It’s a little hard to imagine this could have come at a worse time for Alaska, as a growing number of people in the state are considering abandoning their homes to flee to other countries.
But the reality is that for many Alaskans, it’s also about time: A year after the state began receiving U.N. peacekeeping troops, there is a growing concern about a possible return to civil war.
That’s according to the chairman of the Alaska Air National Guard, Col. Todd Pappas, who said the U.K. will soon send a new generation of drones to Alaska, with the aim of providing a means of monitoring and protecting human rights.
“I think we have to be thinking of it as a humanitarian crisis,” Pappatas said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
“That’s why I think the U-2 is a good idea.”
Pappassas, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served in the Air Force and the Navy before joining the Alaska National Guard last year, said his forces will begin using drones to patrol the Arctic this fall and into 2018.
The U-1 is a single-engine, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft designed to monitor the atmosphere and land, Pappa said.
“We are going to be sending them to Alaska in the summer and the fall of 2018.
That will give us a really good, comprehensive view of the land, the atmosphere, the wildlife.”
Papps’ remarks come as Alaska’s military and political leaders are already looking to boost their ability to fight the growing number and range of threats from climate change and a rising number of insurgent groups.
In July, Alaska Gov.
Bill Walker said the state would be sending a small number of U.R.V. drones to the Middle East and South America, including Mexico, as part of a broader effort to train local military forces in counterinsurgency.
Walker has also indicated that the military may soon send some drones to Hawaii, where the state has been battling a wave of natural disasters.
But Pappasses comments are the first indication that Alaska’s national security establishment is considering deploying drones in the region.
That raises the question of whether the U2 will also be used for such purposes, and whether it will be part of an overall plan to boost Alaska’s defense capability.
“What I would say is, in my mind, that if we do get the UAVs and if we see that the drones are doing something we want them to do, I think it will take some time before they become part of our defense,” Papps said.
Pappaskas said that the UU-2s presence in Alaska is already under review by Alaska’s National Security Agency.
“If it is confirmed that the Alaska U-3s are going there, that would be a good thing,” Pops said.
However, the state’s military is already in the process of deciding whether to add the UB-1s to its arsenal, which are small, maneuverable and air-launched drones that can carry a bomb and provide surveillance in the air.
A UB is essentially a remote-controlled aircraft, equipped with a camera and a camera pod to help it fly closer to the target, allowing the pilot to get a better shot of the enemy.
A recent report from the UBS Global Strategic Intelligence Center said the drones were “very likely” to replace the UBs in Alaska by 2026.
Papps did not give an estimate for how many drones will be sent to Alaska this year, saying only that the state is considering the idea.
Alaska is in the midst of a major rebuilding program to bring its military up to speed with a changing global landscape, including a recent decision to send U.
B-3 planes to Somalia.
The new planes will be equipped with the UMB-X radar, which Pappis said Alaska is also considering.
The plan is to move the UAB-3 back to Alaska and put it in the same squadron as the UH-1Y.
In addition to the UUB-3 and UUB, Alaska also is considering bringing in a second UUB.
The second UU was first used in Iraq during the 2003 U.T.S.-led invasion of that country, and Pappakis said the planes are also being considered for the region’s airspace.
“The UUB is a great, versatile drone,” he said.
Alaska also has plans to bring in drones that have the capability to fly up to 60 kilometers per hour.
Pops also said that Alaska will be sending several drones to a Russian base in the southern Ural Mountains, and that the Russian Air Force has expressed interest in purchasing a drone.
P Appas did not elaborate on the plans for the Russian military’s use of drones in Alaska, but said the Air Ministry has been talking with the Russian Ministry of Defense about using the UG-7 drones in Russia.
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