Saturday, August 7, 2010

DARPA Plans Instant, Unmanned Air Strike System

DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Agency) is always looking for the latest and greatest (and most 'Terminator'-like) in military and weapons technology. The creepy, high-tech government branch's latest project, dubbed Persistent Close Air Support (or PCAS), is all about speeding up and simplifying the act of raining death from above. As it stands today, when a soldier on the ground in Afghanistan calls in an air strike, the request passes through so many hands that, by the time the strike is approved and an aircraft arrives on the scene, a target may no longer be viable.

PCAS creates a direct line between the air controller on the ground and a strike vehicle, either a manned or unmanned A-10 "Warthog" (pictured above), which can take out targets in practically a moment's notice. This would solve one of the major inefficiencies facing soldiers in combat, but don't expect to see it in operation any time soon. In addition to the fact that it's only a research-and-development project for now, commanders are cautious about using air strikes -- out of fear that they may accidentally kill or injure civilians. PCAS would only exacerbate the unmanned drone issue, which is at the forefront of the propaganda battle with the Taliban.

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