Soon, We Will Be Able to Really See the People Our Robot Planes Are Killing

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Jan. 3 2011 3:18 PM

Soon, We Will Be Able to Really See the People Our Robot Planes Are Killing

The Washington Post reports a breakthrough in America's remote-controlled war-fighting technology, a $17.5 million airborne camera array called

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:


The system, made up of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, can transmit live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements. It can send up to 65 different images to different users; by contrast, Air Force drones today shoot video from a single camera over a "soda straw" area the size of a building or two.

[...]

"Today an analyst sits there and stares at Death TV for hours on end, trying to find the single target or see something move," Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a conference in New Orleans in November. "It's just a waste of manpower."

Meanwhile, despite the lack of Gorgon Stare technology—to say nothing of a declaration of war—attacks by C.I.A. drones in Pakistan killed

or

or

on New Year's Day, depending on who was counting. In North Waziristan, by one report, a drone killed nine people, destroying a vehicle and damaging an adjacent house; later, a second drone killed five more people who had gathered to attend to the dead bodies. Officially, the United States is not at war in Pakistan. As the

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The US does not routinely confirm that it has launched drone operations, but analysts say only American forces have deployed such aircraft in the region.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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