04 Nov 11. The U.S. spy agency has quietly tightened its rules on drone strikes in Pakistan over concerns about their impact on tense relations with Islamabad, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 3. Pakistanis protest U.S. drone strikes on Oct. 28 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Concerned about strained relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, the CIA has tightened rules on drone strikes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal, citing senior officials, said the new rules resulted from a behind-the-scenes battle between an aggressive Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. military and diplomatic officials concerned about relations with Pakistan. A high-level review reaffirmed support for the drone program – which has killed hundreds of militants, including top commanders, in recent years – but established new rules to minimize the diplomatic blowback, the Journal said. The changes reportedly include granting the State Department greater sway in strike decisions, giving Pakistani leaders advance warning of more operations and suspending operations when Pakistani officials visit the United States. (Source: Defense News)
04 Nov 11. A new version of the General Atomics Predator/Reaper UAV series with multiple sensor control is ready for deployment to Afghanistan after successful trials. A U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle was fitted with two additional EO/IR sensors under each wing. These were controlled by operators in the field, who were independent of the main ground control station (GCS). The Triclops configuration of the Gray Eagle UAV features two additional EO/IR sensors in underwing podsWhile the primary Raytheon AN/AAS-53 common sensor payload (CSP) under the nose was operated via a Ku-Band tactical common datalink from AAI’s Universal GCS, two similar Raytheon DAS-2 sensors under the wings were operated by soldiers using a bidirectional one system remote video terminal
(OSRVT) and Aerovironment’s mini-universal GCS designed for use with Raven and Puma small UAS. Like the U.S. Air Force Reaper, the Gray Eagle additionally carries General Atomics’ own Lynx multi-mode surveillance radar. The new sensor/control combination is named Triclops. It was tested in the Army’s manned/unmanned systems integration concept (Music) exercise last September. The additional sensors are carried on the inner wing hardpoints, leaving the outer wing hardpoints free for Hellfire missiles, laser-guided bombs or other weapons. Carriage of the additional sensors requires no modification to the UAV’s power generation system. The U.S. Army first deployed four Gray Eagle UAVs to Iraq in December 2009. Four additional aircraft were sent to Afghanistan in September 2010. An earlier version named Sky Warrior was deployed to Iraq in 2006, and is also now in Afghanistan. These UAVs were all acquired using quick reaction capability (QRC) contracts. The main Gray Eagle contract provides for 34 more aircraft and 16 GCS, for delivery beginning in December. (Source: UNMANNED)
04 Nov 11. France will perform at-sea trials with an unmanned Boeing H-6U Little Bird helicopter next year using a developmental automatic landing system. The Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) helicopter, a smaller variant of the larger, manned A/MH-6M can be controlled by a pilot or piloted remotely. The ULB may be used for multiple missions that may include re-supply and casualty evacuation and is capable of carrying a 300-pound payload. The result of a technology demonstration effort involving avionics specialist Thales and ship builder DCNS, the so-called D2AD programme demonstrated its capabilities during trials performed in the USA earlier this year. These included an H-6U with a safety pilot aboard simulating an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) approaching a moving ground vehicle towing a trailer. (Source: UNMANNED)
01 Nov 11. Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 3 Detachment (Det.) 1 launched an Aqua Puma All Environment (AE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) from the weather deck of USS Oak Hill (