Sunday, 24 June 2012

UAV, A brief history of Surveillance

In Ghost Recon: Advanced War fighter 2, I first became aware to the concept of UAV. A term I thought was basically left for the spy vehicles in the sky. Its always nice to go higher to get an advantage over your enemies. To basically find which direction, how far, how many foes and general layout of the land so you can rush in and surprise your enemies.  Most times when I play with my incompetent skills and selfish team mates I find that our success rate is determined, by the large number of trys I continue to do until I hit a save point. Not to say that I am so bad at ghost recon but its always nice to get a heads up on where to shoot and how many to kill.
In the real world things are slightly different with the cost of electronics and the quality of video surveillance this technology can now be widely used.
Unmanned aerial Vehicle or UAV commonly known as drone is a aircraft without a human pilot. Its flight is either autonomously by on board computer or under remote control of a navigator or pilot. Military versions have a different name UCAVs.

UAVs have been around since 1916, a number of remote control advances followed, during world war 1, later in world war 2 UAV were used to train anti aircraft gunners and to fly attack missions. Jet engines were later fitted to Teledyne Ryan Firebee1 in 1951. Most were remote control aeroplanes until the Vietnam Era.
The start of UAV or RPVs began in 1959 when the United states air force officers concerned about losing pilots over hostile territory. This was intensified when a secret U2 was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. Days later a classified UAV program was launched under the code name of "Red Wagon".  Some time in 1973 did the US acknowledge the use of UAVs General john Meyer  commander in chief stated we let the drone do the high risk flying... the loss rate is high, but we are willing to risk more of them to save lives.

 Meanwhile Israel  pioneered the use of UAVs for real time surveillance, electronic warfare and decoys.
Images and radar decoying provided by UAVs helped Israel to completely neutralize the Syrian Air Defenses at the start of the Lebanon war. In the 90s the U.S. department started buying UAVs from Israel
The navy brought Pioneer UAV which is still in use. Many of the Vehicles developed by israeli and US, were used in the 1991 Gulf war. UAV were seen to offer the possibility of cheaper, more capable fighting machines that could be used with out the risk of aircrews. The early generations were primarily surveillance aircraft, but later were armed like the General Atomics MQ predator, which utilized the AGM 114 Hellfire air to ground missiles.

UAV perform a variety of functions, the majority of these functions are some form of remote sensing. Remote sensing functions include electromagnetic spectrum sensors, biological, chemical, visual spectrum, infrared,or near infrared cameras as well as Radar systems. Chemical sensors use laser spectroscopy to analyze the concentration of each element in the air.
commercial use allows the user to monitor livestock wildfire mapping pipeline maintenance home security road patrol and anti-piracy.

In August Derbyshire police used a drone to monitor protests at the British national part's red white and blue festival in condor. However the first arrest with the use Of UAV happen on january 26th officers were told about the stolen Renault Clio in Bootle in Merseyside. After pursuit two suspects abandoned the vehicle and tried to run on foot. One 20 year old man, was quickly arrested but the other managed to escape into the thick fog and darkness long the canal. Police chiefs decided to use a drone with special thermal imaging to detect the suspect high above the search area. Coordinating the search the drone directed foots patrols to were the suspect was hiding. Chief inspector Nick Gunatilleke of the Merseyside anti-social behavior task force said "these arrests demonstrate the value of having something like the UAV.

BAE systems said they will be adapting their military style UAVs for a consortium of government agencies led by Kent police Document showed the force hope to use the drones in the time for the 2012 Olympics.
My thoughts on the use of use of UAVs as a security tool to the run up of the Olympics, remain neutral.

I think because of current models or toy models like the AR drone run at a short time. Its hardly worth while to use such a machine for ten minuets at a time. In most cases remote cameras are already been secured on poles and buildings. Already an estimated 50 thousand both military and security personnel are to be used for the Olympic event. A slight over kill in my guess but many people are worried that this will spark a new legacy in UAV use as a permanent tool over the general public after the games have finished.
I would like to think that because of the new Laws from the FAA, were upon you must apply for a permit to fly a UAV and maintain eye contact of the vehicle at all times. This will complicate matters of BIG BROTHER surveillance. I like to think it will open new job opportunity for pilots to operate these cameras much in the way of camera operators who man the surveillance cameras in the city. But technology and battery power will limit operating time.

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