CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The top-secret operation to eliminate the masked British extremist: From flying to amphibious drones

 

 

The top-secret operation to eliminate the masked British extremist

 

 

 

 

A crack team from the SAS tracked down IS executioner Jihadi John and called in the air strike that killed him in Syria, it can be revealed today.

Until now the top-secret operation to eliminate the masked British extremist – who beheaded UK hostages Alan Henning and David Haines – was thought to have been conducted entirely from the air without any Western troops.

But The Mail on Sunday has learned that the perilous plan depended on a team of eight men from the Special Forces regiment risking their lives to penetrate deep inside the IS stronghold of Raqqa.

 

Eight SAS soldiers sneaked to within five miles of ISIS's de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria and from there, they flew four 'nano helicopters' fitted with cameras that spied on Jihadi John

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Eight SAS soldiers sneaked to within five miles of ISIS's de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria and from there, they flew four 'nano helicopters' fitted with cameras that spied on Jihadi John

 

ISIS's chief executioner Jihadi John - real name Mohammed Emwazi - was evaporated near a clock tower where the terror group carried out several brutal executions ISIS's chief executioner Jihadi John - real name Mohammed Emwazi - was evaporated near a clock tower where the terror group carried out several brutal executions

 

ISIS's chief executioner Jihadi John - real name Mohammed Emwazi - was evaporated near a clock tower where the terror group carried out several brutal executions

And the secret weapon used to identify Jihadi John was a 1lb helicopter drone launched by the soldiers.

The daring mission began in darkness on November 11 when two US Chinook helicopters skimmed low across the Syrian desert to land at an isolated spot.

Avoiding all roads, the team of soldiers drove in desert buggies 35 miles south towards Raqqa. At about 3am, they 'dug in' five miles outside the city, where they remained undetected.

The following evening, while the rest of the team were on lookout, one man assembled four 3ft nano-helicopters with infrared and night-vision cameras in the nose. They were pre-programmed to fly to Jihadi John's hideout – a six-storey building in Raqqa.

The first drone set off towards its target, then entered 'hover and stare' mode, recording the movements of IS suspects at a building near the Sharksa mosque.

It beamed footage by satellite back to SAS HQ in Hereford and the US Central Command in Doha, Qatar.

David Cameron on reports that Jihadi John has been killed

 

'At 11.40 a car pulled up and he got inside. The Reaper locked on to its target and Jihadi John was history,' a source said of the strike near the infamous clock tower (pictured)

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'At 11.40 a car pulled up and he got inside. The Reaper locked on to its target and Jihadi John was history,' a source said of the strike near the infamous clock tower (pictured)

At 8.30pm, with the first drone low on power, a second one took over, and after another fruitless wait, it was replaced at 10pm.

But when the third suddenly shot back images of Jihadi John – real name Mohammed Emwazi – the tension in the control rooms was palpable.

A source said: 'US commanders re-tasked a Reaper drone armed with Hellfire missiles. At 11.40 a car pulled up and he got inside. The Reaper locked on to its target and Jihadi John was history. The guys were chuffed to get that maniac.'

£9million Tornados protected... by a 5ft fence

The Mail on Sunday can today reveal glaring security lapses at an RAF base where Tornado strike jets are protected by a flimsy 5ft-high picket fence.

Two Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk last week to join the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

But the wooden fence at the end of the base's runway appears shockingly inadequate and could easily be knocked down by a would-be terrorist.

Although a hedge grows along most of the quarter-mile section of fence on the north-east corner of the base, reporter Andrew Young discovered an 8ft-wide gap, allowing him to go straight up to the fence.

Tornado strike jets (pictured) are protected by a flimsy 5ft-high picket fence at an RAF base

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Tornado strike jets (pictured) are protected by a flimsy 5ft-high picket fence at an RAF base

Two Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers (pictured) took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk last week to join the fight against Islamic State in Syria

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Two Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers (pictured) took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk last week to join the fight against Islamic State in Syria

The spot is just 300 yards from a path on which the bombers, which each cost £9.4 million, taxi down before they take off on the main runway.

