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DICK TRACY CONTROLS FOR ISRAEL'S DRONES

"Israeli troops are now wearing gear that Dick Tracy would be proud of," the AP reports, "tiny video screens, worn on the wrist, that display video shot by unmanned airplanes."

wristvid.jpgSimilar screens have been in use for close to a year in the Israeli military's attack helicopters, helping pilots identify and strike Palestinian targets within seconds. The technology, also used in tanks and armored vehicles, was a closely guarded secret until the company that developed it offered reporters a rare glimpse at the system this week...The screen being field-tested by a limited number of foot soldiers is about 3 inches wide, and weighs just a few ounces. Code-named V-Rambo, it's attached to the wrist by a velcro strap. The LCD screens display color video beamed directly from drones in real time at 30 frames per second -- the same rate as broadcast TV.Attack helicopters have been fitted with 5-inch screens. The Video Receiver systems also include small reception units that are installed on the vehicles and helicopters or carried in soldiers' vests.The new technology is considered much more than a novelty.Military drones have been used by Israel since the early 1980s. [The Israelis have also designed many of the drones used by American forces -- ed.] But until recently, the information they gathered was sent to a ground command center that interpreted it and then shared it with forces in the field. The Tadiran systems allow the information to be received instantly by the various forces, company officials said. The drones are still controlled by a ground command center, but the forces have the ability to guide the camera to meet their specific needs.This real-time information has enabled Israel to perfect its ability to attack from the sky. During more than four years of fighting with the Palestinians, Israeli helicopter air strikes have killed dozens of combatants.
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