Air Force's New Drone 'Can See Everything'

Named after the Greek myth, but this Gorgon has 9 eyes
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2011 5:37 AM CST
The Gorgon Stare, the latest in US Air Force surveillance technology, is set to be deployed on Reaper drones in Afghanistan this winter.   (AP Photo/Lt. Col.. Leslie Pratt, US Air Force)

(Newser) – It's called Gorgon Stare, after the beast of Greek myth, but this Gorgon is a new Air Force surveillance system set to be deployed on drones in Afghanistan. With nine cameras that can send up to 65 different images to different users at once, Gorgon Stare takes cues from ESPN football and reality TV, and can tag images in a particular area for more than a month, instantly beaming information to soldiers in the field. "[W]e can see everything," a senior Air Force official tells the Washington Post.

But questions remain about how effective even this $17.5 million surveillance technology can be. Can the military process such a huge quantity of data? And can it get enough intelligence on the ground, from human sources? Despite reservations, the Air Force is greatly expanding its use of drones in Afghanistan, quadrupling over the past two years, and demand for more continues to grow. "What these technologies will allow us to do is remove more and more ground forces and replace them with sensors where we normally would have to rely on people going somewhere to find something out," says an official.

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