As drone expert, P.W. Singer said, “At this point, it doesn’t really matter if you are against the technology, because it’s coming.” According to Singer, “The miniaturization of drones is where it really gets interesting. You can use these things anywhere, put them anyplace, and the target will never even know they’re being watched.”
The Air Force is saying that so far only prototypes have been developed but, as we know, military technology is likely decades ahead of what is released to the public.
No amount of protest seems to be stopping the drone juggernaut, and it is clear that miniaturization of this technology is paramount; we are merely being acclimatized to what is on the way. Here are some surveillance and detection concepts already in operation, or under development:
- A group of smaller surveillance drones called NAV (nano air vehicles) or MAV already have been commissioned: mapleseed drones; sparrow drones by 2015, dragonfly drones to fly in swarms by 2030, and eventually a housefly drone. And if the reconstruction of nature doesn’t pan out, nature itself can be hijacked using electrical impulses to create cyborg surveillance insects being studied at major universities.
- Nano sensors for use in agriculture that measure crops and environmental conditions.
- Bomb-sniffing plants using rewired DNA to detect explosives and biological agents.
- “Smart Dust” motes that wirelessly transmit data on temperature, light, and movement (this can also be used in currency to track cash … and perform target tagging and assassinations). This has been admitted to having been developed over a decade ago.
- Nano-based RFID barcodes that can be embedded into any material for tracking of all products . . . and people.
- Devices to detect molecules, enzymes, proteins and genetic markers — opening up the door for race-specific bioweapons, as mentioned in the Project For a New American Century’s policy paper Rebuilding America’s Defenses.
In order to solve supposed current battery limitations, the military has been working on a program called MUSIC which will fuse multiple platforms and aim to keep multiple drone systems aloft. In a paper cited by Aerospace and Defense News over a year ago, the three most popular categories of drones will be those with surveillance capabilities: MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) and TUAV (Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – designed for sea-level). In the report is the following statement:
Laser-powered UAVs are powered by a laser transmitter which converts power from a primary source, such as a battery, generator or AC powerline, into a single-wavelength beam of light. These UAVs are capable of staying airborne for their entire lifecycle as this method of recharging avoids the need to land and refuel, which may also improve the lifecycle and maintenance costs as much of the damage incurred by UAVs occurs while landing. (Source)
The obvious plan is to form an interconnected, autonomous fleet of surveillance. And according to the above video, we can expect lethality in addition to surveillance. The Air Force video lets on that this technology is an essential part of the future battlefield, presumably “over there;” however, as we have seen recently, Congress is fully willing to welcome drones to America . . . with drone strikes on American soil apparently not far behind. Seeing the form in which these “strikes” could occur based on the Air Force’s own admissions, we would be unwise to dismiss any possibility.
As the drone race continues with massive investment, drone technology is quickly revealing itself to be a genie that may not have a bottle to which it can be returned. According to the 60-page must-read document National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Strategic Plan, 25 federal agencies are combining to create a nano-level surveillance matrix. Soon, it seems, there will no longer be anything in our field of vision to protest against.
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