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The Forum > Article Comments > Staying in control > Comments

Staying in control : Comments

By Peter McMahon, published 20/10/2015

They objected to the development of 'killer robots' that could decide for themselves whether or not to kill human beings.

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Excellent article that poses many questions.

The Australian Government is likely to announce it is considering Reaper drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) in the context of the 2015 Defence White Paper. The Paper will probably be released before Christmas.

Reapers have proven highly effective against targets who cannot shoot them down, jam them or turn them, in the Middle East - eg. IS and the Taliban.

Reapers have their advantages of long range (about 18 hours in flight) and don't get tired. Over the 18 hours about 3 teams of ground operators (mainly in the US) will remotely fly them, alter missions and fire weapons, mainly Hellfire missiles or smaller missiles.

As the article indicates more autonomous operation has dangers. If Reapers are shot down with a MANPAD the Reaper weapons (eg. 500kg of bombs and Hellfires) may explode on the wrong place. A more advanced enemy like Iran with Russian advisers would be capable of turning them around against friendly forces.

Compared to Australia Hornet fighter-bombers (which need tanker aircraft) Reapers are cheaper to operate and can loiter. So Reapers are effective in the Middle East/Afghanistan and perhaps closer to Australia one day.

More see "'Killer' drones for Australia?" http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17132
Posted by plantagenet, Tuesday, 20 October 2015 1:38:59 PM
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Meanwhil China is advertising its own Reaper equivalent - the Wing Loong II UAV http://www.suasnews.com/2013/06/23533/china-claims-six-potential-customers-for-wing-loong/ The drone is a medium-altitude, long-endurance multirole drone capable of performing surveillance and reconnaissance as well as air-to-ground strike. It is manufactured by AVIC subsidiary Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute.

The official Chengdu brochure picture of the Wing Loong II shows it carrying 12 air-to-ground missiles, probably the new 26,5 kg Norinco Blue Arrow. These missile are smaller than Hellfires but may be aimed at Muslims living in western China.

The UAVís predecessor, the Wing Loong I, bears a close resemblance to the US MQ-1 Predator. This could possibly be as a result of Chinese cyber-espionage.

More see http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/chinese-arms-companies-are-picking-up-the-pace-in-africa-and-the-middle-east/
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 21 October 2015 3:28:33 PM
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