Thursday, 20 September 2012

Flight of The Mystery Drone: Bird ‘Bot Flew over Iraq

It wasn’t just Pakistan. The weird, vaguely avian drone of unknown origin that curiously showed up in Pakistan last year apparently made a different flight — to Iraq. It may have even migrated to Pakistan from Basra.
In August 2011, Pakistani forces recovered a small, silver, unarmed aircraft that had crashed in Balochistan province. With silver wings and a span about the size of a grown man’s outstretched arms, the drone was clearly more than a hobbyist’s toy: the remains of a camera were near the crash site, a camera that fit into the robotic bird’s belly, ostensibly for spying on insurgents. No one claimed responsibility for the drone, but when Danger Room checked into it, we found it suspiciously reminiscent of Festo’s SmartBird, a drone that used the herring gull to inspire its design, although there were enough differences in the wings, tail and fuselage to render it distinct.
The mystery continues. A reader of David Cenciotti’s Aviationist blog found new imagery of the unknown bird, from at least two years before its Pakistani excursion. And apparently, its earlier spotters were Iraqi insurgents.

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