SOFT POWER: UAVs Could Help Peacekeepers, Relief Agencies UPDATE2

October 14, 2013 at 12:49 am Leave a comment

Stability Operations

(Updates with 7 aid workers kidnapped in northern Syria, four later released, 4 peacekeepers killed in Darfur))

The companies that that provide services ranging from translators to aircraft for humanitarian aid, peacekeeping and development organizations are meeting in Washington this week to discuss how to help people in an increasingly dangerous world.

That need was underscored over the weekend as seven relief workers — most working for the Red Cross — were kidnapped in Syria, according to the Los Angeles Times. All but three have been released but the continuing threat to aid workers in Syria and elsewhere remains.

And tree U.N. peacekeepers from Senegal were killed Sunday (October 13) in Sudan’s West Darfur region. Another peacekeeper from Zambia was stabbed to death Friday (October 11) in North Darfur. Nearly 170 U.N. personnel have been killed in Sudan since the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was established in 2007, according to the Voice of America.

The K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

The K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter.
(Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

The International Stability Operations Association, which has members ranging from BAE Systems and DynCorp to IAP Worldwide Services and Global Fleet Sales, is meeting Tuesday and Wednesday (October 15-16) at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

One of the technologies some peace and relief organizations are interested in is unmanned systems – unmanned aerial systems, in particular. Jessica Mueller, director of programs and operations for the ISOA, says non-governmental organizations and relief agencies are very interested in obtaining intelligence about what dangers await in the next village, where refugees have fled to or where the greatest need for food is in a vast region with few roads. She thinks unmanned drones could be a big help obtaining that kind of information.

Industry experts say potential platforms range from small versions of the unmanned aircraft use for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, to unmanned helicopters, like the Lockheed Martin K-MAX cargo helicopter system being tested by the Marine Corps in Afghanistan (see photo). Sikorsky Aircraft plans to produce,through its Matrix Technology program, variants of all its rotary wing aircraft that are unmanned and autonomous.

To read more on this topic see your 4GWAR editor’s story in this week’s Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine (subscription required).

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Entry filed under: Africa, Counter Terrorism, Disaster Relief, International Relief, News Developments, Peacekeeping, Skills and Training, Special Operations, Technology, Unmanned Aircraft, Unmanned Systems, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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