Home > Government, Middle East, The Politics of War > The air force men who fly drones in Afghanistan by remote control.

The air force men who fly drones in Afghanistan by remote control.

By Rob Blackhurst 24th September 2012.

Find Full Article Here:-

At Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, a Reaper drone prepares for a training mission

At Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, a Reaper drone prepares for a training mission Photo: Crown copyright

The unmanned aircraft patrolling the skies above Afghanistan are controlled by pilots sitting in front of screens as far as 7,000 miles away.

Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan is reckoned to be as busy as Gatwick. Every few minutes the cloudless skies are filled with the roar of a military fighter taking off – hugging the ground to avoid pot shots by the Taliban’s crude rockets before disappearing into the heat haze.

In between there is a more persistent sound: the high-pitched whirr of ‘drones’ – military aircraft without a human on board – as they head out for 18-hour stints monitoring the vast empty spaces of Afghanistan. This sound, generated by the aircraft’s tail propeller, is a constant white noise for the inhabitants of Kandahar Airfield.

It is said the term ‘drone’ originated with a 1930s pilotless version of the British Fairey Queen fighter, the ‘Queen Bee’. But, with the new generation of insect-like small aircraft, together with its monotonous engine noise, the name has never been more apt.

Before 9/11, drones were a new, untried technology. Now it is estimated that 40 countries are trying to buy or develop unmanned aircraft. The United States operates 7,500 drones or, in the official parlance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), making up more than 40 per cent of Department of Defense aircraft. They have been the weapon of choice for the US to assassinate ‘high value targets’ – as the military call them – from al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: