“Quick eye” for the us-president

The Pentagon wants to develop a drone that can be delivered to its location by a missile to obtain images of any place in the world within an hour

While more and more satellites are accumulating in space, which unremittingly and ever more closely observe what is happening on Earth. Satellites are joined by manned and unmanned aircraft circling and providing real-time imagery. But if there is a crisis or disaster somewhere in the world, there may not be a camera around to see what is happening from a distance. This is to change, at least for the US president, the Pentagon has decided and the "Rapid Eye"-Project launched in July.

The Fast Eye program, launched by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Technology Office, aims to launch the development of a drone that can be launched from a rocket in the U.S. and conduct reconnaissance and surveillance operations anywhere in the world within an hour and remain operational for a long time. This is Darpa’s way of "decision makers" – first and foremost, the president as commander-in-chief – provide information (ISR) as quickly as possible about an emerging crisis and a stable communications platform. The idea was born in 2006, the first funds are planned for 2008.

Role model ARES. Image: Nasa

Darpa was inspired by Nasa, as its head Tony Tether said at the end of October at the Geoint2007 conference. Unmanned aircraft have long been considered here, and could be used for exploration on Mars, for example. Again, the idea is to take a densely packed aircraft in a rocket to Mars, where it will deploy or inflate to fly over the planet equipped with various sensors.

The first talks between Nasa engineers and Darpa employees have already taken place. A Nasa team has already worked out a project proposal for a mission to Mars with an unmanned aircraft and has already carried out initial tests with a smaller prototype. Aereal Regional-scale Enviromental Survey of Mars (ARES) is designed to close the gap between satellites and rovers on the ground, and to operate in the dark Martian atmosphere at a height of between 1.500 and 3.000 km for a long time, which would correspond to a height of 30 km for the Earth – ideal for exploration, Tether thinks. Such drones, which fly high and long (High Altitude/Long Endurance – HALE), are also being sought elsewhere by the Pentagon. According to Darpa’s wishes, Rapid Eye will at least develop and demonstrate the technical components that can be used to build HALE drones, which can be transported by rocket to a location on Earth.

ARES packed. Image: Nasa

One could also imagine that "Rapid Eye" with "Global Strike" (CONPLAN 8022) could be combined, for example, to prevent such mishaps as occurred in 1998. At that time, as a punishment for the devastating attacks on the US embassies in Africa, the Pentagon also bombed an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan with Tomahawk cruise missiles, because bin Laden was suspected there on the basis of the signal from his satellite telephone (The USA strikes back – Wag the Dog?). But when the bombs hit, they did not hit Bin Laden, who was not or no longer in the camp. The operation had taken too long. If the Pentagon had the technical means to deal with the programs.. "Rapid Eye" and "Global Strike" If we want to develop a new strategy, then we need to find out in a short time whether the Bosnian is staying where we think he is, so that we can then kill him with bombs from a distance. From a military point of view, it would be even better if Rapid Eye also carried weapons with it ..

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