The Pentagon’s New Drone Swarm Heralds a Future of Autonomous War Machines

 

On Oct. 26, 2016, a pair of Hornets flying above an empty part of California opened their bellies and released a robotic swarm. With machine precision, the fast-moving unmanned flying machines took flight, then moved to a series of waypoints, meeting objectives set for the swarm by a human controller. The brief flight of 103 tiny drones heralds a new age in how, exactly, America uses robots at war.

The Pentagon’s worked with Perdix drones since 2013, with the October flight using the military’s 6th generation of the devices. F/A-18 Hornets, long-serving Navy fighters, carried the drones and released them from flare dispensers. The small drones were the subject of an episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes, and they move so fast they’re hard to film. Below, in a clip from the Department of Defense, the drones are barely visible as dark blurs beneath the fighters. Continue reading

US to relocate 30,000 marines to counter China in S. China Sea: report

https://i1.wp.com/www.wantchinatimes.com/newsphoto/2015-09-28/450/CFP472340259-181626_copy1.jpg

A signalman directs a US Marines Landing Craft Air Cushion hovercraft during an amphibious landing operation on Sept. 5, 2015. (Photo/CFP)

 

In the face of China’s growing presence in the South China Sea, the United States Marine Corps is moving ahead with plans to eventually place nearly 15% of the service’s personnel in Hawaii and beyond, reports Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet. Continue reading

Meet the PLA’s Deadly New ‘Carrier Killer’ Drone

Beijing is heavily investing into the development of longer-range UAVs.

Last week, new pictures emerged on Chinese websites of the Project 973 or Shen Diao (“Divine Eagle”) prototype, perhaps the world’s largest twin fuselage drone – and a new formidable long-range strike weapon in the arsenal of the People’s Liberation Army.

….

Judging from the images, the Divine Eagle prototype appears to be larger than the U.S Air Force’s Global Hawk long-range surveillance drone and consequently could be equipped to “carry large missiles for satellite launching, anti-satellite and anti-ship missions,” elaborates the Washington Free Beacon.

The article also quotes, Rick Fisher, an expert on Chinese military capabilities, who states that “China’s construction of large long-range Global Hawk-sized unmanned aircraft will greatly assist its goal of consolidating control over the western Pacific (…)These large UAVs will act as persistent satellites able to target missiles and other tactical platforms well beyond the first island chain.”

Continue reading

Chinese Military Using Jamming Against U.S. Drones

Global Hawk targeted over disputed South China Sea islands

China tried to electronically jam U.S. drone flights over the South China Sea in a bid to thwart spying on disputed island military construction, U.S. officials said.

Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones were targeted by the jamming in at least one incident near the disputed Spratly Islands, where China is building military facilities on Fiery Cross Reef.

Disclosure of the jamming came as a U.S. Navy P-8 surveillance flight on Wednesday was challenged eight times by the Chinese military to leave the same area. Continue reading

Report: Chinese Navy’s Fleet Will Outnumber U.S. by 2020

China Sub

 

China has plans to grow its navy to 351 ships by 2020 as the Chinese continue to develop their military’s ability to strike global targets, according to a new report.

The 2014 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended to Congress the U.S. Navy respond by building more ships and increase its presence in the Pacific region – a strategy they U.S. military has already started. Continue reading

Russian Bombers Threaten Guam

Four Russian strategic bombers circled the U.S. island of Guam last week in what U.S. defense officials say is the latest in a series of nuclear provocations by Moscow.

The bombers, flying in pairs, were identified by air defenses as Tu-95 Bear H nuclear-capable aircraft that circumnavigated the strategic U.S. military outpost on Friday—amid heightened tensions with Moscow regarding a new buildup of Russian forces in and along the border of eastern Ukraine.

A Pacific Command spokesman had no immediate comment. Two defense officials confirmed the incident. It could not be learned if U.S. jets intercepted the bombers.

Friday’s flights were the second time in the past two years that Russia conducted unusual long-range bomber missions around the island. Two Tu-95s circled the island on Feb. 12, 2013 and were intercepted by F-15 jets. Continue reading

How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones

For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.

Japan is not so quietly building a huge drone fleet

The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency. Continue reading

US defense industry over-reliant on rare earth from China

Rare earth elements from China are being used to build weapons systems sold to the US Department of Defense, according to American geologist Victoria Bruce in an article written for Truthout, a nonprofit news organization based in the United States.

According to Bruce, participants at the meeting were outraged to discover that various top US weapon systems including Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter, Raytheon’s ground-to-air missile system, Boeing’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile system, Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk, and General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator would not work at all without China-sourced rare earth materials. After learning this fact, a number of the participants promised to take action. Continue reading

Analyst: Drone no longer in Air Force plans to replace U-2 spy plane

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The Air Force wants to save money by scrapping plans to replace the Cold War-era U-2 spy plane with the high-tech Global Hawk reconnaissance drone, a defense analyst said Tuesday.

Loren Thompson wrote in his blog that the Air Force plans to sacrifice the most common variant of the Global Hawk — the Block 30 — as a “bill payer” in its 2013 budget request, retiring those already in use and halting further production by defense giant Northrup Grumman.

In addition, Bloomberg News reported that an unnamed U.S. official said the Pentagon has accepted an Air Force recommendation to reduce its purchases of the Block 30 and shift money to continued operations and maintenance of the high-altitude U-2 manned reconnaissance aircraft, which first entered service in the mid-1950s.

The long-distance, high-altitude Global Hawk has been used extensively in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to feed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to armed drones such as the Predator and Reaper.

Continue reading article: Analyst: Drone no longer in Air Force plans to replace U-2 spy plane (Stars & Stripes)