A New Bird of Prey Soaring over Western Afghanistan?

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This view of this unfamiliar drone shows what seems to be a top (?) view of the bird-like frone. The nature of the four disks at the center is not clear, unless this is the bottom and they represent four EO cameras offering expanded area coverage... Photo via diydrones

With the U.S. expanding the use of classified combat systems in Afghanistan and pakistan, systems lost to operational or combat attrition offer the international news media unprecedented views into such programs.

This bird like drone gains its stealth in flight disguised to actual bird of prey. Photo: DeccanChronical
This view of this unfamiliar drone shows what seems to be a top (?) view of the bird-like frone. The nature of the four disks at the center is not clear, unless this is the bottom and they represent four EO cameras offering expanded area coverage... Photo via diydrones.com

The latest was an unidentified bird like mini UAV that crashed last week in north pakistan. Pakistani sources claimed it was an American surveillance drone equipped with a camera that crashed in southwestern Pakistan on Thursday close to the Afghan border. The unmanned aircraft went down because of a technical fault just inside Pakistani territory in Chaman town, in insurgency-hit Baluchistan province.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Pakistan probably let Chinese engineers examine what was left of a top-secret US stealth helicopter that crashed in the country during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May. Spencer Ackerman from Wired Danger Room speculates this UAV could be a bird like drone, that gains its stealth in flight disguised to an actual bird of prey.

U.S. Special operations are believed to be operating several new types of small UAS, some of which are also designed to launch lethal strikes. Similar programs were conducted in the past by DARPA and the Air Force Research laboratory and the current program (LMAMS) was transferred to the Army for further development.