Tag: Drone

Security concerns after hobbyist lands £300 drone on deck of Royal Navy’s new £3bn flagship

Once it is fully operational, HMS Queen Elizabeth will doubtless be the most heavily protected vessel in the Royal Navy. For now, however, it seems the £3bn pride of the British fleet is so lightly defended that a £300 drone can be landed for an unauthorised visit to the aircraft carrier’s decks.

An amateur enthusiast has told how he overflew the largest – and most expensive – warship ever built for Britain’s armed forces with his Parrot Bebop drone before briefly landing on its vast flight deck as it sat, apparently unmanned, on Cromarty Firth in the Scottish Highlands.

Security

The ability of a hobbyist to take a private and unchallenged remote-controlled tour of “Big Lizzy” will raise difficult questions about security surrounding the vessel – as well as throwing into sharp relief the fact that the carrier will not have its own complement of aircraft for authorised take-offs and landings for several years to come.

The drone pilot, who asked not be named, posted footage on Facebook of a series of flights over the carrier while it was docked at Invergordon during ongoing sea trials before it is due to arrive at its new home port of Portsmouth as early as next week.

The enthusiast told the Inverness Courier: “I was amazed that I was able to land on the aircraft carrier for two reasons, the first being that there was no-one to prevent it from landing, although there were security police around in small boats who were waving at the drone.”

High winds

The amateur flier said he had been forced to land on the deck of the ship after a warning of high winds on the control panel of his drone. He added: “I expected the deck to be steel, which would send the drone’s electronic landing systems haywire, but I was able to touch down OK and took a couple of shots.

There was absolutely no-one around when I landed, it was like a ghost ship.” The 65,000-tonne flagship, one of two super-carriers being built for the Royal Navy, has not yet been formally handed over to the military as it continues to be fine tuned by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, the consortium that is building both vessels.

Trials

Trials with the carriers’ American-built F35B “Lightning” aircraft are due to begin next year but the Queen Elizabeth is not due to be fully operational until 2021. The drone pilot said he had been so concerned about his visit to the carrier that he drove to the dockyard in an attempt to explain in person to the crew what he had been doing but was told there was no-one available because all personnel were ashore at dinner.

The hobbyist added: “The ship has not been commissioned by the Royal Navy yet and doesn’t have aircraft, so I don’t think its defence systems that could block radio signals will be fully operational. If they were, there would be no way I would get within a mile of this vessel. “But it is worth a lot of money and I suppose I could have been a Talibani or anything.”

Near misses

The incident is the latest security scare involving drones, which have been involved in multiple near misses with commercial jets landing at airports as well as criminal uses such as delivering drugs and weapons to prisons.

A Scottish MSP said he was considering tabling a question in the Edinburgh parliament about the incident. Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone said: “I think the moral of this astonishing tale is that there is a serious question about security for the Royal Navy for it would have been quite easy for someone of evil intent to do something quite serious.

Even a drone crashing into its radar could cause damage.” The Ministry of Defence said it had tightened security on the carrier following the incident.

An MOD spokesperson said: “We take the security of HMS Queen Elizabeth very seriously. This incident has been reported to Police Scotland, an investigation is underway and we stepped up our security measures in light of it.”

 

 

 

 

Iranian Drone Interferes With USS Nimitz Flight Operations

An F/A-18E Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the Aircraft Carrier USS Nimitz

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Aug. 8, 2017 — While operating in international airspace in the central Persian Gulf, an F/A-18E Super Hornet with Strike Fighter Squadron 147, assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, had an unsafe and unprofessional interaction with an Iranian QOM-1 unmanned aerial vehicle today, U.S. Central Command officials said.

Despite repeated radio calls to stay clear of active fixed-wing flight operations in vicinity of the USS Nimitz, the QOM-1 executed unsafe and unprofessional altitude changes in the close vicinity of an F/A-18E that was in a holding pattern and preparing to land on the aircraft carrier, officials said. The F/A-18E maneuvered to avoid collision with the QOM-1 resulting in a lateral separation between the two aircraft of about 200 feet and a vertical separation of about 100 feet.

The dangerous maneuver by the QOM-1 in the known vicinity of fixed-wing flight operations and at coincident altitude with operating aircraft created a collision hazard and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws, Centcom officials said.

This is the 13th unsafe or unprofessional interaction between U.S. and Iranian maritime forces in 2017, the officials noted.

 

Retreating Isil fighters flee across River Tigris as Iraqi forces advance in final battle for Mosul

A member of Iraqi Federal Police waves an Iraqi flag as they celebrate victory of military operations against the Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq. REUTERS/Erik De Castro.

Cornered Islamic State militants in Mosul set off suicide bombs and threw themselves into the Tigris river to escape advancing Iraqi forces on Saturday, as the fight for the city entered what the army said was its “final hours”.

Commanders declared Mosul would soon be back under their full control, marking an end to the largest urban battle since the Second World War.

The jihadist group promised to fight to the death for the tiny remaining sliver of land they still held on the western side of Iraq’s second city. But on the streets of the historic Old City, Isil’s last redoubt, troops were already celebrating.