The reporter, carrying a large rucksack which could potentially have hidden a bomb or weapons, stood by the fence for more than an hour on Wednesday as five of the jets took off on training missions.

At no time was he challenged by personnel at the base.

An RAF spokesman said last night: 'As a matter of policy, neither the RAF nor the Ministry of Defence discuss security measures. However, we can confirm security measures in place are robust and multi-layered, and are not solely dependent on perimeter fencing.'

 

   

A series of transformers-style drones that can can be used to carry cargo or even evacuate troops were unveiled by the Defense Department today.

The new concept images revealed on Tuesday show that the modular flying drones could adapt depending on the particular mission.

Like other drones, the vehicles can serve as unmanned flying machines but these new devices can also be used in a number of different instances as well.

ARES

 

Changing shapes: Like other drones, the vehicles can serve as unmanned flying machines but these new devices can also be used in a number of different forms

The ARES, Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System, could also transport soldiers by dropping them off in dangerous warzones.

ARES

 

Extraction: Rather than remaining unmanned, the drones would be able to both drop off and pick up soldiers in remote warzones, saving them the threat of facing roadside bombs and IEDs

Or they can make cargo drops, delivering loads of supplies to areas that are too remote for cars and trucks to drive to.

Roadside bombs are one of the biggest threats to soldiers, with a heartbreaking total of 1,389 American soldiers having died to the blasts in Afghanistan alone since 2001.

Developers also think that they would be able to extract casualties from warzones.

The best and most mindboggling aspect of the machine is that the ARES will theoretically be able to switch from one function to another quite easily.

The machines are being built through a partnership between the US Defense and Davanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and  Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.

They have been working on forms of this same project since 2009, and- fittingly- it has been titled the Transformer (TX) program.

'Many missions require dedicated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets, but most ground units don't have their own helicopters,' DARPA program manager Ashish Bagai said in a press release.

ARES

 

Turn and adapt: A pair of ducted fans will help provide the push off the ground to allow it to propel, and then those same ducts would convert and push the air backwards, effectively bringing the vehicle both up and out

ARES

Moving forward: No formal release date has been announced but DARPA has officially decided to pick up the project meaning that they will be created 

'ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units.

'Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success.' Gizmodo reports that a pair of ducted fans will help provide the push off the ground to allow it to propel, and then those same ducts would convert and push the air backwards, effectively bringing the vehicle both up and out.

The machines would be able to hold up to 3,000 pounds which equates to more than 40 per cent of the body's weight.

Earlier vision: In 2011, the collaborators at Lockheed MArtin and DARPA announced a 'flying humvee' that was built in a similar way using a pair of air ducts

 

Earlier vision: In 2011, the collaborators at Lockheed MArtin and DARPA announced a 'flying humvee' that was built in a similar way using a pair of air ducts

No projected start date has been released but DARPA has decided to move forward with the project.

The ARES is only the latest iteration of the Transformers TX development line, with an earlier 'flying humvee' that was announced in 2011.

At the time, the flying humvees were expected to be produced and out into the field by 2015 but there have been no updates.

 

 

Photographs of amphibious drones suggest country is developing a robotic ground army

  • Ground-based robots were spotted at Russia's Rzhevka training ground
  • Among them was an amphibious model and a smaller six-wheeled robot
  • Their appearance follows Google's acquisition of Boston Dynamics and several other robotic companies

Emerging from a lake, a giant amphibious drone gingerly picks its way over Russia’s Rzhevka military training ground.

This huge drone is the latest in a menagerie of automated robots to be developed worldwide, adding to what some have described as the creation of ground-based robotic armies.

Its appearance comes as large organisations, such as Google and Amazon, invest in drone technology, with some experts claiming the it could lead to a full on robotics war by 2020. 

