August 18, 2005

NOVA - Military Technology being used in Iraq

Recently I saw NOVA - Battle Plan Under Fire on PBS. I like NOVA, I think they provide enough information to interest you, and explain things in a way everyone can understand. The show sparked me to make a post with some highlights and present a little information that I found after looking around on the net a little.

The US military has bombs guided by GPS, UAVs remote controlled via satellite, oh yah and and a secret military internet that keeps everyone in communication. The war in Iraq is a laboratory for a new type of battlefield, where decisions can be made on the fly, and targets can be changed at the last minute. A highly advanced mapping system connected to the military internet keeps track of the locations of friendly units via GPS, and enemy units spotted by ground forces.

The RQ-1 Predator (pictured at left) is a remote controlled drone that has cameras and sensors which send information and live video back across the military internet to the ones making the decision where bombs are dropped, and what shall be done next. Hellfire missiles can even be launched from the Predator. It's been in use since 1995 in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Yemen according to the RQ-1 Predator Wikipedia article.

It can be the eyes and means to target things for a much larger C-130 Hercules(pictured below) residing even higher in the air that can then drop lots of bombs with deadly accuracy.

This is the time of network-centric warfare which facilitates a chat-room style of fighting, communication changes everything. But the enemy does a good job of staying below our radar and they seem to somehow adapt. No matter how much technology we have, they just keep coming. Its pretty amazing really. I really suggest people check out the NOVA program if possible.

NOVA - Battle Plan Under Fire

Predator RQ-1 on PBS website


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