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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reaper drone missions to quadruple by 2016



As the war in Afghanistan supposedly winds down the drone war and missions by special forces will ramp up. Wars with large contingents of troops on the ground are not only expensive but often politically damaging. Better to keep the empire expanding and supposedly safe using high tech weapons and elite forces often acting in secret.

With a growing and spreading use of drones and special forces no doubt the terrorist kill figure will rise but so will resentment in those areas where drone attacks occur as collateral damage to civilians is bound to rise as well.

The U.S. governments site for contractors is seeking: “industry input on how best to support Air Combat Command’s remotely piloted aircraft missions.” “Support will consist of aircraft, ground control station, and Predator Primary Satellite Link maintenance, weapons loading for both aircraft, [and] munitions build-up for MQ-9 aircraft,” This will be job creation for the military-industrial complex.. The contracts will support the work of the Reaper drone.

This drone has a 66-foot wingspan. It is able to carry a 500-pound laser guided bomb. By 2016 according to the notice the Reapers will be launched from 11 locations and will carry out 66 sorties per day or at least that is the plan. The Predator will be phased out and replaced by the bigger faster and more lethal Reaper.

The Air Force wants all the new drone bases located outside the continental U.S. The editor of the Long War journal suggests that new locations will be in Afghanistan, the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia or Oman--for attacks in Yemen. President Karzai has insisted that there be no drones launched from Afghanistan to attack foreign countries after 2014. However, Karzai could always change his mind or look the other way. There are also rumors of a base in the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. The islands belong to Australia.. For more see the full article in Salon.

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