Who makes them?
Predator and Reaper drones are built by San Diego-based
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI),
a sister company to General Atomics. The drone
factory is located about 25 miles northeast from
the main headquarters in Poway, CA. Between 1998-2003
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems had won over
in defense contracts. General Atomics is a leading
company in a multitude of high-tech resources
giving generously to both Democrats and Republicans.
In 2008, the General
Atomics PAC spent $173,800 contributing to
the Democrats and $211,300 to the Republicans.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune article
for Profit," the Predator and Reaper
generally cost $4 million to $12 million
each. The U.S.
Defense Appropriations FY2010 key investments
included $489 million for 24
new Reaper drones.The upcoming U.S.
Defense Appropriations FY2011 includes: $2.2
billion for procurement of Predator-class aircraft
to increase the Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) available
to deployed forces from 37 to 65 by 2013; and
doubling procurement of the MQ-9 Reaper over the
next few years.
Israel and drones
As far back as 1982 Israel used drones against
Syria. In the early nineties Israelis drones were
us in the Kosovo campaign. The Israeli Air Force
invades the skies over Lebanon and patrols occupied
West Bank and besieged Gaza with drones. Twenty-nice
civilians, including eight children were killed
in what appeared to be six missiles by drones
in Gaza. In Beirut, Lebanon an Israeli drone fired
and killed at least 6 civilians and wounding 16.
Israel refuses to confirm whether it is using
armed drones over Gaza.
Isreal ranks second after the United States in
the development and possession of drones, according
to those in the industry. As the drones get bigger
and move advanced the more expensive they become.
Small drones cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Big drones are hugely expensive. Some costs as
much as $60 million. Elbit Systems Ltd and Israel
Aerospace Industries Ltd are the two manufacturers
making the deadly drones -- Heron TP/Eitan and
Hermes 450. Between 2009-2018 the U.S. is scheduled
to give Israel 30 billion dollars in military
aid. The Israeli Air Force since at least 2005
have been training many operators and maintainers.
- Although it may never be known how many civilians
have died as a result of U.S. drone strikes
in Pakistan, there are estimates of hundreds
or thousands of innocent bystanders
who have perished in the attacks. In the New
America Foundation paper "Revenge
of the Drones," roughly 252-315 civilians
have been killed by Predator and Reaper drone
strikes between 2006 and October 2009, but other
sources show a much greater number of casualty
- In July 2009, Daniel
Byman, a senior fellow at the Saban Center
for Middle East Policy wrote, "Sourcing
on civilian deaths is weak and the numbers are
often exaggerated, but more than 600 civilians
are likely to have died from the attacks. That
number suggests that for every militant killed,
10 or so civilians also died."
- Pakistani authorities released statistics
earlier in the year indicating that between
January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, U.S.
Predator and Reaper drone strikes have killed
over 700 innocent civilians.
- The website PakistanBodyCount.Org
(by Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, a Fulbright Scholar
at the Florida Institute of Technology) shows
an overwhelming number of 1065 civilian
casualty deaths between June 2004 to January
30, 2010 and tallying 103 drone strikes
carried out by the U.S.
- With the increase of drone strikes, according
to the most
recent story in The International News,
January 2010 proved to be a
deadly month in Pakistan with 123 innocent
civilians killed. Even though the public may
never know the true count of civilians deaths,
as the CIA steps up its Predator and Reaper
drone program, the number of civilian casualties
in Pakistan will undeniably rise.
- In the February 24, 2010 policy analysis released
by the New America Foundation "The
Year of the Drone" civilian fatality
rate since 2004 is approximately 32 percent.
The study shows that 114 reported drone strikes
in northwest Pakistan from 2004 to present killed
between 830 to 1210 individuals, of who around
550 to 850 were militants.