Α)U.S. quietly tells Russia where American troops are located inside Syria
The Pentagon told the Russian military where U.S. Special Forces are located in Syria with the hopes that Russian aircraft will steer clear of that area and not risk bombing American service members, top military officials said Thursday.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently tested quad-copters loaded with sensors and cameras at an old hangar set up as a warehouse at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, the agency announced Friday. The effort marked a first flight test for DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy program, which is probing how to develop algorithms that could reduce the amount of human intervention needed to fly small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) through a congested urban environment.
The technology could be especially useful in addressing what the military sees as a shortfall. While small drones are now commercially available, it is difficult to navigate them through buildings, wreckage and other potentially dangerous environments without entering. Better drones might allow them to find survivors after a bombing, look for booby traps or test the air quality before entering dangerous areas.
[Infantry overhaul: How DARPA’s new experiments could shake up ground warfare]
As part of the testing, DARPA got the drones up to 20 meters per second, or about 45 mph. It also operated them without “teleoperation” — meaning the use of remote controls. The agency said it used a DJI Flame Wheel 450 airframe — a common commercially available drone — with 12-inch propellers and loaded it with not only cameras, but sonar and lidar sensors that use sound and light respectively to determine the location of surrounding objects.