies to make it possible.
Some government organizations are not looking to redesign nature, but rather to modify it. They are growing special live insects with computer chips in them that control the insects' nervous system. The insects could also be made to carry devices, like miniature wireless cameras.
These robobugs could have a plethora of uses, including crawling after sneaky suspects, guiding our missiles, or exploring collapsed structures--and perhaps snooping on protesters.
Gary Anderson the Defense Department's Rapid Reaction Technology Office, when questioned by interviewers about if such drones existed responded, "If you find something, let me know."
The CIA, according to The Washington Post, developed a simple dragonfly snooper in the 1970s.
Tom Ehrhard, a retired Air Force colonel, specializing in unmanned aerial vehicles admitted that the U.S. government can be pretty sneaky.
The armed forces have been using robotic fliers since World War II and currently have 100 official models ranging from the size of planes to the size of birds. These models flew 160,000 flights last year, according to official estimates.
Recent reports by the Army suggest that these unmanned flights may make air travel hazardous, with their increased frequency.
It appears that designing robobugs is a bit harder than robotic planes though. Insect flight is "theoretically impossible" and only recent research at Cornell University has been able to fully explore how dragonflies fly.
The research revealed how the dragonflies conserve energy while hovering by fine wing adjustments. Such discoveries could help future robobugs hover in place while they watch their mark.
The CIA developed a gas powered dragonfly robot in the 1970s, which was declared a failure when it could not handle the crosswinds. It was powered by four small wings. The CIA's spokesman George Little said he could not comment on what the Agency had been working on since.
Only the FBI officially denied having robobugs.
DARPA declared though that they are hard at work implanting moth pupae with computer chips to make "cyborg moths" when the pupae emerge from their protective casing. The Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems hopes to allow researchers to grow insect nerves into silicon computer chip connections to allow the insects to be remote controlled like RC airplanes. DARPA researchers also are raising cyborg beetles.
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