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Next-generation Avenger   (Source: U.S. Air Force)
Next-generation drone will be used in Iraq and Afghanistan

The possible successor of the U.S. Air Force's MQ-9 Reaper recently made three official flights during testing.  General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the same company that developed the Reaper and MQ-1 Predator, is responsible for developing the Predator C Avenger unmanned aerial vehicle.

The next-generation unmanned aerial vehicle is 41 ft. long and has a 66-foot wingspan, which is slightly bigger than the 36 ft. long Reaper.  Most notably, Avenger is jet-powered, allowing it to travel more than twice the speed of Reaper -- Avenger has flown as fast as 460 mph, while Reaper's top speed is 230 m.p.h.

Similar to Reaper, Avenger has been designed to carry 500-pound live bombs with GPS navigation and laser guidance kits utilized.  Up to 3,000 pounds of weapons and other technology can be carried on the craft.

"Following in the footsteps of the proven Predator B, Avenger adds yet another flexible and multi-mission capability to the Predator UAS series and is a testament to GA-ASI's continuing practice of developing and delivering proven unmanned aircraft to military customers," according to a General Atomics executive.

The Air Force and General Atomics haven't signed an official contract for the development of the Avenger, but it seems rather unlikely the new drone won't be incorporated into the A.F. fleet at some point in the near future.  General Atomics built both the Reaper and Predator without signed agreements from the U.S. government.

Drones have become increasingly important in Iraq and Afghanistan, as they are both cheaper and safer to go on attack and reconnaissance missions.  Furthermore, drones such as Predator are used to help create "patterns-of-life analysis" footage to help monitor individual Iraqis and Afghans who may launch attacks from crowds of civilians.



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RE: A slow march to somewhere
By MrBungle123 on 4/29/2009 1:17:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Well, I suppose its inevitable and nothing is going to stop it, but the idea of a completely mechanized battlefield doesn't sit right with me. I find something comforting in the idea that we used to have to risk life to take life.


I think its great. One of our greatest generals said it best:

quote:
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” -George S. Patton


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Nfarce on 4/29/2009 2:01:44 PM , Rating: 3
One of the best quotes in all the history of mankind and warfare. Patton had quite a few of them, actually.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2009 2:34:46 PM , Rating: 5
Great quotes taken out of context don't mean exactly what the speaker intended.

What the OP was talking about was the eventual conclusion that a total mechanized war machine will completely desensitize the users. And cause a complete lack of respect of the forces he/she is unleashing on the enemy.

He already said he didn't want our people dying. So why you even used the Patton quote, I don't know. The OP isn't even talking about losses. He's talking about risk vs. reward. If all we end up risking are automated machines and mindless hunks of metal then we could possibly fail to objectively weigh the morality and consequences of our decisions.

Now I personally believe a total mechanized military is a fantasy. But that's where the OP was going.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By therealnickdanger on 4/29/2009 2:58:50 PM , Rating: 4
Who says war should be "sensitive"? The point of war is that you so quickly and completely crush and demoralize your enemy that they don't even want to fight, thus saving more lives. More lives on your side, hopefully, so that you can pursue your agenda over that of the aggressor. "Peace through superior firepower", I believe it's called. It isn't nice and it sure as f*ck ain't pretty... it's WAR.

I don't think we'll have a fully mechanized military either, but if we did, I would see it as an even greater benefit to peace. Why would you pick a fight with a country that will suffer NO losses in battle?

What will be really humorous though is in the future when everyone has robots fighting for them... You lose when you can't spawn more units.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Myg on 4/29/2009 3:05:45 PM , Rating: 1
Pretty dangerous train of thought there: "now approaching insanity-ville station, please mind the gap"

In a perfect world; where everyone was perfect and lived clean and squeaky clean lives, it would work well. Shame about that... For the rest of the world, its like how laws are needed to fill the gaps of forgotten/discarded moral guidelines; if there is no ramification for doing something wrong, then people will just learn to do it without thinking. Such as waging war at any whim because they can justify it with any garbage excuse.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By nafhan on 4/29/2009 4:11:46 PM , Rating: 1
Whether you like it or not, the point of war IS to get things done as quickly as possible.

Compare and contrast trench warfare during WWI to mechanized war during WWII. Compare carpet bombing to precision laser guided bombs. I could go on. Advances in tactical warfare have continually brought less pain to the soldiers and civilians in the war zone.

