New killer drone that “thinks for itself” rolled out
The US Navy, which has just revealed the latest development in stealth drone technology, is using a logo for its unmanned aviation program that literally features the angel of Death, clothed in a black cloak with a hood, holding aloft a large scythe.
The logo for the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons was photographed and posted to Instagram by Wired writer Spencer Ackerman.
The image of the logo is unaltered and can be verified as genuine on this official document, a bio of rear admiral Tim Heely, the Navy’s drone Program Executive Officer.
There have been some pretty extreme military patches in the past, but to feature the Grim Reaper with red glowing eyes sends a clear message about the Navy’s drone program – it’s purely concerned with killing people.
Which is bad news for anyone who finds themselves on the end of the X-47B, a new 62 feet long autonomous drone set to become an integral part of the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS).
Judging by the branding, however, there seems to be more of a focus on striking (and killing) than on surveillance.
The new drone was unveiled during its first public test flight over Chesapeake Bay this week. The craft was airborne for 35 minutes and reached an altitude of 7,500 feet, traveling at 207 mph.
The Navy wants to eventually have the aircraft take off and land onto an aircraft carrier hundreds of miles away, all with just the click of a mouse. This would make it the only craft of its kind to have that ability.
The drone is controlled by an onboard Control Display Unit which, it is said, can independently think for itself, plot course corrections, react to unforeseen contingencies, and chart new directions.
“In the coming months, you can expect to see the X-47B flying over the base and surrounding area along the Chesapeake Bay,” Matt Funk, lead test engineer, told NBC4.
Whether Americans will feel comfortable about a robot drone that makes its own decisions flying overhead under the logo of Death is by-the-bye.
Perhaps the X-47B death drone will eventually find a home in Pakistan, where it is believed that more than 1,000 innocent civilians have been killed from drone strikes since 2004.
It is these kind of figures that have prompted Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States to demand this week that the drone strikes stop.
During a debate with White House war adviser Douglas Lute at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Sherry Rehman said drone attacks in her home country are now only serving to radicalize extremists.
“I am not saying drones have not assisted in the war against terror, but they have diminishing rate of returns,” Rehman said by video teleconference from Washington.
“We will seek an end to drone strikes and there will be no compromise on that,” she added, ahead of the new Pakistan’s spy chief, Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam’s impending first meeting with CIA Director David Petraeus.
Lute would not comment on the drone program.