Amerikanische Drohnengeschwader über dem Irak

--- Trotz Rückschlägen setzt das US-Militär im Irak-Krieg weiter auf Hightech und sprenkelt den Himmel über dem Zweistromland verstärkt und zum Teil bereits zu stark mit Kampf- und Überwachungsdrohnen , berichtet die New York Times: In the skies over Iraq, the number of remotely piloted aircraft - increasingly crucial tools in tracking insurgents, foiling roadside bombings, protecting convoys and launching missile attacks - has shot up to more than 700 now from just a handful four years ago, military officials say. As the American military continues to shift its emphasis to counterinsurgency and antiterrorism missions, the aircraft are in such demand that the Pentagon is poised to spend more than $13 billion on them through the end of the decade. The aircraft are being put into service so quickly that the various military and intelligence branches are struggling to keep pace with the increased number of operators required and with the lack of common policy and strategy on how to use them. There are nearly a dozen varieties in service now, from the 4.5-pound Ravens that patrol 100 feet off the ground to the giant Global Hawks that can soar at 60,000 feet and take on sophisticated reconnaissance missions. And while much of the appeal of the aircraft is that they keep aircrews out of the line of fire, there are now so many of them buzzing around combat zones that, in fact, the airspace can get dangerously crowded. In November, for example, a tiny Army Raven surveillance aircraft plowed into a Kiowa scout helicopter, causing no injuries or serious damage, but raising safety concerns. ... Commanders say the aircraft have played a pivotal role recently by attacking insurgent mortar positions and warning convoys of suspicious roadblocks that could be ambushes. To bury roadside bombs, insurgents often douse the street with gasoline, ignite it, and dig up the heat-softened asphalt to lay the explosive. The Predator heat sensors detect the hot strips, and warn nearby troops, military officials said. Predators are also a weapon of choice for the Central Intelligence Agency. Hellfire missiles launched from a Predator three years ago destroyed a car in Yemen, killing an operative of Al Qaeda and five other occupants inside. Last August, the United States secretly deployed a new version, a bigger, faster and more heavily armed model called Predator B, for the C.I.A. to use in the Middle East, administration officials said.

Mehr zum Thema Hightech im Krieg allgemein: Die Darpa will einen Roboter für die Telechirurgie entwickeln lassen, während man gleichzeitig immer mehr auf fernsteuerbare Aufklärungs- und Kampfsysteme setzt, vermeldet Telepolis.

Update: Telepolis hat jetzt auch einen Bericht über die volle Dröhnung im Zweistromland.