PARIS, May 9, 2006 (AFP) – It may sound like science fiction, but the prospect that suicide bombers and hijackers could be made redundant by flying robots is a real one, according to experts. The technology for remote-controlled light aircraft is now highly advanced, widely available — and, experts say, virtually unstoppable.
Models with a wingspan of five metres (16 feet), capable of carrying up to 50 kilograms (110 pounds), remain undetectable by radar.
And thanks to satellite positioning systems, they can now be programmed to hit targets some distance away with just a few metres (yards) short of pinpoint accuracy.
Security services the world over have been considering the problem for several years, but no one has yet come up with a solution.
“We are observing an increasing threat from such things as remote-controlled aircraft used as small flying bombs against soft targets,” the head of the Canadian secret services, Michel Gauthier, said at a conference in Calgary recently.
According to Gauthier, “ultra-light aircraft, powered hang gliders or powered paragliders have also been purchased by terrorist groups to circumvent ground-based countermeasures.”
On May 1 the