Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 65 “A drone for the Summer”

Summer is coming, or better for many people holidays are coming. This year’s list of objects of desire, for private as well as military consumers (and more broadly government agencies), has definitely been topped by drones. Here, you can find a short video guide on how military drones work.

While everyone wants them, someone’s better at making them. Guess who? The US military is well ahead in the race, and still experimenting drones with long autonomy/flight range.

Even the Marine Corps, arguably the least attentive service to the latest technical wizardry, are testing its own stuff. With an eye to increase their ability to gather information in the field, the Marines are looking for hybrid and solar -powered vehicles.

Hybrid drones are not so much to improve environmental performance as for increased range. Popular mechanics features an article on the top flight hybrid drones.

Now, if you want to buy your own drone, check out this website. It’s hard not to get one, after. Good news is that you might still be able to have it delivered before leaving home.

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L’Italia alla guerra dei droni: una guida in 3 domande

Droni sì, droni no? Un intervento dell’ex Capo di Stato Maggiore dell’Aeronautica, Generale Tricarico, ha innescato un (limitato) dibattito sulla politica di difesa e gli interventi militari che rischia di polarizzarsi su una dicotomia secca, come spesso avviene su tali temi in Italia, in merito all’opportunità di dotarsi al più presto di uno strumento militare – i droni armati – da  utilizzare poi nel Mediterraneo. In una fase in cui le rivelazioni in merito all’uccisione di Giovanni Lo Porto, un cooperante italiano in Pakistan, durante un attacco condotto con un drone si accavalla con la necessità di dare una risposta alle tragedie del mare a poche miglia dalle coste italiane (europee), non c’è forse da stupirsi dell’emergere di sentimenti – prima ancora che di idee – contrastanti. Proprio per questo, e per tentare di alimentare un dibattito ci pare utile proporre una breve “guida per domande” alla questione.

  1. Di che tipo di strumento si tratta? L’Italia possiede i cosiddetti Predator A (RQ-1A), A+ (MQ-1B, un avanzamento del modello A), Predator B (MQ-9 Reaper). È molto recente, peraltro, la notizia di un accordo fra Aeronautica Militare e Piaggio Aerospace per la produzione (e l’acquisto da parte di AM) del velivolo P.1HH, con funzioni principalmente ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance e Reconnaissance). Ad oggi, l’Italia non possiede droni armati, sebbene tale “avanzamento” sia in programma almeno dal 2012. Questi ritardi riportano alla ribalta uno dei più classici dilemmi della politica di armamenti italiana: comprare dagli USA o sviluppare “in-house” in collaborazione con altri paesi europei?
  2. Quali strutture operano i droni in Italia? Un interessante servizio di Repubblica ricostruisce le strutture e i mezzi italiani presso la base di Amendola dell’Aeronautica Militare (32° Stormo). Le funzioni svolte dal 28° Gruppo (“Le Streghe”) sono ad oggi molteplici, dall’ISR alla protezione delle forze al FAC (Forward Air Control), ma non includono quelle “combat”.
  3. A che servono i droni, nell’attuale contesto?

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 29

The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. That emerges quite clearly from a series of reports in the past few weeks that have been uncovering the nature of the opposition to IS influence in Iraq. Besides nominal allies in the region allegedly buying “IS oil”, the Shi’a Badr militias, once a staunch enemy, are now fighting against IS in Northern Iraq. No “formal” alliance in sight, but a lot of questions on who sides with whom.

In the meanwhile, President Obama is not the only one struggling with polls. Gordon Lubold reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s rating among national security workers dropped to 26 %, according to a survey commissioned by DefenseOne.

Remaining in the US, former Undersecretary of Defense  William Lind, now leading Finmeccanica North America and DRS Technologies, argues that the “market for defense systems” is changing rapidly, and at the global level, and thus the Pentagon should adapt to the new realities: More attention to companies such as Google and Apple and less to the traditional military-industrial complex.

Asia-Pacific has been set to become the most relevant region of action for the foreign policy of quite a few US Administration by now, before chaos in the Middle East brought the focus back. Nonetheless, President Obama is reportedly re-pivoting to Asia. Carnegie Endownent’s Douglas Paal responds to key questions on how to interpret, and what to expect from, this (re) positioning.

Remaining in Asia, India is sometimes overlooked as attention mostly focuses on the Pacific.  And still, India has been long searching for international cooperation in defense matters. Russia has been once a key partner, the US has signed a military pact, and most recently Israel has been developing important ties in key sectors such as missiles and UAVs among others.

 

 

 

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