Saturday, March 27, 2010

Iran's defensive drones worry Gates

Updated on : Saturday, March 27, 2010

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced his interest in exporting offensive US drones across the world, while expressing concern about Iran's defensive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Speaking before a Senate hearing on March 25, Gates claimed that it was in the interests of the United States to export deadly drones to what he termed "friendly" nations, despite limitations placed on such exports by US international treaty obligations, reported Reuters.

"There are other countries that are very interested in this capability and frankly it is, in my view, in our interest to see what we can do to accommodate them," Gates said.

UAVs are used mostly for surveillance purposes. However, in recent years, the US military has fielded a range of armed UAVs - or drones - which can attack designated targets with guided missiles, typically Hellfire.

One of these - the Predator - has been used extensively in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as other areas, for assassinations of those the US describes as hostile elements. The Predators are fairly slow and low flying aircraft, which can be used only against targets that lack any anti-aircraft protection.

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