Drone Aircraft and Republican Primary

It seems that the topic of the use of drone aircraft by our military has increasingly been in the news over the past few months. I have been collecting articles on this topic for some time, and I now have a file full of them. There are a number of good reasons why drones are becoming an important part of our nation’s arsenal:

  • They are relatively inexpensive
  • They are highly portable
  • They can operate in environments that would be difficult or impossible for conventional aircraft to operate in
  • They are often hard for the enemy to spot and even more difficult to shoot down
  • They are effective
  • They do not require onboard human pilots

I personally believe that drones are the best weapon we have against terrorism, and we should put great emphasis on their continued development and production.

President Obama has pushed to increase the U.S. inventory of drones during his time in office. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the number of drone aircraft in the U.S. arsenal has sharply increased to 775 Predators, Reapers and other medium- and long-range drones, with many more currently in production.

The article points out that these drones — which have been used very effectively to monitor and execute suspected terrorists, including a number of al-Qaeda’s top leadership — are supported by a network of dozens of secret facilities and bases in the U.S. and overseas. Just this past week, Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was likely killed by a U.S. drone aircraft attack in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan.

One of the posters on this blog — Larry Janning, a fellow SAIC alumnus in Dayton, Ohio — recently sent me a note about his new company. The company goes by the name of IonVentus, and it was founded to develop innovative small, disposable drone aircraft.

I visited his website and found the information on the IonVentus drones to be interesting. If this is a sign of where the future of drone aircraft is headed, then I believe we have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

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The Republican primary continues to entertain me. I personally am not impressed by any of the candidates — I don’t view any of the field as Presidential timber. With the economy slowly on the mend, I think it will be difficult to beat Obama. I personally don’t think he has done a bad job.

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Last Wednesday I went on another field trip, this time to the old mission at San Juan Capistrano. The old adobe church and buildings were well kept and I enjoyed our tour of the grounds.

— Bob