Jubilant soldiers tore down the black flag of Isil, which had flown over Mosul for three years, hoisting up the Iraqi flag in its place.

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter during the mission to re-take Mosul.

“We are seeing now the last metres and then final victory will be announced,” said a host on Iraqi state TV. “It’s a matter of hours.”

Dozens of insurgents were killed and others tried to escape by swimming across the Tigris, which cuts the city in half, state TV added. Most of those making a last stand were foreigners, they said.

The battle for one of the group’s most important territories had brought fighters from all over the world, including Britain.

 Iraqi commanders say the militants were fighting for every inch with snipers, grenades and suicide bombers, forcing security forces to fight house-to-house in the densely populated maze of narrow alleyways.

“The battle has reached the phase of chasing the insurgents in remaining blocks,” the Iraqi military said. “Some members of Daesh have surrendered.”

ISIS fighters surrendering to Kurdish Peshmerga Forces.

The fall of Mosul – the city whose looted central bank was used to fund Isil’s reign of terror – is a major step forward in the campaign to crush the terrorist group.

The brutal nine-month US-backed offensive to recapture Iraq’s second city cost the lives of thousands of civilians and countless more Iraqi forces.

Civilians who managed to escape have been rescued hungry and severely shell-shocked from months of virtual siege.

Some crawled, some hobbled out from the wreckage of their bombed-out neighbourhoods. The youngest carried the oldest and the children grappled with bags containing their family’s worldly belongings, suffering under the 50 degree heat.

To get to waiting Iraqi forces they had to walk past the 12th century Grand al-Nuri mosque, from where Isil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his famous – and only – appearance declaring their “caliphate”.

Grand al-Nuri mosque is where ISIL’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made a speech proclaiming the creation of a ‘caliphate’ [Reuters]
In one of its final acts of spite, the jihadists had rigged and blown up one of Iraq’s most revered sites to prevent the troops claiming its as a propaganda victory.

 Many had been trapped in their homes for weeks and it was the first time they had seen its destroyed famous leaning minaret lying in rubble.

Mosul, the largest city under Isil control, had been the birthplace of the “caliphate”.

In the summer of 2014, Isil fighters stormed the city in a blitzkrieg that took the Iraqi government, and its troops, by surprise. US-trained soldiers downed their weapons and ran when they saw the jihadists approaching on commandeered Humvees.

It would be from the northern Iraqi city that Isil emirs would roll out their vision of an Islamist nation, all ruled over by an appointed caliph.

Some in Mosul had welcomed the jihadists. A majority Sunni Muslim city deeply mistrustful of the Shia-led government, many residents had believed they would offer protection.

But by the end, the civilians had become captives in a city-wide hostage crisis.

Troops have faced a high-tech enemy, whose campaign was fought using IED drones, Mad Max-style car bombs, foreign-trained snipers and a complex warren of tunnels.

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISOF) were tested to their limits in the battle.

With ISOF units depleted by casualties, Iraqi federal police and army units carried out most of the fighting in the west. Many of these units proved more poorly trained, relying on coalition air strikes, which resulting in high civilian casualties and extensive damage to the city.

Nearly one million people have been displaced by the fighting, creating a humanitarian catastrophe which brought the United Nations and charities to their knees.

 “We surpassed our worse case scenario a month ago,” Lisa Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq said.

Stripped of Mosul, Isil’s dominion in Iraq will be reduced to mainly rural, desert areas west and south of the city where tens of thousands of people live.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of Isil’s “state of falsehood” a week ago, after security forces took the site of Mosul’s medieval mosque – although only after retreating militants blew it up.

Since the group’s height in 2015, it has lost 70 per cent of its territory in Iraq and 50 per cent in Syria.

In neighbouring Syria, US-allied Kurdish and Arab forces are closing in on the group’s capital, Raqqa.

Whether a victory in Mosul will contribute to a stable and secure Iraq is yet to be seen.

Original article: By

 

Russian fighters scrambled 14 times in past week to intercept foreign aircraft — ministry

MiG-31 Foxhound on full-afterburner.

TASS Russian News Agency, 23 June 2017

MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. Fighter jets of Russia’s Aerospace Forces were scrambled 14 times during the past week to intercept foreign reconnaissance aircraft near Russian borders, the Russian Defense Ministry said in its weekly infographics published by the Krasnaya Zvezda paper on Friday.

A week ago, the Defense Ministry reported 18 such incidents.

According to the report, a total of 23 reconnaissance flights were carried out in the vicinity of the Russian border last week by aircraft of seven countries. The bulk of those flights was performed by United States’ RC-135 jets and RQ-4B Global Hawk drones, which approached Russian borders 10 times in total.

On Wednesday, June 21, Sweden summoned Russia’s ambassador after a Russian Su-27 fighter jet approached a Swedish reconnaissance plane in international airspace above the Baltic Sea to a distance which the Swedish Defense Ministry described as “extremely narrow.”

On Thursday, June 22, Poland’s F-16 Viper fighter intercepted a Russian Tu-154 VIP aircraft carrying Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The Polish fighter jet had to retreat after a fully armed Su-27 Flanker jet zoomed in and displayed its weapons.