Police arrest four in Beijing after mysterious drone forces diversion of civilian planes

A drone model pictured at an exhibit. Beijing police have arrested four police after a drone forced civilian planes to be diverted. Photo: Reuters

Four employees at a Beijing company were detained by police pending a criminal investigation on Monday after they flew an unmanned aircraft near the Chinese capital's airport, forcing the diversion of two airplanes and causing multiple flight delays.

Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 4:33pm

'US drone kills' six Qaeda suspects in Yemen

A US Air Force's unmanned drone during a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. Photo: AP

An apparent US drone strike killed six suspected Al-Qaeda militants overnight, a Yemeni military source told AFP on Sunday.

The six suspects were travelling in a two-vehicle convoy in Mahfad in the southern province of Abyan, much of which was held by the jihadists before an army counter-offensive last year, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

28 Jul 2013 - 2:04pm

When it comes to unmanned warfare it's nothing personal

When it comes to unmanned warfare it's nothing personal

Throughout history, some forms of war and weaponry are viewed with greater horror than others. Even ancient civilisations tried to codify the rules of war - jus in bello.

2 Jun 2013 - 5:03pm

UN urged to replace peacekeepers with drones in fragile Ivory Coast

The use of unmanned drones has proved controversial. Photo: AP

Ivory Coast, whose security situation is described as "fragile" after a decade of turmoil that culminated in a brief civil war in 2011, has asked the UN to consider deploying the unmanned aerial systems when its peacekeeping forces are reduced later this year.

19 Apr 2013 - 4:28am

US jails Chinese engineer for taking files on missile guidance system to China

US jails Chinese engineer for taking files on missile guidance system to China

Measured in millimetres, the tiny device was designed to allow drones, missiles and rockets to hit targets without satellite guidance. An advanced version was being developed secretly for the United States military by a small firm and L-3 Communications, a major defence contractor.

27 Mar 2013 - 3:47am

New arms treaty could ease 'robot' drone fears

A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper armed with Hellfire missiles. Photo: AP

For a species that loves new technology - that lives and dies by it - it's strange how we sometimes demonise our own creations. Last time, it was genetically modified foods. They might just save the world, except that there's something "sciencey" and unnatural about them. Hard-to-understand foods? No, thank you.

15 Mar 2013 - 3:31am

John Brennan finally confirmed as head of CIA

John Brennan, mastermind of the US drone programme. Photo: AFP

The US Senate has finally confirmed John Brennan as CIA director after the White House doused a fierce debate over the potential use of domestic drones that could have delayed filling the crucial post.

9 Mar 2013 - 2:49am

Urgent need for international rules on drones

An unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV). US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper. Photo: AP

Drones, the unmanned aircraft that can spy and kill, are most associated with US President Barack Obama's administration, which has used them extensively in its fight against terrorists, staking out and claiming targets in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. So versatile and successful have they been that there is burgeoning demand among other governments to acquire or develop them.

5 Mar 2013 - 4:00am 1 comment

Iran says it brought down 'enemy' spy drone

A revolutionary guard pointing to a US RQ-170 drone captured by Iran, in December 2011. Photo: Reuters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have brought down a foreign surveillance drone during a military exercise, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said on Saturday.

24 Feb 2013 - 10:16am

US unveils medal to honour troops in cyberattacks and drone strikes

A Predator drone is controlled from a console. Photo: NYT

The Pentagon unveiled a new medal to honour "extraordinary" troops who launch cyberattacks or drone strikes from their consoles, even if they do not risk their lives in combat.

15 Feb 2013 - 4:23am

US killer drones need judicial oversight

Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen in 2011. Photo: AP

The US still struggles to reconcile security against terrorism with its core democratic values of the rule of law and respect for human rights. A reminder is an operational memo provided to senior members of congressional intelligence committees, lifting a veil of secrecy over the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in a remote-controlled US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

9 Feb 2013 - 6:44am

Rights group calls for ban on ‘killer’ robots

The new robots could resemble the Terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Hollywood-style robots able to shoot people without permission from their human handlers are a real possibility and must be banned before governments start deploying them, campaigners warned on Monday.

The report “Losing Humanity”, issued by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, raised the alarm over the ethics of the looming technology.

20 Nov 2012 - 2:22pm

Pakistan secretly developing drones: sources

China has rolled out unmanned drones like this one. Photo: AFP

Pakistan is secretly racing to develop its own armed drones, having been frustrated with US refusals to provide the aircraft, but is struggling in its initial tests with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology.

19 Nov 2012 - 3:27am

Low-cost Chinese drone to be unveiled at Zhuhai show

The Wing Loong resembles the US MQ-9 Reaper. Photo: SCMP

China's latest domestically produced unmanned aircraft will make its public debut at the biennial air show in Zhuhai this week, taking centre stage in a global drone market potentially worth hundreds of millions of US dollars.

11 Nov 2012 - 5:36am

US warns Iran after failed attack on drone over Gulf

An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft as it prepares for take-off. Photo: AFP

Tehran and Washington warned each other yesterday after officials on both sides confirmed Iranian warplanes shot at a US military surveillance drone flying over the Persian Gulf near Iran last week.

10 Nov 2012 - 3:09am