The War Machines

Ready or not, robot wars are coming.

That was made clear in the skies over Pakistan a week ago, when an unmanned drone killed al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader with a missile strike. And it’s happening on the ground in Afghanistan, …

White House Says al-Qaeda’s No. 2 Killed

A drone strike in Pakistan has netted a big fish: al-Qaeda’s No. 2, Abu Yahya al-Libi, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Asked about al-Libi’s reported death at Tuesday’s White House briefing, Carney initially was equivocal: “I can tell you that our intelligence community has intelligence that leads them to …

Drone Worrier

On the eve of the 1991 Gulf War – as hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops streamed toward Iraq-occupied Kuwait – a U.S. Army officer remarked how much easier all this would be if someone – a Saddam Hussein turncoat, …

5. Revolutionary…Or Routine?

Last of five parts (see one, two, three or four)

The proclamation that the Reaper (and, by implication similar drones) is the future of warfare bound to yield a revolutionary transformation in combat doesn’t seem to stand up to

3. Finding the Right Targets

Third of five parts (see one or two)

Many argue the most critical payload Reaper carries is sensors for finding targets and collecting information that is made available to operators on the ground. The current version of the …

2. The MQ-9’s Cost and Performance

Second of five parts (part one here)

Because of Reaper’s nature, unit-cost estimates can be tricky. Various media reports cite a per-unit cost from $4 million to $5 million. They are quite incorrect.

Because they are …

1. Revisiting the Reaper Revolution

First of five parts

In a surprise move this year, the Pentagon has reduced spending for two aerial drones. A version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk will be relegated to storage to be superseded by more capable versions, and future …

Kimchi Kamikazes

There are reports circulating that the North Koreans have bought some 1970s-era U.S.-designed MQM-107D target drones and is tarting them up into cruise missiles. According to unnamed sources (i.e., South Korean


U.S. drone strikes may keep U.S. troops out of harm’s way. But they can generate their own deadly blowback.

Here’s what Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported last fall:

Here’s the blowback from that apparently successful strike, over at Long War Journal (not for the faint-hearted). Think of it as egamad laretalloc – reverse …



We’ve seen flying robots – drones – spying on the enemy, and beefy tracked robots disabling IEDs. So why not the ultimate traveling ‘bot – one that’s thrown by soldiers? Don’t laugh – the Pentagon’s anti-IED shop is planning to send 400 tossbots to Afghanistan …

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