Israel’s Heron drone continues to make progress across the world.
Over in Afghanistan the reconnaissance ‘bot hit 15,000 flying hours with the German army. Not that the German troops are in charge. The Ottawa Citizen reports that operations are flown by personnel from the Canadian company Cassidian.
A new, more relaxed way to be a mercenary. And this might be wild speculation, but there’s probably never been a mercenary force in history with such comfortable chairs.
Herons are also flocking to India, as the Indian navy makes good on a two-year-old commitment to station Heron and Searcher drones in Behala. The stomping ground will be the Bay of Bengal, which is home to some desultory pirates whose main prey are unfortunate fisherman. Drug traffic from Burma will also interest the drones.
There’s no doubt that the Heron is selling well. And why not, with such a peaceable name? Honestly, drone names like Reaper and Predator are far too depressing. Nothing says quiet self-confidence like a spindly Heron.
Variants flying around the world include France’s Harfang plus another version for Turkey. Although Turkish president Erdoğan will be the last to shout about it given the ongoing deterioration in Turkish-Israeli relations. And don’t mention Reapers, either.
The Heron also has long-established reputation, with versions flying as far back as 1994. Tried-and-tested sells.
Not that it always goes right for Israel’s UAVs. A Hermes 450 came down near the Egyptian border last week. The crash was reported as a deliberate move after the drone malfunctioned.
If anyone has $4,800 to spare and a burning interest in just how many Herons will be flogged over the next few years, drop some cash on The Global UAV Market 2013-2023. That comes in at about $21 per page.
The report reckons there are 4,000 or so UAV models on the market. As far as I can see it’s still any color you want so long as it’s gray.
Please send me a copy of the report when you’re done.
Doubtless, many top-secret orders flit across Washington day by day. Most are overlooked, but it has become hard to ignore the directive that mandates the fringe-science Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to work on war machines that might as well be G.I. Joe toys.
Hence the Hydra, an underwater mothership — and when have those lines been written outside a synopsis for a summer blockbuster? — intended to carry both unmanned aerial and nautical vehicles. Order now to avoid Christmas disappointment.
Yemen is a hot spot for drone strikes. Amongst the country’s ever-churning civil war, an occasional American citizen can be found. And in one case that American citizen was destined to be killed by his own government. The New York Times carries a powerful op-ed from the boy’s grandfather.
This is going to keep the judges talking for a while.
Also in Yemen, journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who was doing hard time for the heinous act of embarrassing the government for lying about drone strikes. Shaye caught the Yemeni government out in the old this-obvious-drone-strike-was-totally-Yemen’s-military-honest guvnor-nothing-to-see-here-routine. A game also tried in Pakistan. Nobody is fooled. Ever.
Meanwhile the White House and Pakistan are involved in a depressing debate over exactly how many civilians have been killed in drone strikes and how many were children. As this Guardian report details, life for those on the drone war front line is pretty grim.
Back in Europe drone paranoia takes hold, as European bureaucrats fret over U.S. and Israeli drone dominance. Given the E.U.’s fragile financial state and the lack of a common defense policy, this commissioner’s concerns amount to some big, big dreams.
British Telecom, the U.K. communications giant, faces a complaint from the NGO Reprieve over infrastructure work for U.S. government bases connected to drone strikes. Unlikely to change anything, but it reveals another part in corporate jigsaw required to support drone operations.
More drone art, as author Teju Cole inserted drones into seven Twitter synopses of classic novels. We’ve seen Pride and Prejudice with added zombies. Now we have Mrs. Dalloway and the Reaper.