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US to Deploy New Intelligence Drone to Afghanistan

VOA News 02 January 2011

A leading U.S. newspaper says the U.S. military is set to deploy a new intelligence drone to Afghanistan with the capacity to transmit live video images of movement across an entire town.

The Washington Post reported Sunday the "revolutionary" airborne surveillance system consists of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft. The system, called Gorgon Stare, can send up to 65 different images to different users.

In contrast, Air Force drones now in operation use one camera, covering an area the size of one or two buildings.

Major General James Poss, the Air Force's assistant deputy chief of staff for intelligence, told the Post the new aircraft will take the guesswork out of where to point the camera because the system "will be looking at a whole city."

The newspaper says officials have acknowledged the new tool is of "limited value" without the utilization of intelligence reports on the ground.

The Washington Post says the multi-million-dollar Gorgon Stare is expected to arrive in Afghanistan in about two months.

The newspaper reports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is also exploring the potential of the aircraft's technology.

In Greek mythology, a Gorgon was a creature whose appearance could turn people to stone.

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