The following is the Aug. 16, 2019 Congressional Research Service In Focus report International Discussions Concerning Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems. Read More
The Navy just graduated its first class of unmanned aerial vehicle test pilots from a new course designed to apply the lessons of manned test pilot programs to UAVs Read More
The Navy’s acquisition chief disbanded his unmanned systems office, not as a sign of decreased focus on its mission, but to nudge unmanned systems into becoming part of everything the Navy does. Read More
The following is the summary of a Department of the Navy Strategic Roadmap for Unmanned Systems, which was signed in March and a summary version created and released in May. Read More
As the Navy prepares to train operators for the bevy of planned unmanned aerial the service should consider creating an officer class specific to the unmanned aerial systems (UAS), said an analyst with Northrop Grumman at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
In an apparent reaction to the recently concluded multinational minesweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance before the United Nations, Iran released film and video of its latest unmanned aerial system (UAS). Iran calls the new UAS Shahed-129 (or Witness-129). The Guardian news website provided the following transcript of Iranian television coverage of the Shahed-129 flight demonstration: “The new drone . . . can carry out combat and reconnaissance missions with its 24-hour non-stop flight capability.” The transcript goes on to report, “home-made aircraft is capable of hitting targets at a distance of 1,700-2,000 kilometers… [and] can be equipped with electronic and communication systems including cameras which can capture and send live images.”
While the Shahed-129’s flight performance claims may be exaggerated, the system nonetheless will join several other indigenously manufactured Iranian unmanned aircraft. For U.S. sailors operating in the Persian Gulf sightings of Iranian-built drones are a common. The fact is, Iran has been manufacturing reconnaissance drones since the 1980s, when they began building and flying the Mohajer systems during the Iran-Iraq War. The Mohajer was followed by a line of indigenously built systems such as the mass produced Ababil. The smaller Ababil UAS has been exported to Hezbollah forces, who used it against Israel in the 2006 conflict in southern Lebanon. More recent reports indicate that Syrian government forces may be using this system to locate and target rebel forces in Syria. The Ababil also made headlines in February 2009 when an Iranian controlled drone was shot down by a US F-16 after making an incursion into Iraqi airspace. So clearly then the, Shahed-129 is just the latest in a long line of Iranian built systems that Iran routinely operates. By all appearances, robotic systems have been part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military arsenal since the early days of the revolution.