2 January 2011
Washington (AFP) - The US military plans to to deploy a new intelligence drone in Afghanistan, which military experts say will allow US troops to monitor much larger operational theaters than before, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
The newspaper said the airborne surveillance system is called Gorgon Stare and will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town.
In 2010, a total of 711 international troops were killed in Afghanistan, according to independent website iCasualties -- the highest annual death toll since the war began in 2001.
The system consists of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, which can can transmit up to 65 live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements, the paper said.
By contrast, current Air Force drones today shoot video from a single camera over a narrow area the size of a building or two, The Post noted.
"Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we're looking at, and we can see everything," the paper quoted Major General James Poss, the Air Force's assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as saying.
There are around 140,000 international troops
fighting the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan,
around two-thirds of them from the United States.