Skip to comments.How the Libyan Rebels Bought a Miniature Surveillance Drone on the Internet
Posted on 08/25/2011 4:21:41 PM PDT by lbryce
Although Libyan rebels have been celebrating their advance into the capital of Tripoli this week, just a few weeks ago, they had a problem. Outgunned and poorly trained, Libya's ragtag opposition was the object of pitying--if not unsympathetic--reports by the journalists covering their seemingly hapless efforts to advance and hold ground against Gadhafi's professional forces, who were better trained and better equipped.
Naturally, the rebels turned to the Internet for help. In June, members of the Libyan Transitional National Council were "searching the Web," the New York Times reports, when they found information about a surveillance drone--"essentially a tiny, four-rotor helicopter dangling a pod carrying stabilized-image day- and night-vision cameras"--made by Aeryon Labs of Waterloo, Ontario.
The shipping vessel delivering the drone and German Red Cross pulling into the port of Misrata, Libya July 16, That's how Charles Barlow, a former Canadian army officer who previously served with the United Nations in Syria, found himself on a boat to Misrata, Libya, in July, delivering a miniature drone to the rebels. (Barlow's photo of pulling into Misrata on July 16 is posted to the right.)
"What was happening with [the Libyan rebels] was they'd be driving down roads, getting shot at and losing people along the way," Barlow, now the president of Zariba Security, an Ottawa, Canada-based company that works closely with the drone's manufacturer, Aeryon. Barlow spoke with The Envoy on Thursday. "They wanted to say, where are Gadhafi's forces so they did not end up driving right into them."
The rebels first tried a number of different methods to acquire better visibility of the battlefield. "They asked NATO for imaging. NATO could not provide that, it was deemed too sensitive," Barlow said.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
made by Aeryon Labs of Waterloo, Ontario.
Those cool minicopters at Brookstone could probably be useful as well, if the radio range could be jumped up (cell phone innards? that would also give it GPS capability and a camera) along with the battery capacity.