military now has its MQ-9 Reaper UAV patrolling in the Indian Ocean,
marking the first time UAVs have been used for safety
Specifically, the MQ-9 Reaper, a 36-foot long craft
that can fly up to 16 hours, has been used for coordinated strikes in
Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The UAVs utilize laser, radar
and infrared, and have the ability to carry up to 12 guided missiles
The drones patrolling Somalia aren't equipped
with weaponry as of yet, but depending on the number of hijackings,
it's a future possibility, military officials told the Associated
“What we hope will happen is that they will get
much earlier warning
of suspicious vessels or suspected [pirate] mother ships that can
then be targeted by the naval vessels. Or alerts and broadcasts can
be sent out indicating the positions of these ships [and] indicating
they should keep as clear a distance as possible," said London
International Maritime Bureau, Cyrus Mody.
The U.S. military
has used 3-foot-long drones in Somalia before, but this is a
significant step forward to try and stifle dangerous pirate attacks.
An international group of warships from the United States, Japan,
China, South Korea and other nations are patrolling near Somalia, but
the pirate attacks are still occur.