As the world’s first fully autonomous HALE UAS, Global Hawk can soar at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours and send near-real-time reconnaissance imagery to air, ground, and sea forces. It can fly three times as long and operates at a fraction of the cost per flight hour than its manned counterpart. Compared to other similar UAS, it only takes a single Global Hawk to collect the same information as 18 smaller medium-altitude UAS. The Drone war in North and South Waziristan continues. CREECH AIR FORCE BASE: Airmen of the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing here surpassed the 600,000 flight hour mark in the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft system Sept. 4 here. The Predator fleet passed 250,000 hours in June 2007, after 12 years of flying, and it only took a year and eight months for the aircraft to fly an additional 250,000 hours to reach 500,000 flying hours in February 2009.
Story One: The Smell of War, our comments. This looks like they are waiting for the supplies and the personnel to arrive in the area and then they are going to attack. But they have been shelling the area for weeks now. Will this be where U.S. Special Forces are allowed officially into Pakistan to go after the High Command of the Taliban believed to be in Quetta? Black Ops still rule. Get in and out and don’t get caught or shot. U.S. Drones will do their job from Nevada control monitors. It’s a Drone War: It has been reported that now over 800,000 hours per year of Drone airtime is in play in the war zone. The newly-inducted Global Hawk, for instance (see photo and description above), can fly more than 24 hours non-stop at nearly 50,000 feet, and act as an eye and ear-in-the-sky , intercepting radio and mobile-phone communications, gathering intelligence using video, radar, thermal-imaging and other sensors, and communicating instantly to an operations room anywhere – or to the hand-held devices of soldiers.
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army is readying itself for a major offensive against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in South Waziristan, said intelligence officials on Friday, an operation likely to win US praise – yet face steep challenges. The three intelligence officials did not specify a timeframe, and the army would not confirm a local newspaper report that the offensive could begin within days. The military still needs a final nod from the government, and is trying to strike deals with some local warlords in the region bordering Afghanistan to support it or at least stay neutral, said the intelligence officials. The intelligence officers said the army now had the required troops, helicopter gunships, planes and other heavy weapons at three army bases in the region. They said they were awaiting final approval from top authorities.
But Mehmood Shah – a former security chief for Pakistan’s tribal regions – said he had yet to see the sort of military movement necessary to go in full force. Shah said there were more than 20,000 troops in South Waziristan, and a similar number in North Waziristan, but not enough for the task at hand. “I would say the army has decided a ground offensive, but I do not think it is very close,” he told AP. “I am confident there is nothing like this in the next 15 days.” The intelligence officials said the government was still negotiating with warlords Maulvi Nazir of South Waziristan and Hafiz Gul Bahadur of North Waziristan. “What the Pakistan Army is working on is that if they both do not announce their support, they should remain impartial,” one said. ap
Story Two, our Comments: Over 125,000 residents of the area in South Waziristan have all ready left their homes and now called “displaced”. Where did they go? This is a Swat repeat. Can you imagine today you have to pack up your family and leave your home for somewhere in a neighboring state to live in a tent? What happens to school for your children? Your job? Your livestock, your crops? What is there when you return? All those answers are available if someone would track Swat, but we get very little information about what is left in Swat after the Pakistan Military bombarded the area with howitzer cannons and airplanes and helicopter gunships and bombs. Where’s the cameras in the streets showing us what has happened there?
LAHORE: The prospect of a Pakistan Army offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan is triggering concern among local lawmakers, a Bloomberg report says. Fifteen of the 20 members of parliament from FATA say they have withdrawn support to the government because they have not been consulted. Munir Khan Orakzai, an MP, said an offensive might fail if the government does not simultaneously move to develop the impoverished area. The US has been pressuring Pakistan to attack the Taliban stronghold. Most recently, Gerald Feierstein, the deputy chief of the US embassy in Islamabad, told reporters at a press conference the US believed Osama Bin Laden was operating from that area. The possibility of a government offensive has led more than 128,000 residents of Waziristan to flee their homes, the United Nations said in September.
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