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Russia is reportedly developing weaponised ground drones, including some big amphibious models such as the ones shown here

Russia is reportedly developing weaponised ground drones, including some big amphibious models such as the ones shown here

Air-based drones have been under development in Russia for some time, with reports last year that the country had been developing a new 20-tonne attack unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

These latest images, however, provide a glimpse into Russia's future capabilities in ground-based drones.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the country is aware of the potential of unmanned vehicles, but does not intend to use them the way other countries do. ‘Today they [drones] are used more and more widely in the world. We won't do it the way other countries do,’ said President Putin in November last year.

‘This is not a game, this is not a computer game, these are serious combat systems, both shock and reconnaissance versions, and it is absolutely clear that they have good prospects.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the country is aware of the potential of unmanned vehicles, but does not intend to use them the way other countries do. Pictured here is a drone at the Rzhevka military training ground in Russia

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the country is aware of the potential of unmanned vehicles, but does not intend to use them the way other countries do. Pictured here is a drone at the Rzhevka military training ground in Russia

The country is reportedly developing a variety of ground-based drones including smaller six-wheeled models such as the one shown here

The country is reportedly developing a variety of ground-based drones including smaller six-wheeled models such as the one shown here

THE RISE OF THE ROBOT WARS

Last year, Google's chief Eric Schmidt warned drone technology proves a serious danger to global security.

Mr Schmidt said that the technology for armed unmanned planes will soon pass into the hands of terrorists posing huge security concerns across the globe.

He also said that ever expanding drone technology is making smaller and cheaper models, including nano-drones, which could be used by nosy neighbors spying on each other in a dispute.

'I'm not going to pass judgement on whether armies should exist, but I would prefer to not spread and democratise the ability to  fight war to every single human being,' he said.

In December, Google acquired robotic firm Boston Dynamics.

The firm, bought for an unspecified figure, is the eighth robotics company snapped up by Google in recent years.

The Russian government is also in talks to establish an organisation that will develop and produce unmanned aircraft systems, according to theVoice of Russia.

It’s not just Russia who increased invested in drone technology. Boston Dynamics, which made the Big Dog machine, was recently acquired by the internet giant Google.

The firm, bought for an unspecified figure, is the eighth robotics company snapped up by Google in recent years and is unlikely to be the last.

Three of Google’s recent acquisitions make robotic arms, used for lifting heavy weights and unloading trucks.

Another, Maku, makes androids that have eyelids, workable fingers and ears that move and flex, while another makes hi-tech cameras that were used to film recent Hollywood hit Gravity.

So what is Google, better known for running an online search engine, doing amassing a vast wealth of robotic experts and patents?

When asked whether the company is building an army of domestic servant robots, a press officer for Google in the UK laughed, before adding they didn’t know.

The Russian government is also in talks to establish an organisation that will develop and produce unmanned aircraft systems, as well as ground-based drones pictured here

The Russian government is also in talks to establish an organisation that will develop and produce unmanned aircraft systems, as well as ground-based drones pictured here

It's not just Russia who has increased invested in drone technology. Boston Dynamics, which made the Big Dog machine, was recently acquired by the internet giant Google. The infographic shows recent corporate investments in robotic technology

It's not just Russia who has increased invested in drone technology. Boston Dynamics, which made the Big Dog machine, was recently acquired by the internet giant Google. The infographic shows recent corporate investments in robotic technology

Google is not the only American company working on projects that might seem more akin to a Hollywood blockbuster.

Amazon recently announced plans to begin offering some deliveries by airborne drones.

Called ‘Octocopters’, the flying robots will take orders directly from the warehouse to homes or offices following GPS satellites and could be ready in five years.

‘I know this looks like science  fiction, but it’s not,’ said Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos.

Company sources also recently said the group was working on even more ambitious and futuristic projects – but refused to elaborate on what they might be.

Meet THE robot that can run faster than Usain Bolt...

The appearance of this Russian drone comes as large organisation such as Google and Amazon invest in drone technology, with some experts claiming the technology could lead to a full on robotic war by 2020

The appearance of this Russian drone comes as large organisation such as Google and Amazon invest in drone technology, with some experts claiming the technology could lead to a full on robotic war by 2020

 

         

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