Last week a saw a satellite image taken by Google Earth related to a mysterious vehicle, apparently an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), parked at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California.
“Skunk Works” LM’s Advanced Development Program Facility is where some of the most futuristic and secret projects are developed. The image was dated 2011, Dec. 4, but it has been published only last week in a blog post by George Kaplan, an “open source” intelligence analyst.
Lockheed firm has already worked on the design of drone for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes, the dimensions calculable from the image suggest that the photographed aircraft match the one ones for wingspan of Lockheed’s secretive RQ-170 Sentinel, also a Skunk Works design.
The secret drone was sighted for the first time in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Air Field in 2007, later the Air Force confessed to use it for surveillance operations.
On December 4th, similar drone was captured by Iranian forces near the Iran-Afghanistan border. The event represented for the Iran an opportunity to make propaganda on its technological capabilities, sustaining the drone was hijacked with a sophisticated cyber attack.
Once captured the vehicle, the Iranian experts have had the opportunity to study the technological jewel, its maintenance logs indicated that it, or at least parts of it, had been sent back to Palmdale from Afghanistan for maintenance.
Obviously the photo generated great interest and many experts have expressed different opinions, some argue that it is a new project that will compete for a government supply with products developed by companies such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics, other analysts sustain that a new secret project could not be exposed in a parking area in this way.
The usage of drones has become increasingly common, for surveillance purposes but also to conduct attacks, it represents an indispensable military option that could preserve human lives in dangerous operations.
Drone aircrafts are able to monitor large territories, spy on and attack terrorists groups with no human intervention. We registered several operations in which these powerful weapons have been used, In Pakistan and Yemen for example against al Qaeda exponents, and also in Somalia where President Obama secretly authorized two drone strikes and two commando raids against terrorists.
Don’t forget the massive usage in Iranian region for surveillance purpose with the intent of collect any kind of information on the evolution of Iranian nuclear program.
But the use of these deadly vehicles raises several thorny issues:
“It is Congress‘ responsibility to declare war under the Constitution, but instead it appears to have adopted a largely passive role while the executive takes the initiative in war fighting.”
“In 5 or 10 years you have 30,000 drones in the airspace,”“Each one of these could be a potential missile used against us.”
The deep knowledge of these secrets related to the technology used in the design of drones raises security concerns, on our head could fly our drones that could be used to attacks our territories … and it’s not science fiction.