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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 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.

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
Why would you pick a fight with a country?

Beautifully put.

And in response to this:

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.

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