(Reuters/Stephen Kalin)

GENEVA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The increased use of drones by Iran and its allies for surveillance and attacks across the Middle East is raising alarms in Washington.

The United States believes that Iran-linked militia in Iraq have recently increased their surveillance of American troops and bases in the country by using off-the-shelf, commercially available drones, U.S. officials say.

The disclosure comes at a time of heightened tensions with Iran and underscores the many ways in which Tehran and the forces it backs are increasingly relying on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in places like Yemen, Syria, the Strait of Hormuz and Iraq.

Beyond surveillance, Iranian drones can drop munitions and even carry out "a kamikaze flight where they load it up with explosives and fly it into something", according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys

A U.S. military drone was shot down over Yemen on June 6, and just a week later, another MQ-9 Reaper was targeted over the Gulf of Oman on June 13, according to a U.S. Central Command statement.

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Pfc. Kyle Dinsmore gets his turn to use the system during the SBS fielding at Fort Bragg. Photo: Patrick Ferraris/U.S. Army

Those really sweet, hand-held drones that the Army bought in January were finally put to the test as they were fielded to some lucky soldiers for the first time at the beginning of May.

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LOL ( bemil.chosun)

South Korea may be intent on developing a fleet of drones that draw inspiration from the animal kingdom, but that doesn't mean it's forgoing some very human characteristics for future unmanned aerial vehicles— namely a giant pair of explosive balls.

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In May 1999, then-Lt. Col. David Goldfein's F-16CJ fighter jet was rocked by the explosion of a surface-to-air missile during a mission during the Kosovo War. Ejecting from his aircraft, the future Air Force Chief of Staff landed in a ravine and evaded Serbian fighters until he was rescued by a combat search and rescue team, according to the Washington Post; he was just one of two pilots shot downed as part of Operation Allied Force during the short conflict.

More than two decades after Goldfein's harrowing ordeal, the Air Force is exploring a more elegant option for future combat rescue missions: an unmanned system that, air-dropped onto the battlefield, is capable of whisking downed pilots and other wounded service members out of dangerous territory, Aviation Week reports.

Call it Uber for medevac — just without the surge prices.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell

No matter where you've been with the military, it's time to be sure — and proud — of where you're going when you get out. Regardless of your MOS, you have a path forward in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle field through the undergraduate programs available in person and online at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

And, just to prove it to you, we're going to take 5 completely random and different military occupational specialties and show you how the skills translate.

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