Feeds

US Reapers get satnav bombs, deploy on Canadian border

Cloudy-weather killbot weapons a coincidence, no doubt

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The General Atomics Predator-B drone aircraft - better known under its US Air Force name, the "Reaper" - has just dropped its first satnav-guided weapons. In a doubtless unrelated development, the roboplane also seems set to deploy along the US-Canadian border.

The Reaper packing its new satnav smartbombs

Mowing down humans like corn regardless of weather.

The US Air Force announced this week that Reapers from the 658th Aeronautical Systems Squadron had lately made the first drop of satellite-guided weapons by the roboplane, at the China Lake test range in California. The munitions in question were 500-pound smartbombs, able to fly themselves down to a target on GPS.

Reapers normally shine a laser dot on the desired impact point to guide their weapons, but such systems occasionally struggle to cope with cloud, fog, snow etc; that's where the satnav comes in.

Often the killer robots will know where their human targets are even through this kind of obscuration, perhaps by using their man-tracking groundscan radar or tracking their victims' mobile phones, but until now poor weather would prevent any actual reaping. That's not usually a concern over Afghanistan, of course.

But apart from military service, Reaper aircraft are also used for patrolling the borders of the US. Thus far, this has mainly involved the southern border with Mexico. However, last week US Air Force general Gene Renuart - chief of US Northern Command - told AP that America also plans to send its crewless aerial armada northwards.

"The Arctic is a new area that is important to us," said the general, saying that retreating polar ice could mean increased activity in the far north. "All of this has implications .. there could be security concerns."

But he added: "There's some extensive work that has to be done with the Federal Aviation Administration and Transport Canada". ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.