9th September 2006
A full page advert in the current New Statesman might serve as a reminder to the Welsh Assembly Government of how getting into bed with big corporations – and they don’t come much bigger than Boeing – will result in them being exploited in order to enhance the “brand” and public image of that corporation.
BOEING AND THE
GREEN HILLS OF WALES.
Sometimes discovery means finding a new use for an existing technology.
That’s exactly the territory Boeing and the Welsh Assembly Government are exploring as they develop environmental and agricultural applications for unmanned aerial vehicles. Success may mean being in the right place at the right time, but it certainly means being with the right partner.
Just in case the reader might (perish the thought) think that the unmanned aerial vehicles might be the same kind that circle Palestine and Lebanon seeking human targets for F16 jets to blow to pieces, we are told that those being developed in Wales are for “environmental and agricultural applications”
There’s nice isn’t it? – all cosy and environmental and rural Welsh with you…
Well no, not exactly. The WAG’s own report from the Cabinet Sub Committee on Jobs and Skills – JS(05-06)06 in November 2005 stated:
“Aerospace – An Aerospace Sector Team was set up in June 2005 as a pilot activity, in advance of the wider WDA merger with the Assembly, to develop an overarching Wales wide strategy for the Aerospace Sector. The team is working on a draft strategy that will be submitted for wider consultation by December 2005.
Unmanned Systems – Welsh Assembly Government is now clearly regarded as a global lead authority and player in the UAV sector, following its leadership and support of UK industry’s R&D programme ASTRAEA, its development of a collaborative UAV market development programme with Boeing, QinetiQ and IGER, and the highly successful ParcAberporth Unmanned Systems 2005 event which demonstrated the first ever UK flight of a large UAV, the Israeli Hermes 450, part of the MoD’s major Watchkeeper programme.
Andrew Davies AM
Economic Development and Transport Minister”
Boeing’s attempt to convince us that what they are up to in Wales is purely ‘agricultural and environmental’ is an insult the intelligence of every Welsh citizen. Who are they trying to kid with their ‘Green Hills of Wales’ propaganda?
Click the image below to view a video of what Boeing is really up to in the UAV field. It’s described by one of its sub contractors thus:
The J-UCAS X-45 program is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy/Boeing effort to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value of a networked system of unmanned air vehicles for both the Air Force and the Navy. Operational missions for the services may include suppression of enemy air defenses; deep strike; electronic attack; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The aircraft autonomously performs all attack maneuvers, bay door operations and weapon-away release sequences under human operator supervision.
UAV’s certainly do have agricultural and environmental uses, but so do single engined biplane trainers. What UAV’s uniquely have is the ability to keep expensive pilots out of harms way when flying military reconnaissance, spying and eventually attack missions. Their development is as much to do with the delivery of bullets and bombs as it is to do with photographing deforestation in the Amazon.
Eventually the technology used in small UAV’s will be used in fighter aircraft. It is said that the current generation of figher aircraft is the last one that will have human pilots. Every plane in the sky will be required to install the electronics which will enable them to be detected by UAV’s and prevent collisions.
When will the Welsh Assembly Govenment be coming clean about what Boeing and other military contractors are really doing in Wales? All political parties should state clearly their policies on this issue so we can vote for peace in the May 2007 elections?
Some other relevant UAV links :
- Photos of ParcAberporth
- Welsh Development Agency (WDA) – Parc Aberport Pages
- BBC News – Excellence Aircraft Centre Opens – September 2005
- QinetiQ – QinetiQ helps deliver national UAV centre – June 2006
- Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) – Selex S&As to invest in Wales as anchor tenant for Parcaberporth