Friday, December 19, 2008

"We're Bringing the War Back Home!": UAVs in "Peacekeeping."

We're bringing the war back home
Where it ought to have been before!
We'll kill all the bees
And spiders and flies
And we wont play in iceboxes lying on their sides
We'll wash our hands after wee-wee.
And if we're a girl, before!

And we'll march,march,march, et cetera!
'Til we never do march no more!
-- Firesign Theatre

I saw this article below at Strategy Page and was reminded of the scene in Farewell to the King where the British Colonel is explaining to the young officer about how that now that the Japanese are defeated, the returning colonialists are going to bring the rebellious tribesmen of the Borneo interior to heel by shelling them out of their villages. "There's a lot of 105mm shells sitting around after a war," he tells him.

And when our armed forces are all called dutifully home by the Lightworker, I guess we'll have these for "peacekeeping" at home. There's lots of UAVs sitting around after a war. Do take note, however, of the last two paragraphs.


U.S. UAVs Shifted To Peacekeeping Duty

December 19, 2008: The U.S. Army is taking some of its newly acquired expertise with battlefield UAVs, and applying it to peacekeeping operations. This won't be the first time. Back in the 1990s, UAVs were first used for peacekeeping operations, in the Balkans. Since then, several countries have taken UAVs along on peacekeeping missions.

With the rapid winding down of operations in Iraq, and the smaller buildup in Afghanistan, there are plenty of UAVs, and experienced U.S. Army operators, available for peacekeeping operations. Some are headed for Africa, where most of the UN peacekeeping operations are. Army UAVs consist largely of the 350 pound Shadow 200, and the five pound Raven. The latter can be handed over to foreign peacekeepers, who can be taught how to operate it in a few hours. A few U.S. troops can stick around to help with training and maintenance, but the peacekeepers themselves will quickly find the Raven useful for getting a better view of their immediate surroundings. The Shadow 200 requires more experienced operators, but can give peacekeeper commanders a good look at whatever is happening within 50 kilometers.

UAVs are very popular with peacekeepers because a large part of the job is keeping track of lots of people. This has to be done with innocent civilians, and armed groups of bad guys. The civilians and hostiles often have no way to communicate over long distances, so the UAV is a lot more efficient than manned aircraft for tracking everyone down. The U.S. also provides communications equipment that will enable the video feed from Shadow 200s to be shared with other locations on the ground, or in helicopters or aircraft.

While not operating in a war zone, peacekeeping UAVs do get shot at. Two years ago, a Belgium Hunter B UAV in Congo, supporting UN peacekeeping operations there, was lost when a single shot from an AK-47 brought it down. Examination of the wreckage showed that it was a lucky shot, which hit a key spar, that caused a wing to fold.

The guy firing the shot was just popping off, for no particular reason. He was a local thug, not a member of any of the militias the peacekeepers were there to deal with.

1 comment:

Johnny said...

Here's something to look out for: a rash of newspaper articles and editorials about the misuse of high power laser pointers, e.g. to dazzle pilots. The PTB will wake up and realise (if they haven't already) that they don't want such cheap and simple devices for damaging the sensors on their UAVs being widely available, as they are now. Plus there's those evil laser sights and range finders on assault rifles to worry about.