As for the morality of completely mechanized warfare... the people who have the ability to wage that kind of war probably appreciate it, and the people who don't... probably don't. History and morals are decided by the winner. That's just how it is.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Myg on 4/29/2009 4:47:30 PM , Rating: 3
Less pain to the point of almost no-one suffering from the attackers side is the problem. Thats just the way it is with human nature, like it or not; If we continue down this road too fast, we may find ourselves worse off then many of History's great villians in the books of the future.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Avitar on 4/30/2009 4:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, we will. The US does not punish writers who attack us. This may not be sane but every few years the Japanese will come out with a textbook that includes how terrible it is that the Noble Japanese solders' behavior is not viewed as admirable. It is always the Chinese who raise objection and never the US State Department. Pointing out that the alternative to the nuclear attacks was an invasion that might have killed 15 million Japanese is also overlooked when Truman's decision is discussed. War is hell and there are reasons for going to hell.

What thought process do you think the Saudis went through when tolerating Al Qaida before 9/11?


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By StinkyWhizzleTeeth on 4/29/2009 3:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
Check out the documentary "Fog of War". See if your beliefs fit in with the lessons of WWII, Korean, and Vietnam war.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-865378886...


By StinkyWhizzleTeeth on 4/29/2009 7:29:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying you're wrong. But I hope you aren't ever in a position to decide to go to war or not. On the other hand I'd want you to be my general if we did. :-)


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By kerpwnt on 4/29/2009 4:25:22 PM , Rating: 1
Without surrender as an option, guerrilla warfare was the logical response to a more powerful army. What is the logical response to an unmanned robot army? I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I bet it looks a lot like terrorism.

quote:
Why would you pick a fight with a country that will suffer NO losses in battle?

That question can be answered with a shorter version of itself. Why would you pick a fight with a country? Some people can always find a reason.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Jackattak on 4/29/2009 4:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would you pick a fight with a country?


Beautifully put.

And in response to this:

quote:
What is the logical response to an unmanned robot army?


EMP weapons. They aren't very expensive nor are they difficult to manufacture.


By StinkyWhizzleTeeth on 4/29/2009 6:52:19 PM , Rating: 2
And the best EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) weapon there is?

drum roll...

It's Da-bomb. The N-word. Fusion explosions.

It's only logical and rational to want that weapon if you want to feel safe from countries who fight pre-emptive electronic warfare.

Of course logic and ration often lead to irrational results. Castro wanted Russia to launch the nukes in Cuba towards the United States if we attacked him during the Cuban missile crisis.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By FITCamaro on 4/30/2009 7:10:16 AM , Rating: 3
Assuming said robotic weaponry isn't shielded from EMP.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Schrag4 on 4/29/2009 5:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What will be really humorous though is in the future when everyone has robots fighting for them...


Somewhere around 20 years ago there was a movie that this comment reminded me of. Each country would build a massive single robot that would fight another country's robot to settle disputes. The fight was even a spectator sport, more or less (I was in junior high or even grade school so my recollection is fuzzy).

Anyone else remember it? What was it called?


By Mojo the Monkey on 4/29/2009 5:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I saw this too! ROBOT JOX

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUxDmKFCD2o


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Legolias24 on 4/29/2009 5:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
I believe you are referring to the movie Robojocks (sp.).


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By FITCamaro on 4/30/2009 7:09:25 AM , Rating: 2
Nick Danger. The Patton of 2009.

"We're going to go through them like crap through a goose!"


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By ThePooBurner on 4/30/2009 11:33:02 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
I don't think we'll have a fully mechanized military either, but if we did, I would see it as an even greater benefit to peace. Why would you pick a fight with a country that will suffer NO losses in battle?

What will be really humorous though is in the future when everyone has robots fighting for them... You lose when you can't spawn more units.

You must construct additional pylons!


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By Ryanman on 4/30/2009 8:57:37 AM , Rating: 2
While the OP's point was valid, you also didn't understand what the previous poster meant. While the desensitization of war in inevitable, the whole IDEA of war is to cause more casualties than inflicted on your own force. A truly robotic army would fulfill this in a perfect fashion.

Is it Right? No, I don't think so. An army without risk is an army without morals. But don't assume the poster didn't understand - he was just making a point.


RE: A slow march to somewhere
By UrOwnHubris on 4/30/2009 6:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Bear in mind I say what I am about to say purely to offer another take on the issue (i.e. NOT a rebuke of anyone's opinion) Patton was a lot of things, good and bad. However among these I believe (just me mind you) he was one of the 20th century's greatest embodiments of the classical warrior ethos. War propagated and prosecuted via machine would have been an anathema to him. Imagine a war without blood sacrifice, without risk, without heroes and Patton could have nothing to do with it. With this said I agree with you in part. The removal of some risk is an achievement. However at the end of the day I give professional deference to General Robert E. Lee who said, "It is well that war is so terrible - otherwise we would grow too fond of it."


"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein











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