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*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 01:58:12 PM EST
EUobserver.com / Defence / EU firms join gold rush on drones

BRUSSELS - EU firms have joined the gold rush on military and civilian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). But ethical and legal questions dog the technology.

The global UAV market is worth $6 billion (€4.6bn) a year and will hit $12 billion by 2018, according to US forecaster Teal Group.

It is not a real market. Currently, military-industrial complexes in China, Israel, the EU, Russia and the US make drones for their armed forces and sell them to close allies only. Almost half the spending is government research.

But with big money at stake, some analysts predict rapid proliferation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 01:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's all because drones are cheaper and more efficient than 1950s-era spy planes.


The fleet of 33 spycraft was supposed to be replaced in the next few years with RQ-4 Global Hawks, the high-tech drones that have been part of the Air Force since 2001. But this week the Pentagon proposed delaying the U-2's retirement as part of Defense Department cutbacks.

At an estimated cost of $176 million each, the Global Hawk drone had "priced itself out of the niche, in terms of taking pictures in the air," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at a Thursday news conference. "That's a disappointment for us, but that's the fate of things that become too expensive in a resource-constrained environment."

The Pentagon has determined that operating the U-2 would be cheaper for the foreseeable future; it won't disclose how much operating the U-2s will cost for security reasons. The government has relied on the U-2 since 1955, when the aircraft was first built and designed under tight security by Lockheed Corp. at its famed Skunk Works facilities in Burbank headed by legendary chief engineer Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson.


by asdf on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 08:55:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and if they are shot down, you aren't as a politician going to be faced with desperate tear stained photoshoots with relatives of the dead or captured at the time of your next election.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 10:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that is true. And if they were being used against someone with effective anti-aircraft missiles, that would be a problem.

But when the people you're spying on are civilians or are armed only with light weapons, 1955 airplane technology works just fine. In fact, they probably could get away with 1935 airplane technology...

by asdf on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 10:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but where UAVs can shine is in low-and-slow tactical surveillance and security/law enforcement applications.

Think border security. And demonstrations.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 04:55:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Capturing the European Central Bank - Opinion - Joseph Stiglitz - Al Jazeera English

New York, NY - Nothing illustrates better the political crosscurrents, special interests and shortsighted economics now at play in Europe than the debate over the restructuring of Greece's sovereign debt. Germany insists on a deep restructuring - at least a 50 per cent "haircut" for bondholders - whereas the European Central Bank (ECB) insists that any debt restructuring must be voluntary.

...The ECB's stance is peculiar...

There are three explanations for the ECB's position, none of which speaks well for the institution and its regulatory and supervisory conduct. The first explanation is that the banks have not, in fact, bought insurance, and some have taken speculative positions. The second is that the ECB knows that the financial system lacks transparency - and knows that investors know that they cannot gauge the impact of an involuntary default, which could cause credit markets to freeze, reprising the aftermath of Lehman Brothers' collapse in September 2008. Finally, the ECB may be trying to protect the few banks that have written the insurance.

None of these explanations is an adequate excuse for the ECB's opposition to deep involuntary restructuring of Greece's debt. The ECB should have insisted on more transparency - indeed, that should have been one of the main lessons of 2008. Regulators should not have allowed the banks to speculate as they did; if anything, they should have required them to buy insurance - and then insisted on restructuring in a way that ensured that the insurance paid off.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 17th, 2012 at 03:04:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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