Mullah Fazlullah, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, accused of shooting activist Malala Yousafzai was killed by a United States drone strike June 13 close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. military official confirmed to Voice of America. "U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization," army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said. He was reportedly traveling in a vehicle with four other commanders when the strike took place, Pakistani daily the Express Tribune reported. "A US drone strike in Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province has killed the leader of the TTP," Mohammad Radmanish, Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense spokesperson, told CNN. "US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by ... Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the 27th day of Ramadan," a statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said claiming the strike did not put the ceasefire order by President Ashraf Ghani into risk, CNN reported. "As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked," the statement added.
A drone footage of the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. and five Nigerian soldiers that surfaced recently shows the service personnel desperately trying to escape and fighting for their lives after friendly Nigerien forces mistook them for the enemy. The video shows the harrowing hours of troops holding off their enemy and waiting for rescue. It shows how the soldiers set up a defensive location on the edge of a marsh and wrote letters to their loved ones thinking they were going to die. Pentagon released the video with explanatory narration and it contains more than 10 minutes of drone footage, animation and file tape that was not made public last week when the military released a portion of the final report on the October attack, the Guardian reported. In a failed attempt to target a local ISIS leader, 46 U.S. and Nigerien troops were involved in the initial mission in the West African nation.
Despite being commercially available, drones can be a real threat. They can barge into no-fly zones, engage in mid-air crashes, reconnaissance missions, or even conduct deadly air-strikes. The risk of such attacks never wears off but in order protect its critical installations against rogue UAVs, United States military is working on some lethal counter-drone weapons. The service, in collaboration with defense manufacturer Raytheon, has produced two Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) -- one that uses high power microwave (HPM) to disable the target and other that deploys a high energy laser (HEL) to disintegrate it. The two systems were put to test in a recent Maneuver Fire Integrated Experiment and were able to take out as many as 45 different drones out of the sky, along with a few stationary mortal projectiles, Popular Mechanics reported.
Science fiction has a funny habit of becoming science fact after enough time has passed. The wide-eyed wonder of children sitting cross-legged in front of the TV eventually becomes inspiration for incredible feats of engineering, or the means of our own destruction. The latest example of this phenomenon is a new, powered up exoskeleton the U.S. Army is testing, per Scout.
Sally Jones, a former punk rocker from Kent, United Kingdom, who gained notoriety as "Mrs Terror" after joining the Islamic State group (also called ISIS), was reportedly killed in a United States drone strike along with her 12-year old son Jojo in Syria as she tried to escape Raqqa, the Sun reported. Though Whitehall sources confirmed reports that Jones was killed, according to the Guardian, the Pentagon was unable to confirm the news. Maj Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Guardian, "I do not have any information that would substantiate that report but that could change and we are looking into this." Rukmini Callimachi, a correspondent for the New York Times, also said two senior U.S. officials denied that Jones was dead. Fifty-years-old Jones was born in Greenwich, southeast London, and later moved to Kent.
As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming into its own, it is creating a significant impact in our everyday lives. The use of AI in self-driving cars, industrial mechanics, space exploration and robotics are some of the examples that show how it is paving its path into the future. But the technology has also found its way into the defense industry leading to a worrisome increase in the manufacture of autonomous weapons. The so-called "thinking weapons" were described by the Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a 2016 presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the U.S. State Department of Defense. But robotic systems to do lethal harm… a Terminator without a conscience," he said while referring to the 1984 cult science fiction film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Terminator."
The next mission to Mars won't land a rover or drop off any humans to create a colony but rather it will give researchers a better idea of what the Red Planet's interior is like. The spacecraft that will land and stay stationary on Mars, called InSight, is currently set to launch in the five weeks following May 5, 2018, from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission was selected by NASA out of 28 proposals for possible missions to conduct in the solar system. The mission is important because Mars could offer information about the formation and early years of rocky planets better than Earth could. This could help researchers better understand other newer planets or even exoplanets.
The U.S. Army ordered units to halt the use of DJI drones, it was revealed last week, but officials still won't say why it banned the company's products. DJI told International Business Times it reached out to officials about the direction to discontinue the use of its drones, but the U.S. army did not respond to them. "The US Army has not explained why it suddenly banned the use of DJI drones and components, what'cyber vulnerabilities' it is concerned about, or whether it has also excluded drones made by other manufacturers," DJI said. In a letter obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found there were operational risks associated with DJI products. The memo cited a classified report, "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," and a U.S. Navy memo, "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products."