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Analysis backs claim drones were used to attack Venezuela’s president

Analysis of open source information carried out by the investigative website  Bellingcat  suggests drones that had been repurposed as flying bombs were indeed used in an attack on the president of Venezuela at the weekend. The Venezuelan government claimed three days ago that an attempt had been made to assassination president Maduro using two drones loaded with explosives. The president had been giving a speech at the time which was being broadcast live on television when the incident occurred. Initial video from a state-owned television network showed the reaction of Maduro, those around him and a parade of soldiers at the event to what appeared to be two blasts somewhere off camera. But the footage did not include shots of any drones or explosions. News organization AP also reported that firefighters at scene had shed doubt on the drone attack claim — suggesting there had instead been a gas explosion in a nearby flat. Since then more footage has emerged, including videos purporting to show a drone exploding and a drone tumbling alongside a building. Vídeo prueba del segundo drone que exploto en el aire sin causar daños colaterales #Sucesos Vídeo cortesía pic.twitter.com/ipWR2sbYvW — Caracas News 24 (@CaracasNews24) August 5, 2018 Bellingcat has carried out an analysis of publicly available information related to the attack, including syncing timings of the state broadcast of Maduro’s speech, and using frame-by-frame analysis combined with photos and satellite imagery of Caracus to try to pinpoint locations of additional footage that has emerged to determine whether the drone attack claim stands up. The Venezuelan government has claimed  the drones used were DJI Matrice 600s, each carrying approximately 1kg of C4 plastic explosive and, when detonated, capable of causing damage at a radius of around 50 meters. DJI Matrice 600 drones are a commercial model, normally used for industrial work — with a U.S. price tag of around $5,000 apiece, suggesting the attack could have cost little over $10k to carry out — with 1kg of plastic explosive available commercially (for demolition purposes) at a cost of around $30. Bellingcat says its analysis supports the government’s claim that the drone model used was a DJI Matrice 600, noting that the drones involved in the event each had six rotors.

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This is the leaked DJI Mavic 2 drone

Here is the DJI Mavic 2 before you’re supposed to see it. Just like the original, it’s a small, foldable drone with amazing capabilities. This time around, there will two different version, the Zoom and the Pro, though both will reportedly have the ability to fly at 45mph with a range of five miles. DJI has yet to announce this model. This leak comes from the UK where the drones are described in detail in the latest Argos catalog. Both editions of the Mavic 2 will reportedly have 360-degree collision detection and sport DJI’s Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems and Active Track 2.0 to assist in flying the drone. The battery life is clocked at 31 minutes. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro comes equipped with a 1-inch CMOS Hasselblad camera where the Zoom model has a 2x zoom lens. The Argos advertisement doesn’t mention if the gimbals are removable. Pricing and release date is not mentioned in the advertisement. Chances are both models will be available in the coming weeks as retailers ramp up holiday stock. Expect pricing to be similar to the current Mavic. @OsitaLV better quality image pic.twitter.com/UWuj6k56WE — Monty_f (@monty_f) July 28, 2018

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UK proposal sets minimum age for drone use

The UK government could ban kids from owning drones weighing over 250g (0.55 lbs), under rules drawn up by the Department for Transport. The proposals suggest children could fly a heavier drone under adult supervision if someone older owns and has re...

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Israeli defense firm demos kamikaze drone bomb that can be called off

The Rotem "suicide drone" in action. In early July, Israel Aerospace Industries demonstrated the Rotem UAS—a proof-of-concept quadcopter drone capable of providing both airborne surveillance and an explosive punch. The lightweight drone, which can be carried in a backpack and flown by one person, comes with a "combat head" that turns it into a guided weapon. Rotem folds down into a package 38 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 5 inches high. According to a report from Israel Defense , the drone has a number of "automated modes." It has automatic take off and landing control, an emergency "return home" feature, and can navigate to a given set of coordinates or follow a pre-specified route without operator interaction. It can also be put into automated observation and attack modes once a target is designated, and the drone can "safe ditch" and disable its warhead if an attack is aborted. A number of fixed-wing "loitering munitions" have been produced in the past, such as Aeronautics Defense Systems' Orbiter 1K —a suicide drone that drew unwanted attention when Aeronautics' live-fire sales demonstration to Azerbaijan turned into an attack on an Armenian military position. In the US, Textron developed Battlehawk —essentially a fixed-wing loitering hand grenade—in 2013. And the US Army started purchasing the tube-launched fixed-wing Switchblade from AeroVironment back in 2011. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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